by Diane Burke
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I'm a mom who loves to read and write. I'm tight with my family and friends. Love to travel. Enjoy meeting new people. Recently, I've been teaching an ESL course and have to admit that it has been pretty great being back in the front of the classroom again. I love to be outside. Love the beach. And I'm a huge animal lover.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. I've always wanted to be a college professor. And still do. I didn't think about writing a novel until a few years ago. Ideally, I'd love to teach in the mornings and write in the afternoons. That would be my dream. Who knows? There's still time to make it happen.
How did it feel to win the Golden Heart in the Inspirational category? What thoughts raced through your mind as you made your way to the stage?
HA! It was a shock. Truly. You know how you get feelings about some things? Well, I didn't have one about that. I was completely surprised and very touched at the same time. And as I walked to the stage, I was feeling thankful and thinking about all the friends and family that had encouraged me to keep writing.
Tell us about getting "the call."
When I got the call, I was at home recuperating from an illness that had me in the hospital for six weeks. I was still very weak but so glad to be home and healing. Hearing about the contract was one more thing to be thankful for.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I get my ideas from real people and all sorts of things that interest me. Horses, boats, the military, sports, etc. I especially enjoy thinking about what motivates people and then translating that into my stories. Two themes that I love to explore and write about over and over are fear and self-acceptance.
What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantster? Do you put aside a set time to work on your writing or do you grab what time you can when you can?
I'm more of a pantster. I like to write with just a basic idea of the story and sort of feel my way through it. And I CRINGE on this question...I currently do not have a set time to write and this is a terrible thing---something I'm really struggling with right now. Once this ESL class is over and the kids are out of school, I will be able to reclaim my mornings. At least, that is my plan!
Have you ever gotten stuck in a manuscript? If so, how do you push through?
Sure. Everyone gets stuck from time to time. And there are a couple of things I do. First of all, I talk the story through with someone. A little brainstorming. It's always good to get some fresh thoughts and a new perspective. Second, I take a day to think about what will happen in the story AFTER the part I'm stuck on and then I can figure out what has to occur to get there.
In what ways, if any, has your life changed since you've been published? Good things? Bad things? Unexpected things?
I travel more, have met tons of new people, learned about an industry I knew nothing about, and have a whole new set of goals.
Good things? Well, it's nice to have the affirmation that someone besides my mother likes my writing. And I love hearing what my editor and agent think about a story I've done.
Bad things? Feeling doubts about my writing. Worrying that I won't ever get that next contract.
Unexpected? The AMAZING support of my friends.
What words of advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Think about why you like and don't like in a novel. Write as often as you can. And learn! Get in a critique group. Join a writer's organization. Go to conferences and workshops. Believe in yourself and don't give up!
Thank you, Kit, for sharing your time and writing insight with us today. And thanks for agreeing to stick around for any comments or questions.