Search This Blog


Thursday, October 16, 2014

#Interview with @DianneHartsock for The Shed

Dianne grew up in one of the older houses in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from. Dianne now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms her hands which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?

THE SHED has very little 'heat' to it. The romance between Scott and Arthur is more of a love story, with Arthur slowly breaking through the wall around Scott's heart, showing him that love doesn’t have to mean pain and abuse. The sex is shown in gentle touches and soft words and heavy m/m sensuality.

How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?

My day job is working as a floral designer for a locally owned gift shop. Although I love creating beautiful arrangements, it does mean I have to budget my free time very carefully, devoting several hours every day to writing and the promotion of my stories. It's hard at times, but when a reader tells me how much they've enjoyed my stories and characters, all the work suddenly becomes worthwhile. Yes, sometimes I get very little sleep to meet a deadline, but since I love writing, it's not as bad as it seems.

What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?

They're very human, overcoming the challenges of their pasts and meeting the future with courage. Alex and Scott have both come from abusive backgrounds and Arthur's self-worth has been shaken by a cruel lover. Throughout the story, these men come together as friends, encouraging and guiding each other through the difficult, dangerous times. Alex finds the strength and love of a brother in Scott, and Scott and Arthur find the understanding and support they've never had before in each other.

What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?

Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?

Not really! I do enjoy writing the occasional post for my blog, posting little notes on twitter. Most of my friends hang out on Facebook so that's where I spend most of my time. I promote a little, but mostly try to make connections with my readers. There are some fascinating people out there and I really enjoy getting know everyone better.

What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?

THE SHED is a story that could come right out of the news. Kidnapping and murder, vengeance and retribution. But it is also a story of love and courage and friendship. Alex is a young man, though psychic, who is only trying to make a good life for himself and the ones he loves. As we all do. Scott and Arthur have their inner demons to overcome before they can learn to trust and love again. Most of us have gone through this in our lives. I suppose I can say I put all of the experiences of my life into my books, making my characters as real and human as I possibly can.

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?

I think a villa in Italy overlooking the Mediterranean Sea would be the perfect setting for me. I would spend hours contemplating the movement of sunlight on the waves. How quickly or slowly the tides come in and out. How many seagulls wander my private beach? Otherwise, anywhere with internet service will do me nicely.

Any fun facts about the research for your book?

I now know how to hypnotize someone! Yep. There are several scenes in THE SHED where Scott uses hypnosis on Alex to dig into his visions and try to find clues to the kidnapper's whereabouts and what he did with the two young men he took. I found some fascinating articles on the different methods a psychologist might use on their patients. The one I chose for Alex seemed to fit his situation the best. I had to cut it down quite a bit for the story (wouldn't want to hypnotize any of my readers!) but it's something I'd definitely like to try out some day. Reminds me a lot of the art of meditation.

Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!

ALEX is the first book in this series, told from the point of view of the young psychic by that name. THE SHED is told mostly from the perspective of Alex's mental health specialist, Scott Reid. Dealing with the scars of his own childhood, Scott is in the unique position to empathize and help Alex as he learns to control his visions rather than blindly following them.    

Though THE SHED is mostly about the kidnapping and brutalization of two young men and the heroes' drive to try and save them, it also has the underlying stories of Alex's battle to have a normal life and Scott Reid's attempt to give love one more try with Art Peters, a local art dealer. Coming from an abusive background, Scott is reluctant to give his heart to anyone, but throughout the book, while Scott helps Alex build a better life, Art Peters slowly and tenderly tears down the bricks around Scott's heart and shows him how to love again.


Scott glanced at his watch as he started the car and pulled onto the street. Damn. He was already ten minutes late for his appointment with Alex Elson. “Please wait,” he muttered and drove a little faster than was prudent as he crossed town to the converted bungalow that housed his private practice. His patients at the clinic had seemed extra needy that day, especially Helen Kramer. Her nightmares had gotten worse, vivid and terrifying.

He sighed when traffic slowed in front of him. Though he’d been meeting with Alex for a few months, he knew the young man wasn’t thrilled with the arrangement. He could easily use Scott’s tardiness as an excuse to stop seeing him.

Scott realized he had chewed his bottom lip and soothed the hurt with his tongue. Alex’s case intrigued him but he wasn’t sure if he could be of any use to the young man. He knit his brow as he maneuvered the busy street, wondering if anyone could help him. Alex’s visions were real, he had no doubt, but successfully helping Alex to control them might be more than they could hope for. And they seemed to be getting worse, coming more frequently. Scott worried he’d lose his hold on reality this time around.

Alex stood on the sidewalk outside Scott’s office and Scott let out a relieved breath as he pulled into the driveway. Thank God. He was drawn to the young man and really wanted to help. He clarified the thought to himself. There wasn’t anything sexual in the attraction, though Alex was pretty in a dark, brooding way. But Alex was tortured. Vulnerable. And damn it, Scott liked him and hoped to make his life a little easier, if possible.

Dianne will be awarding a A $25 Gift Card from Amazon plus an e-copy of ALEX, the first book in the series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway