How did you start writing erotica?
About six years ago I stumbled on my first m/m erotic romance. It stole my breath away! I’d never read anything so passionate and emotional. Commanding characters and strong storyline. I challenged myself to write something this intense. Even though most of my stories are romances, I need to add that erotic touch, to really delve into a character, bare their souls—and bodies, so to speak—and capture that feeling. I think with Birthday Presents I was able to do this.
What’s your favourite published work of yours and why?
This is like asking me to pick my favorite child! For strict erotic romance with its happy ending, I’d pick my SHELTON IN LOVE. As far as my more intense stories go, I’d pick BIRTHDAY PRESENTS. It’s a passionate, often frightening storyline, but with an underlying theme of friendship and caring and love that adds an extra dimension to the story that makes it that much more interesting and satisfying.
What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
Jordan L. Hawk, K.J. Charles, K.C. Wells, Hank Edwards… oh gosh, too many to name!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everything! I’m a floral designer, so a lot of my characters come from customers I’ve had. I can also be inspired by song lyrics, snatches of conversation, television commercials, a sudden laugh from across the room. Pictures. I also have a thing for a gorgeous set of eyes. Yep, I’m always tucking away bits of inspiration to pull out for later use.
Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
Not really. I like a quiet room, usually no music playing either. Put a pot of coffee on and I’m set!
Where’s your favourite place to write?
There’s a coffee shop downtown I frequent. It’s a bit noisy at times, but mostly it’s a relaxed atmosphere, delicious coffee, and I get to people watch, which is another source of inspiration, by the way.
Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why?
I really like Kyle from BIRTHDAY PRESENTS. Sweet and gentle and so very, very brave. I also like his brother Gene, who never gives up searching for him. He’s one of the strongest characters I’ve written, intelligent, beautiful, loyal. I enjoyed writing him and especially giving him the happy ending he deserved.
Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
They know! Most everyone supports me, especially my husband and children, which is a gift. Also, some family and friends actually read my stories, which is both odd and wonderful at the same time. I can’t bring myself to discuss the books with them, though. It’s too embarrassing! My men can be extremely physical at times and I’m not about to share where my inspiration for that has come from.
What was your ideal career when you were a child?
To be a full time author, supporting myself with my writing. I’ve resigned myself to the knowledge that’s not going to happen, but the simple fact that I’m being published as often as I am is more satisfying than anything else I’ve accomplished, besides having my two amazing children. But working as a floral designer comes with its own rewards and sense of achievement, so I win.
How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
I keep in mind this quote by Stephen King: Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. I wake up an hour before I need to get ready for my day job and spend that time working on my current WIP. I write another hour and a half in the evenings, and every minute I can spare on the weekends. Books don’t write themselves, and without a schedule to follow, I’d never get anything down. I guess the only thing I really need besides my laptop is a cup of coffee, but I write even when that’s not a possibility.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Never read reviews! It’s an indulgence to read a good review, but the negative ones can undermine your confidence. Don’t read them! You will never be able to make everyone happy with what you write, so write to make yourself happy. It’s really all that matters.
If you get writer’s block, how do you get around it?
I usually write from several different character’s point of view, so if I get stuck with one character, I have another take over for a bit and come back to the first one when an idea comes to me. If this doesn’t work, I put the book aside for the rest of the day while I mull it over. By the next morning an idea usually comes to me and I can continue.
If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
I think it would be Tracey Winston from BIRTHDAY PRESENTS, my gender fluid hero. Sexy, sweet and strong. He’d spent most of his youth as a runaway living on the streets. He’d be fascinating to talk to and would be a loyal, loving friend.
Which author, erotic or otherwise would you love to meet and why?
I was lucky enough to meet a lot of my favorite authors at the Gay Rom Lit retreat in Denver this past October. But I’d love to meet Elin Gregory, https://elingregory.wordpress.com/, a friend I’ve known online for years but have never had the opportunity to meet in person. I love her stories and would love to sit down and have a pint with her one day and discuss books and life in general.
What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
Books about the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. There’s something romantic about horse drawn buggies and streetlamps and a slower-paced life. And I love the style of clothing worn then. All those buttons to unbutton! Yum. It also helps if there’s a touch of mystery thrown into the storyline.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m finishing up the third book in my ALEX series, which are psychological thrillers about a psychic and the killers he runs into. Then I want to write something purely romantic, or romantic suspense. My last few books have been a bit grim to write, so I want something a little more light hearted and fun.
What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed?
That would be BIRTHDAY PRESENTS. A lot of the story is written in the POV of the serial killer, which really put me in a dark place at times. It became a balance of keeping up the dramatic, suspenseful pace and yet keeping my readers connected to the heros in a way that they remained sympathetic and engaged rather than dragged into the dark with Crimson. And there’s a romantic element to the story I wanted to make sure wasn’t lost in the grimmer storyline. People are buying my book, so I think I succeeded.
“I know.” Paige gave him an intense look. “I will find them, Gene.”
Gene sighed, scrubbing at his face with his hands. “How many men do we have out here?” he asked, staring into the darkness below them.
“There’s a team two ridges over, working their way toward us, and another sweeping from the west. We have Crimson boxed in, as long as no one gets careless. Another reason I wanted to stop. Can’t risk him doubling back and getting behind us.”
Gene nodded, though his skin crawled with nerves. He let out a long breath and shifted, stretching out on the hard ground.
Paige leaned back on his elbows, his gaze on the dark trees in front of them. He flicked Gene a glance. “You should get some sleep.”
“Fuck that.” Gene saw him flinch. “Can you find Crimson in this?”
“Yes. He’s very good, though. The signs I’ve been finding have been left by Tracey. A footprint here, bent twigs, a button. ”
Gene pictured Tracey as he’d last seen him: beautiful, strong, despite the shadows lurking darkly in his eyes.
“Okay,” Genes said, nerves on edge. “We’ve had Crimson cornered several times and he’s managed to get away every time. And now he has Tracey again.” He rubbed his aching forehead. “How did that happen, exactly? How’d Crimson find us?”
“I have no idea. You, Craig, Klinton, and me were the only ones who knew the location. My money’s on Craig.”
For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.
Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.
A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Dianne-Hartsock-Author-107985445959828/
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