Friday, May 18, 2012

Indie Author Interview: Diane J. Reed

Enjoy today's Interview on Indie Author News with Indie Author Diane J. Reed, Author of the Novel Twixt.

Diane J. Reed Interview
Diane J. Reed's debut novel Twixt was born out of the relationship Diane's mother had with her Irish grandmother who raised her & taught her how to view the world as a magical place—and Diane wanted to pass on this charming legacy to her readers.

When she's not taking her six-year-old twin boys on walks through the woods to look for “fairy evidence,” you can find Diane trying to stop leaks in her old farmhouse (did she mention it’s haunted?) & asking the fairies to help conjure stories that might warm people’s hearts.

It’s Diane's desire that Twixt will bring hope, inspiration, and a touch of whimsy to your day. Diane J. Reed has a Ph.D. in English & Creative Writing and the development of Twixt was supported in part by a year-long writing grant from the Taft Foundation Fellowship. Diane is also the kind of gal who has trouble remembering her name. Luckily, the fairies remind her—sometimes…

Interview with Diane J. Reed


Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Diane J. Reed: From the time I was four, I always made up magical stories during play time with my twin sister (mostly about the adventures of a winged horse). We were very diligent and created new “episodes” each day—with action, dialogue, everything (all expressed orally). I still remember those tales! Then in early adulthood, I tried my hand at penning a not-very-good novel. When I decided to become more serious, I attended the Creative Writing program at the University of Cincinnati and was so blessed to study with Erin McGraw (author of The Good Life and The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard). She’s a brilliant professor and writer (currently at Ohio State University), and she single-handedly inspired me and whipped me into shape. To be honest, I owe everything I know about craft to her : )

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite book, and who or what are your writing influences?
Oh, I love all of the classics and the writers who penned them: Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway, Chopin, Welty, Waugh, Yeats—the list goes on and on! But my more modern influences include Marilynne Robinson, Ron Hansen, Alice Hoffman, Steven Millhauser and Janet Evanovich. Oh—and Jack Kerouac. I will always love On the Road. But if I had to live on a desert island with only a few books, they would be Home by Marilynne Robinson, My Antonia by Willa Cather, The King in the Tree by Steven Millhauser and Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

My children haven’t entered full-time school yet, so I like to get up very early (before they do) to write. Then I also write during the two-and-a-half hours that they’re in Kindergarten. I don’t usually write as well at night because by then I’m brain dead! Something tells me a lot of mommies can relate...

What do you find easiest about writing? What’s the hardest?
I’m not one of those people who gets writer’s block very often—luckily, ideas come fairly easy for me (perhaps too easy—I have a lot of imaginary friends!), and I enjoy writing them down (it’s so much fun). But the hardest thing about writing is squeezing in the time to do it. So when an idea pops into my head, I’ll get up in the middle of the night to jot it down—or pen it on a napkin in a restaurant if I have to! And yes, I carry those snippets around in my purse forever.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I can remember wanting to write books early on in life—especially around ten years old when I was captivated by animal-themed novels such as Call of the Wild by Jack London and National Velvet by Enid Bagnold. I loved the courage and adventure in those stories—and the authors are spectacular writers.

Diane, tell us a little about your debut novel Twixt.
Twixt is a modern fairy tale about a woman who must face her magical past life (including her “fairy ’twixt” heritage) to heal her present and find real love. My main character Rose remains stuck in a rut and estranged from her daughter until she can learn to view the world from a different perspective and embrace the enchanted family legacy that she’s always run from. Of course, along the way she meets the man of her dreams… ; )

TWIXT (DIane J. Reed) - Read an Excerpt


What inspired you to write the book?
Twixt really developed out of the relationship I had with my mother who was raised by her Irish grandmother to view the world as something magical. And it wasn’t until I got older and went to school with other children that I began to realize that not everyone sees life this way. I desired to write a story that did justice to this wonderful legacy, especially since this perspective gets harder to find in modern, technological societies. My mother gave me the tremendous gift of hope and imagination—and I wanted to pass this along to readers

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
I would say my target audience is generally women from the ages of 20-60 who enjoy contemporary women’s fiction, romance, magic realism, or historical fiction. Currently, Twixt can be purchased as an ebook on Kindle or in paperback at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

"Twixt hit #1 [...] on Kindle during a promotion"

How would you describe the success of your book? (Sales, Awards, Reviews)
I’m incredibly fortunate to have received high marks for Twixt from The Midwest Book Review. Twixt also hit #1 earlier this month for Contemporary Fiction on Kindle during a promotion and is currently in Amazon’s Top 50 Best-Rated Books for Romance. Overall, the wonderful response from readers has truly astonished me and touched my heart.

What did you do to promote yourself and your book?
Other than the usual social outlets like Facebook and Twitter, I chose to do the KDP Select program with Amazon (which was very successful), and I’ve given author talks at libraries and book clubs. However, one avenue that proved remarkably far-reaching was to place a copy of Twixt in the waiting room at my local beauty salon. Those ladies love to spread the word about good books—and I suddenly got book club invitations from all over the place!

How long did it take it to write the book?
Believe it or not, I tinkered with Twixt for ten years (while I was working, having kids, and writing other things). But in this case, I think time helped this book become richer—Twixt is a novel of emotional depth more than a narrative that relies on the latest “trends.”

Please, tell us where you self-published the book.
I went with Lightning Source for the paperback version of Twixt—because they make a particularly beautiful product. Also, their customer service is outstanding. I’ve loved working with them.

How smooth was the self-publishing process? Any issues? What are things to look for when self-publishing a book? 
The only issue for me is that if you don’t go with Smashwords to upload your eBook with all of the current e-retailers (which I didn’t), it can be a lot of hard work to get your eBook up on iBooks, Sony, Kobo, etc. I’m not sure I would go through that headache again!

Did you hire an Editor and/or Cover Designer for your book?
I originally hired a cover artist who created several gorgeous images for Twixt, but the problem was that they didn’t quite “feel” like the story I’d written. So my husband and I eventually decided to create the cover ourselves—and we absolutely love it! And since the model for the cover is my dear friend Laura Townsend-Lesko (who looks just like my character Rose), every time people see the cover I feel like they are sharing a part of Laura’s wonderful soul. The whole thing has very good “energy” to me and makes me feel warm inside.

"Write the very best story you can!"

Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?
Write the very best story you can! And then don’t quit until you have a fantastic cover. People definitely “impulse buy” based on a striking or attractive cover—but what keeps them is the quality of the writing and the power of story. So you must have both working for you before you step out into the world to try to market your book

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes, I’m almost finished with a YA about a wealthy teenage girl whose family hits the skids—so she has to adjust to life “across the tracks” and build some character! It’s a black comedy with many over-the-top moments.

Are you planning to move forward as an Indie author or are you looking forward to have one of your next books to be traditionally published?
I would like to seek a traditional publisher for my current YA novel—simply because they have greater marketing resources, and I’d like to devote more of my time to writing.

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only .99 cent eBooks, or do you see this just as a marketing phase of the book sellers to move readers into the digital book market in a fight for future market shares? 
I’m so old school—I don’t ever see the print book going away, because even teenagers treasure holding their favorite books and tucking them into their backpacks. So I think eBooks will continue to expand enormously, but there will always be a market for print books.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job?
I’m a stay-at-home mom right now who writes during every spare minute she can—which isn’t much!

How can readers connect with you?
I love to hear from readers! Feel free to connect with me on Facebook as Diane J. Reed or Twixt, and on Twitter. I’m remarkably chatty and I genuinely take an interest in readers’ lives (guess I’m a just mother hen that way). [see links below]

Thank you so much for the Interview, Diane. Good Luck with your future book projects.



About Diane J. Reed's Debut Novel 'Twixt'

Everyone in Ophir Creek, Idaho knows the wild legend of Corvine O’Dannan, a mysterious Irish woman with “fairy powers” who came to town during the gold rush to find her fortune, only to be betrayed by her lover and meet a tragic end—

Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and her descendent Rose doesn’t have time for such nonsense! After a crash-and-burn marriage, she’s returned to her hometown to renovate her father’s gold-panning business and to start over. But everything changes on her 30th birthday when her friend talks her into doing a love spell. Unbeknownst to them, they conjure the spirit of the very same man who once tormented Rose’s ancestor. Why? Because Rose was Corvine O’Dannan in a past life—and her really bad habit of attracting Mr. Wrong still haunts her, and now jeopardizes her very life…

What Rose doesn’t realize is that along with this dark curse comes an extraordinary blessing—in the form of a soul guardian named Chance Murphy who’s been protecting her for centuries. But this time around, the evil spirit that plagues Rose has stolen Chance’s body. So the only way that Chance can reach her is late at night in her dreams, when he appears as a magical raven who escorts her to an enchanted island off the coast of Ireland. There, Chance becomes a man again, and he shows Rose how to heal her past through the fairies’ special brand of magic. But will Rose finally be able to forge a new future and make the man of her dreams become real? Only if she can once again believe…

TWIXT - Read an Excerpt

★★★★★

The Book Twixt has received excellent Reviews:
29 out of 30 are 5-Star reviews!



Links to the Author and the Book

Connect with Diane J. Reed on Facebook

Connect with Diane J. Reed on Twitter: @TWIXTbook

Link to the Book 'Twixt' on Amazon with Excerpt


4 comments:

Sophie Moss said...

What a wonderful interview! Loved this book and so fun to hear more about Diane through your fabulous questions. :)

Diane J. Reed said...

Thank you, Sophie! I'm actually with my twin sister D.J. Reed right now in the Redwoods, where so many of our magical stories started when we were little girls. We used to ride horses together and talk out the different parts and dialogue as we galloped along. We were determined to grow up to be cowgirls who seeked adventure, and you know what--we DID! ; ) Always so enchanting to be with her...

Terry Tyler said...

Really great interview and lovely to find out more about you, Diane, than you can in 140 characters!

Nettle said...

This sounds like a wonderful book, Diane, reminds me of my irish granny -- she didn't raise me but she certainly saw the world in a special way. Nice memories thank you.

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