Exclusive Interview with
Diane M. How
When did you start writing?
I’ve always dabbled in writing short stories and poetry, taking a variety of adult ed classes and junior college course, but not seriously committing to the process until I joined a writing club and critique group.
What makes writing your passion?
I’ve always struggled to speak what was on my mind, but found writing much easier and more successful. It’s my release, my way of being heard without shouting.
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
My first book was a very personal effort to heal wounds and empty closets filled with skeletons. While most of the pain, anger, and disappointment had been expunged from the printed version, the exercise itself brought me peace and understanding. I consider my first novel, The Dahlonega Sisters, The Gold Miner Ring my first successful book. I’m proud of it and can’t wait to write the next in the series.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My characters introduced themselves to me. They are three aging sisters. One is quirky, with lots of superstitions. Another is the salt of the earth, while the third is off exploring the world. They aren’t ready for rocking chairs or old-folks homes, yet. Neither am I.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I’m not sure annoyed is the right word, but there is an expectation that everyone is comfortable and knowledgeable about social media, marketing and publicity. Writing is easy, all that other stuff drives me nuts.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
It took many years, but I finally believe that I write well enough that others want to read it. My advice for new authors is to believe in yourself. Learn to listen and read as much as you can about writing. There will be lots of advice and opinions. Learn which to accept and which to ignore.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
“You can do it.” My self-esteem and confidence was negligible until mid-thirties when a friend convinced me that I had potential. Build on small successes and reach for the stars.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I’m just now receiving and reading a few book reviews. I realize that not every book that I pick up is to my liking, but there is a kind way of providing an opinion. I hope that most readers will provide an honest review, but for those who only wish to throw stones, I’ll consider what they have to say and if it doesn’t feel right, I will ignore them.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
The honest, behind the scenes answer, I am thrilled, giddy. Then the self-doubt surfaces and I start dissecting each sentence. “It’s a sweet story.” Does that mean they gagged when they read it? In case you didn’t notice, I’m still working on the self-esteem thing.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Absolutely, but I’ll never tell which things. LOL!
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I don’t think any one character represents me, at least intentionally. The overall story incorporates my beliefs and values. I’m a silver-lining type person who loves happy endings and believes there are always two sides to a story. I’d find it nearly impossible to write a novel that doesn’t.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
For me, as a reader, I admit I pick lots of books based on the cover. I don’t think I’m alone. Yes, it’s worth paying for a professional cover.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I’m working on it. I like to connect to readers through my writing and try to get them to chat, but I haven’t quite learned the art, yet.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I’m working on that, too. After a lifetime of putting myself down or brushing off compliments, I’m practicing owning who I am by saying “thank you” or agreeing, “yes, it is a good book.”
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I couldn’t possibly name just one. I can say that authors who make me feel emotions, laughing, crying, happy, sad, they win my vote.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I don’t have a dream of making it big. I want people to read my stories and talk about them with others. If I had the money, I’d give them all away just to make people happy.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
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.
Nothing. I’d be more interested in hearing who hurt them or why they feel the need to make others feel bad.
What would you say to your readers?
It’s never too late to start doing something you love, whether it’s writing, painting, playing a musical instrument, whatever brings joy to you. You’re worth it and you can do it!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
My husband and I will soon celebrate 48 years of marriage. We’re both retired and have one amazing daughter and son-in-law (they’ve been engaged long enough for me to call him that.)
What is your day job if you have one?
I retired from a supervisory position with the Department of the Army after 33 years.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
My day starts with a three mile walk with my hubby. It’s a habit we started about six months ago. Writing fills up most of my time, but I enjoy basket weaving, working Sudoku puzzles, having lunch with friends, and going to the casino.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I have many pleasant memories of my childhood. My grandparents played an important and positive role in my life. My parents had the burden of losing a child to cancer. Death often fractures a family.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
When I’m faced with strong emotions, I write. If I’m sad, hurt, frustrated, I take it out on paper. When I’m filled with joy, same thing. It’s my release and my strength.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have two unpublished work-in-progress. Both are part of a romantic suspense series. Burning Embers, the first, is about a woman who is orphaned through death and deception. She moves from NYC to a remote cabin in Colorado, hoping to rebuild her life and find love in the ashes left behind.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Children need to feel successful in order to build their self-esteem, better coping skills, and ways to express themselves that don’t involve guns and hateful words.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Wow! Tough one. Why not go big? A cancer-free world Greater respect for life Unconditional love for all
What is your favorite music?
It’s easier to say what is my least favorite – rap, at least the degrading, angry rap. I love almost all music
Share a secret with us 🙂
I cry when no one’s looking.