“I started writing Speculative Fiction, being a geek at heart. It was that novel that I took to my first writer’s conference and brought it home covered in blood, I mean red ink. There was so much that I needed to learn about novel writing. I tried to resuscitate life back into it, but it had flat lined, so I buried it in a plain vanilla file.
After that, I found myself writing contemporary women’s fiction/romance. It really is the story of a woman who happens to fall in love, so it’s not fair to call it romance where the focus is the love story.” Diana Symons
Joanne: It is such a pleasure to have Diana on Author Interview Friday. I am always curious how people get the inspiration to be a writer. Diana, when did you first know you wanted to write?
Diana: I’ve been writing forever. When I was kid, I would cut pictures out of magazines and write poems about them. I started a dozen versions of the Great American Novel, but I was never good at finishing them. It wasn’t until I was laid off of my marketing job during the dot com bust that I gave myself time to take my writing seriously. So, I guess unemployment was my particular inspiration to get started!
Joanne: Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?
Diana: I was an English minor in college, which meant that I took advanced writing seminars. But it was writing conferences and fellow writers that helped me the most.
Joanne: Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indi publisher to a colleague?
Diana: I went self-publishing because I had problems finding an agent. This book is very edgy and not a great fit for CBA. Also, I went to an e-book publishing conference and was won over. I love the idea that you can control your own book. You release it and it stays available regardless of how well it sells. A hardcover book will get pulled for slow sales and it’s essentially dead. An e-book has life for as long as you want to keep it live. That allows for a long period of growth and history.
I have just released Crucible Heart as a hardcover edition through CreateSpace as well. It should be available on Amazon any day. Quite a few people have asked when the “book” is coming out because they don’t use e-readers. With print on demand, there’s no expensive inventory to tie up a huge chunk of money.
Self-publishing requires a team effort. You have to work with people who know what they’re doing—an editor who will make your work wonderful and layout and design people who will make your cover beautiful. I tried to do it all myself once, and found out the hard way that it’s best to let talent work in areas where talent is needed.
Joanne: Do you always write in the same POV or narrative or do you switch it up in different stories?
Diana: My earlier writing was always third person, but this book is first person. It’s all through the mind of the main character. It’s the first time I’ve done this, and I really love it. To me, it’s so much easier than third person. However, one comment I got back in a review was the wish that there was another voice telling the story. I will consider that for future work. I don’t always like switching POV when I read other books, but I see that some people like it.
Joanne: For many of us authors, marketing can be one of the most difficult aspects of the business. What techniques do you implement to increase your sales?
Diana: I actually spend more time on this part than working on my book. I write about finding God. My books will always be focused on the path to knowing Him. So I started a blog some time ago where I write a daily devotional. My goal is to build that site up to get a lot of traffic and get a lot of eyes on the link to my book. The plan is to develop enough quality material that people searching about God online will come to me rather than me going out to find them. Five million people every month search on the word “God” in Google. Five million! People around the world are searching for answers about God, and I want them to find me.
So my blog has two functions. One—to help people who want to find God. And two—get lots of eyes on my book. Inbound marketing as opposed to outbound marketing. This will take some time, hence the positive aspect of e-books and print on demand that allow for long sales cycles.
Of course, those blog posts go to Facebook, Twitter, my Amazon author page, Goodreads, etc. I also use an email app called WiseStamp. It embeds a link to my website and whatever my current blog post is to the bottom of my emails.
Joanne: Are you a pantser or a planner?
Diana: I’m a plonster. I’m training myself to plot more. I started using Scrivener with my second book and it’s very helpful to lay out the chapters on a “corkboard” and see the flow of the story. If I want to add a scene or chapter, it’s very easy to insert it. I found that it was a lot easier to sit down and start writing if I knew exactly where the chapter was going.
Joanne: I can’t wait to read Crucible Heart. Although our ending are quite different I am sure, in both your book, Crucible Heart and my book, Accident, a woman is sent to prison for killing someone in a car accident do to her negligence. Thank you Diana, for being a part of my blog.
Readers, here is a sneak peek into Crucible Heart and the link to purchase your own e-reader edition
Jenna Johnson did two years in prison for killing a child while texting and driving. Living with the guilt made her suicidal, until she met Jess. Jess’ constant encouragement that God can fix anything finally broke through Jenna’s thick walls of protection. But the road to redemption was a learning curve, and Jenna had a lot to learn. When she finally understood the truth of the Bible, her hard won victory was shattered in a devastating moment of truth. Only her new found faith could save her from her own self-destruction.
You can purchase Crucible Heart at the links below.