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Saturday, August 13, 2011
Author Interview: Diane Davis White
The Long and the Short of It is very pleased to welcome Diane Davis White, author of the Lakota Moon series and the Tartan Cowboy series.
Diane grew up in southern California, but told me that her spirit draws her back to the wide open plains.
"I was born writing, and have been doing so since I could put pen to paper. When I compose a scene, I see the images so clearly, it's as though I'm there," she said. "I create stories for pleasure and when someone tells me they like my work, I am content."
She writes mainly western historical with Native American heroes, the occasional contemporary romance, and also a bit of whimsical fantasy.
"My heroes are always modeled after my late husband, whose Chickasaw heritage inspires me," she explained.
Unlike a lot of authors, for Diane she usually comes up with the title first, then builds the story around it.
"For instance, I was chatting with another writer friend and I said, 'I'd like to do something Scottish, but not historical…maybe something where the cowboy wears a tartan sash.' Then, viola! The Tartan Cowboy Series popped into my head. From there, I did a family history page and started writing."
Diane told me that she's literally been writing all her life, since she was old enough to hold a pencil and her favorite book is always the book she's writing at the moment.
"Each book has its own place in my heart, and I cannot choose one over the other. However, I will have to say, there is a book 'under my bed' that has my heart totally and it's not complete," she said. "It's called The Heart of Wild Horse, and it's hero is my husband, whose Chickasaw name was--you guessed it--Wild Horse. If I can ever finish the book, it will be my favorite, for sure."
Diane doesn't develop her characters; they develop themselves.
"I just put my hands on the keyboard, type a few lines and they take over the story, hook line and sinker. I'm just along for the ride and to type what they dictate."
Her plot is also very loose, as a rule. No matter how she starts off, the story goes another way sooner or later.
"I think my characters sort of take me there," she explained.
The next book in the Lakota Moon Series, Moon of Hard Winter, has just been published, and she has started the 4th book in the series, Moon of Tender Grass. She needs to find the time to finish is and hopes it will be in print before fall. She's also currently working on the next book in the Tartan Cowboy series.
"It's going to be a little hotter than the first one, but the main character, Parlan, is a wild child kind of guy and so is his love interest, Brina," she said.
"Do you ever suffer from writer's block?" I asked. "If so, what do you do about it?"
"Writer's block is common to most authors. I just walk away and work on another project or get caught up on my dusting…whichever happens to be the most urgent. Sooner or later it comes back. If I'm on a deadline, of course, I try to stick it out and sometimes if I keep writing, the block will disappear."
When she's not writing, she stays busy reading, because she reviews for Amazon.
"I just finished a great book from guaranteed-good-read, Debbie Macomber, Family Affair, and received a new one today titled The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney," she said. "It looks to be a good read."
On a personal note, Diane told me that she doesn't hate how she looks in pictures, at least "not after I've put them through Photo Shop and removed all the flaws, age spots, wrinkles, that sort of thing."
She also shared with me her strangest habit.
"I tear the tiniest bit of paper from the corner of a page when I'm reading. My husband used to laugh. He'd say he knew where I'd been because of the trial of book page corners. And yes, I know it's sacrilege to mutilate a book, but I call my little torn corners 'love bites'. If you see a book on my shelf with no torn corners you know I either haven't read it or didn't like it. eBooks, sadly, have no paper corners to tear…."
However, she does think scientists should invent eBooks with paper covers for her to tear as she reads.
"You can erase any horrible experience from your past," I told her. "What will it be?"
"Only one? I can't pick one over another…there are so many! Okay, there was this one time when the seat my pants caught fire in front of the plate glass window of a bar with a whole bunch of people watching…that's not an event I would like to repeat."
"When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?"
"OMG! I'm turning into my father! Then I plucked out the chin whisker and relaxed."
I asked her about a saying she uses a lot, but she told me that she didn't think it was fit for public consumption, however she admitted that it can be read about in a lot of erotica books.
"Have you ever eaten a crayon?" I wondered.
"No, but I've smoked a few…oh wait…maybe not!"
As far as her heritage goes, she's been told mostly Irish and Welsh, with some Scots and English thrown in.
"I dunno, though," she mused. "I'm leaning toward alien, truth be known."
Finally, I asked her, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"
"Write what you know; edit, edit, edit, and edit again; research which publishers are accepting our genre; have someone who isn't your family or friend, and can be impartial, read your work—AFTER you edit, and edit, and edit, of course; and try to find a good critique partner. You can do this by joining one of the many writers groups online, or check your local library for a list of groups in your area."
You can keep up with Diane on her blog, http://dianedaviswhite.blogspot.com.