Hi Dianna! So glad you could join us. First question:
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Dianna: I was in fifth grade the day President Reagan was shot. From that real event that day, I developed all sorts of fictional scenes and dialogue, something I did on a continual basis daily. When I asked friends and teachers what scenes and stories they created because of the attempted assassination, none of them had a clue what I was talking about. At that moment, I realized I was the only person I knew who did this sort of thing every day.
As time passed I recognized my zeal to write suspense novels, and like my respiratory system inhales and exhales, each day throughout the day my mind instinctively creates scenes and dialogue, always suspenseful in nature. Being an EMT, being a mom, and being blessed with this writer brain, the stories never stop flowing. Developing a good story, however, is where the real writing occurs. Fortunately, I love the arduous revision process, as it is where I take my shell of a story and make it worth reading (hopefully).
We writers are a different sort of person. 🙂 But writing takes time and you sound like you have a full plate. Tell me,
Do you write every day? What does your typical writing day look like?
Dianna: Every writer is different and needs to find their way—what works for one writer, won’t work for another. For me, one of the biggest challenges as an author is bouncing back and forth from the business side of writing to actually writing my fiction. So I’ve learned never to write on the days I have a radio/TV interview, a book signing event, a speaking engagement, or any other type of marketing task—I bunch those together in the same day(s) and week(s) and take that time off writing. When I’m not releasing a new book, thus buried in marketing, then I dig in and focus on writing. On my writing days, I typically write all day, every day Monday-Friday. When I’m writing my first draft, I write on paper with a pencil, either lying down on my office couch or at the beach, lake, in the mountains, or another nature-setting. When I’m fleshing out my first draft, I work on revisions in my office inside our house with two different computer screens as well as the printed out first draft.
Nice. You have a good system worked out. Since you mentioned marketing,
What’s your favorite marketing strategy?
Dianna: I love book trailers. My publisher did an excellent job on all three of mine, and I especially like the one for my newest release, Persephone’s Fugitive. Since books are not visual stories, it’s awesome to bring fictional written stories to life with a visual via a book trailer, and since YouTube is so popular, I think it’s the most effective and efficient tool to display book trailers. Like movie trailers, book trailers sell the book.
Your book trailer really draws a person into the story.
What project are you currently working on?
Dianna: Illusion of Safety, Book One in the MCI Trilogy (Mass Casualty Incidents)
FBI Agent Jenna Nichols is onboard a flight for a Canadian vacation when she spots three American terrorists. Despite her efforts to diffuse the imminent danger, the airplane crashes in the stormy mountains of West Virginia. Along with Jenna, military-paramedic Aiden Shaw is among the survivors. As they work together to help injured passengers, they discover one of the three terrorists survived the impact.
Sounds like another thrilling ride. Last question:
Have you ever had a unique experience connected with being an author?
Dianna: Several months after my first book released (The Hidden Son, 2013) I called a travel company to book my family’s vacation. After I gave my name for the booking and the state I live in (North Carolina), there was a long silence. I thought the line disconnected so:
“Are you still there?” I said.
“Yes, yes. I’m sorry. I must ask you, are you the author of The Hidden Son?”
At first I thought the woman was referring to some other book, not the book I wrote. Before I had the chance to reply…
“You’re Dianna T. Benson the novelist, aren’t you?” she asked, sounding excited.
“Yes.” The word escaped my mouth as my mind continued to process.
“Oh my goodness, it’s you. I’m really talking to you. I loved The Hidden Son. I can’t wait to read all your books.”
“That’s so kind of you.” I finally found something intelligent to say. “Thank you.”
Thanks so much, Dianna, for dropping by!
*** SPOILER ALERT *** Reading Persephone’s Fugitive (including the book blurb) before The Hidden Son (Book One in the Cayman Islands Trilogy) will ruin the ending of The Hidden Son. However, both books are standalones.
When a routine 911 call turns deadly, Paramedic Sara Dyer finds herself held at gunpoint by Jason Keegan, an injured psych-ward patient charged with murder. The situation spirals out of Sara’s control when the confrontation becomes a tense standoff between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
As Keegan’s hostage, Sara fights to save them both before he blows them up. She realizes his warning to the Cayman police is no empty threat since he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Sara soon discovers Keegan is just as determined to survive as she is – provided he can escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever. As she struggles to trust in God’s protection, help from an atheist turns her struggle into a lure away from her faith.
Dianna T. Benson is the award-winning and international bestselling author of The Hidden Son and Final Trimester. Persephone’s Fugitive is her third release. An EMT and a HazMat and FEMA Operative since 2005, Dianna authentically implements her medical and rescue experience and knowledge into all her suspense novels. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children. www.diannatbenson.com