Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Dianne Harman author of Blue Coyote Motel, Tea Party Teddy and Coyote in Provence. Dianne draws her stories and characters from a diverse business and personal background. She owned a national antique and art appraisal business for many years, leaving that industry and opening two yoga centers where she taught yoga and certified instructors. Dianne has traveled extensively throughout the world, most recently dividing her time between Huntington Beach and Sacramento, California, where her husband is a Senator. A gourmet cook, she has entertained Governors, Congressmen and numerous other political figures in her homes.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school? Were you good at English? What are your ambitions for your writing career? Which writers inspire you?
I was an English Major in college and yes, I was good at English. Those classes were effortless, but like so many, I never felt I had fulfilled the criteria for being an author, such as attending special schools for writing, support groups, etc. I read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” a little over two years ago and loved his kind of “Do It Now” philosophy. And so I did.
- What was your life like before becoming an author?
Eclectic. A mother, a wife. I owned a national antique and art appraisal business for 20 years and then bought two yoga studios. I taught yoga internationally and certified teachers. My husband became a politician and eventually a California Senator. I spent 12 years dividing my time between Sacramento, California and Huntington Beach, California.
- When did you decide to become a writer?
When my husband and I stayed at a motel in Palm Springs, California, and attended a wedding. Our son was the best man. It was October and 106 degrees out. The air conditioner was silent and welcome. I’ll never know why, but I turned to my husband and said, “What if someone put a ‘feel-good’ drug in the air-conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?” He looked at me and said, “There’s your book.” And so Blue Coyote Motel was birthed that afternoon on my iPad. It later went on to become a quarterfinalist in the ABNA contest and a Book of the Month, both on e-thriller and Goodreads Psychological Thrillers. Who knew???
Probably an overall idea for the novel. I develop a character, and quite frankly, the characters begin to tell me where the story is going.
- Why do you write? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
People have always told me their stories. I guess I’m easy to talk to. The best advice to an aspiring writer – just start writing.. With each book, article, or short story, you’ll improve. And don’t let age stop you. I wrote Blue Coyote Motel when I was in my late 60’s.
- So, what have you written? /*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest. /
I presently have three published books: Blue Coyote Motel, the sequel to it – Coyote in Provence and Tea Party Teddy, a satiric novel about California politics.
- Where people can buy or see them? /* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included/
My books are all available on Amazon. Here’s my main page: http://ow.ly/q90K0
- Give me an insight into your main character from your last novel /first novel/. What does he/she do that is so special?
When I gave Blue Coyote Motel to several people for beta reading, each one asked what was going to happen to Maria? I realized I’d written a character that people had become interested in. I think what makes her special is that she overcomes adversity. Kind of there’s hope for all of us, no matter what.
- What sparked the idea for your book/s?
The air conditioner in Palm Springs was the genesis for Blue Coyote Motel and then went on to Coyote in Provence. Tea Party Teddy has an interesting background. I had a front row center seat in the California political arena. One night at a reception, I was seated next to the most bigoted, biased, politician I’d ever met. The next night, by coincidence, I was seated next to him at a dinner. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I wondered if he was married, what his family life was like, and what the future held for him. The novel came out of that experience.
- Are there any character traits in your book that are based on someone you know? /*Even if the whole character isn’t based on them?
Teddy was born because of the politician I wrote above, but he became a composite of politicians. As for the other two books, not actually based on them, but I don’t think a writer can completely separate themselves from their experiences. For instance, in Blue Coyote Motel I write about Jill trekking in Nepal to go to the Mani Rimdu Festival in the Himalayas. I did that. In Teddy, there’s a scene where a woman comes up the head table at a Boys and Girls Club dinner and comments on the fact that Nina is wearing the same outfit she wore a year ago. I had that happen.
- Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read 4 – 5 books a week and as for favorite authors, it changes with whatever I’m reading. If I take the time to go beyond 20 pages, I like the book.
- Where is your favorite place to read and write?
I like to read on the couch in the family room or in bed in the evening. I write in my office.
- How do you market your book/s?
I made the decision to do digital marketing almost exclusively. I’ve spoken to several book clubs, but at this stage of my life I have no desire to go from bookstore to bookstore hoping someone will take a couple of books on consignment and at this age, I probably don’t have years and years to experience rejection letters and then finally find some publisher who will take me on. I decided to self-publish and have never regretted it.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Spend at least as much time marketing your books as you do writing them, if not more.
- What do you do to get book reviews?
For Blue Coyote and Teddy, I relied on friends, and then the more people who read the books, the more the reviews came in. For Coyote in Provence, I decided to frontload it by having an event on Goodreads, an Advance Review Copy event. I sent the people who indicated an interest, the book in whatever format they preferred, and they agreed to write reviews for me on Amazon and Goodreads. The book has only been out a couple of weeks and it’s already gotten a number of reviews.
- What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Write the best book you can write. Set aside a budget for someone to do the cover and get a copy editor. Both of these are relatively inexpensive and I think, critical, to publishing a book that you’ll be proud of. A lot of people try to cut corners by doing everything themselves. No matter how good of a story you write, if the book is sloppily edited, that will take precedence over the story.
- Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Absolutely nothing. You’ve done a fabulous interview and, I think, covered everything that needed covering. Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview!
- How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Blog: on website
Amazon Author Page: http://ow.ly/q90K0Smashwords:
Blue Coyote Motel – US http://amzn.to/soSO8uIj UK http://ow.ly/q948d
Tea Party Teddy – US http://amzn.to/ZgKwIB UK http://ow.ly/q93TZ
Coyote in Provence – US http://ow.ly/pQr7c UK http://ow.ly/q94iX
Goodreads – http://ow.ly/q94su
It was a great privilege for me to get to interview Dianne Harman, who has inspired me in many different ways. Thank you Dianne!!! Good Luck with everything!