Thanks for joining me today on Night Owl Romance.
Tammie King of NOR: To get us started can you please start by telling us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
Diana Laurence: My latest book, "Soulful Sex: The Darker Side" is a collection of 12 stories that will appeal to readers interested in the more sinister side of erotic romance. It's still in my usual graphic but tasteful style, but wanders into more dangerous subject matter. I have some fun with forbidden love, vampires, seduction, betrayal, adultery, love slaves, even stalkers. Some of the endings are happy, some are not, so these stories are suspenseful and full of twists.
At the moment I'm writing the sequel to my popular vampire romance novel "Bloodchained." The first book was very special in that I had a committee of 63 fans help me develop the story and write the book...something I don't believe has ever been done before. The resulting novel seems to be a powerful one, as I get email every week asking about a sequel! In "Bloodchained" I did a new twist on vampire mythology, and created an ancient race of immortals whose powers depend on "bloodmating," the deep and mystical bond between pairs of lovers who subsist on each other's blood. It's a happy and romantic origin for blooddrinkers, for a change. All is not rosy with the race, however; just like with mortals, some of them have gone bad, and it's not always easy to tell which ones. "Bloodchained" is a very romantic, suspenseful, richly plotted book with some characters who seem to have really captivated the hearts of my readers. I'm just thrilled with how well it has done.
Tammie King of NOR: Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
Diana Laurence: For good or ill, I'm not your typical romance author! My background is really more in speculative fiction--I'm a bit of a sci-fi/horror geek, a fan of authors like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Meanwhile, though, I adore Jane Austen and the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein and am an incurable romantic who loves writing about sex. While I don't always feel I fit the romance genre in a conventional way, the upside of my personality is I believe I write some pretty original stuff (feel free to call it weird, LOL). I also write in all genres of romance: paranormal, historical, fantasy, sci fi, you name it.
When I broke into romance writing in 2005 (after 25 years of freelancing in other fields), I wanted to create very sensual fiction for readers who were squeamish about typical erotica. I've never been into four-letter words myself--just not a turn-on to me--but I started writing erotic stuff in my teen years and had been doing it privately ever since. I shared my stuff with some friends and online, and found the response very enthusiastic. So, I looked for a publisher for my "erotica with soul" and found two right away! Thus was born my Soulful Sex series of anthologies--to date I have written four paperbacks of them (seven ebooks), a total of 42 stories.
I am also rather a weirdo in that I like to do things that are completely unheard of. Not always the best approach marketing-wise, but it's fun! I already mentioned my having written a book with a team of assistants. I also illustrated and designed my own set of romance fortunetelling cards, called Diana's Deck, available exclusively from Living Beyond Reality Press. And this year I fulfilled a dream by writing a short romance comic book, "Sign of the Bloodletters," based in the Bloodchained universe and illustrated by the marvelous C.C. Rogers.
Tammie King of NOR: What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
Diana Laurence: The worst advice I ever received was from my ex-husband, who told me I wasn't talented enough to be published. Fortunately he's the only person ever to tell me that, so it wasn't hard to ignore him!
The best advice I ever received was given to me by my last publisher. When she decided to fold her company, she told me I was well enough versed in the technology and processes that I ought to publish my own books. So rather than seeking a new publisher, that was what I did. I already had started a tiny publishing house back in 1998, so I just reissued all my titles under that. The freedom and control has been wonderful, and I love being able to make sure everything I release is, to quote Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way." Well, as much as an imperfect author can manage of course. I have the security of knowing I can keep my books available to readers forever if I wish. It's fabulous.
Tammie King of NOR: Who is your perfect hero? And why?
Diana Laurence: My perfect hero is, for those of you who speak Jungian, my animus. Part of the reason he's perfect is because he's always showing up in new and different aspects. Another part is he's always the same: perfect for me. It helps me immensely as an author that he is always there to inspire the heroes of my stories, as varied and colorful as they are. I think there are some authors as well as some romance readers who know just what I'm talking about here. It's that inner hero who keeps you lively, inspires you, and makes life worth living even when you're having a tough time.
Here's to all our heroes! And I hope your readers will be intrigued enough by this little visit with me to want to meet a few of mine face to face.
Tammie King of NOR: Who or what influenced you when you wrote this book? Did you have a CD, Songs, environment, etc?
Diana Laurence: I have some interesting influences in all my work, most significantly the psychoanalytical theorist Carl Jung, and followers of his such as Thomas Moore and Joseph Campbell. I'm a big believer in the power of classic archetypes, and I also believe in the power of the animus as a source of inspiration. I'm sure that's all Greek to most people, but I guess the point is I have a psychological and spiritual approach to my writing. I think readers can enjoy it on it's face, as pure entertainment, but I try to put deeper elements into it as well.
I have to give credit to author Neil Gaiman as being my inspiration during the writing of "The Darker Side." I was immersing myself in his works while I composed those stories, and I think he really challenged me to be courageous about the subject matter and also to take pains with the quality of the language.
Tammie King of NOR: Can you please give us a sneak peek into the book?
I'd love to share both an excerpt from "Bloodchained" (http://www.bloodchained.com/excerpt.html) and from "Soulful Sex: The Darker Side" (http://www.dianalaurence.com/sstdsexcerpt.html).
Tammie King of NOR: Please tell us what you have planned next?
Diana Laurence: Actually my next book, which should be released either March or April 2009, is a mainstream novel entitled "Looking on Darkness." It's a story of a sort of psychic vampirism, and features four very interesting main characters: a jazz singer obsessed with Sting, a college student seeking a father figure, an ex-monk with a divine singing voice, and a British expatriate with a sinister secret past. It's an unusual story that explores the hidden corridors of the soul, and it's a little romantic, a little scary, and very suspenseful.
Tammie King of NOR: What would you like to tell your readers?
Diana Laurence: A great big THANKS with a huge hug and sloppy kiss! Seriously, my readers are worth more to me than fame or money any day. There is truly nothing more thrilling in the world than a message from a reader who has derived happiness from one of my books. In a perfect world I could go to each of their homes and have coffee with them.
Tammie King of NOR: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
Diana Laurence: Other than that huge hug and sloppy kiss? Actually, for anyone out there who'd like to enjoy some totally free ebooks (and some are among my best work), please visit the LBR Press READ FREE Project at www.livingbeyondreality.com/readfree.html. There are all kinds of things to choose from, and I love you to enjoy some of my verbiage totally free. If you are into pop culture, sex, the psychology of romance, or simply want to read about my latest crushes, please visit my blog at www.eroticawithsoul.blogspot.com.
Tammie King of NOR: What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
I am all techie, so here's the list: eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: www.dianalaurence.com, www.livingbeyondreality.com (my publishing house), www.bloodchained.com (official site of the book) My blog: www.eroticawithsoul.blogspot.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Diana-Laurence/1170956108 Twitter: http://twitter.com/dianalaurence Deviant Art: http://lani-enigma.deviantart.com/
Thank you for this opportunity!