Q&A with Dianna Wilkes, Romance Novelist
Please welcome guest columnist Dianna Wilkes, to our Featured Q&A series at Writer’s Fun Zone. I’m excited to feature Dianna, as I first met her when she was an as-yet unpublished writer and took an editing class via our Barany School of Fiction. She’s now multi-published and working as a full-time writer. Enjoy!
If you’d like to be considered for an interview, check out our guidelines here.
About Dianna Wilkes
Dianna Wilkes is an award-winning contemporary romance author, known for the Providence Island mystery series.
Reading has always been an important part of her life. “I learned to read when I was four years old,” she said. “Writing my own stories seemed a natural progression.”
Dianna holds a B.A. in Visual Communication and a M.Ed. in Instructional Technology. She worked as an Education Consultant for a medical technology company before leaving the corporate world to write full-time. Despite all that nerdy stuff, she loves creating stories of romance and mystery with touches of humor.
When she isn’t writing, Dianna is deep in researching various twigs and branches on her family tree or fulfilling entries on her travel bucket list.
On to our interview!
Q: Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write.
A: I’m Dianna Wilkes, author of the Providence Island series. I’m originally from West Virginia then spent a dozen years in Delaware before moving to the South. So I have an accent that slides from “wicked” to “y’all” with no effort. My inspirations come so many places such as people watching and travel. I find ideas everywhere.
Q: How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
A: I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. Back during “dial-up days” on AOL, I was in a critique group which included pre-published author Lea Kirk. The group went idle as life took us in other directions. Lea spurred us back into action a couple years ago. She’s now a USA Today best selling author, and I just published my third book in my Providence Island series.
Q: What are you most passionate about?
A: Writing, travel, learning, family and friends, researching family history.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
A: I write in multiple points of view. Main Street (book 1 in the Providence Island series) has three main POVs and two storylines. One is Nick and Dana’s romance which is the HEA (Happily Ever After). The other is the mystery in Dana’s past which extends over the next two books in the series. The challenge was managing the intricate threads between the storylines over multiple books.
As I mentioned in a previous question, I get ideas from the world around me. People watching or a snippet of a conversation can spur the “what if” that leads to a storyline.
My favorite time to write is late at night when it’s quiet.
Q: What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
A: When I self-published my first book, I was working full-time (usually 60+ hours a week) as an Education Consultant. The free time I had was spent writing and revising and not on the publishing and marketing aspects. I don’t regret that path as I needed the encouragement that having a publish book gave me.
Q: What drew you to write romantic mysteries? What is it that you like about romance and about mysteries? Also what drove you to write about your setting?
A: Great Question: Why do I write mysteries? My love of mysteries started when I was young, reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. My first memory of writing is when I was around eight or nine years old. At that time, some TV shows ended with scenes from the next episode. My sister and I would write stories based on those scenes. Of course, ours never came close to the actual story, but it was the foundation for finding inspiration and crafting my own stories.
I also include romance in my books because I love a good love story. More than that, I include friends and family relationships which lends to writing in multiple points of view. (POV) For example, Main Street has three main POVs (plus a few minor POVs) and two storylines. As I mentioned, one storyline is Nick and Dana’s romance which is the HEA. The other is the mystery in Dana’s past which extends over the next two books in the series, each having a romance storyline as well.
Crossroads, book 4 in the series, will include romance and mystery but the storyline will wrap up by end that book. I’m also planning a cozy mystery series about a genealogist, giving me a chance to combine my love of traveling and researching family history with writing.
Q: What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
A: I wish I’d known more about the mechanics of self-publishing and more about marketing. The first class I took from Beth was on Self-Editing, which was invaluable.
Q: What’s next for you in your creative work?
A: I just started Crossroads which will be the 4th book in the Providence Island series. I’m also working on a new cozy mystery series.
Q: Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!
A: I’d love to share some encouragement for other aspiring writers. Don’t give up. Find a critique group. Take a writing class or find other ways to improve your craft. If you chose to self-publish, recognize that you will be running a business so prepare for that.
Paige Carson never expected a handsome sheriff and a charismatic newcomer would vie for her affections. The choice isn’t an easy one as she’s now responsible for raising her orphaned goddaughter Jess.
Sheriff Sam Wallace didn’t lose at love. He got kicked to the curb. Hopeful that courting the feisty Paige will end differently, he can’t help but feel suspicious about his romantic rival. Is Ben Hampshire the man he seems—or is Sam’s jealousy clouding his perspective?
Sam’s determined to win Paige and Jess’s love, but he also has to keep PI safe. More than just Sam’s heart is at risk if he fails to find the killer who walks the streets of PI— a killer with more than one agenda.