It’s MuseItUp Publishing Monday [Okay—it’s not Monday, but I missed a Monday earlier this month, so this is me catching up—bad, Lisa. LOL] I’m continuing the paranormal theme for the entire month of November. Today’s guest is Dianne Hartsock and she’ll be talking about her new book Trials of a Lonely Specter. (A ghost story just in time for Halloween.) Don’t forget to leave a comment–> Mention if you think you’ve ever seen a ghost! Dianne is giving away a PDF of her book to one lucky winner!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my sweet husband and my son, who’s a freshman in college this year. Like most of you, I’ve been writing all my life, but it’s only been in the past five years that I’ve knuckled down and taken it seriously. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t, because sometimes my characters seem to control my life!
Do you have a day job/family/children, and how do you balance everything?
Oh my yes! I work full time as a floral designer at a locally owned gift shop in the town where I live. In order to get any writing done I have to adhere to a very strict schedule. Up at 7a.m. to write for an hour before work. Home at 6p.m. to make dinner. My husband is in bed by 8:30, when I write for three hours and am in bed by midnight. Keep in mind, this includes all my time on FB, Twitter, blogs and promoting—all the distractions of the internet!
How did you choose the genre you write in, or did it choose you?
You know, I haven’t really picked a genre to write in. I have a paranormal/suspense novel published. A fantasy/adventure is being considered by another publishing house. I have three romances with Breathless Press and now my short ghost story is with MuseItUp Publishing. I like challenges. I’ve been toying with a sci/fi lately, but the science has me stumped at the moment.
Where do you get your ideas?
It might sound funny, but most of my ideas come from songs. Something in the sound and words will capture my attention. It’s an emotion that I’ll feel first. Something that lifts my spirit or makes me sad. I’ll start to daydream. Who feels this way? Why? What’s happening in his life to bring out that emotion? I can usually see him clearly at this point. Is he in modern clothing? An older style? Mid-evil? A scene builds around him and the story moves on from there.
Random Question #1: Light or dark chocolate?
Definitely Dark. Sometimes with sea salt coating the outside.
Do you work from an outline, or do the characters dictate the plot (I’m a mix of both)?
I wish I did! Once my characters are developing and I set them down in their world somewhere, I wish they’d move from point A to B and end up at C. But they rarely do, exploring their world to their hearts’ content, pushing the boundaries, sometimes falling in love with the wrong person. If, by the end of the book, they’ve reached the goal I wanted them to, I count myself satisfied and go back to the beginning to start over, filling in the gaps they conveniently leapt over.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
This is always a difficult question to answer. My paranormal/suspense novel ALEX is my first book to be published. Two years ago I signed with a publishing company for it, and spent the next ten months waiting to start the edits on it. One month before the release date, the company filed for bankruptcy and kindly let me out of my contract. I was devastated, to say the least. A week later I polished my query letter and started sending it out again. The lesson here? Don’t give up! Sometimes you need a rhino skin to take the rejections and disappointments, but once you hold your published book in your hands, you’ll agree it was all worth it.
Random Question #2: Favourite colour?
Turquoise blue, the color of Liam’s eyes in ‘Trials of a Lonely Specter’.
Can you tell us about your new/upcoming book?
“Trials of a Lonely Specter”. This is probably my very favourite story. It’s a light hearted gem where a ghost is reluctant to believe he’s not really dead. There’s love and angst, hauntings and mediums. A little scary and a whole lot of fun. This is the first book where I let go and let my characters do whatever they wanted on the page. I really like the way it came out.
Do you have any favourite characters?
It’s so hard to choose! I have to confess that I’m very fond of all my characters. But if I had to, I’d say Quinn from ‘Trials of a Lonely Specter’ is one of them. He’s a sweetheart, a little naive, but someone I’d like to have as a friend. My character Shelton from his series of stories is another sweet, gentle man with that core of strength that I admire. But Korel from my fantasy/adventure has a special place in my heart. He’s a rogue and flirt but makes me smile every time he enters a scene.
Random Question #3: Tea or coffee?
Coffee, please. Nice and hot and strong.
How did you come up with the title?
Titles are easy! They usually pop into my head half-way though writing the MS. Sometimes I’ll change it by the end of the book, but that’s pretty rare. It’s characters’ names I sometimes have trouble with! I actually had a character insist his name was Paul when I’d been calling him Sean all along.
Last Random Question: Are you a dog person or a cat person? Or horse, bird or whatever else floats your boat. LOL.
If I wasn’t allergic to them, I’d say I was a cat person. I find them fascinating, and they’re not as demanding as some other pets.
In regards to a new project, do your new characters speak to you, or do they shout?
My two men are shouting at me right now! I’m in the middle of writing another short romance story, and they’re jealous because I’m writing this instead of paying attention to them. Just a second Paul! Keep your shirt on, Eric! I’ll be there in a minute! See what I mean?
Have you ever had a character derail your plot?
*hides a smile with my hand* They’re constantly doing that. The more I try to control them, the more they rebel, adding new twists and complications I never thought of. In ‘Trials of a Lonely Specter’, Quinn actually was supposed to remain a ghost, but Liam had other plans, fighting me tooth and nail until I gave in and let him have control. I love what he did with the story and am so glad he was stubborn.
Do you have a new book coming out soon? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
‘Shelton’s Goodbye’. It’s the final book (I think! We’ll see what the future holds) in my Shelton series. Shelton and Nevil have been together a year now, when Shelton is offered a job in another state. The problem is that Nevil doesn’t want to move. As tension mounts between them, Shelton is given another challenge in the form of a besotted co-worker. Torn between desires, Shelton has to choose his future. That is, until Nevil takes the decision out of his hands. I’m still in the editing stages with this story, but should have a release date soon.
The Trials of a Lonely Specter
MuseItUp Publishing, Oct. 14, 2011 http://bit.ly/rhfkBG
There’s been an accident. Quinn believes he’s dead, though Liam insists otherwise. But if that is the case, why does Quinn see the two of them as ghosts? And why does Liam play along? Exposed to Mediums and apparitions, Quinn has a decision to make: either accept his fate or risk everything to trust Liam one more time.
Quinn: The Trials of a Lonely Specter
Quinn frowned at the crumbling gate house of the manor, unsure of
why Liam had brought him there. Then again, he shouldn’t be surprised by
anything his partner did.
“Let’s go in.”
Quinn hushed the voice in his head. “I’m thinking.”
He jumped slightly when Liam materialized at his side. He tried to
hold onto his annoyance but couldn’t stay mad for long when the other grinned
in that attractive way. The man threw an arm across his shoulders, waving a
languid hand at the decrepit building. “Can’t you make up your mind inside?
It’s getting dark.”
Quinn glanced behind them at the lonely driveway. He shivered when
he saw the shadows creeping from under the trees. Shrubs overran the flowerbeds
and weeds grew between the closely fitted flagstones of the walkway. He
couldn’t understand why Liam always had to choose the scariest places to haunt.
“It’ll be darker inside,” he hinted to the apparition.
Liam slid his arm from his shoulders and sauntered up to the wooden
door sagging on its hinges. He wiggled his fingers and a bluish light filled
the house, spilling out from between the slats of the broken shutters.
“Show-off,” Quinn muttered as he joined him at the front entrance.
The door felt solid under his hands. He
gave it a nudge, testing its stability.
Watching him, Liam put his chin on his shoulder. “Give it a shove.”
“Why don’t you?”
He regretted the words instantly when Liam’s eyes flashed.
“I’m sorry. Don’t be mad,” he said, but Liam had glanced aside,
hiding his expression. Quinn felt like a brute, knowing his friend’s
manifestation had no substance. He took out his frustration on the door,
putting a shoulder to it. He pushed, and stumbled across the threshold when the
ancient latch unexpectedly gave way. Dust filled the air and he sneezed several
Liam swept passed him, his skin luminescent in the pulsing blue
light he’d created. Quinn watched enviously as he crossed the hallway and
glided up the swaying staircase. His own efforts to get an aura only resulted in
dim blobs that people dismissed as figments of their imagination.
His friend’s glowing figure disappeared through the door at the top
of the landing, and he hurried after him. His foot caught on a loose board as
he entered the room and his dignity was bruised as he sprawled on his face.
Liam’s amused laughter did nothing to help.
He climbed to his feet and stalked towards a mirror, the only item
of furniture in the room propped against the wall. . He scowled at the mottled
surface. “May I go home now?”
Liam appeared in the mirror and Quinn stared at the man’s
reflection. The same old questions raced around in his head. They were hard to
ask with Liam’s mocking eyes on him. He swallowed nervously. “Am I a vampire?”
The unique eyes blinked, and then a grin flashed over the attractive
face watching him. “Why do you ask that?”
Quinn gestured to the mirror. “I don’t see my reflection next to
yours. I never do.”
Liam shrugged indifferently. “Your point?”
“I…” Quinn bit his lip, knowing it was now or never. “Were we ever
“Damn it, Liam! Why don’t I have a reflection?”
“You do. You choose not to see it. Maybe you don’t believe you’re