Jen: Today we welcome Diana DeRicci to Romancing the Book. Diana, will you share a short bio with us?
Diana: Hi Jen! Thanks for having me today. Lots of goodness to share for the coming Spring and Summer.
Short bio: I’m me. *grins*
Okay, not that short, huh? Where to start? I’m Diana Castilleja, writing as Diana DeRicci. With two names, you can guess, I write a lot. This year, I will have busted that 50 book (published) mark. Go me! What do I write? Nearly everything except for historical and horror. Trust me, me writing historical is like listening to a howling cat sing Karaoke. You just don’t want to know, and I can’t do horror. (You can guess I’m not a fan of The Walking Dead.) I started in sweet romantic suspense and eventually grew into writing erotic romance and then MM. It’s been quite the journey.
One of my favorite genres is paranormal. Love shapeshifters, and darker stories. Tortured heroes. And a strong romance. Got to have romance. Which leads me into contemporary. You can do a lot with a modern story. So, mix, stir, press, and bake. Usually, what comes out of the oven works. I don’t plot, but there’s more on that below.
A few links to find me:
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Diana: My latest release is Second Chance at Love with Dreamspinner Press, my first with them. It’s a May/December MM contemporary. Honestly, the first thing to come to mind was Tony walking in the door to his home. He’s hurting, hiding a little, and as I got into the story, all I could think was I wanted to hug him. So I gave him Brandon. LOL
Brandon is almost ten years his junior, a college student, outgoing, but overworked. Putting them together benefits both, but getting Tony to open up to a younger man… Well, you’ll have to read it.
Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Diana: I started writing in fits and starts. The earliest attempts were in my early twenties. I was working a toll booth and was essentially alone for 8 hours straight. This was also when I learned 1) my handwriting sucked and 2) historical was NOT going to be a good genre for me.
Fast forward about ten years and I was at home with a toddler, a computer and more time than Blue’s Clues could teach. I went back and started dawdling over one of those long ago stories and finished it. Figured I ought to at least try to learn something about what I was doing and joined a critique group at the local library. They helped a good bit, and encouraged me to finish something and then submit it. It was also about this time I found online resources and discovered ebooks. *happy gasp* After sending out forty-something queries and getting 30+ rejections (a few didn’t even bother to reply – wasted stamps ) I sent it to a small press publisher.
When I got the “we want it” email, I called the DH upstairs to read the email because I was positive I was hallucinating. That first published work was Ice Cream In The Snow, and I haven’t looked back. That was in 2006.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Diana: I am a total pantser. A friend some time ago once said the character profile I get is like a driver’s license in detail. Name, age, looks, location. The rest evolves as I write out the story. I really write like I read, from the beginning to the end. Plots are nebulous then firm up as the story falls into place. I do get surprises. Plenty of them, but that’s part of the fun for me, unraveling character’s and their stories to make a nice happy ever after at the end, or at least a happy for now with strong hints of it’s going to work out. I don’t like weak endings. They frustrate me.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Diana: I’ve had a lot of influences. In paranormal, Anne Rice, Christine Feehan, Nora Roberts, and Amanda Ashley are at the top of the list. In Contemporary, Judy Christenberry. Then there’s the long, loooong list of MM authors I adore: Andrew Grey, GA Hauser, ZA Maxfield, Lynn Lorenze, Carol Lynne, Willa Okati, RJ Scott, Brannan Black, KC Wells, and at least another twenty or more. See? A lot.
Jen: How do you come up with character names?
Diana: This is actually one of the things that I very rarely have a problem with. They come to me as themselves. I guess you could say they introduce themselves. Last names can be a littler trickier, but if the name is just a little off, I give them a good study and examine them, their jobs or careers, their style, and build a name from that.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Diana: This would have to be going to conferences and signings, and meeting people who have read either the same books or mine, and want to talk about the inspirations, the characters, and just talk books. Oh, getting to go all fan girl over some of my favs. Yes, I do that too. (I accosted Rosemary Laurey the first time I met her. True story.)
Jen: What’s next for you?
Diana: Next (hopefully) will be the second Men of Silo book. This one is Ed’s story. It’s not paranormal, but has a different storyline completely. There will be more paranormal in the series, but the books are going to revolve around the inhabitants of the town rather than a pack environment.
I also have a few other WIPs in process. I don’t think I’d know what to do with myself if I didn’t have three or four going at one time. It’s challenging, but I love the variety.
There are also two sitting on the roster at MLR Press, two separate calls that sounded like fun, and like usual, I raised my hand in the back of the room. One was for the Mixtape call, a collection of stories inspired or involved around music of the 80s. The second was for the Average Joe call. This one was pretty easy because I like writing every day guys who find what they’re missing. These are both scheduled for Spring and Summer.
Thank you for having me on Romancing the Book!