Interview with Diane Ryan

How do you approach cover design?
Wow, yeah...so this is a tough one for me. Why? Because with "Talking To Luke," I had no operating budget, therefore no luxury of hiring a professional designer to weigh in on the cover, much less design it. I had to do the best I could with what I had, which was basically a working knowledge of PhotoShop and a subscription to Shutterstock.

I knew I didn't want a tropey romance cover, even though that choice could potentially hurt sales, since books listed as a certain genre are expected to be marketed a certain way. I didn't want readers to expect one thing, but get another once they started reading. This book is so much more than romance. I didn't want to send the wrong message.

I also knew I had to keep it simple. I indulged a little more on the back cover, using a composite of different characters and props. But the front cover--the broken glass, the anger--not sure if it's flashy enough to encourage downloads from people unfamiliar with the story, but I believe anyone who reads the book would agree in retrospect that all the elements are there.

Speaking of covers...for the sequel, I'd really like cover art to include a representation of the photo Tania finds of Luke during an online search, since it features more prominently in "Wingspan" than it does in "Talking To Luke." Civil War re-enactors--I'd sure love to talk with you about actually creating this photograph. Message me on social media if you can help make this happen?
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh gosh--anything by Diana Gabaldon. I fell in love with the Outlander series a decade ago and now I'm hopelessly addicted to the TV show. It's sad, really, how hard I cried at the end of Season Two, and for how many days afterward. I probably should have sought therapy. It was ridiculous. And do note: this is being said by someone who already knew exactly what was going to happen to those characters and when. Geez louise. I was a mess.

I'm pretty crazy about "Kick" by John L. Monk, too. He has written other novels, but that one--mercy. I didn't have a tablet at the time so I read the whole thing on my smartphone, while I was going about my daily routine. I literally could not put it down. I walked into a few walls and tripped over a couple hoses. This is not an exaggeration, or something funny to say for dramatic effect. It happened.

"Florid States" by Rod Usher has long been a favorite, too. As an author, he's pretty obscure in the States. I feel that my discovery of his work was fortuitous, as well as the fact that I own a signed copy of this particular novel. ;-)

This looks like just three favorite books, but when you factor the whole Outlander series, I went over budget on this question in the first paragraph. So I'll just leave it here and move on.
Describe your desk
Picture a desktop computer that's about a decade old, a monitor with significantly more than one dead pixel, and a stackable system of trays to hold loose paper. Scatter cookie crumbs in a few strategic hiding spots and turn a raccoon lose in the middle of it all. And there ya go. That's my desk.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A tablet.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I actually grew up in Carson, the hometown featured in Talking To Luke. Of course, it is not named Carson in real life, but most of the particulars are accurate. So if some of the people seem real, if the setting seems real--that's because they probably are. ;-)
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I could effectively master the use of a pencil. I've found little short stories I wrote dating back to third grade.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Latest as in work-in-progress? Well, it's the sequel to Talking To Luke. It's the continuation of Luke and Tania's story, how they deal with conflicts in their relationship that have roots in Luke's past, and in Tania's inability to turn away from a soul in need despite tremendous personal cost. That last theme resonates profoundly in my own life. As an animal rescuer, I've had to put the lives of throwaway pets before the happiness of my husband and family numerous times. It takes a toll. It does make you ask the question: are you selfish when you DO help those in need, or selfish when you DON'T?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Total inability to effectively market my product to agents and publishers. LOL

No, seriously--at the time of this writing, the ebook version of "Talking To Luke" is free. But it wasn't always free, and it won't always be free. Typically, one hundred percent of the proceeds are donated to the 501c3 animal rescue I run in the heart of Appalachia. I need absolute control over the rights of this book so I could make that claim legitimately.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Do you want a truly honest answer here? Because it isn't pretty.

If I don't get out of bed, 40-plus rescue dogs will pee or poop in their kennels, and then I'll have to spend the rest of the day cleaning that up. So yeah--it's easier to just get up and let them out.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Running a 501c3 animal rescue in one of the most impoverished, highest-kill regions (when it comes to municipal shelter performance) of the United States.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually word of mouth, recommendations by other authors and occasionally I am a sucker for well-placed ads on social media.
What is your writing process?
There's a process?

Okay, I know there is. But how to describe it?

Mostly I labor over each section I write until I'm happy with it, rather than steamrolling to the end of the book and then going back for revisions. For me, each scene is a foundation for the one following it, so if one scene isn't right, I feel I have no starting point for the next. My writing tends to be very episodic, with chapters structured to include an opening hook and a strong EOC (end of chapter.) I have to write with no distractions, which means no music and the Facebook tab closed, not just minimized. Many times after a writing session, especially those that are particularly immersive, I am disoriented and almost dazed. Sometimes I just have to go to bed and sleep it off, which is one reason I try to write primarily at night.
Published 2016-09-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Wingspan
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 88,400. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Former paranormal researcher is drawn back into a hot zone of unexplained activity that has very personal ramifications, not only for herself, but for her husband and toddler son as well. (This book is the sequel to "Talking To Luke.")
Talking To Luke
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 93,430. Language: American English. Published: August 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
Paranormal researcher Tania Mosley gets more than she bargained for during a routine ghost hunting investigation. Technology and a twist of science bring her--literally--face to face with a dead Civil War soldier too stubborn to accept his fate and too angry about events that transpired 150 years ago to quietly move on.