Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview and Book Giveaway, Chatting with Dianne Hartsock

Today, my guest is author, Dianne Hartsock. Dianne has made the following offer: a book give-away of PDF copy of her book to one commenter who tells her if he or she believes in ghosts or not.

AUTHOR: Dianne Hartsock
BOOK TITLE: Trials of a Lonely Specter
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
Please answer at least twelve or more of the following questions.
Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

By day I’m a floral designer in a locally owned gift shop here in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon. But in the evenings I change into a paranormal/suspense, scifi, fantasy, romance writer. Sometimes I wish I could be happy working in one genre, but my characters refuse to play along. They know what world they want to be in and won’t budge.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

The Trials of a Lonely Specter. Of all the stories I’ve written, this one is the dearest to my heart. It’s the first short story I attempted and where I first discovered my ‘writer’s voice’. Somehow the story seemed to write itself. I enjoyed getting to know my characters and had a lot of fun playing with the idea of a ‘ghost who doesn’t know he’s not dead’.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t get serious about it until five years ago. I became involved in a writers’ workshop where I worked with a fabulous editor, May Bestall. Her enthusiasm for writing kindled my own.

What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
I began by telling bedtime stories to my younger brother and sister, but it was my seventh grade creative writing teacher who convinced me to start writing the stories down. Also, besides being a writer, I’m a ferocious bookworm, gobbling up books by the hundreds. The first novel I wrote is a fantasy/adventure, as yet unpublished. I’ve read Tolkien for years, and the last time I read LOTR’s inspired me to write my own hero’s quest.

Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?

I have a loose beginning, middle and ending to a story in mind when I start, though everything but the ending seems to change and grow as I write.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
I start with a kernel of an idea, a story I want to tell. That’s my ending. Then I begin to piece a storyline together. How will everyone get to the ending? Why do they want to? From there, my characters develop themselves. My MC appears first, jumping right into the story. The others step onto the scene as needed. I never really think them out ahead of time.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

Love: It has to be Quinn from ‘Trials of a Lonely Specter’. He’s a sweetheart!
Hate: Detective Kramer in ‘ALEX’. He’s a cruel man and sets Alex up.
Fear: Gibson, from ‘ALEX’. You’d fear him too.
Pity: Korel from my current WIP. An innocent victim.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part for me in writing any story is the transitional scenes. The character has just left an exciting moment and there’s another up the road for him. But how do I get him there? I just want to be there already! But without a teleportation device, I have to move him in the most interesting way I can think of. I usually do this by throwing obstacles in his path to make the scene as less boring as possible.

Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

The Trials of a Lonely Specter didn’t require much research at all. But I have to admit I find the whole subject of paranormal phenomenon fascinating and have spent countless hours, days upon days, researching the topic. I hope one day to go on a ghost hunt myself.

What are some of the challenges in your writing process?

My greatest challenge is always finding the time to write! I currently work full time as a floral designer. Balancing that with family and friends doesn’t leave me as much time to write as I’d like. I get up an hour earlier than necessary each morning for promos, then spend three hours in the evening for my blogs, and if I’m very lucky, some creative writing. Once in a while I’m even blessed with a full day off in which to write!

Describe your writing space.
Right here, at my dining room table! I have a picture window overlooking the flower garden on my left, the glass patio doors ahead of me, with the kitchen and coffee within easy reach. I always say I’d like my own writing room, but I think the solitude would drive me mad within days.

What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release?


‘When dreams become reality, what of nightmares?” 

Shelton in Love

Shelton’s falling quickly for his sexy roommate, but can he forget the pain of past rejections and give Nevil what they’re both aching for?

Shelton’s Promise

Shelton has a gift for Nevil but can’t seem to score a moment alone with him. Will Nevil ever let Shelton take him home?

Shelton’s Goodbye
-Coming soon from Breathless Press

Torn between desires, Shelton has to choose his future. That is, until Nevil takes the decision out of his hands.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Quinn reigned in his imagination; it was dangerous in a house like this. The room darkened as Liam walked through an archway on the left, and he hurried to follow him. He would have liked to take some time to examine the furnishing and tapestries of the parlor, but Liam pressed on. Quinn finally caught him at the far end of the room.
“Where’re we going?”
“To find Betterford’s body reposing in the highest room of the tallest tower.”
Quinn gave him a wry look. “Wasn’t that for the ‘Sleeping Beauty’?”
“So I’ve heard,” Liam purred, looking like he was about to eat the canary.
Quinn didn’t like the eager way he swept through the kitchen to the servants’ staircase.
He tramped up the dark stairs in the apparition’s wake. Liam’s aura had shrunk to a mere flicker around his hand, casting eerie shadows on the close walls. Quinn was huffing by the time they reached the third flight, and Liam stopped to let him catch his breath.
He looked up at the fond tone. Liam stood several steps above, curiously watching him. “You’re a ghost, my beloved. You ought to be gliding up these stairs.”
Quinn’s mouth fell open. “I forgot,” he confessed. His eyes dropped, waiting for Liam’s mocking laughter. It never came. Instead, the man descended the stairs until he stood level with him. Quinn held his breath as the luminescent hand   touched his cheek lightly.
“You give me hope,” Liam said surprisingly. “Here, let me help you.” He slipped his arm through Quinn’s.
They fairly flew up the steps after that. Quinn laughed with the exhilaration that raced through him. He’d never felt so free. He wanted to burst through the roof and fly straight into the night. Liam beamed, sharing his joy in the sensation of weightlessness and speed.
All too soon they burst into the hallway far above. Their laughter died abruptly at the grimness of the shadowy corridor. Quinn winced when Liam suddenly grabbed his hand. The spirit’s eyes glowed with anticipation.
He leaned close. “Trust me, Quinn.” His voice was shaking and the man cleared his throat. “Whatever you think of me after this, please remember that I want the best for you. For us.”
“I don’t understand.”
Liam shook his head, clearly disappointed by his answer. Tugging on his hand, he led him to a door in the middle of the corridor.
Quinn stared at the closed door, reluctant to open it. “Betterford’s in there?”
Liam made a noncommittal sound. They stood side-by-side looking at the door until a smile lifted the corner of Liam’s mobile mouth. “Are you going to open it, or are we staying out here all night?”


  1. Ghosts? Of course I believe in them. I can't explain them but I do believe. When i was 13, my family and I lived in an old Victorian house in Glasgow. That house had a bad feeling to it. I would lay in bed at night and hear someone go into the bathroom and shoot the bolt on the lock back and fourth but no one ever came out. Creepy. Some ghosts are kind ghosts, I believe but I still don't think I fancy coming face to face with one. Sometimes, however, we can sense a presence rather than see them. I lost my sister when she was only 36. It is a loss I bury but every now and again, I feel a weight on me, as if she is there. Now that is a good presence. Here is another weird bit of info. When I lived in UK - even now when I go home for visits, I often feel uneasy when left alone in a house - no matter if be modern or old. Now, in Corfu, our family home is set amongst Olive trees, far away from the main road. I can walk about my land in the dead of night, wind rustling through the tress - knowing our house is build on an old Roman village and yet I don't feel nervous. Explain please. I cannot


  2. Thanks for celebrating my release day with me, Penny. How fun!

  3. What an intriguing excerpt, Dianne! Congrats on your latest release. The idea of ghosts is one I wouldn't scoff at. I've read lots of "true haunting" tales, and I do believe the first house my husband and I owned was occupied by the ghost of the previous owner. Our things started breaking, the toaster and tea kettle, for example, and we had to bring her old ones up from the basement until we could replace them. I think she wanted us to use her things, and I even suspect she engineered the breaks in the first place! All the best to you and your writing, and good luck with "Specter".

  4. Congrats, Dianne, on another release! I'm so excited for you. Can't wait to see you at the Oregon Book and Author Fair!

    Yes, I believe in ghosts.

  5. Hi Diane and Penny! Nice write up and loved the excerpt! I DO believe in ghosts! I've never seen one (that I know of) but I've heard stories from several well respected friends about occurences that can't be explained by anything else! AND have unsolicited verification! *CHILLS*

  6. a story from the ghosts's pov. how refreshing. are they going to play detective? you did leave me wanting to know more.
    ps, I did the room of my own thing. it didn't bother me, but my hubby began to feel like he lived alone. i move the living room with a laptop so i could at least present a presence.

  7. Great interview and congrats on the release.:-)

  8. Hi Kat, thanks for commenting, but you forgot to say if you believe in ghosts!

  9. Hi Larion, thanks for sharing, but do you believe in ghosts???

  10. Jan, thanks for sharing and commenting. I, too, believe in ghosts.

  11. Hi Kai, nice to know you're a believer.

  12. Pat, thanks for sharing your own ghostly tale! That must have been somewhat stressful for you while it was occurring.

  13. Viviane, thank you for sharing your story.

  14. Dianne, it's a pleasure having you here. Thanks for offering your giveaway!

  15. Hi Dianne, Great post and you have are a wonderful hostess Penny.
    I believe in ghosts, my growing family shared two houses with two friendly ghosts..or was it just one who travelled with us? The neighbours though and tenants didn't find them as kind.
    Still... we all lived together quite happily.
    Congratulations on your release.

  16. Insightful interview, Penny.

    Congratulations on your Release Day, Dianne. Trials of a Lonley Specter sounds like it is highly suspenseful. What is behind that door? And why did Liam say, "You give me hope?" Lots of intriguing story questions in this excerpt.

    I went on a ghost tour at night in the Rocks area where convicts and first fleeters settled in Sydney Cove. None of their ghosts turned up in the narrow lanes or in the historical stone house or the dank cellars. A disappointing expense in the cold and dark. They had a chance to prove themselves to me but they didn't, so I don't believe in ghosts. :)

  17. Lord help! Of course I believe in ghosts! Loved yours Dianne!

  18. Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! I had to work all day so couldn't respond earlier, but it's so nice to see everyone! You made my day. :)

  19. Thank you all for stopping by, leaving your stories, and for making Dianne's day!

  20. I am still on the fence about believing in ghosts, but some things can't be explained.:) Your excerpt was very scary in light sort of way. It's always fun when a ghost comes back to help a loved one. Best of luck with this and your other books. I think it's great, Diane, that you find time to write and work full time! Actually, I did that too when I was writing my novel which was just published. It does take a lot out of you.

    Penny great interview as always!!

  21. Congratulations Dianne on a wonderful release of what sounds like a great read. I have to believe in ghosts, they make the world a more interesting place to live :) Thanks you for sharing with us today and for the sneak-peek, as well as the lovely giveaway opportunity :)


  22. How wonderful all of you could stop by to share your stories and visit with Dianne.

  23. Thanks everyone for visiting! This was fun. :) Rosalie Skinner is my winner! Congratulations and I hope you enjoy my ghosts. Everyone's story was so fascintating. Thanks for sharing them.

  24. Congratulations, Rosalie! Thank you Dianne for being my guest and I look forward to having you again for your next release.