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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Interview of Author Diane Farr

Today I'm happy to be interviewing author Diane Farr.

Latest Release Title: "Wicked Cool"

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Diane Farr was first published at the age of eight when the Bakersfield Californian printed one of her poems. She has lived most of her life with her nose in a book – sometimes reading, sometimes writing. She is a four-time RITA finalist and the winner of a Golden Quill, a Blether Gold award, and a Lifetime Achievement award from RT Book Reviews. Her May 2010 release, Wicked Cool, took First Place in the YA Division of the 2009 Focus on Writers contest.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you were a RITA finalist?
A: Okay, now this is actually a very funny story. The first time I got “the call,” the president of Romance Writers of America, Tara Taylor Quinn, happened to be a member of my local chapter.

So when she called me one March night, I assumed it had something to do with chapter business. It never crossed my mind that she was calling in her capacity as President of RWA! Tara said, “Congratulations, Diane, you’re a finalist in the RITA awards.” What I heard was, “Congratulations, you’re a finalist in the reader awards.” I had no idea what the “reader awards” were, but I was, naturally, delighted. “Oh, how wonderful,” I said. “How did that happen?” She must have thought I was nuts, but she carefully explained the awards to me – again, I’m hearing “reader awards” – while I made pleased sounds in the background. I finally asked, “So when are they given out?” Tara said, “At the national convention, on Saturday night.” Dismay struck me. “Oh, no!” I said. “That will conflict with the…”

And then it hit me. Yes, you idiot, it will conflict with the RITA awards. Because it IS the RITA awards, and you’re a finalist.

I cannot imagine what was going on at Tara’s end of the phone call. She heard me say, “Oh no, that will conflict with the …” followed by an indescribable, barely-human sound – somewhere between a choke and a scream.

I do not remember the rest of the phone call. I remember running in circles, whooping until I hyperventilated, but I’m not sure if Tara was still on the line.

She has kept a polite, but wary, distance from me ever since.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you…beginning, middle, end. Why?
A: They are all hard, for different reasons. The beginning is hard because you have to come up with an idea. Not just any idea – a GOOD idea. Lots of ideas are tempting to think about, but you have to figure out – in advance of writing the book – which ideas will sustain a book-length manuscript and which will peter out halfway through. My books always start with characters. I often come up with fabulous people who are just perfect for each other – that’s not the hard part. The hard part is coming up with some good reason why these two fabulous people can’t just meet, fall in love and get married. Because if they do, there’s no book! So there must be an obstacle, and it had better be a doozy. Then you get to the middle and encounter a long, hard slog. Usually the original obstacle, whatever it is, threatens to grow tiresome and repetitive. So you have to throw something else into the mix and, again, if it’s not the right something, your book falls apart.
Finally you glimpse the end in sight – and feel an overwhelming urge to gallop towards it, neck or nothing. So the hard part with an ending is reining yourself in, making sure you don’t trample important plot points on your way to the finish line.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: No, but I listen to “comfort music.” Classical, New Age or movie scores, mostly, because I can’t write to anything other than instrumental music. If someone starts singing lyrics, the words pouring into my ears distract me from the words pouring out of my fingertips.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: I miss my cat.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I’m a total Facebook addict. I play word games with friends and family all over the world – that’s what hooked me. My husband tells me that since I discovered Facebook, I would be happy if I were just a brain in a jar. He’s probably right. Especially if somebody would take the jar to the beach once in a while.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I hate to fly, but I put up with it because I love to travel. I also enjoy theater, which was my first love. Oh, and reading. Did I mention reading?

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!

Zara Norland has a problem. It’s getting harder to hide who—or what—she is. Which is pretty ironic, actually. Because Zara doesn’t know who, or what, she is. Her sixteenth birthday is just around the corner, and according to all the fairy tales and legends, something is about to happen. If you have unexplainable powers or a mysterious past—and Zara has both—something huge happens on your sixteenth birthday, right?

Zara has never found fairy tales particularly helpful. But she has a feeling that this time, the old legends are right on the money. Here comes trouble.

I saved somebody’s life today. And the awful thing is I shouldn’t have done it.

I am so mad at myself.

I’m also mad at the world and fate and The Great Whatever, for sticking me with this mess. It’s totally not my fault! I mean, okay, yes, I did it. But what else could I do? This whole situation is so unfair it bites.

Most of all, I’m mad at Donald O’Shaughnessy and his cheese-brained friends, for horsing around at the top of the tallest water slide in the park. I mean, honestly—get a clue!

The bottom line is, if Donald had had one single ounce of maturity, none of this would have happened. But who gets to suffer for it? Who is hiding all alone in her room, shivering with reaction? Who is scribbling panicked thoughts into a journal because she has no one to talk to? Me.

I bet Donald is surrounded by his near and dear. I bet the O’Shaughnessy clan is making a big fuss. I bet they sat around all evening, exclaiming and hugging and eating chocolate cake, overjoyed to have him safe and sound and all that.

Let’s face it. It sucks to be me.

Why did I do it?

I already know the answer, of course. I did it because I could. Somebody had to step up, and it happened so fast…

One second, Meg and I were standing at the bottom of the water slide, looking up. Meg—who, despite her general teensyness, has a much bigger voice than I have—was screaming at the boys to knock it off. Because the boys were way overhead, at the top of the platform, acting like over-caffeinated baboons.

And the next second, the safety rail at the top of the platform gave way.

It had never occurred to us that something bad might happen. From what I know about boys—which is, admittedly, not much—they ape the mentally challenged on a regular basis. Meg and I weren’t yelling at the boys because we were afraid someone would get hurt. We were just afraid we’d get kicked out of the park. We were yelling, but we were laughing too, you know? Until this happened.

The platform was about a hundred feet overhead. It might as well have been a mile. I saw a human form grab, miss, and fall. I saw red hair and bright blue swim trunks silhouetted against the sky. There was nothing around him but air.

And that was that. I risked everything, absolutely everything, for Donald O’Frickin Shaughnessy. I don’t even like Donald O’Shaughnessy.

There wasn’t time to think. I don’t remember making a decision—although I must have, of course, because summoning Power is never an accident. But I acted so quickly, Donald didn’t even have time to scream.

He plummeted—briefly. Very briefly. The instant I saw him spread-eagled and flailing against the sky, a flash of heat left my body.

The power arrowed into Donald’s torso like invisible lightning. His back arched like he’d been punched in the gut. He shot upward slightly from the force of the impact, then hung in midair for about a nanosecond. And then he drifted gently to the ground and landed. Unhurt.

On his feet, no less. I must admit, that was pretty cool.

The whole incident took about five seconds…probably the longest five seconds of my life.

Did I mention that the water park was crowded? Well, it was. School has only been out for four days, and everybody’s celebrating. So there were a lot of people there.

A lot of witnesses.

Excuse me while I jump up and pace for a few minutes.


Anonymous said...

好文章就值得回響,如果可以常常看到您的更新,應該是件很幸福的事情~~ ........................................

Molly Daniels said...

This sounds awesome Diane! Adding it to my TBB list.

Paris said...

I love this excerpt! You have a wonderful voice and I can't wait to read this;-)

I also love listening to music when I write but I'm with you--it has to be instrumental!

Diane Farr said...

Thank you, Molly and Paris! It was great fun to write in Zara's voice. I hope the book is successful, because I'm working on a sequel. Just in case. [grin]

Katalina Leon said...

Hi Diane! Its "Wicked Cool" to meet you! Congratulations on your new release.

jean hart stewart said...

Great excerpt. I admire anybody who can write in the first person...Ican't pull it off. Gotta know hwat happens next...Jean

Sandy said...

Oh wow, what a great story that's going to be.

Tina Donahue said...

Wonderful interview, Diane! Wow, you've certainly been recognized by your peers for your great writing!

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