Jen: Today we welcome Dianne Duvall as her blog tour makes a stop with Romancing the Book. Dianne, will you share a short bio with us?
Danne: Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne’s books “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly), “extraordinary” (Long and Short Reviews), and “wonderfully imaginative” (The Romance Reviews).
Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn’t writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.
For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit www.DianneDuvall.com. You can also find Dianne online . . .
Jen: At what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Dianne: I actually wrote my first romance novel when I was around thirteen years old. It was a YA Regency Romance that I’ve never tried to publish but still have tucked away in a drawer. ☺ School and work soon got in the way, and I didn’t write my next novel until I was in college and decided to pursue a career as a writer.
Like many other authors, it took me several years to land my first publishing contract. I actually wrote four manuscripts before I wrote DARKNESS DAWNS, the first book in my Immortal Guardians series (and my first published novel). I had been shopping DARKNESS DAWNS for almost a year, which is pretty common, when I got “the call.” That’s pretty standard in traditional publishing. Some editors and agents take anywhere from six months to a year to respond to query letters, sample chapters, or full manuscript submissions. DARKNESS DAWNS was doing well on the writing contest circuit, so I expected to get it in the hands of some prominent editors in the industry. But the call still sort of came out of the blue and caught me by surprise. I was expecting a call from my insurance company, and expected it to be aggravating. The phone rang. I answered . . . and a woman introduced herself as the editor to whom I had submitted my manuscript at Kensington, asked me if I was sitting down, then offered me a three-book contract. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited and thrilled. I can’t remember half of what I said. I can’t even remember if I talked to the insurance company that day, but don’t think I did, because I was too busy calling family and friends to share the news. ☺
Jen: Tell us a little about your newest release.
Dianne: Phantom Embrace was originally released in the On the Hunt anthology. It’s being re-released separately and is book # 5.5 in the Immortal Guardians series.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Cat leaned into the frame of a large window behind the massive desk in David’s study. The sun’s rays, almost blindingly bright and sparkling with dust motes, poured through the clean panes and passed right through her, imbuing her with warmth.
The house around her was quiet. All the immortals slept. Many of their human Seconds slept as well, having worked until noon or thereabouts, running errands and conducting whatever business they did during the day for the immortals they served and protected.
Even David slept, exhausted by the long hours he had kept of late, aiding immortals in North Carolina and surrounding states whenever emergencies arose, then spending the moments in between poring over medical textbooks in search of any information that would help him and Seth carry Ami safely through her difficult pregnancy.
Outside, Roland’s cat, Nietzsche—as cantankerous as his owner—crept toward a squirrel.
The squirrel continued to nibble on an acorn, watching the cat from the corner of its eye.
A pleasant male voice spoke, startling her. “There you are.”
Her head snapping around, Cat stared at the tall figure in the doorway.
Yuri graced her with a charming smile as he entered and closed the door behind him.
“Why aren’t you asleep?” she asked, telling her treacherous heart to stop slamming against her ribs. She had never understood why she had continued to feel that particular organ after she had breathed her last breath. She never felt hunger. Never felt thirst. But her heart seemed to thump away in her breast. One of many mysteries for which she had no explanation.
“I was looking for you,” he said, tucking his hands in his pockets as he strolled toward her. He wore the usual garb of an immortal. Black pants. Black T-shirt stretched taut over the thick muscles of his chest, shoulders, and arms. Heavy black boots.
From what she understood, immortals and their Seconds dressed thusly so blood stains would be less apparent to any looky-loos who saw them after a hunt.
She frowned. Was that the right phrase? Looky-loos? It sounded odd.
Regardless, the clothing suited Yuri, accenting his dark hair and chestnut eyes.
She straightened as he approached the desk.
“I’ve only caught the briefest glimpses of you these last few nights,” he commented.
Because she had been careful to avoid him since their talk. As soon as he had entered a room, Cat had left it. She had even resisted the temptation to follow him on his hunts.
He arched a dark brow. “Are you avoiding me?”
For a moment, Cat considered denying it. But she had told him she valued honesty. So she nodded.
“Why?” He cocked his head to one side. “Did I offend you in some way?”
Shaking her head, she glanced down. “I fear it is I who offended you.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. “I owe you an apology.”
His expression remained impassive. “For what?”
“Now that I know you can see me, that you’ve always been able to see me, I realize . . .” Mortified, she looked away and began to pleat her skirts with anxious fingers. “You said you value your privacy, and I denied you that on many an occasion, visiting your chamber and following you on hunts. I—”
She shook her head and met his gaze. “I don’t want to be like that first spirit you mentioned, the one you spoke to. I don’t want to irritate you or make you uncomfortable. I—”
“You don’t,” he interrupted with a kind smile. “You didn’t.” He sighed as he circled the desk. “I feared this might be the reason for your absence.” Stopping a few feet away, he leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the window, careful to avoid the sun’s rays. “I confess I enjoyed your presence each time you joined me in my room or on a hunt.” His smile widened. “The former more than the latter. The latter proved dangerously distracting on more than one occasion.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“I’m not,” he said and glanced out the window.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Dianne: I don’t know if this qualifies as a routine, but I always begin my writing day by reading back through what I wrote the day before. I do this for two reasons. One, I edit it as I read through it, so my first read-through of the completed manuscript will go more smoothly. (I always focus on getting the ideas down first, and polishing the language later.) And two, it helps me get back into the flow of the story, so it’s easy for me to pick up where I left off the previous day.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Dianne: For the mortals in my Immortal Guardians series, a name will often come to me as soon as I create the character. I very rarely change the name once I’ve begun writing simply because I grow so accustomed to using that name for the character that if I do try to change the name, the new one doesn’t sound right. ☺
I use a different method to choose names for my immortals, though. The immortals in my Immortal Guardians series range in age from just over a century to thousands of years old. So I start with their country of origin, then look up names that were in use there around the time of their birth. While I’m combing through the records, usually one name in particular will leap out at me and feel perfect for that particular character. I do the same for the characters in my The Gifted Ones series, which contains medieval and (soon) time travel romances.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of your career to this point?
Dianne: I have two big highlights: One was hitting the New York Times bestseller list, which has long been one of my dreams and writing goals. The second was publishing A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN last year. I wrote that book several years before I began my Immortal Guardians series. It is, in fact, the book that inspired me to create my Immortal Guardians series. I’ve always loved that story, and regretted that it wasn’t picked up by traditional publishers. (Most of the publishers to whom I submitted it at the time said they weren’t interested in historical romance novels that contained paranormal elements.) So I self-published it last year . . . and am thrilled by readers’ responses to it. I consider A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN the book that started it all for me, so it meant a lot to hold that first print copy in my hands.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Dianne: I usually celebrate new releases by visiting the House of Pies and indulging my sweet tooth. ☺