Exclusive Interview with

Diane Bator

Let’s start with your Career as a writer!

When did you start writing?

I've always been a writer since I was a kid. I never became serious about it until 2007 when I joined a writing group. Then I won a writing contest and had a publisher print my first novella in 2012.

What makes writing your passion?

It's a part of me like my heart beating. A day without writing makes me cranky!

How long have you been writing?

Forever and ever! I still have stories in my files I wrote when I was a kid.

What was the feeling when you published your first book?

I was thrilled! It was something that felt so right and spurred me on to write 10 more. Every time I receive a box full of MY new books, I relive that same excitement!

What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

My characters come to me organically, which means I rarely ever base them on people I've met or know. I have had "guest" characters who have won the opportunity to appear in one of my books. I've also been inspired by people I have met or saw in my day to day travels.

What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

1. Not everyone takes writing seriously as a career.
2. That it is so easy for anyone to be published no matter how badly edited the book is if it's edited at all! It makes the rest of us look bad!
Writing, publishing, and marketing are tough jobs! They take a lot of energy and time. To have people discount that energy and time by wanting cheap or free books all the time is frustrating.

How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

I rarely get writer's block. I do get burned out and have to take a break!
Going for walks, or switching gears to do something else (house cleaning, a puzzle, watching television for a while) all help rest your conscious mind so your subconscious can process what it is you were working on. Or will help you come up with a great new idea.

We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

Learn your craft!
Practice!
Listen to people who have published multiple books! Chances are they've made a lot of the same mistakes you are and can be great mentors!

If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

Keep writing and don't listen to the people who tell you to give up or are always critical.
Stick with the writing classes.
Believe in YOU!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

Sometimes I read reviews, but I keep in mind that sometimes the bad ones can be just as helpful to potential readers. I had one person tell me they hated my characters - yet they related to my main character who was going through a messy divorce.
Sometimes the 3 star reviews are just as helpful than the 5 star ones because they will give you the good and the bad. I had someone read my newest mystery and was disappointed only that there was no romance in it.

What is the feeling when you get a good review?

Over the moon, of course! It's great to hear that someone loved your work and looks forward to reading more!

Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Yes. A few times, but always veiled and exaggerated for effect.

Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

My kids have called me Gilda ever since Dead Without Honor came out. Like my character Gilda Wright, I worked in a karate school as a receptionist. She started off loosely based on me but has grown and gone her own direction.
Where I had to stop practicing karate due to health issues, she has continued and in the next book, will be going for her black belt!

What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

YES!! I've seen horrible covers that don't tell you anything about the book and look like text books. Covers that I wouldn't bother to read what the book is about.
Truth be told, people DO judge the book by its cover. It's natural. If the cover doesn't fit the blurb, or the book, your reader won't be back.

Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

I LOVE chatting with readers! I've even had people contact me to offer suggestions about advertising and ideas for future books.
Certainly I express myself better through writing than I do verbally, I think most writers do.

How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

I'm lucky to live in a small town and have run into many people who have seen me live at events and have read my books. I also love having friends and family who can't wait for my next novel to be published! That makes my day!
The best one I've had so far was when I had to call someone for my day job and as soon as I told him who I was his next sentence was, "The writer?"

Who is your favorite author? Why?

Oh wow. That's tough.
I currently offer space on my blog to other writers and share interviews about them. Sometimes they will send me copies of their books to read as well. I'm swamped!
Lillian Jackson Braun was my first favorite cozy writer. I loved the Siamese cats Koko and Yum-Yum.
Joanne Fluke who writes the Hannah Swensen Mysteries that are now television shows.
Janet Evanovich for helping me to see I can become a writer. She was my inspiration for striving a bit harder.
I love Stephen King for his "On Writing" book.
My new favorite is a debut author in the UK, Victoria Dowd and I am constantly finding new favorites!

What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

Bestseller lists and being able to write full time!
Lillian Jackson Braun would be my ideal, or Joanne Fluke.
I think fame like J.K. Rowling would be too much for me. Low-key yet well-known is a good place.

Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?

Maybe. As I write more books, I grow as an author and will probably look back and want to fix things that I've learned to do differently since I first wrote them.
As they say hindsight is 20/20. Things we were happy with ten years ago, may look different to us as we get older and more experienced.

If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?

I'm not sure I'd switch places with anyone. Maybe Janet Evanovich for having such a big following - and an assistant!
It would be lovely to be able to focus more on writing than on all the other incidentals like marketing and setting up speaking engagements!

What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.

I'd say thank you.
Obviously, you discovered me and took the time to write something even if you didn't actually read my work or wanted to make me upset. I hope one day you find a writer you truly enjoy!

What would you say to your readers?

THANK YOU!!!
I write because I love to write.
I continue to publish my books because of wonderful people who buy them and enjoy reading them.
Don't forget to leave a review! We love to hear the feedback!

Thank you for sharing! Let’s talk about your Personal Life!

Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?

I currently live in Southern Ontario, Canada, just outside of Toronto in a great little down that is already immortalized in my Wild Blue Mystery series!
I have three great kids who are all grown and scattered all over the continent. My current kids are two kitties who demand my attention even when I'm at the computer!
I am divorced but am dating a wonderful man who is very supportive of my crazy moments when I have to pull out a notebook before I forget an idea!

What is your day job if you have one?

I currently work for a small, professional theatre just up the street. I run the box office and love to meet and greet all our patrons. One day, that theatre will become part of a mystery series as well. Once I clear away a dozen or so other projects on my desk!

What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

Free time? LOL!
Due to Covid, I actually started to do counted cross-stitch again, something I did many years ago. I find thrift stores are great places to find kits that people gave up on!
My free time is spent with my boyfriend up on the shores of Lake Huron, or with friends having coffee, or even just making notes for current or future stories.
There's no breaks once the creativity is flowing!

Did you have a happy childhood?

It was an interesting childhood that I will someday write about. For the most part, it set the stage for me having a great deal of time to use my very vivid imagination!

Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?

Not really. I've found writing fascinating ever since I started reading. I always wanted to create the type of books I loved to read, but I didn't know where to start. Through elementary school and into high school, I learned skills that got me going. I do wish I'd listened to two of my teachers and kept at it through university instead of taking business!

Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?

I wrote a couple books that are still on my shelves. A book about a rock star and one about a former boxer. One day, I might resurrect them. Both have a much shaper edge than the cozy mysteries I write.
Currently I'm working on:
Book 2 in my Glitter Bay Mysteries, All that Shines
Book 2 in my Sugarwood Mysteries (my NaNoWriMo project)
Book 1 in a new series
2 novellas that will come out over the next 12 months.

What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?

Writing, reading, and being creative!
It's sad to see creative, imaginative kids stifled so they can fit into a box dictated by the government. My saddest day was when schools stopped teaching cursive writing. Writing by hand is one of the best ways to communicate!

If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?

1. To write several bestselling novels
2. To be able to live up at the lake half the year to write full time
3. To have my kids closer so I could see them more!

What is your favorite music?

I'll listen to just about anything. It depends on my mood!
While I'm writing, it's light rock or pop or classical even. Something serene unless I'm writing a chase scene or a tense moment.

Share a secret with us 🙂

Ha! I don't think I have any left!
My favorite secret passion is cheesecake. Is it normal to daydream about cheesecake with a glass of wine as a reward for publishing a new novel?

Thank you! We wish you the best of luck for you and your art!