Friday, October 3, 2008

Interview with Diane Whiteside

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Diane Whiteside. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Bond of Darkness. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Texas Ranger Stephanie “Steve” Reynolds is on the hunt for a serial killer who is stalking innocent women in the Lone Star State. The beautiful Ranger comes to suspect the unbelievable – that the killer is a vampire. Steve knows all about vampires, since she has a demon lover of her own, Ethan Templeton, who has been helping her on cases when he wasn’t sharing her bed.

Ethan loves Steve, but he thinks nothing can come of their passion, even if he could convince her to share his immortal life. But when a killer menaces Steve, Ethan realizes he has no choice except to risk everything. Will she agree to join a man she’s called murderer – or will she refuse her one chance at eternal life and love?
Bond of Darkness is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It’s the third book in a trilogy, following Bond of Blood and Bond of Fire. In both those books, blood and fire refer to the stumbling blocks in the relationships. My working title for Bond of Darkness was pretty horrific and I wasn’t particularly fond of it. There was apparently some mad dashing up and down the editorial hallways to come up with a new title when they needed to list the third volume in a catalog. The publisher finally put her foot down and said the title would be Bond of Darkness. My editor called me and gave me the news that afternoon, in some fear and trepidation. Steve and Ethan let me know they were very pleased and later on told me why darkness referred to their relationship’s stumbling block. Amazing how these things work out, isn’t it?

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love to read paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and historicals. I wanted to write something that combined elements of all three, with world building based much more on science rather than literature or folk tales.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The Texas vampire trilogy universe hit me while I was talking to a friend, who’s a native Texan. She wondered why there weren’t any vampires written in Texas. I had an immediate vision of a tall, sexy vampire cowboy sauntering into a western saloon – and my brain immediately went into overdrive. I had to write that book! I had to write that series! I had to create that universe! Bond of Darkness is the third volume in the Texas vampire trilogy and creates the basis for the series. (No way a heterosexual couple gets an HEA in Texas until Steve and Ethan do…)

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

Oh, that’s a very hard question. I also write historicals and almost all of my research books and websites do double-duty for historicals. But I’m going to say foreign language dictionaries. An author always has to create new terms for stuff and your own brain runs dry very, very quickly. Foreign languages have an amazing bounty of terms. I’m always hunting for more.

When Andre Norton – the great science fiction and fantasy author – died, she left her entire library to be used by other authors. The collection of foreign language dictionaries was amazing.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

When Don Rafael is in the scene, he takes it over. The man writes his own dialogue; I just close my eyes and he takes it from there. He’s the only character I’ve ever written who did that. It can be infuriating because we still have arguments with each other when I’m trying to persuade him to do something convenient for the plot. Hah!

Ethan is unbelievably drop-dead sexy and lethal at the same time. I don’t trust him, I wouldn’t want to be in Steve’s shoes as his soul mate – but I’d sleep with him in a minute, if he was in a good mood. He can be a little easier to write than Don Rafael.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

I have a character sheet for the hero, heroine, and villain with key facts that I’ve found useful. I also do a detailed goal-motivation-conflict worksheet for the hero and heroine. I translate these to index cards, which also have odd factoids for each person (like Steve’s bridesmaid dress). World building factoids also go into the index cards because I treat the setting as a character.
The research and/or world effects on the characters’ environment (as in the nature-nurture-environment triad) are usually recorded in the index cards. Big issues from nature and/or nurture hopefully show up in the goal-motivation-conflict worksheet. It’s painful if they don’t show up until the index cards phase.

The index cards are continually updated while writing. Bond of Blood, the first book which established the universe, took more than 300 index cards.

How do you go about building your world, if you use one? Do you use maps, charts, or drawings?

The Texas vampires are based on the premise that vampiros actually exist; they just don’t want us prosaicos to know they’re out there. They live in real cities – Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans, etc. But their individual homes are fictional, although located in real neighborhoods. (Fans living in those cities tell me they’ve guessed where my vampires live, which thrills me.) I’ve got lots of maps of Texas, neighborhood guides, photographs, architectural analysis, etc. for the actual buildings.

How vampirism works is based on current animal metabolism science, which I vetted with top researchers. We played a what-if game, which is very common with scientific researchers when figuring out a scientific theory. To our considerable shock, vampires were all too easily feasible.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Christine Feehan, who inspired me to go for my dreams, and Georgette Heyer, who inspires me to be a better writer

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

An excellent website. You can’t have too good a website.

What do we have to look forward to next?

Captive Dreams, which I co-wrote with Angela Knight, is being re-issued in mass-market this December. The River Devil, one of my historical, is also being re-issued in mass-market the same month.

After that, Kisses Like A Devil comes out in March 2009, featuring a student heroine who steals the plans for a super-weapons coveted by every country in Europe and the American adventurer who reluctantly has to protect her. It’s a historical set in the original steampunk world.

Thanks, Diane!

To celebrate her book release, Diane is offering a free ebook of Bond of Fire to one lucky commenter on today’s blog. She will be around all day today. I’m sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away…

By day, Diane Whiteside builds and designs computer systems for the federal government. By night, she escapes into a world of alpha males and the unique women who turn their lives upside down, whether the setting is historical, contemporary, or time traveling somewhere in between. Diane is thrilled and grateful readers enjoy these escapades as much as she does. She invites fans to visit her website at, where they can also contact her.

You can purchase Bond of Darkness at Amazon or Powell’s Books.


Anonymous said...

I've used foreign language dictionaries for many words needed in my SciFi universe. I wanted the sense and sound of the word to be recognizable but different from ours.

It would be fascinating to read a "Behind the Scenes" article of what you experienced setting up this series. What kind of researchers did you corner for info on animal metabolism?

And a purely eye candy question, who is that model on the cover? He's absolutely scrumptious in a rough, alpha sort of way.

Diane Whiteside said...

Hi, Kayelle! I worked with researchers from a top animal food lab. You'd recognize the company name but I can't mention it. They even inclined a theoretical physicist, much to my fascination.

All my Texas vampire trilogy books have covers featuring the heroine. BOND OF BLOOD shows Grania and BOND OF FIRE shows Helene, for example. Steve is 3/4 Cherokee and her Native American roots are very important to her. Her androgyny is also very attractive to Ethan, although it's turned off a lot of other guys.

Rebekah E. said...

This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the wonderful interview.

Bridget said...

I've read several of your books and loved them all. Not only are they sexy/sensual but have great storylines. They take me places I like to go. Thanks for many pleasant hours.
; D

Diane Whiteside said...

Thanks, rebekah e! BOND OF DARKNESS was a fun book to write and I hope other people enjoy it too.

Ooh, thanks for saying you like my books - and that you think I'm a storyteller, bridget! That's just about my biggest goal in writing: first of all, tell a good story. I'm so glad they worked for you.

And that was "included" a theoretical physicist, not "inclined" at the lab. Sorry! (Although who knows what his private inclinations were... LOL)

CrystalGB said...

Hi Diane. Great interview. Good to see you here. Bond of Darkness sounds wonderful.