"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Spotlight on Great Summer Reads
I was born on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. That's really a lot more boring address than it sounds; it was simply the location of the Kaiser Hospital that my parents chose. But some folks say that the atmosphere seeped into my bones.
I'm the third generation of my family to write and get paid, however much or little. Like my grandfather and uncle, I do it for the joy and the communication with other people.
My family is about to start our fifth century in North America. I enjoy travel and have visited most of the US states, as well as Europe and the Bahamas. I've camped in the Sierras, the Grand Tetons, and the Basin and Ranges country of the American West.
As for the rest of my life, I work as a database consultant by day and hold advanced degrees in technology to help me. I've been a government contractor for over twenty years, almost all of it with the military or law enforcement. So when I need to escape, I write about people and places that have nothing to do with my day job.
I live in Northern Virginia with two Tibetan Terrier dogs and a
cottage garden to keep me busy. I enjoy books, movies, travel,
music, needlework, and dressmaking in my spare time.
PNR: How long have you been writing? What inspired you to choose writing as a career?
Diane W.: I've been writing romance for six years. Before that, I was your average over-educated computer geek who reads tons of romance, science fiction and fantasy novels but had never seriously thought of writing any. Then I went to Tombstone, Arizona on a family vacation and heard the story of a miner’s widow. The local historians were very proud of how she’d survived – but I wanted her to be happy and find true love. I thought about her so much that it finally dawned on me I'd have to become a romance novelist and tell her story – which became THE IRISH DEVIL. To my further shock, I loved being a writer and pursued it with all my heart.
PNR: Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Diane W.: I write six days a week for at least three hours, plus one weekend day for eight hours. I also carry my current manuscript on my PDA so I can work on it during the day. Added to time spent on research and business, it comes to at least thirty hours per week on writing. I also work full-time, which takes at least 40 hours per week. I make sure I start every morning with at least a half-hour of prayer and religious studies.
I live with my sister and our Tibetan Terriers, who are also dedicated to my writing career, or I couldn't do this. She has an extremely demanding job for the government, working upwards of 60 or 70 hours per week, so we have a lot of sympathy for each other. We always have dinner together, which is vital, and we’re always available to each other via cell phone (which we're not to everyone else). We manage one vacation a year with family, rotating which branch of the family we spend it with. I don’t read or watch as much TV or movies as I’d like. I don’t see my extended family as often as I'd like, although I try to keep up with them on the phone and via email. It works – but sometimes I'd really like to find a cabin in the mountains and just sleep for a week.
PNR: Have you ever suffered from "writer's block"? And what did you do to get past it?
Diane W.: Cheryl Anne Porter said that deadlines and bills were enough to get her over writer’s block and they work for me too! The few times they don’t put my butt back in the chair, I'll spend a few hours ogling a favorite hero in a movie or two. If a scene bothers me, I may try writing it from a different point-of-view or brainstorm with a critique partner about it. But when all is said and done, there are enough deadlines and bills crowding in to force me to be creative about solving 'or dodging' writer's block.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Diane W.: Fascinating characters and enough of a plot to stress them out.
PNR: Though you have written THE SWITCH, which is in the contemporary genre, your niche seems to be historical, specifically western. What is it about this era that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven't written but would like to try?
Diane W.: I've always loved westerns, partly because I grew up reading authors like Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour and also because of my family's stories, who helped settle the western frontier. I’m fascinated by people who had the courage to pit themselves against an unfamiliar landscape, dozens or hundreds of miles from any assistance, and make a success of their world. They also had to solve unexpected challenges with minimal resources, when the fates of their loved ones were at stake. What could be more exciting?
As for a genre I haven;t written – I'd love to write an erotic Regency and an erotic space opera. Not a series, just one of each – just for fun.
PNR: As a reader, I become thoroughly immersed in your character’s emotions. You have a style of writing that is relaxed, almost conversational, which puts readers at ease; does this approach come naturally to you?
Diane W.: Thank you for the compliment! Actually, I'd never thought of my writing in that way or made it a goal. As I said before, I started out as a computer geek. When I decided to become a romance writer, I knew my writing style needed to change. At the time, I was living in hotel rooms as a consultant. So I'd pace the floor in the evening and read everything out loud to myself, trying to see if it sounded anything like a romance. I did that for months and I guess it worked. Thank you again.
PNR: You have seamlessly blended the historical and paranormal genres? Could you tell us about the challenges you face in writing this combination?
Diane W.: I love world-building, with all the delights of research then putting together all the elements so that the readers can live in that universe with my characters. It's very similar doing that for historical and paranormal genres. The biggest challenge in writing historicals is that I try to shift my voice to sound more like someone from that era, which I don't do in writing contemporary paranormal.
PNR: The intensity of the sexual scenes is quite hot in your books, is it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
Diane W.: I promised myself when I first started writing fiction that I would always be completely true to my characters. I would never – ever – pull any punches about what they felt. If they were very scared, all of that emotion would reach the page. If they were very angry, again – everything would be written. So when I write love scenes, my characters' full emotional intensity – whatever that is – is on the page, just as much as in a fight scene. The tricky part actually comes when a love scene is an early part of an emotional buildup, so it has less intensity than the later love scenes. I find it very hard to throttle back the emotional intensity in those cases.
PNR: How do you feel the sensual/erotic genre has affected romances in general, the paranormal genre specifically? In your opinion, how far can you go with erotic content and have it still be considered romance?
Diane W.: The freedom to incorporate sensuality and eroticism means that a writer can tell all aspects of the characters’ story, including those that were previously forbidden – for example, how a hero might help a woman regain her physical trust of men after being raped. This is something that can only be shown, not told, for full, believable impact and is a loving, highly sensual scene.
As for, how far can you go with erotic content and have it still be considered romance? The answer to that is: it's all about the book. A scene in a book must advance the book in some way: tell something about the characters, contribute to the plot, heighten the tension, etc. If a love scene does this, then it should be in the romance – no matter how erotic it is or is not, no matter how explicit it is or is not, no matter how extreme the act may or may not be considered, in my opinion. A romance can be composed entirely of such highly erotic love scenes, just as much as it could be composed of scenes with no physical contact – as long as every scene advances the book.
PNR: Like a growing number of print authors, you started out in the e-publishing market. How does being contracted with a print publisher differ? Would you still consider e-publishing in the future?
Diane W.: Print publishing has more rigid deadlines and channels of communication. The time to put out a book is longer so when multiple books are in the pipeline, you frequently wind up working with multiple books (in different stages) at the same time. My print editors have explicitly told me to write as hot as I did for my e-publisher so my editorial guidelines haven’t changed.
Yes, '’d still consider e-publishing in the future. I believe it will be one of the key types of publishing in the future. Besides, I enjoyed it.
PNR: Until recently erotic romance was offered primarily through electronic publishers; now print companies such as Berkley, Kensington and Avon have created erotic romance lines? What do you feel accounts for the shift in attitude toward erotic romance?
Diane W.: I believe the sensual/erotic genre, especially paranormal, has brought a much younger audience into the romance genre. It’s also broadened the market in general, again especially for paranormal, which allows a variety of authors many different stories and themes to experiment with.
PNR: Could you tell us about your plans for the Texas Vampires; will we be seeing more of these sensual heroes?
Diane W.: “Apex Predator” in THE HUNTER’S PREY was Grania’s story about how she met Don Rafael Perez, the Patrón of the Texas Vampires – or vampiros. It’s also the first-third of BOND OF BLOOD, told strictly from her point-of-view and giving only the barest glimpse of the external conflict.
The Texas Vampire world is an entire universe that took me six years to build, and almost a year to write the first book, BOND OF BLOOD. When Don Rafael first took over my brain back then, the only authors writing anything like what I was thinking of were Laurell K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, and Angela Knight. Thank God, Cindy Hwang stuck with me for so long, while I did the research and figured out all the threads in the world-building. For one thing, the vocabulary is Spanish – medieval Spanish whenever possible and modern Spanish the rest of the time. That’s because Texas was originally a Spanish colony, vampires live a very long time, and – to me – a master vampire in Texas needed to be someone who was part of Texas’s deepest roots.
In October 2006, BOND OF BLOOD, the first volume of the Texas Vampire trilogy, tells Don Rafael and Grania O’Malley’s full love story, starting in 1275 Spain. Don Rafael Perez is a Galician nobleman, born on the northwest coast of Spain – what some call “the last undiscovered Celtic country in Europe.” On his father's side, he's half-Celtic and half-Visigoth. On his mother’s side, he’s an Arab nobleman. As a young man, he was the heir to the Castilian throne’s trusted companion and a novice of the Order of Saint James of the Sword – the Order of Santiago, one of Europe's great military monastic orders, an equal in its time and place to the Templars. He was also passionately in love with his French wife. Then tragedy and treachery befell him.
Now Don Rafael is the Patrón of the Texas vampiros, the vampire equivalent of the Texas Rangers, whom he rules with an iron hand. He trusts very few people, especially when he’s in a war to the death. Into the middle of this comes Grania, who believes that human relationships can be as scientifically managed as avian biology. Her combination of wisdom and innocence fascinates him as no one else ever has. There’s also a link between them that he doesn’t understand and doesn’t dare ignore, even when he knows that letting his enemies know he cares for her could sign her death warrant.
BOND OF BLOOD shows you more of Jean-Marie St. Just, Don Rafael’s heraldo and chief spy. He's a most devoted protector of women and Don Rafael's best assassin. Capable of adopting any disguise (from swaggering street tough to mincing society matron), the blood of French kings flows in his veins yet he cares nothing for personal power. He was betrayed by one woman and forced to send away the one woman he’s ever loved. Now he lives only to help Don Rafael, who knows all of his past mistakes but still welcomes him as family.
You’ll also meet Ethan Templeton, Don Rafael’s alferez mayor or military commander-in-chief. He’s been a wealthy cotton planter, Civil War guerrilla, and a gunfighter. He’s completely and absolutely loyal to Don Rafael, the one man ruthless enough to catch him in the act and then redeem him. But now he’s fallen in love – and helping her looks more and more like disloyalty to Don Rafael.
Madame Celeste, the vampiro Patróna of New Orleans, and Georges Devol, her enforcer, arrive on the scene for the first time. She']s the completely amoral ruler of New Orleans, can seduce anyone who’s interested in women, and is determined to have Don Rafael for her own, thus becoming the wealthiest – and sexually happiest – Patróna in North America. Devol, better known as the “Bayou Butcher,” adores her. He can make love to her or kill strangers for hours with equal enthusiasm.
When Don Rafael refuses her offer, Madame Celeste becomes infuriated and unleashes Beau, a vampiro assassin, bringing down on Don Rafael the one nightmare he truly feared from his past.
BOND OF FIRE, coming in November 2007, tells Jean-Marie’s story. There’s an excerpt in BOND OF BLOOD. His past overlaps with Don Rafael’s but his present-day story also overlaps with BOND OF BLOOD and BOND OF STEEL.
BOND OF STEEL, coming in November 2008, tells Ethan and Steve’s story. (You met her in THE HUNTER’S PREY.) His past also overlaps with Don Rafael's – and this book overlaps with the other three in the present-day, tying up all the loose threads.
PNR: Please tell us about the projects you are currently working on; what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Diane W.: THE SOUTHERN DEVIL is coming out in September! Yes, you’ll finally find out why Morgan Evans has been so obsessed with Jessamyn for so many years.
CAPTIVE DREAMS, which I happily co-wrote with Angela Knight, is being re-issued in September by Berkley. It has an utterly scrumptious cover and a short, additional epilogue. I've done a little bit of editing, mostly to clean up the world-building so I can write a sequel one day.
Again, BOND OF BLOOD, volume 1 of the Texas Vampires trilogy, is coming out in October, containing Don Rafael and Grania’s story.
“Red Skies at Night” in UNLEASHED, coming in December, is a story about Travis, a New York cop, who finds himself stranded during a Texas blizzard with a starving vampira – who’s also the one woman that can solve his best friend’s murder – while the murderers are only hours behind them.
I'm currently working on THE NORTHERN DEVIL, my next western for Brava. Lucas Grainger, who you’ll meet in THE SOUTHERN DEVIL, finds himself faced with the one marriage prospect he can’t refuse: Rachel Carson, a Boston tenderfoot, who holds the key to saving William Donovan’s life.
PNR: Thank you, Diane, for taking time out to speak with us. Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?
Diane W.: Readers can find out what's new and can contact me through my website, www.dianewhiteside.com. I’ll also be running a series of excerpts from BOND OF BLOOD there, starting in August, which will contain the first two chapters.
Featured in this issue:Sizzling Summer Reads Berkley Heat Cobblestone Press
Diane Whiteside Bulletin Board
Buy it now!
Four hot authors in a sizzling new anthology of paranormal romance-first time in print!
UNLEASHED - In the tradition of Hot Blooded and Hot Spell comes an anthology that dares to unleash the most uninhibited fantasies imaginable...
Susan Kearney is a USA Today bestselling author.
Diane Whiteside is the author of Bond of Blood, The Switch, and The Hunter's Prey.
Lucy Monroe is the national bestselling author of Touch Me.
Buy it now!
For the first time, author Diane Whiteside introduces you to a world of indescribable sensuality in which vampires roam the contemporary Western landscape—building their brotherhood, protecting their territory, and feeding off the frenzy of desire...
Once a medieval Spanish knight, Don Rafael Perez has been a vampire for seven centuries, clinging to his code of honor despite years of torture. He has risen to become the leader of the largest vampire territory in North America, spanning Texas and Oklahoma. But a cruel and seductively cunning rival is challenging his rule—fanning the flames of all-out war.
Adept at sending women into raptures of ecstasy while he feeds, Rafael has many willing lovers. But into his domain comes a woman he must deny himself: Grania O'Malley, a new veterinarian at the world-renowned Texas Hill Country Raptor Center. Rafael soon realizes he shares a bond with Grania he can't explain and doesn't trust. But neither can he stay away from her.
Grania, convinced that she can find a suitable husband through scientific research, has no explanation for why her body turns to molten fire at the mere sight of Rafael—or why her very existence tempts him into breaking every rule of both his body and his mind just when he needs to be stronger than ever...
Buy it now! Berkley Pub Group
September 5, 2006
Read the Reviews!
Writers Celeste and Corinne Carson have each created an ultra-alpha hero who stars in each sister's highly successful series of novels. Celeste writes of the future and her hero Jarred. Corinne writes of the barbarian Mykhayl. Both heroes are adventurers in their respective times, hot sexy lovers, and, as it turns out...quite real and very angry about everything their creators have forced them to do.
Jarred and Mykhayl are about to exact hot, sweet revenge upon their respective creators; a little payback for the angst and the peril these women have placed them in time after time. Kidnapped and taken to the worlds they write of, Jarred and Mykhayl begin Celeste's and Corinne's punishment...Buy it now! Kensington Publishing (Brava)
September 1, 2006
Read the Reviews!
Even a perfect gentleman has a little devil in him.
Once a starving Confederate war veteran, Morgan Evans is now a wealthy man respected for both his business acumen and his chivalrous Southern manners. He would be the perfect catch for any woman, but only one holds his constant attention. Jessamyn Tyler Evans has been his obsession since the time she derailed one of his spy missions by holding him hostage in her bed for days. Her innocent explorations awakened a fierce hunger inside the young Morgan, and the passion and intimacy they shared frightened them both. Jessamyn spurned Morgan for his cousin, and Morgan vowed that someday he would drive her as wild with desire as she had driven him. Now Jessamyn has returned. The payback has begun...
Jessamyn has an obsession of her own: hunting for a legendary family treasure in the hills of Colorado. To do so, the spirited widow needs a husband, and Morgan Evans is only too happy to join her masquerade...for a price: she must submit to being his, body and soul, surrendering herself to whatever he demands. It's a devil's bargain to be sure.
Their union is as treacherous as it is passionate—and the only thing they can trust. Searching for a treasure that may not exist—a treasure others would kill for—two lovers are moving deeper into unmarked territory, where no threat is more perilous than everything they feel...
THE HUNTER'S PREY
Cross the border into the most
hot and humid nights imaginable. Danger never tasted so good...
Two sisters are ushered into a world of sweltering carnal delights that only two strapping nightstalkers can offer...
A female cat burglar—caught in the act—is subjected to the most sublime punishment...
A party girl with a craving for midnight cocktails meets a stranger with an insatiable thirst of his own...
A loving wife gives her husband the ultimate birthday present—a chance to indulge in his dangerous fantasy...
A love-starved widow finds herself drawn to the intoxicating rhythms of a strangely compelling musician...
Beg for it.
Sean Lindstrom is a former Army Ranger and an all-around Alpha Male. He'd also like a lover to focus on him for a change—maybe even walk on the wild side...But as a widower busy raising a teenage son, it's been years since Sean has had time for pleasure of any kind.
Beth Nakamura is a high-powered US Treasury executive, with a passion for both multi-billion dollar negotiations and high-intensity sexuality. Still aching from the loss of the lover and mentor she lost, she comes to Seattle for a high-stakes business conference.
When she meets Sean in a bookstore, both believe they've found the perfect one-night stand. Given their respective responsibilities and past experience, falling in love is not on his agenda. Or hers.
But fate has other ideas...
NOT JUST FOR TONIGHT
Some things take time...and lots of practice...
The Seduction of Mrs. Rutledge
by Diane Whiteside
Dr. Yes by Katherine O'Neal
American Beauty by Susan Johnson
THE RIVER DEVIL
His desires couldn't be trusted...
Hal Lindsay is a decorated Union Navy hero and a riverboat captain who has built an empire around his Missouri River steamboats. Yet deep inside him lurks the pain of a dark, vicious past—one that has him determined never to marry and have children. It's far better to live alone, finding carnal comfort in the arms of women who will do anything as long as the price is right—women with nothing at stake, like the sensual innocent currently masquerading as an experienced gambler aboard his boat, the Cherokee Belle. For once, Hal wants more—much more...and that is a very dangerous thing...
Her presence was sheer temptation...
Rosalind Schuyler is appalled to be unmasked by Hal—and frightened as well. The prominent New York railroad heiress is in disguise and on the run to escape marriage to a man who would kill to gain her fortune. Now it seems she's in danger of a different kind. For Hal Lindsay is like no man she's met before. One minute, he's kind as a brother, hiding her from those searching night and day for her. The next, he's a pure masculine animal, taking her to his bed and beyond what she thought were the limits of her desire. Everything he does, she wants more of, but what she wants most, she knows he can never give...
Their passion was beyond control...
Now, as the Belle makes its way down a treacherously swollen Missouri River, picking up friends and enemies along the way, Rosalind and her River Devil are caught up in a current of passion, desire, and danger with no way back and no way out...
THE IRISH DEVIL
She fought for survival...
Born to wealth and privilege but now widowed and betrayed on the unforgiving Arizona frontier, Viola Ross finds herself forced to choose between starvation and marriage to her husband's murderer. Instead she takes a scandalous risk: to turn her back on polite society and become the mistress of sensual William Donovan. Donovan, a wagonmaster and panther of a man, is fully capable of defending her with his bullwhip and Bowie knives. She has no idea what else he can do with those big, callused hands—but she's going to find out...
She was a dream who could
While the killer marshals
his forces ...