When I began this blog, one of my goals was to interview writers, published or unpublished, to introduce them to a new audience and to have my audience learn more about the world of writing. My interview with Dyanne Davis is the first author interview of this blog.
Dyanne’s debut novel, The Color of Trouble, was published in 1994. You can find her subsequent novels at amazon.com.
An Interview with Author Dyanne Davis
Jerilyn (JW): Dyanne, I am so honored to have you as my premiere author interview! We have known each other for quite a few years. What would you like readers of this blog to know about you?
Dyanne Davis (DD): I am happily married for 43 years to my real life hero, Bill Davis. Seriously, he saved me from drowning. . .but that’s another story. I am a former nurse. Bill and I have one son and we live in Bolingbrook.
In addition to writing, I host a local cable TV show out of Bolingbrook, Illinois. The Art of Writing has been on the air for seven years! Bill is my producer. I try to stick to guests who have written a book or who can share information about the world of writing, but my guests have been varied. I have introduced my TV audience to psychics, numerologists and anyone else that I decide it would be fun to talk to. More people than I imagine watch the show. Recently I ran into a former patient who told me she’s been watching me on TV.
JW: Did you begin to write during your career as a nurse, or was writing a later passion?
DD: I started reading when I was four years old and I suppose the bug began at that time. I tried writing off and on without knowing the first thing about being prepared or realizing all writers receive rejections.
My husband Bill was an inspiration. He made a deal with me, take two years off my nursing career and give writing a real chance. If nothing happened during that time I was to return to nursing. No publisher wanted my work during that two-year period so at the end of it I told Bill I would return to work. His answer? “No, keep trying.”
One year later I had my first contract. Bill also encouraged me to keep writing after my first book came out. Initially I received praise and great reviews. Wise members of my RWA chapter, Windy City, warned me to be ready for the scathing ones because it goes with the territory. I’d never trolled the Internet or thought to write a bad review of a book I’d read. I didn’t know this was a common practice. When it happened I was shocked and hurt. I’d never known people could be so personal and mean. That was it for me. Writing was history.
Once again Bill was my voice of reason, my hero and my love. It would take way too much space to tell you everything he said to me. Suffice it to say he kept me in the game. Along the way, I won an Emma award for Best New Author of the Year from Romance Slam Jam and a couple of other awards for the book.
JW: Next time I see Bill, I’m going to have to give him a hug for having your back during the early days of your career!
You said in the beginning you were not “prepared”. Did you take some writing classes or how did you get prepared to actually write a book?
DD: I don’t have a writing background but I have taken many writing courses and continue to take them. My writing training came from my local RWA chapter, Windy City RWA. There I learned the nuts and bolts of romance writing.
JW: RWA, or Romance Writers of America, is where I got most of my nuts and bolts writing training as well. We both belonged to the Windy City Chapter that meets in Naperville the second Wednesday of each month. It’s a fabulous resource for writers of any level. (www.windycityrwa.org)
For writers who do not have a “Bill” in their corner, what advice would you give to those just getting started with their first manuscript?
DD: Hmm. To a totally brand new writer with their very first manuscript I’d say, “Finish the book before you ask anyone to read any parts of it”. Negative comments can sink your heart and your story for eons. Once the book is finished you can and should work to improve on it. At that point no remarks will stop you from the task of finishing. You’re already done.
JW: It took me years to get my first manuscript published. What was your experience?
DD: Now that’s a very difficult question to answer. Guess I would say all my life, considering I’d send things out in the past and wouldn’t write again for ten years. From the time Bill told me to give it a try it was three years. And it wasn’t my first manuscript. That one will never sell, nor will I self publish it.
I should say too, that I write under a couple names. I write paranormal under F.D. Davis. I also write women’s fiction.
My most recent release, Giving It Up, has been doing very well. It was on the Amazon list of Top 100 at 14-15 and 44-47 depending on the keyword. Look for it in the romance section.
JW: Tell us a bit about Giving It Up.
DD: In Giving It Up, Taylor Jones and Michael Smith are doctors with control issues. Because of a secret Michael has kept hidden from Taylor he’s determined to micro manage her life to ensure she’ll be happy. As far as Taylor is concerned, Michael’s need for control coupled with the secret he continues to keep from her causes her to keep barriers around her heart. This one really is a contemporary romance, nothing paranormal leaked through.
JW: Doctors with secrets! Sounds like you may have used your background as a nurse in this book.
Earlier you said your first completed manuscript was not published and that you would not be self-publishing it. I assume your current books in print were published through traditional publishing houses.
DD: Yes, I am published through two traditional publishers. Between the two, I have 15 books in print. My publisher and agent were acquired through the usual means: query letter, partial of three chapters, and then acceptance.
I no longer have an agent, though we remain friends and I love her. I remain on very good terms with one publisher. The other…let’s say I no longer hate them.
JW: Recently you have published independently. Why the change?
DD: Deciding to self publish came about for several reasons. One of my traditional publishing houses was having problems as were a lot of other publishers at the time. We negotiated the return of the rights to my previously published books including two that had already been edited by my wonderful editor. Since the publisher was going to go POD (print on demand) and epub I figured I could do it myself.
The other publisher offered me a lousy contract for a new book. I had had several short stories published in a magazine and the rights were about ready to revert to me. I interviewed several big name authors who were self publishing. I joined a group of writers who were self-publishing and willing to answer questions.
There were many factors involved including how much of my own money was I willing to spend and how long was I willing to wait for a return. The decision wasn’t made lightly.
I’d like to tell you how I feel about self-publishing. I love it. Preconceived ideas about the quality of work available are being put to the test everyday. The bias is receding. Does that mean I’ll never go the traditional route again? No. Do I think writers should just forget trying to get that publishing contract and going Indie? No. Having someone offer you a contract for something you’ve written is a dream and it’s not something I think a writer should give up on. I think writers can have it both ways though. For those books that are a bit more controversial or not exactly what ANY publisher is looking for I’d say go for it. I am.
JW: We’ve talked a lot about publishing. What about your process when you write? Are you an outline writer or are you directed by your muse?
DD: Each story calls for something different. I’m a write into the mist/by the seat of my pants type. I never know how a story will progress or end or what voice it will require. The only thing I’m aware of going in is the idea of the beginning. So I sit and begin writing and allow whatever point-of-view (POV) works to do the writing. If that changes while I’m writing I go with the flow. I love being surprised when I find out something in the story. I’m always going, “Wow, I didn’t know that.” It makes the writing so much more fun for me.
I can’t write like writers I admire because my thought processes are not the same as theirs and the word choices would not be my “voice”. My voice reflects who I am. I write with a more conversational tone. I can be preachy so I’ve learned to be subtle. I found my voice when I accepted that I want my writing to change minds and hearts. I want my writing to be entertaining but also serve as a platform for tolerance.
God is a huge component in my life and without my planning it God has appeared in every single thing I’ve written. Initially it just happened. As I began taking note of it, I acknowledged the fact. I don’t set out to give God a part. It just happens.
JW: Having 15 books currently in print means you have some that have been out there for a while and then some, like Giving It Up new to the marketplace. What is your plan for marketing? What do you do to get sales?
DD: Promoting is the hardest part for me. At this point in my career I have a following, Thank God. Mostly I put it out and hope they’ll find it. Yeah, I know I need work in this department. I will post something on FB and make a mention on my website or on my blog. Occasionally I’ll do an ad or host a contest.
JW: You mention a blog and a website. Where can we find you?
DD: My websites are <www.dyannedavis.com> and < www.adamomega.com> Folks can visit my blog at http://dyannedavis.blogspot.com
JW: As we end this delightful conversation, would you be willing to share a taste of GivIng It Up with the readers?
DD: Of course!
GIVING IT UP
Taylor moved up and down on his erection and a low moan slipped out of Michael. His eyes clenched tightly. Resisting the urge to thrust upward, to just grab her buttocks and go at it hot and heavy he concentrated on not having an early climax.
“Your skin is so soft, Taylor. You taste delicious and you smell…Um…yummy. I love your scent. One day you’ll have to tell me what that tantalizing fragrance is.”
He trailed his hand along the ridge of her shoulder following with his lips, his tongue nipping her lightly, licking her skin in circular motions, sucking her tongue into his mouth, pulling her closer, holding her tighter but never ever taking control. “Ride me baby,” he offered, “ride me hard…or gently if you want.”
He’d helped her to delay her climax with talk and look at the thanks he’d gotten for it. Taylor was toying with him now. She was deliberately killing him. With one hand Michael braced himself while with the other he attempted to lift Taylor from him.
“Stop it, she scolded. It’s my turn to have control.”
“Show mercy,” he whispered. “Taylor, you’re so not playing fair.”
“And you think the way you’re touching me is playing fair?”
“But I was attempting to be helpful darling.”
“How, by burning me up?”
He heard the delight in her and once again leaned into the hollow of her neck breathing in her essence, laving her repeatedly. His hands twisted in her hair and he held on as she slid down the length of him.
“This is my game,” Taylor reminded him. “I get to do what I want to you.”
With that she lowered herself all the way down over his erection, grinding her pelvis, not allowing him to break their connection. She wrapped her legs around his back and held on tilting her head downwards. Her pelvis tilted also giving just the angle she was looking for. Michael was touching her just where he knew she wanted it most and… yes, oh yes, she was coming.
Instead of answering her Michael quickly reversed positions. His flesh throbbed and jerked, delighted to be buried inside her creamy wetness. With a groan of satisfaction Michael pushed into Taylor while bringing her hips forward to meet his thrust. He couldn’t go deep enough into her body. She was circling him with her tightness making him want to come with each stroke. But that would be selfish. He was thrusting into her without mercy, faster and faster and… “Yes, yes, that it’s baby. Oh, that’s it,” he groaned as she ground her pelvis into his. It was time for him to give them both the relief they sought. Taylor was moaning. “I’m going to come. I’m…”
The insistent shrilling of the phone pulled Michael from his dream. Damn. Barely opening his eyes he glanced over at the clock and noted the time. 3 A.M. Who the heck could be calling him at this ghastly hour? He wasn’t on call and could not think of a single patient who needed him. He thought to ignore the still ringing phone, but the idea that it might be urgent worked its way into his mind. What if Taylor needed him?
With that thought, he snatched the phone from its cradle not masking the gruffness of his voice. If it wasn’t Taylor, wasn’t an absolute emergency, he wanted the caller to be aware they’d awakened him.
“Michael,” Beth’s voice purred through the lines.
“Where the hell are you?” Michael asked, and then followed with: “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. I thought maybe instead of continually telling you and Taylor to check the time before you pick up a phone to call me; I’d show you what I meant.”
If he weren’t feeling so annoyed, Beth’s voice would have brought him amusement. After all, she was one of his closest friends. And she had a point.