Friday, April 8, 2011

Author Spotlight on Diane Wylie!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.

Hello, and thank you for having me. I am the mother of two grown children, the wife of an ex-racecar driver, and a technical writer by profession. Growing up in New Jersey, I attended Rutgers University, where I got my BS in the biological sciences. I now live in Maryland with my family and have four published historical romances, SECRETS AND SACRIFICES, JENNY’S PASSION, LILA’S VOW, and ADAM’S TREASURE. For more information you can go to my website at http://www.dianewylie.com/.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newspaper?

I never know where an idea will come from, but often I get the idea for a new book from research. It might be something on the internet or something I read while fact-finding that inspires a whole plot.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

I normally write out a sketchy outline in paragraph form to see if I can get the plot down on paper in some coherent form. Then I start at the beginning and see where the characters take me. I am a very linear writer. Often I don’t know exactly how the book will end until I get there.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

If my muse abandons me, I may pick up a book by one of my favorite authors and read for a bit until inspiration to write again returns.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

I don’t have a mentor. Sorry to say.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’ve been to the New Jersey Romance Writer’s conference and would recommend it to anyone who prefers a less expensive, more intimate setting to learn his or her craft. It is held close enough to NYC to attract some big name agents and editors.

Do you belong to a writer’s association such as RWA? If so, in what ways do you feel this membership has helped you in your career?

Yes, I belong to the national RWA and Maryland Romance Writers. Both groups serve a purpose in helping you learn the ropes and providing resources. Without these resources I would never have learned how to write and submit a query letter, all the way to what to expect in a contract.

When you reach a point of frustration with your WIP, what do you do to get back in harmony with your writing?

I go back and read the manuscript from the beginning to reconnect with the characters and the story.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

I would like to thank my husband, Ed Wylie, for believing in my abilities, coming with me to booksignings and events, and for his graphic design services, which he provides for free to me. You can check out my beautiful bookmarks, designed by Ed, on my website.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

No, but sometimes the Beatle’s song, Paperback Writer, will go through my head.

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

Nope. No music. I have to write where and when I can. Since I work full time, I am often penning a paragraph or two during my lunch break in my cubicle. At home I might be sitting on the sofa with my family watching a football game or NASCAR race while I write. Background noise doesn’t bother me.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I tend to read whatever I have on hand. My favorites are historical romances. When I read them, I look for how the author has made the characters speak and how they interact with the norms of the time. I recently made the jump to try my hand at writing a paranormal, so I’ve read a few of those to see how other authors do it. I hope that my voice and style are not influenced greatly by other writers, though. I hope it is unique to me.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

Readers may find it surprising, but romance authors are a very supportive bunch. I’ve helped new writers by giving them advice on how to find publishers, how to query, and what to look for in a contract. Not that I am an expert, but if asked, I’ll give my two cents.

Other writers have helped spread the word about my books and given me advice along the way. I make sure I return the favor.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Getting published and having people who like my writing and call themselves “fans.” Who would have thought it would happen to me?

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

If I won the lottery, I’d give big chunks to my family to help them out and sock some away for my own retirement. I would also give to charities that help out wounded and disabled military veterans.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Never give up. There will be a home for your manuscript somewhere.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

If I were to come back as an animal, I would choose the otter. They look like they have so much fun frolicking in the water and sliding down riverbanks. They also take very good care of their young and have strong family ties.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

(1) Veterinarian

(2) Marine biologist

(3) Racecar driver (This is totally setting aside my normal fear factors and my age!!!)

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

This is a tough one for a homebody like me. I guess I would like to travel to an exotic place like China to live for a while. I think it would be exciting and so different from where I live now.

What are three things on your bucket list you want to do before you die?

Hmmm. I’ve been trying to think of doable things for my bucket list. I guess this forces me into coming up with some. (1) Go to San Francisco, (2) Go to Europe, and (3) Go to Hawaii. As you can see, I’d like to travel more.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes?

They need to have honesty, integrity, intelligence, and just a little humility to keep them human. I do prefer alpha heroes with flaws.

What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

A good heroine should not need a man, but she should want her particular man with all her heart. She should be confident and smart in her own right.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

I would like to eliminate hunger and violence.

What historic figure do you admire most? Why?

This one is easy. I admire Abraham Lincoln the most. He had the hardest presidency of any in U.S. history. Never before and never since have Americans fought and killed Americans in such large numbers and under such horrific circumstances. Brother against brother was an awful thing for Lincoln to try and resolve, but he did it in the end.

If you could choose a flower that represents you, what flower would it be? What about this flower do you feel exemplifies you?

A daisy. They are uncomplicated and not in any way fancy. They can be found growing in places where conditions aren’t the best. They are fighters among flowers.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

I would love to be able to fly! I would fly around the world to see things I have never seen before.

What is your next writing project? What is it about (got a blurb)? What was your inspiration to write this story?

My latest completed manuscript is called MOONLIGHT AND ILLUSIONS, which will be coming soon from Vinspire Publishing. I can’t tell you exactly where the inspiration came from because it happened only after lots of thought about trying a paranormal romance as a departure from historical romance.


Illusionist Stephen Elliott makes a good living for his family performing dazzling magic feats to crowded theaters around the world. Then a chance encounter with an old woman and a cursed relic send his perfect life spinning out of control. He ends up alone, on the run, and…immortal.

From her seat in the twenty-second row, Anabel Bernier recognizes with a jolt the handsome star of the magic show. World War II and the passage of time did nothing to dim the burning memory of her moonlight encounter with the charming Stephen Elliott. Will unexplained events, secrets, and powerful magic threaten their second chance at a future together?

What book would you like to tell us about today? (Here is where we will insert the cover, blurb and <400 word excerpt.

I’d like to share a bit about my most recent release, ADAM’S TREASURE.


Master of disguise, Adam Skelding, is a Pinkerton agent on assignment. His mission: Find the missing gold and stop the secretive Knights of the Golden Circle before they gain power. The future of the country depends upon it.

All Marilla Logan wanted was a way to escape from her life as a tavern wench. A dark stranger who breaks into her room offers her only chance. Swept up into a life of intrigue, she becomes ensnared in a tangled web of clues, danger, and emotion to break the code.


The seconds ticked by and no one spoke. But Adam knew there were men in the room; he could hear them breathing and smell their sweat mingling with the smoky scents.

A sharp prick of pain above his left nipple almost made him reach out to punch the closest person. He forcibly stopped any reaction. Just as he had told Marilla—no reaction to the unexpected.

“Do you feel anything?” a new voice asked.

“Yes,” Adam said, hoping against hope that he would say the right thing.

“What was it?”

“A torture.” The liquid warmth of his blood trailed down his chest.

A low murmur of approval rippled through the room. Someone took his right hand and led him forward.

“Mr. Adam Smith, as no man can become a Knight unless he is free, and of mature age…” The voice droned on and Adam answered as best he could.


He did.

The rituals went on for hours. The blindfold stayed on. Adam kneeled and stood when told, answered questions and parroted vows.

“I solemnly promise that I will not write those secrets…hidden mysteries…prevent disclosure by my unworthiness…”

Men shifted and moved through the room. He was given wine to drink, laced with some underlying taste.

“…Violation, I understand, requires the penalty of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the root...” he recited.

More drink. Kneel. Stand. Darkness. Smoke.

“…So help me, God,” he repeated.

No faces. No friends.


Tina Donahue said...

Your hubby sounds wonderful, Diane - you're one lucky lady. And you should get to San Francisco - it's a stunning city. If I could afford it, I'd live there. :)

Michael said...

Woohoo! Awesome interview. I'm the opposite when it comes to writing. I need music and no background noise. LOL

Lovely that you have a supportive hubby too!

Congrats on all your success!

S.Lira aka Michael M/Rawiya

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I am enthralled with your upcoming release, Diane. First, I had to process you writing a paranormal. Wow, what a wonderful premise--a magician who becomes immortal. Just too cool. Your historicals are wonderful so I am looking forward to reading something by you in another genre.
I thought I knew most everything about you but I had no idea you were married to a race car driver. Amazing.
I love your work, Diane. I'm one of those people you call a fan.
I wish you every success.

Delaney Diamond said...

How neat that your husband used to be a racecar driver. I bet he has interesting stories to tell. Best wishes as you move into the paranormal genre.

Adele Dubois said...

It seems we travel in some of the same circles. Maybe I'll see you at the NJ conference sometime. Thanks for visiting with us. Good luck on your release!


Fiona McGier said...

Yes, reading in a genre is a great way to see if you think you can do it also...but then I stop reading once I've started writing, so I can't be accused of copying someone else's ideas. Sounds like you are the same.
Doesn't Sarah have the best interview questions? She really knows how to draw interesting facts out of us authors! Great interview.

Diane M. Wylie said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and for commenting. A special thanks to Sarah for her interesting interview questions. You are right, Fiona, they really made me stop and think hard!

@Sarah: As far as writing in a different genre, I hope you aren't going to be disappointed by the switch to paranormal. I had considered writing historicals in a different time period, and I still might. But my favorite historical time period is still the American Civil War, so I was afraid I couldn't bring the same kind of passion to the story as I have in my American historicals.

We all like to try our hand at something different to see how it works now and then. My voice and style haven't changed, just the topic and settings. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me!!!!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Thank you for the compliment about my interview questions, Diane. I'm working on some new ones that I hope will be even better.
I can't imagine reading a book of yours in any genre that I wouldn't like.
I hope you also keep writing about the Civil War. I love to read stories about it but I will most likely never attempt to write one myself. I think it takes a mammoth amount of research to do it justice and it's such an intense time period to write in. I'm glad you do it though and you do it very well.