Diana Hunter Interview

I am delighted to be speaking with author Diana Hunter today. Thanks for chatting with us today Diana and welcome to FAR!
Thank you for having me. It's a delight to be here!

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current release Tales from the Ramayana?
The Ramayana is an ancient epic from India and, like all epics, is filled with deeds of derring-do, swordplay, and great battles against an evil villain. But the Ramayana is also a love story and that's the focus of the four short stories in this collection.

This is my first self-published work and is available in all ebook formats from the Kindle store, B&N's Nook store and from Smashwords.

What was your inspiration for Tales from the Ramayana?
Many years ago I had a fellowship to study the Ramayana at Syracuse University. We spent four weeks exploring the epic in the written form, in dance, art, music and even television. It's important to remember the Ramayana is a living epic, unlike our Western epics. Take The Odyssey, for example. Once Homer wrote it down, it stopped growing as a story. People said, "Here's the story as Homer told it. This is the way it happened."

That's not true with the Ramayana. It has been told, retold, expanded, rewritten, and told again over the four thousand years of its existence. In fact, if you ask in India how many Ramayanas there are, the answer is always the same: "There are as many Ramayanas as there are grains of sand on the seashore." The story, and all it has to teach us, doesn't truly become yours until you've expounded on it and told it in your own words.

And of course, being the romantic I am at heart, my expounding focuses on the love story that's really at the heart of the epic. I'm sure that's not a surprise to those who know my work!

You also have Love in the Afternoon available from Ellora's Cave. Can you tell us about it?
Love in the Afternoon is a short story about a happily married couple who spend an afternoon together, enjoying each other in a BDSM way. No names are given because, between husband and wife, names are unimportant. It's wonderful to see a couple in a committed relationship just spending an afternoon together, each desiring nothing more than to make the other happy.

What is a typical day like for you?
LOL I'm not sure I have typical days.

Because I have a day job, I'm out of the house by 6:30 am and working by 7:15 am. Starting so early gets me home by 3:45 pm, though, so that's when my second job of being an author kicks in. Mostly I do the "other" work an author needs to do during the work week, answering emails, sending out promotions, writing my blog, making a Twitter post or two. Lately it's been learning all there is to know about self-publishing. I'm in bed by10:30 pm to do it all again the next day.

The weekends, now that it's warm, I'll spend at our cabin in the mountains with my husband. We bought this place three years ago and have been rebuilding it (it had been empty for nearly 30 years and the animals had moved in). I'll spend the mornings landscaping and, when I'm done with that, spend the rest of the day writing.

When did you decide to take "pen in hand" and write with the intent to publish?
I'd been scribbling pieces of a story on anything that came to hand for over a decade, always wanting to write that novel inside me, never having the time to do more than scribble. I am a teacher and spent my summers working, too, in order to pay the bills. Then one summer when my children were little, my husband (who is an adjunct professor) said, "I think we're going to be okay this summer. Why don't you take the time off, stay home with the kids, and write that book you're always talking about?"

Have I mentioned he's a wonderful husband? We're going to celebrate 30 years this June and I think you see why.

Anyway, I took him up on it and spent a great deal of time writing a very poorly-written fantasy. I doubt it will ever see the light of day. But I learned a whole heck of a lot in the process and by the time I wrote my third full-length novel (Secret Submission) I was off and running!

Do you have any special rituals to help you get in the mood to write?
Toni Morrison has a great line about this and is one I have taken to heart. She said, "I don't need to be struck by lightning and I don't need certain slants of light to help me write." That about sums me up!

Do you have any bad writing habits?
Oh, my glory, I have a list! Mostly words that have become habit words for me. I keep the list posted to the bulletin board in my study and once I'm ready to edit, I go word-by-word down the list, double checking my manuscript to find and replace them so I don't get repetitive.

Do you have a character that is especially close to your heart?
Characters are like children and we writers are not supposed to have favorites. That said, yes, I do. But I can't tell you who they are or the other children…erm, characters, will get jealous.

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That all we do is write a few hours a day and the rest of the day is time to relax. That and the "fact" that our stories spring forth, fully formed, and all we need to do is type them out! Don't I wish!

Everyone has a different perspective on "getting away from it all" and a good book often helps to satisfy an escapist urge. As a reader or an author, what are the essential elements for you in good escapist reading?
I have to be able to get totally immersed in the world the author creates. My favorite genre to read is fantasy. If the author has done his/her job, and done the world building necessary, then I leave this planet and get to go somewhere truly special!

Congratulations! You just won a year off from work to travel anywhere in the world and write the story of your dreams. Where do you go, what type of book do you write, and what's the title?
Whee! A whole year to spend writing? How wonderful! I'm going to rent a cottage in Ireland, right on the shore and I'll take the occasional jaunt to Europe proper to visit Tuscany, the Alps, Vienna, and go boating on the Danube.

But mostly I'm going spend the time holed up in my cottage living in my own fantasy world and write a series of books (the first of which I've actually started) called The Companion.

Want the one-line teaser? Stuck in a partnership neither one wanted, an Earth Mother and her Companion discover a pillaged farm and must find a way to work together as they defend their country from an invader who has powers they don't understand.

Can you share a little of your upcoming works with us?
I actually have two very different works, both of which I hope will see publication before autumn. The first is an erotic romance tentatively titled Services Rendered. I started this story a few years back but ran into a wall with it. Finally I realized I was trying to force the characters into a format, a mold of what I thought an erotic romance novel should be. They didn't like the mold and refused to budge on the issue. Only when I backed off and said, "Fine then. YOU tell the story," did they start talking to me again. As a result, this book walks the line between sweet romance and erotic BDSM, so don't blame me if it pushes the envelope of both genre!

The other one is a departure from my normal genre of erotic romance. The title is Hardship and Hardtack and it is a historical novel that takes place during the second year of the Civil War. In it, we follow one man (Richard) as he enlists in the Union Army, fights his first battle, loses, and becomes a prisoner of war - all in the first four weeks of his service. I won't give spoilers, but I will tell you the span of the book covers nearly a year in his life. What's so special about this book lies in the letters the real Richard wrote home. They are wonderful to read!

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your works?
I do! My official website is dianahunter.net and I keep a blog at dianahunter.blogspot.com! You can find links to all my works there.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us today Diana!
Thank you for allowing me to visit!

Interviewed by: Tammy