Interview with author Dianne Hartsock.

Interview with author Dianne Hartsock.

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
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
really dead.”


 Dianne Hartsock!/diannehartsock


15 thoughts on “Interview with author Dianne Hartsock.

  1. Dianne, I might be wrong but I believe you’re the first writer I’ve seen mention music and songs as a trigger. For me, too. I’ve found it fascinating that so many of us think so much alike and have so many things in common; i.e., characters taking over and taking charge, our ultimate thrill being when they surprise the heck out of us. But I don’t think anybody else has mentioned music and that’s a HUGE trigger for me. Sometimes I do have trouble with titles, not always, but I almost always have problems with names, so much so that my friends are frequently pressed into service and now actually hand me lists of names when they run across them. I’ve got pages of ’em.

  2. Great interview Dianne,
    So interesting to see how you work with your characters, or how they control the story. I know that happens in my drafts too. Music, is so inspiring, I have different music I listen to depending on the mood of a scene I am working on. As for needing rhino skin… you are right. We have to take the knocks, but keep on working to a goal.
    I am itching to read Trials of a Lonely Specter. It is calling me. Thanks Lisa for asking the right questions. 🙂

  3. Your schedule sounds exhausting. :o) I write a lot at night, too. My hubby is in bed by 9:00pm. He gets up at 4:00am for work and often times I’m still at my desk writing. I go to bed for a few hours and then I’m up with the kids. People think writing is easy…that we get to sleep in, write in our Pjs and take days off whenever we want. I always roll my eyes at that. If they only knew!

    Of course we all know that our characters don’t always stick to the schedule.

    Good luck!
    Concilium, July 2012

  4. Dianne, My husband and I had a floral shop/garden center/greenhouses business for nearly 20 years. I don’t know how you design all day and then come home and write until midnight! You have stamina, Girl. Best wishes on your new release!

  5. Great interview, Diane. I know what you mean about trying to balance work and a writing career. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Oh, if I only didn’t need sleep…or need money to pay the bills. Lol. Enjoyed the post. The book sounds divine. Love paranormal!
    C.K. Volnek

  6. Thanks Rosalie! Those characters of mine do get out of hand at times. 🙂

    J Q Rose, I don’t know how I do it either! I was writing a love scene last week, and all my bouquets started looking like wedding flowers. I really had to concentrate!

    C.K Volnek, I love paranormal too! I keep thinking of doing something with shape-shifters, but I don’t know what…yet. 🙂

  7. Great comments everyone. The contest will be going on all week, so everyone feel free to leave a comment.

    Yes, I too write with music–I seem to be able to edit without some song playing in the background, but music is a must have for my creativity to flow.

  8. Thanks for commenting, Michelle! You’re right about those pesky characters. I tried to have a nice week-end with my husband, but my characters kept gabbering in the back of my head the whole time. 🙂

  9. Very enjoyable interview, ladies. Dianne, I sometimes feel I’m simply a medium for my characters. When I’m typing, they take over the keyboard to get their stories out, stories that often have nothing to do with my plans for them. As for the music, I too have several playlists on my media player that I listen to depending on the mood of the scene I’m writing, Music always triggers scenes in my imagination, even when I’m not writing. Love the concept of your book. Looking forward to reading it and wish you all the best with your writing.

  10. Thank you so much for the wonderful interview today. I have never seen a ghost as say a shadowy figure or actual physical manifestation. However, when I was a young girl I spent the night at a friends house and we were sitting in the kitchen nook. It became dark out side and the curtains closed on their own . When I started they told me not to worry it was the ghost of the lady who died in the house and that she was friendly, I have to accept the possibility that it was true 🙂 I have been following Trials of a Lonely Specter and look forward to reading it.


  11. Hi Dianne, thanks for sharing. I am a believer in ghosts. My dad died when I was ten, and I can still recall the shivers I felt when several weeks after he died, I looked out the window and saw him walking toward our house carrying a suitcase. I never told my mom until years later. When I did, she confirmed she also saw him. I’ve long been fascinated with ghosts and my two middle grade novels are ghost stories. Both of these stories are based on tales told to me either by friends or local ghost lore. Trials of a Lonely Specter sounds like a great read, and I’ll have to put it on my to be read list!


  12. How nice, Penny! Do you think your father’s spirit lingered in the house afterwards? When my father passed away, I slept at my Mom’s for several nights. One night someone slapped my face, hard. I sat up, thinking it was my daughter, who slept next to me. She was turned the other way, fast asleep. It couldn’t have been her. I think Dad was angry because we turned off the mantle clock that he always meticulously kept wound. I told him we were sorry but couldn’t sleep because it made too much noise. Now he only visits me in my nicest dreams.

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