Birthday Presents: Dianne Heartsick
Please welcome Dianne Hartsock author of Birthday Presents
Dianne Heartsick author of Birthday Presents will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
by Dianne Hartsock
GENRE: m/m erotic romance, crime drama
- What or who inspired you to start writing?
I think I’ve been writing stories since I first learned the alphabet and could put pen to paper. I used to tell stories to anyone who’d listen before that. I think my sister Sharon was my real influence. She would read us bedtime stories or make up ones of her own. I grew up wanting to do that. I also had a fantastic creative writing teacher who encouraged me to submit a story to our local newspaper. I won first prize and had my story published in the newspaper. I was hooked after that!
- How did you come up with ideas for your books?
Most of my ideas simply come to me. I might meet an interesting customer at work who starts me wondering what their story is. Or I hear snatches of a conversation or bits of a song. Even a laugh or someone’s smile can get me thinking. BIRTHDAY PRESENTS came from one night at a dance club where I met some beautiful people but also a creeper who stood against the wall watching the dance floor. He never spoke to anyone, just stood there drinking and watching the young men. Gave me the shivers, and later became the inspiration behind Crimson.
- What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
I not only write books, I’m also an avid reader, devouring books one after another. The proverbial bookworm. And I read everything from sweeping fantasy to epic sci/fi, psycho thrillers and suspense and medical thrillers. And of course, hot as blazes m/m erotic romances. I live off of those.
- As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
To keep writing! I’m finishing a psychological thriller, then will start an erotic romance based off of a winter legend. Then maybe something with zombies. I also have a few short romance stories I’d like to write sometime between these novels. Always busy!
- Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I’ve tried various critique groups, but between writing and my day job, I simply don’t have the time to devote to the other writers’ work that I should be giving them. Maybe one day in the future I’ll join a group again. It has always been helpful to get other writers’ opinion on something I’m writing and to read their work. I learn a lot from them.
- When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it was my seventh grade creative writing teacher who encouraged me to submit a story of mine to the local newspaper. My story won first place and was printed in the newspaper, and that did it! I was hooked. Something I’d written not only was accepted, it was being read by people I’d never even met. After that, I was determined to be a published author. It took years of frustration, but six years ago my first novel was published and I’ve been moving forward ever since.
- Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I’m usually plotting out my next story while still working on my current WIP, so by the time I’m ready to write, I have the beginning, middle, and ending and also the characters pretty much plotted out. After that, I start with the first scene and keep going from there. My characters tend to wander off topic quite often, changing the storyline, but even so, I always seem to be able to rein them in and have the ending I intended. Also, I’ve had to throw out several first chapters of various books as not being necessary. Which is difficult, because I’m very attached to my work. It can be painful to cut out scenes.
- Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you’ve gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
I really don’t have time for a hobby. I’m either at work or writing on my current WIP. I do work as a floral designer though, so I meet some interesting customers and often use them as inspiration for various characters. It also allows me to work closely with all kinds of people, study their behavior and attitude, which helps me flesh out my characters.
- Do you have an all time favorite book?
In which genre! It’s difficult to choose one book over another. I guess if I had to, though, it would be Tolkien’s LOTR series. You won’t find a more perfect hero than Frodo Baggins or a more loyal friend than his Samwise.
- Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
I’m just finishing up the third book in my ALEX series. Alex is a psychic who’s dealt with serial killers and psychopaths and in this last book, a haunting. I have about three chapters left to write, and then I’ll start at the beginning and go through it again, then again, until I think it’s ready to send off to my publisher.
- Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
There are several dark spots in BIRTHDAY PRESENTS, but without giving too much away, there’s a moment when it doesn’t look like our hero will make it. Crimson had teamed up with a corrupt cop and our hero is trapped in a dog cage with no hope of escape. There are also several scenes told in Crimson’s POV which are grim indeed. He’s my serial killer so you can imagine the type of thoughts in his head.
- Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to write a series.
At the moment I only have one series out, my ALEX stories, but I can tell you, keep good notes! Even the character with the smallest part may later become someone important and you need to know all about them. It helps to keep a character sheet stating physical appearance and behaviors that distinguish him from the other characters. And keeping a good timeline will help keep you on track and makes sure your characters all end up where they need to be when they need to be there. Pay attention to details as well. The story needs to flow smoothly from book to book. Even a small inconsistency can throw off a reader.
For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.
Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.
A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.
Gene stared at the golden brown liquid swirling in the shot glass as the bartender filled it yet again. Maybe he’d had enough. God, he was tired. He rubbed his gritty eyes, the techno music blaring through the crowded room throbbing in his head.
He turned on the stool to the small dance floor and watched a young man gyrate to the pounding beat. Strobe lights caressed the man’s pale skin and dark clothing. The sleek body twirled with flowing, sensual movements. With a graceful twist, the guy’s black hair swept like silk across his white cheek. Achingly young and beautiful. Gene noted the men standing back, drinks in their hands, watching the dancers. His suspect could be any one of them. Or none.
He picked up the shot glass and held it up to the flashing lights. How many nightclubs just like this one had he been in these past six months? It felt like hundreds, with him no closer to finding Kyle’s abductor. If he’d even been kidnapped.
Gene put the glass to his lips and tossed back the whiskey, savored the burn in his throat. Most members of the police force believed Kyle had been bored with his life and simply walked away. He was nineteen, after all. Even Craig had backed off the search as more pressing cases took precedence.
But Kyle would never have done that. Gene knew his brother. Sweet and shy, Kyle would never had gone willingly with a stranger, without a word to his family, leaving his parents in this nightmare.
“But he never told you he was clubbing, either,” Craig would remind him.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Dianne-Hartsock-Author-107985445959828/
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Dianne Hartsock will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.