Meet Debut Novelist Dianne Duvall

Award-winning author Dianne Duvall recently signed a three-book contract with Kensington. Her paranormal romance, Darkness Dawns, is slated to hit bookstore shelves in February 2011.

When Dianne isn’t writing, she’s very active in the independent film industry, working in pre-production, production, and post-production. Her roles are many. She edits films, constructs movie trailers, and designs movie posters. She’s even been an extra in horror films, having crawled out of a grave in one and rushed the camera wielding a machete and screaming like a banshee in another. One of the short films she edited, a surreal drama, won an award at the Jamerican International Film and Music Festival. Others have been Official Selections of the Cannes Independent Film Festival, the London Independent Film Festival, and more.

Dianne lives in southern Texas with her supportive husband, “to whom no fictional hero can compare.” Reading is her biggest hobby, but she also loves gardening and growing her own vegetables and ornamental plants from seed. She paints occasionally, using a wide variety of mediums, and enjoys attending concerts where her musician friends are performing.

I invite you to learn more about Dianne and her journey to publication.




Dianne’s Journey Begins


•Are you a born writer who’s always had a pen in hand, or did you feel the call to write later in life?

I actually wrote my first romance novel on a yellow legal pad when I was thirteen years old. I didn’t pick up the proverbial pen again until college, where I decided to study creative writing while pursuing a BA in English.


•Some writers, like you, have formal education in writing before they embark on their journeys as romance novelists. What did you study, and what were some of the most valuable lessons you learned?

I started out majoring in journalism, but found myself too shy for such an occupation. I also admit I lacked your flair for interviewing. I earned my BA in English at the University of St. Thomas, where I studied fiction writing, playwriting and poetry writing. Surprisingly, the poetry writing class was the one that ultimately helped me find my true voice as a writer by focusing more of my attention on the words themselves (the series of sounds words made and the emotion such evoked), not just the story they conveyed.


•Your job sounds interesting and intriguing. What are some ways your work in the film community serves you in your writing?

Participating in table readings has helped me overcome some of my shyness and prepared me for readings at book signings. Running lines with professional actors has also aided me in this by making me a more expressive reader. Script editing keeps my skills sharp for when I edit my own manuscripts. Editing the films themselves, a task I love, has increased my awareness of consistency and inconsistency (i.e.: the moon was just a sliver in this scene, but was nearly half full in this one). Making trailers is even more fun. I can’t wait to make the trailers for my novels!



Dianne’s Milestones


•You spent five years on the Contest Circuit and racked up an impressive number of placements with three different stories, including four wins and the Best of the Best in the Indiana Golden Opportunity contest. Which of your contest successes have meant the most to you, and why?

Two contests meant more to me than any others. The first was the Picture This contest, hosted by the Inland Empire Chapter of Romance Writers of America®, in which all entrants competed against each other in a single category. I won second place with my time-travel romance Rendezvous With Yesterday and third place with my medieval paranormal romance A Sorceress of His Own. This increased my confidence as a writer because it was the first time in the contest’s history that two entries from the same writer reached the final round. It was also the contest in which one of the judges wrote, “Your story is why readers love romance!”  Keeping that comment in mind took the sting out of any rejection letters I later received.

The second contest that impacted me the most was the Indiana Golden Opportunity contest. Darkness Dawns being chosen as Best of the Best by a well-known editor/judge was very exciting because I competed against such tough contenders: all of the other first place winners. It also directly affected my writing because the prize was an AlphaSmart NEO, which has since become my favorite writing medium. It’s so light and energy efficient that I can take it anywhere and write in any environment for as long as I want without needing an alternative energy source. I write everywhere I go now and have become far more productive as a result.


•You’ve already seen your name in print, although not on the cover of a romance novel. Please tell us about your published works.

One of my poems, “The Guardian,” was published in the anthology A Muse to Follow. I have also written a one-act play (comedy) that has never been performed professionally and co-written a spec script for a situation comedy, which has not yet been sold.


•Some writers have a hunch The Call is coming their way. Others are stunned. Which were you? How did you react to the news?

The Call caught me completely off guard. That afternoon I was both expecting and dreading a call from my insurance company, which I assumed would spawn the usual frustration and irritation such calls do. The phone rang. I answered, thinking, “Here we go.”

But the voice on the other end wasn’t a weary insurance agent intent on thwarting me. It was Megan Records with Kensington. She introduced herself and asked me if I was sitting down. I wasn’t, so I did. Then she told me how much she had enjoyed Darkness Dawns and offered me a three-book contract with an option for a fourth.

My mind went blank. It was so much the opposite of what I had been anticipating that it took me a moment to switch gears. Then excitement and elation kicked in. The rest is a bit of a blur. I suspect, if I ever heard a tape of the conversation, I would blush fiery red. I remember laughing a lot. As I mentioned before, I’m very shy, but felt instantly at ease talking with Megan and was so thrilled by all of the good things she had to say about Darkness Dawns. Those, of course, I remember clearly.



Dianne Changes Directions


•You’re writing contemporary paranormals now, but you wrote in other sub-genres before this. How did you discover your niche?

I began my foray into the romance industry by writing two contemporary romances I geared toward the Harlequin and Silhouette lines. (My professors and numerous writing books had advised, “Write what you know.”) Though I still enjoy those stories and would like to revisit them one day, I had to change directions in order to find my true voice as a writer.

My third manuscript was a medieval romance with paranormal elements. I was quite daunted by the amount of research the tale would require. Yet, the story that had come to me intrigued me so much that I dove right in with enthusiasm. The completed manuscript was very well-received by contests. Ironically, the most common reason publishers offered for turning it down was a lack of interest in paranormal romances.

Undaunted, I then wrote a time travel sequel that also did well in the contest into which I entered it. The paranormal elements at the heart of both of these manuscripts ultimately sparked the idea for Darkness Dawns, which puts a new twist on the vampire romance genre – a new twist that piqued my editor’s interest and led to the contract offer. I credit both directional changes – first the dramatic change from series contemporary to historical paranormal, then the gradual change from historical paranormal to contemporary paranormal – with my newfound success and am very glad I made them.



Dianne’s Debut Novel


•Please tell us about Darkness Dawns.

Darkness Dawns is the tale of Sarah Bingham, a music professor who unexpectedly finds herself thrust into a war that erupts between vampires and immortals, then loses her heart to the dark, enigmatic warrior who offers her his protection. It is also the first in a paranormal romance series that will introduce readers to more such warriors and take readers along on their journey as they endeavor to discover the truth behind their existence, encounter new beings as powerful as they are themselves and face increasingly complex challenges spawned by an escalating number of formidable foes.



Dianne’s Journey Continues


•Your first book is in your publisher’s hands. What are you working on now?

Right now I’m finishing the second book in the series, which has tentatively been scheduled for release in December 2011. I’m also plotting the third book in the series. I’ve discovered that having a contract in hand and networking with other writers (especially through Facebook, blogs and other cyber methods) has inspired me with excellent results: I’m writing faster now than I ever have. It looks like I’m going to finish both of the next books well before their deadlines and hope to move on to the fourth by the end of this year.



Five Fun Facts About Dianne, The Writer


~ She regularly garbles foreign accents while reading dialogue aloud.

~ She listens to Disturbed when writing and choreographing fight scenes.

~ She channels all of her assorted frustrations into the aforementioned fight scenes and has been accused of enjoying them a bit too much.

~ The novel she is currently working on was inspired by a dream.

~ Almost all of Darkness Dawns was written between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m.



Five Fun Facts About Dianne, the Person


~ Though shy, she has been known to douse herself in fake blood and run screaming at cameras.

~ She eats more than the warriors in her novels (hence the exercise bike).

~ She periodically engages her husband in a Who Can Cook the Spiciest Food competition, leaving both sniffling and teary-eyed

~ She once adopted a stray cat with the personality of Jim Carrey’s character in Me, Myself & Irene (i.e., he may have had advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage, but he was a very gentle kitty).

~ She’s as much a night owl as her characters.



Dianne’s Question for You

If all romance novels were made into movies and you could audition for the role of any heroine, who would it be and who would you want to play the hero?



Learn More About Dianne

Visit her website ~

Friend Her on Facebook ~ Dianne Duvall


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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9 Responses to Meet Debut Novelist Dianne Duvall

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Dianne! It’s great to have you here. I enjoyed getting to know more about you and your writing.

    I can’t imagine myself playing any romance heroine because I have no desire to be an actress. I have a sneaking suspicion my fear of acting dates back to sixth grade when I was Puck in A Midsummer Nights Dream. I remember standing on stage in my mother’s filmy black peignoir set and having no clue what my lines were. Not even the prompts I was given helped. I have no idea what else happened. I was so thoroughly traumatized that the memory must be buried in deeper, darker recesses than my first monstrosity, er, manuscript.

    As for a hero, I’m a Richard Gere fan. I know he’s not a hot young thing anymore, but neither am I. However, I think he does gray very well. 🙂

  2. dianneduvall says:

    Thank you, Keli, for having me as a guest on Romance Writers on the Journey! It’s my first interview and has been so much fun!

    I can sympathize with your fear of acting. I had a similar experience in elementary school. (I can’t remember what grade — I must have blocked it out.) My mind still tends to go blank every time I step in front of a camera. Fortunately, none of my roles as a movie extra have required speech. Just a few screams here or there. 😀

    As for Richard Gere as a hero: Excellent choice! I’ve enjoyed his movies for years and will be very surprised if you’re the only one who suggests him!

  3. Barb says:

    Hi Dianne,

    Hope I’m not too late to the party. I would want to play Millie in Powerful Greek, Unworldly Wife written by Sarah Morgan (Harlequin Presents). As for who would play Leandro, well, he’s not Greek, but it would have to be Johnny

    Take care,

  4. Hi, Barb! Thanks so much for stopping by and for introducing me to a new read! Powerful Greek, Unworldly Wife sounds great. (I looked it up on Amazon and will definitely have to pick up a copy!) I can see why you would want to play Millie! And you just can’t go wrong with Johnny Depp as the hero! 🙂

  5. Jamie D. says:

    Wonderful interview – and more books to put on my TBR pile, looks like. I’ll be looking forward to your release next year. 🙂

    I’m a watcher, not an actor, so I don’t know that I’d want to play a romance heroine. But as far as heroes go, well…I’m partial to big, muscle-y men like Vin Diesel. Yum! 😉

  6. Hi, Jamie! So nice to see one of my facebook friends here! Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview!

    Vin Diesel is yet another excellent choice! He’s great in those “I’ve come to chew bubble gum and kick butt . . . and I’m all out of bubble gum” kind of roles, don’t you think? I could definitely see him in a paranormal romance or romantic suspense film! 🙂

  7. Jocelyn Guerette says:

    Great interview and congratulations!! Looking forward to this exciting story.

  8. Stu Lawrence says:

    Your interview and story are fascinating and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Congrats on your first publication, I hope to soon know that feeling with my novel “Bayler Daniels” May your journey take you to all the places your heart wishes to go. God Bless

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