An interview with Lori DiAnni, a Maine-based romance author who writes time travel and sweet small town romance.
When did you first begin writing? I was nine years old. I wrote a short story- a fairytale titled "Zeee." I wrote it in pencil, drew some illustrations and passed it around. It was a best seller in the neighborhood! I've been writing ever since.
What advice do you have for other writers? Believe in yourself. Believe in your dream. Believe in your story. I'm not published as of this interview, but I believe I will do it this year. Perhaps I would've been published by now, if I had believed in myself back in the 1990s when my desire to write a story was full blown. In 2001, an agent requested my manuscript for A Time To Smile, but I didn't send it in. Why? Because I doubted myself. I didn't feel I was worth it. And I was afraid. Afraid of what? I didn't know. Success? Maybe. Afraid of failure? Probably. I don't know, but I've always regretted it.
What inspired your current WIP? The Time of the Moon came from a dream, actually. The dream was so vivid and I knew I had to tell it as a story. So, I got out of bed at 2 a.m. or so and just scribbled it all down. The next day I started writing it. But, the entire story has changed since then. The characters evolved and so did the original story. I love this story and I think I'm stalling on finishing it because I don't want it to end. I love the characters so much. I'm about 20K away from the end, but with the way I write, it could end at another 40K. LOL! Seriously, I hope to have it finished by the end of March or sometime in April at the very latest so I can have it published in the summer.
"You'll grow to love the full moon, too, you know."
- "The Time of the Moon"
What is your favorite book on writing? Oh, I have so many! Recently, I found Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody-- it's a wonderful how to book. I also love the Plot Whisperer book and workbook by Martha Alderson. Another great resource book for character creation is The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines-Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Dowden, Daro LaFever and Sue Viders. And Writers Digest Books has a great series-- Elements of Fiction Writing. GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon is another great resource book on writing. Oh, I could go on and on. There are so many great how to books on writing.
Which author inspires you the most? I can't name just one author. There have been so many who inspired me and still inspire me to this day. I primarily write time-travel because I was originally inspired by June Lund Shiplett who wrote Journey to Yesterday and Return to Yesterday --both time-travels written in the 1980s, I believe. I fell in love with both books and my heart was forever bound to that genre. From there, I read books by Constance O'Day-Flannery, Lynn Kurland, Jude Deveraux, Eugenia Riley- just to name a few. I also fell in love with Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay- more of a time-slip novel. I also love Bess McBride's series, A Train Through Time; and Susanna Kearsley's time-slip novels. I was also inspired by authors who wrote romantic suspense/gothic which would be Barbara Michaels, Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. I started out reading Gothic Romance as a teen.
What do you do when you have Writer's Block? Having writer's block, to me, means that I haven't outlined enough to know where my story is going. Then again, I rarely outline-- I'm a pantser! I just write what comes to me. Perhaps that's one cause of writer's block. But, when I get to that point, as I often do, I will read what I had already written--could be a few scenes, or several chapters and that usually motivates me or gives me an idea to use and then I can write. Sometimes, I just need to take a break and do something else. I love to scrapbook so often times when I'm doing that my mind will wander and I will get more ideas. Sometimes reading, or listening to music will help as well. I like to write linear, but I read somewhere that if you have writer's block, that you write out of sequence and just write a scene that will come later in the story. I did that once and it worked!
Tell us about some upcoming projects. Sure! Currently I'm working on The Time of the Moon. It's a time-travel in which my heroine, Lauren Cabot, a grief counselor, is sent back in time to help the physically scarred hero, and his emotionally scarred niece, work through their grief and in doing so, she discovers a secret from her past that could affect her future. (I'm not very good at log-lines or giving short descriptions). I also have Finding Eden: Book One and Back to Eden: Book Two to complete. These two stories take place in Bar Harbor Maine during the resort era of the early 1900s. This series has been in the works for YEARS! Finding Eden is almost done. Those are also time-travel novels. And, I'm just outline Dancing on the Grass--a small town sweet contemporary (which I've never written before but I love to read).
What made you decide to write time-travel and historical fiction? Because of the authors (see the above question) who inspired me. When I started writing seriously, in the 1990s, time-travel was a big genre and I fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to write one someday. That's when I started writing Finding Eden which originally had been titled, A Time To Smile. As far as historical, I've always loved history and always read historical novels since I was a young girl. I still love them! So, I want to write in that genre as well. As a matter of fact, I have snippets of two story ideas I want to write as well which takes place along the Oregon Trail in the 1850s. It's a three book series and the series is called Hearts West.
What inspired my sweet small town contemporary romance? One line from one of my favorite songs: "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran. I LOVE that song! The line is, "dancing in (on) the grass..." When I heard it, an image came to mind and I knew I had another story to write. My small town contemporary will be about 50K words and will take place in a small coastal town inspired by the town I grew up in.
You can visit Lori's website loridianni.com and follow her on Instagram @loridianni_writer