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Friday, October 28, 2011

More of Diana Duncan!

It's Friday ya'll! 

Diana Duncan graciously answered a ton of questions I posed, so I'm putting some more up today for your enjoyment. Don't forget to comment for a chance to win a download of one of her ebooks: 
Deal with the Devil, the Devlish Devlin series 

OR her newest, just - released  - yesterday paranormal romance, Sword of the Raven

"...The entire theme of the book is how we can’t always stop or control the things that hurt us, but we can choose to triumph over them. I have to admit, I cried when I wrote that part. In fact, I cried more writing this story than any other. But when I made it through to the happy ending, it felt really great."

Check out yesterday's post here for her writing advice, encouragement, and what men wear under their kilts. 

You know I live in Atlanta, where the zombie apocalypse is filmed on a weekly schedule....
Can you describe to me your favorite zombie look?

I don’t have a particular favorite Zombie book, but my family and I get a kick out of playing a Zombie Apocalypse board game. I have zero qualms about sacrificing my loved ones as zombie bait in order to make it out of the city alive. And wow, they gloat like fiends when they surround me with zombies, ensuring my doom. Good, clean family fun.   
 What’s the latest piece of curbside furniture you’ve rescued recently?
Oooo! Just last week, I found an enormous desk with three roomy drawers on one side and a sturdy, but beat-up top. The rest is in great shape. I’m going to take it apart and use the drawers to stash craft supplies. Then I’ll staple foam and fabric to the desktop to make a padded headboard for a twin bed—it’s the perfect size. I plan to use both in my future craft room/guestroom as soon as I finally convince Daughter #2 she really does want to move out.  
Me: Just yesterday I picked up a wicker headboard and footboard in perfect condition! Have no idea what I'm going to do with it -- yet! 
Who was the first boy you kissed? And did he make it into a book?
Ah, sweet, sweet Scotty. J Haven’t thought about you in years! What a great guy. So caring and fun and witty…he was my very best friend all through junior high…until my Air Force dad got transferred and we had to move again. Seventh grade dance. Semi-darkened gymnasium, me all in pink ruffles, and wearing my first lipstick and pair of heels. Him nervous as a cat in a Cuisinart. Elton John signing “Your Song” through the scratchy speakers. Scotty kissed me in a corner by the dance floor. And oh…it was so very swoony. Then soon afterward, he starting feeling sick to his stomach and had to call his mom to come pick him up and take him home. ::giggle:: Yep. Really. My kisses knock guys off their feet.
I never thought about putting him in a book, but I should, shouldn’t I? 
What weird dinner or pastime does your family (and only you & your family) enjoy?
When my daughters were in grade school, Hubs and I once took them to the store on the spur of the moment, where we chose all the fixings for ice cream sundaes and then ate them for dinner.
Hmmm…does the entire family’s penchant for quoting all of National Lampoon’s Griswold “Vacation” movies at any time, on every occasion, count as weird? “I’m gonna catch it in the coat…and smack it with the hammer.”
From yesterday's post: How do you stay inspired, focused, on schedule as an indie published author?

One of the characters in “Sword of the Raven” is the Celtic goddess Morrigan, who appears in raven form. When my traditional publishing career hit a brick wall and I was adrift and questioning what I was supposed to do next, I asked the Man Upstairs for a very clear sign. The next day, a dear friend of mine was out walking in a rural area and praying for me about the struggles I was experiencing. She had headphones on and wasn’t watching where she was going, and she looked down and saw a huge rattlesnake in her path. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, a raven swooped out of the sky and scared the rattlesnake away.
And if that wasn’t enough to freak you out, when she called me to tell me what had happened, we discovered that unbeknownst to both of us, her maiden name is the same as my heroine’s in this book. 
Yeah. Gave me shivery goosebumps, too.
So I got out that “dream ending” and spent eighteen grueling months writing the story that went with it. Totally by the seat of my pants—no planning, no prep, no outline. I had no idea from one day to the next what would happen, and it was a scary, surprising adventure.   
As to my schedule, what is this schedule of which you speak? *G* Working from home is fraught with interruptions, especially when my daughters were younger. I get up every morning, make coffee, open my Word file…and then that file doesn’t get closed and the coffee pot isn’t shut off until I finish my pages for the day. Even if that means I get interrupted 14,000 times and have to stay up until 3:00 a.m.—and I often do.
The wonderful news about Indie publishing is that I have total control. The bad news is that I have total control. Not only do I have the responsibility to write a killer book, I also have to design an enticing cover, write a selling blurb copy, format, and then upload the completed files so readers can buy it. I have two incredible critique partners, authors Susan Gable and Jennifer August, who keep me sharp with proofing and edits, and vice versa. Which means we also have to make time to read and critique each other’s work.
And in a fantastic recent development, Daughter #1 has been brainstorming with me, and has decided to write young adult books about the paranormal world we’ve created. I’m so excited and looking forward to working with her!
 Is there a real life lesson you can relate to writers? A cautionary tale? Or “learn from my mistake” type thing?
Hoo, baby. Do I ever. First: Don’t ever let anyone tell you, “you can’t.” “You can’t have snarky heroines who undermine the hero. You can’t have so much funny banter. You can’t write contemporary fun, sexy romances, and romantic suspense, and paranormal romances…so pick just one.”
Hello, I’m Diana Duncan, and I live to write flawed alpha males and strong, capable—and yes, snarky—heroines who kick the hero’s arse when he behaves like an arse. And a lot of readers enjoy reading them. Readers are way savvier and open to far more variety than editors/agents give them credit for.
“Can’t” kills the Muse. I fell into the trap of trying to please editors and agents instead of myself and my readers…and poor battered Diesel Muse went into a paralyzed coma. It took over three awful, wretchedly painful years to bring him back off life support.
Secondly and most important: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. No matter how much you want to believe your agent and/or publisher have your best interests at heart, you come in a distant second after their profit margin. Lines change. Editors change. Trends come and go and “the big six” traditional NY publishing houses single-mindedly follow those trends like bloodhounds. Diversify as much as possible. Seek new opportunities and grab them. Don’t let yourself be pigeonholed into one slot at one publishing house. You are the only one looking out for your career. 
 Diana Duncan is a delightful writer/ mom/ dog lover / men-in-kilts lover/ shopaholic who "exists in the perpetual state of Confusion," and owns an "Olympic medal in Dish Tossing." Go read her bio here to find out what that means!
She has a wicked sense of humor and a fondness for men in kilts - and she  answers the age-old question we all wonder - what do you wear under that there skirt young man?! -  that comes through in her Devilish Devlin series. 

And don't forget to leave a comment, just to say hello! You could win an ebook! We love 'em! 

Today I'm on 
with a fun, scary story about a landmark historical haunted house that's being renovated and decorated for a designer showcase home in New Orleans! You know how we love a party and our ghosts in N'Awlins - put 'em together and call it Halloween! 

I'm giving away a goodie bag of Bath & Body Works' Dark Kiss to a lucky commenter on Tami's blog today and tomorrow! So be sure to visit and comment there too! Thanks! 
A bientot! 


  1. Ah! The first kiss story, and ice cream sundaes for dinner! How sweet. :-) Thanks, Diana, for being an inspiration.

  2. Aw, thank YOU, Judy! My friends are what inspire me and keep me going, so I really appreciate you dropping by to say hello. :)

  3. I don't think we've ever done ice cream for dinner.
    We've done a lot of pancakes, waffles, and french toast - breakfast dinners are what my boys like. Especially when it's cold & wintry weather.

    Does everybody kiss for the 1st time in the 7th grade? I kissed Larry on the playground in the 3rd gd, but Pierre Gautreaux kissed me when he walked me to the door after the 7th gd dance. And my mom & big brother saw the whole thing from the inside at the sidelights!

  4. Ha! I'm such a late bloomer - I was 16 when I got my first kiss. A good one too at my sweet sixteen party thrown by my BFF at the time. :) ah, memories...

    Great interview Pamela and Diana!

  5. My first kiss on the cheek from a boy was in kindergarten, but I don't think that counts, right? First romantic kiss was M.J. at a Youth Leadership Seminar when I was 16--you're not such a late bloomer, Kellie.

    I could so do ice cream sundaes for dinner. I'm not eating dairy now with my anti-inflamatory diet (I've lost over 20 lbs!), but for my "cheat week" at Thanksgiving, I'm going to have the hugest hot fudge brownie sundae and go lay comatose.

    Thanks for sharing the fun stories! juleejadams (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. Thanks Kellie and Julee. And that first kiss is so special, no matter when it happens!

    Julee, congrats on the 20lb loss!

  7. Love that first kiss part. And like the others, those ice cream sundays for dinner are very cool. I of course also enjoy a bit of Griswold Family Christmas quotes. ;)

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing your life lessons with us.

  8. OMG! Our family does Griswold quotes, too. We're all weird - LOL.


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