A.First off, I would like to thank you for having me today, Becky.
I was born in Okinawa, Japan. After spending my early childhood years in Alaska, I moved to Virginia, where my passion for Civil War history began. As a child, I read and wrote poetry. During college, I began filling pages with the characters and stories flooding my mind. While my husband and I raised our three boys, I found a creative outlet devouring American history, reading the classics, and genealogical research.
I’m actively engaged with Romance Writers of America and a member in my local chapters in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, I’m a founding member and vice president of Evergreen RWA, located in Everett, Washington.
My writing combines my active imagination with my love of history and research to create vibrant characters in sizzling tales that blend vintage vixens with haunting heroes.
My debut novel, Thorns of Eden, is a steamy and suspenseful tale set in the American Civil War during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862.
Q. Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
A. I’m definitely shy, but most people don’t know that about me. I remember sitting at my desk in school, my stomach twisting in tight knots, hoping and praying the teacher wouldn’t call on me for anything. As I think about how I felt back then, it still makes my stomach twist and turn. Sadly, even as an adult, I’d probably still feel like that under the same circumstances.
Q. In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?
A. Actually, it’s probably helped my writing career. Because I’m shy, I naturally gravitate toward solitary endeavors. For instance, it turns out that I absolutely adore research; something I discovered over twenty years ago when I began doing genealogical research for my family as well as for other people. I was in heaven! I would spend hours at libraries, at the National Archives, as well as many other places that housed genealogical and historical records. That was the perfect situation for me. I could research by myself all day long and report my findings to others later.
What’s interesting to me now is that I can see how all that research prepared me to be a writer of historical romance. With each historical or genealogical record I uncovered, my imagination would go wild . But with genealogy, facts and accuracy are an absolute must, and while you may imagine all sorts of stories unfolding, unless there’s a valid paper trail documenting the story, you cannot truly say it existed. Enter my imagination: Writing historical romance was a natural transition for me. I could research historical events with accuracy and blend it with my vivid imagination. Writing historical romance was something I could do all day . . . at home . . . and all by myself.
Q. In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?
A. See question 3 : )
Q.What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
A. That’s a tough question. I’ve found that I enjoy almost all aspects of writing but if I had to pick one thing, I would have to say the waiting game is hard. You finally write your book and then you send it out to agents and editors . . . and then you wait. Promoting my book is a lot of fun but it also takes up a lot of my time. I guess I gave two examples.
Q. Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?
A. There have been many times I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone. That’s just part of life. I’m really working on tackling my shy demons and forcing myself into more and more uncomfortable situations— like pitching my manuscript to an agent or editor in a group setting. UGH! Just the thought of doing that makes my stomach flip-flop. Well, I finally decided to bite the bullet and pitch my manuscript at a conference. I was terrified, and I felt those same horrible feelings bubbling away inside my stomach that I’d felt while in school all those years ago. But guess what? I survived AND they all asked to see my work. Most recently, I was an author on an author panel at a conference, and I presented a workshop at my local RWA.
Q. What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
A. I learned long ago that when talking in front of a large group, cast your attention to the people in the last row and convince yourself you’re talking to only them. By doing that, your voice will be loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, and the physical distance makes you feel more comfortable. All in all, I’m getting much better at talking in front of a group. I’m sure most of us are more confident as adults than we ever were as children. Accept the challenge of stepping out of your comfort zone, learn from the experience, and move on to the next challenge.
Q. Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?
Blurb: Sometimes fate has other plans . . .
Major Rayce Hampton is the Confederacy’s final hope to turn the tide of war. Haunted by heartache of generations past, love is the last thing he has on his mind when he meets Eden Blair. The emerald-eyed beauty is as headstrong as she is tempting, but Rayce must keep his wits – and his secrets – as he executes his dangerous undercover mission to save the South.
Accomplished nurse Eden Blair has secrets too . . . only she doesn’t know about them yet. Stung by her fiancé’s betrayal, she has no reason to trust the scandalous Major Hampton. But as Yankee troops close in, Eden must take refuge in the major’s mysterious ancestral home, leading her into the shadowy corners of deceit and desire, where endless love lurks within every soft whisper.
Thorns of Eden is available in print and e-book format at most e-bookstores.
For Kindle and Print
The Wild Rose Press
Q. Where can my readers find you on the web?
A. Come visit me at http://www.dianaballew.com/
Facebook ~ www.facebook.com/diana.ballew
Twitter ~ www.twitter.com/#!/DianaBallew
Thanks for having me!!!