Immortality & Beyond Interview with Dianne Hartsock
Welcome to Immortality and Beyond Dianne. May I offer you a drink?
Thanks so much for having me here! I'd love to try the Vampires Wine, please. The Zombie Blast sounds intriguing but it might be bad for my complexion.
Thank you Zar. *Zar drools while staring at Dianne*
Zar, you may leave now.
Sorry about that Dianne. He tends to want to get a taste of authors during our interviews.
I might let him have a small nibble, if this wine's as good as it looks. *wink*
Dianne is currently on tour with her book, Philip’s Watcher, a M/M Erotic Fantasy, with Goddess Fish Promotions. She will also be giving you all a chance to win a $10 gift card for All Romance Ebooks, so be sure to comment for a chance to win.
Now that we’re settled in, let’s get started, shall we?
*Takes a sip of wine* Excellent.
BK: First, tell our readers a little bit about yourself…
DH: First of all, for anyone with appetites like Zar, I'm not as tasty as I look! Anyway, I grew up in California, spent ten years in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and now live in the lush Willamette Valley of Oregon. Let's see, I'm also a floral designer by day with a husband and two college aged children to juggle in between writing stories like mad.
BK: When did you first realize you wanted to become a published author? Tell us a little bit about your journey.
DH: When I was fifteen I had an absolutely amazing creative writing teacher. Enthusiastic, encouraging. She's the one who first suggested I enter a writing contest for our local magazine. And I won! Since then I've struggled to be published, finally achieving my goal in the spring of 2011. I have the popularity of e-publishing to thank for it.
BK: What sparked your interest to write M/M erotica?
DH: About three years ago I read a book by Poppy Z. Brite called LOST SOULS. It’s a book involving vampires, but what intrigue and fascinated me was the character Ghost. My goodness! I fell in love. Ghost’s a beautiful, gentle, shy young man hopelessly in love with his best friend who doesn’t see him in the light of a lover. The story’s quite dramatic, but the gentle way Poppy deals with Ghost’s affections really got to me. I wanted to write that. I wanted to tell romance stories that brought out the intense, sometimes dangerous love affairs of my gay characters in a compassionate way.
BK: What inspired the fantasy aspect of Philip’s Watcher?
DH: I've been a fantasy geek my whole life, starting with Tolkien and moving to the Earthsea saga by Ursula Le Guin, the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and anything by C.J. Cherryh, who I still read to this day. A fantastic author. I love the sense of adventure and the thrill and fear of the unknown they put in their stories. And who doesn't love the romance of the magic user? I had to write my own version of this.
BK: How difficult is it to write in this particular genre, having to put your female mind into a male perspective?
DH: *blushes* Easier than you might think! I find the male form enticingly beautiful. And love is love! So it's only a small step in the imagination to picture what it would be like to have a certain extremely sensitive part of the male anatomy attached. Honestly, I have a mouth, tongue, fingers. I'm thoroughly acquainted with my husband's body… Besides, I get to make love to gorgeous men every day in my writing. It's actually not that hard at all.
BK: Was there a lot of research into writing this story?
DH: Not too much besides the people watching I do every day. I work in a busy gift shop and run into new faces all the time. I find the interaction between people fascinating and use a lot of this in my writing. Philip's world isn't much different than our own, and my stories tend to focus more on the interplay between my characters rather than on some complicated plot.
BK: When writing, does the story just flow or do you have to plot out each chapter?
DH: Either a song or bit of music or even something on the news will trigger an idea for me. I usually spend a day or two (or longer, if I'm working on another project) plotting the story out in my mind. When I finally start it, I have a beginning, middle and ending in mind, but this is always fluid. From here, I begin writing and see where my characters take me.
BK: Do you ever get nervous when writing a story that you just aren’t sure where it’s going, almost like seeing a dark tunnel ahead? If so, how do you resolve that?
DH: You know, I haven't encountered that problem yet, thank goodness! Sometimes I'll get stuck, not knowing how to get everyone from point A to B. When that happens I'll set the story aside and try to imagine something unexpected happening or a new character. Anything to get the story moving! Sometimes simply having them go to bed and make love will open up all kinds of new scenarios!
BK: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever written about, idea, plot or character, even if it never got published?
DH: Once upon a time I had a terrible dream as if I was on some carnival funhouse ride that took me from one horrifying scene to another. When I woke up, screaming, I quickly grabbed a notepad and wrote it all down, a jumble of crazy, disjointed impressions. One day I want to go back and make it into a horror story; blood, gore and all. Very different from my usual sweet romances!
BK: Now a little about you…What is one thing readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
DH: I have this huge aching need to paint a picture in oils. Something small, jewel colors. I have no idea where this came from. I don't even sketch! But one day I'll take a class and paint my picture. Who knows? Maybe two.
BK: Day or night?
DH: Night. The hurry of the day is over, time to relax. Love. Take some time with loved ones. And I love to go out at night. I enjoy the lights and color of the city in the surrounding darkness. Reflections in water. There's something romantic and sexy about a city at night that's not there in the daytime.
BK: Naming one place you’d love to visit, what character from which book would you take and what would be one thing you must have on this trip?
DH: I have always wanted to rent a villa in Switzerland and sit in the sunshine on a balcony facing the Swiss Alps. I've seen pictures and would love that! I'd take Adrian with me. He gave up his human form at eighteen to protect Philip, and now that he's resumed his humanity, he's heading into peril. I'd love to give him a week of peace. And I'd be fascinated to hear his story. What I'd take? A stack of books from my TBR list! I'll never get to them otherwise.
BK: Where can readers connect with you?
BK: Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me Dianne. It’s been a pleasure picking your brain, and I wish you much success in the future.
DH: I've had a wonderful time as your guest. Um… Can I try that Zombie Blast after all?
BK: Of course. Zar!
After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, I now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.
I have to say, Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write my slightly twisted tales. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms my hands which kindles my imagination.
Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.
Darkness is spreading in the world with only the powerful Agenor family to oppose it. In the guise of a stone gargoyle atop the castle walls, Adrian has protected Philip, the young heir, since birth, watching him grow from childhood into a strong but lonely man without love.
When the clan chief, Philip’s father, is murdered by those he trusted, Adrian resumes his human form to better protect his beloved Philip. And finds his love returned. As lovers, their passion is all-consuming, but as they fight against treachery from within, will their love be enough to stem the dark tide sweeping the land? And will it be enough to keep Adrian’s heart alive…
Philip chewed his lip as he watched the storm clouds gather in the leaden sky. The wind picked up, cold and heavy with rain. It whipped the hair from his face and distracted him from the study of the desolate landscape spread below his feet. How he longed for spring! But winter lingered long past when it should have given way to new growth in the valley. He guessed the reason for it, and a cold finger of dread touched his heart.
An icy gust buffeted him on the exposed balcony, and Philip gathered the long strands of his hair and tied them at his neck. He bit hard on his bottom lip to stop its tremble and welcomed the pain against the ache in his heart. “He’s not coming back, is he?” he whispered as the first fat drops of moisture struck his face. He pounded a fist on the stone railing in frustration and impotent fury. “Father should have let them come to us, where we’re prepared.”
But their enemy had thrown down the gauntlet, and in his pride, Philip’s father picked it up. Jonathon Agenor had always been that way, as far back as Philip remembered. He supposed the gravity of being the Agenor Chief had made his father distant. The man kept his own council and wouldn’t listen to Philip’s cautions against a trap. The bait had been a threat against Philip’s life, something the proud man couldn’t tolerate. His life had been the forfeit. Philip closed his eyes and let the grief wash over him.