Sunday, June 16, 2013

BP Blog Hop Featuring Dianne Hartsock for Behind the Scenes: Author Process Interview Series

Hello Dianne and thank you, for stopping by on my blog today for my Behind the Scenes: Author Process Interview series. I hope you found my questions thought provoking and I hope my readers will find a glimpse into the author's mind thought-provoking and educational.

Writing Routines/Mechanics

  1. Do you have a writing routine? How often do you write?

To begin with, I get up an hour earlier in the morning than I need to, to get in some writing before work. I'm a full time floral designer, so I put in my eight hours, come home, have dinner. Unwind with my husband. Then I have about two hours in the evening after he's gone to bed to write. On my days off I squeeze in as much writing as I can, but still make sure I leave enough time for my family.

  1. Do you use outlines? Are you a pantser or outliner? Can you do both?

*chuckles* I love the word panster! Makes me imagine a person running around pulling down people’s pants. I think some of my characters would love doing that. But I think I’m a little of both. I usually have the story thought out in my head, and the stories usually end where I wanted them to. But a lot of the time, in between the start and finish, the characters take me places I’d never imagined going before.

  1. What atmosphere do you need to write in? Music? Silence? Any particular snack or drink?

Quiet, with alternative rock music playing softly in the background. If a house is too quiet, I tend to listen to every squeak it makes. So distracting. The only snack I really need is a pot of coffee!

  1. How many pieces are you currently working on right now?

Not too many, at the moment. I'm writing the sequel to my psychological thriller ALEX, which is taking up most of my time. I do have a contemporary m/m erotic story started and am doing edits on two stories for two different anthologies. Besides these, I'm planning the sixth and final book in my SHELTON series. So, busy as usual!

  1. Do you have another job besides writing? Do you consider writing a full time job, part time job, hobby, chore?

Although I'm a full time floral designer, I also consider myself a full time author. I can't put in as much time writing every day as I would like to, but I make up for it on my days off work. Also, even when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about it, usually plotting out scenes in my head when I should be concentrating on other things. Makes me seem a bit distracted, but I can't help it.

Writing Inspirations/Process

  1. How do you come up with story ideas?

Usually a bit of music or a magazine picture or something on TV, even a customer at work will catch my interest and I'll start to build a story around it. I'll think about it for a few days or a week plotting it out, then one day I'll sit down in front of the computer and begin to write. At this time I usually have a beginning, middle, and ending, but everything else comes to me as I write. This technique works for me because usually by the time I reach the middle then the ending, things have changed so much it's a surprise to me as well.
  1. Do the characters just come to you or does it take a bit of work to get them straightened out?

One of my favorite parts about writing a story is that the characters come to me whole, names and character quirks and everything. I simply write the story and let the characters introduce themselves as I go along. I find out about them in the same way my readers will. The only real difference is that I know who my bad guy is from the beginning so I make sure to leave clues along the way so when they're discovered it's not a huge shock.

  1. Do you complete a first draft and then revise or do you revise as you go?

I revise and edit as I go. I would probably be considered a very slow writer, not moving on until I have a scene just right. The good part about this, though, is that when the story is done, it's pretty much done. I have very little editing to do and only need a few rereads before it's ready for my editor.

  1. How much research do you do prior to starting a story? How much research do you do as you go? Where do you do your most research at?

I usually don't do any research until I get into the story and the situation calls for it. Most of my research is done online. And for my m/m romances, I always go to the Goodreads M/M Romance group for answers. Such a fun, informative group! And I usually find what I need.

  1. People say that in order to write, you must read a lot. How much do you read? Do you read the genre you write?

Let's just say I've been a bookworm all my life. I devour books. And yes, I definitely read the genres I write in.


  1. Do you have a blog and/or website? How do you think having a blog and/or website helps you? (Feel free to include links.)

I do have a blog where I share my books and am also in a lot of blog hops, which I thoroughly enjoy participating in. I've met a lot of my writer friends on these hops and can always find some new books to read. This also gives me a place to host other authors, which is a great way to meet new readers. My blog is here:

  1. How many publishers are you published with?

At the moment I'm with four different publishers and am looking at several other publishing houses to join. I love being able to work with a variety of editors and this also expands my readers group. And it's a fun way to meet other authors and make new friends.

  1. Any tips on writing a good blurb?

I once had a publisher I admire tell me that, before I even write the first line of the story, to write down the blurb. Say what the story is going to be about in short, concise sentences. This usually makes for a terrific blurb at the end.

Writing Genres/Heat Levels

  1. What genres do you write now? What genres would you like to write/branch out to in the future?

For the most part I write m/m erotic romance. Love the genre! Even in the stories I've written that aren't erotic, with a traditional m/f theme, I still have elements of gay sensuality included. I can't say I'm interested in writing anything else.

Writing: Types of Stories

  1. Free reads. Do you think they bring in more readers? (Feel free to include a link.)

I think free reads definitely bring in readers. It's a painless way for people to sample my work then turn around and buy something more.

Damon's Touch: As Damon's prisoner, Lacey's love for his beautiful captor grows, but will love be enough to set them both free?

  1. Have you written any pieces in an anthology? Does it help get more readers to standalone books? Do you think anthologies sell well?

I'm in four different anthologies and have stories in two more that will be coming out this summer. As a fairly new author, having my stories in with other well-known authors helps draw some much needed attention to my writing. And I think anthologies sell well because there are so many other people to help with promoting.

  1. How do you feel about series? Do you think they sell better? Are easier or harder to write?

When I first wrote SHELTON IN LOVE I had no idea it would be the first book in a series of six. (working on the sixth one now). Each book came with its own difficulties to write, but in a way they were also easier. I had all my characters, and though each book can stand on its own, the reader knows right away that the main characters are in a committed relationship and I can carry the story forward from there. I find with each new book, I can go back and also promote the earlier ones and create more sales that way.
Writing Background
  1. How many published stories have you written? (Feel free to include buy links here.)

It looks like I have 17 published with two more free reads and two more anthology stories on their way.

-Shelton in Love

Shelton's Promise

-Shelton's Choice

-Shelton's Homecoming

-Merry Christmas Shelton



-Philip's Watcher

-Wee Willie Winkie

-Without Aiden

-Trials of a Lonely Specter


Ad-Dick-tion vol. 2 Anthology: Eran's Release

Freaky Flashes: m/m stories

Halloween Heat vol. 1: Costumes

HER STORY: Without Borders

HOT FLASHES anthology: m/m stories

Free Read: Damon's Touch

Writing Support Groups/Forums/Nanowrimo/Networking

  1. Conferences. Have you gone to any? Plan on going to any? What conferences would you recommend to go to, or to avoid?

My first and only conference so far was EPICON-2013 in Vancouver Washington earlier this year. It was fabulous! Had so much fun and the workshops were so informative. Hoping to go to the one in San Antonio, TX in 2014. Made some wonderful connections.

  1. Have you done a book signing? How did that go?

I've done half a dozen book signings, and though I usually don't sell a lot of books, I meet some great readers and authors and make some amazing connections. And I always have one or two of my fans show up, which really makes my day!



Willie has met an old flame, but is he willing to give up the decadence of Boston society for the man he loves?
For the past three years William Wilkerson has led the life of the privileged rich. Head of his father’s shipping business, Willie indulges in the pleasures of Boston’s fine young men to his heart’s content. That is, until he meets Fredrick, the one man who has captured his heart, again.
As his former tutor, Fredrick has been declared off limits by William’s father. Fredrick also believes he's beneath the attention of Wilkerson’s heir. Willie disagrees, but is he willing to throw away rank and privilege for the man he loves?


Fredrick held up his glass and stared at the candle's flame through the amber liquid. He took a sip, savored the rich, biting taste on his tongue. He welcomed the burn down his throat. This was the very last drink he could afford, and he had to make it last.
A giggle erupted from the booth in the corner, the one whose curtains were drawn against curious eyes. A smile tugged at Fredrick's lips despite the dire state of his wallet. The laugh had been carefree, joyous, naughty. Fredrick shifted on the cushioned bench. Only a few straggling customers remained in the dining room. He wondered if any of them would notice if he shifted his cramped cock as it throbbed in sympathy with the bright laughter.
Rather than risk it, he watched the fruit vender outside the window beguile a customer. Another giggle and stifled moan swiveled his attention back to the corner. A silk-clad foot and slim calf peeked beneath the curtain. He grinned even as the delectable sight emphasized his own loneliness. It had been far too long since he'd had someone in his bed.
"Excuse me. Sir?"
Fredrick looked up, distracted from his memory of lush lips and white skin and wide, hazel eyes, and blinked at the stout innkeeper at his elbow. "Yes?"
A frown fleeted across the man's homely face at another bout of laughter from the corner. "If they're disturbing you, I can have Wee Willie take his guest upstairs. Excuse me, I mean Mister Wilkerson." The man broke off, flustered by the slip of the tongue.
Fredrick's heart leaped on hearing the name mentioned. Is William really here? How could that be? The innkeeper coughed, and Fredrick frowned at the intrusion into his thoughts. The man was so damned serious about such a minor indiscretion. "They're no bother. In fact, I'm almost done anyway." He lifted his nearly empty glass. Hearing a shout, they looked over in time to see a young man tumble through the curtains onto the floor. Fredrick caught a glimpse of red hair and an embarrassed cheek before the gentleman crammed a hat on his head and strode passed them, face averted. The innkeeper shrugged and followed, likely to be sure he paid for his drinks.
Fredrick stared at the silk-clad foot still protruding from the parted curtains. He loosened his hold on his glass but had no way to stop the wild hammering of his heart. Before he lost his courage, he stood and swallowed the last of his brandy, then walked the short distance to the booth.
A grin tugged the corner of his mouth at his eagerness. It had been three years, after all, and they'd parted in anger. Would William acknowledge him? His hand trembled as he drew aside the heavy curtain and allowed his gaze to travel up the silky hose to bright blue trousers. Blood heated his face when he found the laces undone at the waist and the silk shirt open to expose white skin and rosebud nipples.
A sigh brought his gaze up to the pretty face that stirred his dreams. Rich brown curls surrounded lovely hazel eyes and full, pouting lips. He groaned when a delighted smile revealed the even, white teeth that had nipped his collarbone on more than one glorious occasion. "Freddie, is it you?"

Dianne Hartsock


  1. Thanks so much for having me over, Sally! Good questions. :)

  2. wonderfully informative and I love your perspective on a pantser! :) Sometimes it can take me a while to unwind and begin writing. You've produced quite a bit.