I find joy in interviewing authors. Listening to them describe their successes and their methodology on writing fascinates me.
This month is no different. I take great pleasure in presenting a talented, busy, intelligent woman whom I consider a friend. Coming to you from the gorgeous land of Canada, meet Diane.
Diane Bator is the author of several mystery novels, a coach-in-training, and a budding playwright. She’s a member of many writing groups such as Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers of Canada. When she’s not writing, she works in a professional theatre that will one day be subject to immortality in a mystery series.
1.Tell us about your (latest published) book title and a brief synopsis.
All That Shines is book 2 in my Glitter Bay Mysteries
Sage Miller is knee deep in fashion designers—whether she wants them in her new vintage boutique or not.
One winds up dead.
Another isn’t what he seems.
A third is treasure hunting.
Sage is stuck in the middle trying to solve a murder before the grand opening of Vintage Sage, which involves a fashion show she’d rather not be part of.
2. Where do your title(s) come from? Do you play around with words or do they just come from the story?
Sometimes the title comes before the story. Most of the time the titles evolve as I write the story. The Glitter Bay Mysteries, for example, have all been named before I submitted the first one to my publisher: All That Sparkles, All That Shines and All That Glitters. There might be more later, but those are the three I’ve planned so far.
3. Your main characters are awesome! How do they two interact throughout the story? I've seen books that either keep opposing characters always at an arm's length from each other, or very close. How do these two work together and apart?
My two main characters in the Glitter Bay Mysteries are Laken and Sage Miller who are sisters. Following her life and career falling apart, Laken has moved in with her sister who owns a boutique called Vintage Sage in book 1.
Sage, a small-town girl, is suddenly dealing with remnants of Laken’s past in book 2 and then later in book 3.
Some days, the girls get along famously. Other days, Sage can’t wait until her sister moves into her own apartment. They work together well though. Sage is great at the business, behind the scene things while Laken, a former model, has an eye for fashion and how to bring in better quality items.
4. When did you know you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
I’ve always been a writer. Always.
When I was a kid, I used to imagine appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show as a writer. While not everyone in my life approved of my dream, I’ve never given up. While I don’t make a living off my books right now, I love writing and creating and opening a box of freshly printed books ranks right up there with Christmas!
Now that my kids are grown and I’m on my own, I have a lot more time to create.
5. How did you decide which genre to write?
I started out writing YA and tried to write Women’s Fiction, but none of those really worked for me. Then I entered a contest and wrote a Mystery novella. I was hooked! What’s strange is that I never waded into mystery earlier since that’s all I ever read as a kid. Ever since, every book I write some character dies.
I’m not married to mystery though. I’m also working on those YA books for future publication as well as some Fantasy novels.
6. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I love creating new characters that grow and new worlds as well as telling a story that I hope will entertain. In short, I don’t really have a favorite part. I love it all!
7. What is your writing environment like? Do you write with a pen and paper, or on a computer? Do you need quiet, or music in the background? Do you have a pet who gets in on the act?
For first drafts, I prefer pen and paper. Even for edits, I’d rather print off the book and break out the red pen! I’ve been known to write anywhere and everywhere. Doctor offices, karate lessons, lunch breaks at work, in coffee shops, while cooking dinner…if there’s a will to write, you’ll find a place and a few minutes!
I’ve been writing again since my kids were little and the whole time they grew up. No such thing as quiet with three boys around. I also have photos of various cats over the years laying on my manuscripts and on my laptop.
8. What does your protagonist think about you? Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his creator.
I hope my protagonists would like to hang out with me. I’m fun and give them free reign when they decide to change up the story in mid-edit.
9. I know your books are mystery but is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all purely imagination?
My Gilda Wright Mystery series stems from when I worked as a receptionist in a karate school, which is what Gilda does. No one died in the school while I was there, but Gilda doesn’t have the same luck. Currently, I’m working on a new Gilda Wright novel to be released August 2021.
10. Out of all your books, who is your favorite character and why?
Right now, my favorite character is Quinn Evans from All That Shines. Those crazy secondary characters sometimes step in and take over! Quinn is my first transgender character. She’s based on someone I know in real life and has taken on a life of her own to the point she may become a main character in her own series one day!
11. Which was the best character to write, good or evil?
In my Gilda Wright Mysteries, I have a recurring character named Gary del Garda. Gary is a gray-area character. He’s basically a bad guy who does good things and protects the protagonist Gilda from horrible harm. Since he was involved in the bank robbery where her father was killed, he feels responsible for making sure she’s looked after.
12. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you would love to work with?
I’m currently working on 4 different series right now: Glitter Bay Mysteries, Gilda Wright Mysteries, Sugarwood Mysteries, and Wild Blue Mysteries, which will wrap up in 2022.
While I love each series and the characters, I’m looking forward to branching off into YA and Fantasy novels, as well as exploring a couple new Cozy Mystery series that I have on the backburner.
13. What are you working on now? Any interesting projects in the works you want your fans to know about?
· I’m always working on something. Right now becoming a Book Coach is one of them!
· Currently, I’m preparing Dead Without Remorse for publication in August 2021.
· I’m also editing a play I wrote called Secrets That Haunt Them. I’m part of a writing community that hopes to do a reading for it in October. So that’s the next thing I’m working on.
· In 2022, I’ll have two new books coming out from BWL Publishing, so I have a lot of work to do.
14. What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
A question someone did ask me to ponder for an upcoming mystery panel, is “How important are sidekicks in a cozy mystery?”
Sidekicks can be the foil for the protagonist when things get tense. They can also come to the rescue with information or evidence the protagonist isn’t able to get on their own—either because the killer might recognize them or because people will know they’re investigating and throw up more road blocks than the protagonist can deal with.
15. Help your fans get to know you. Share a hobby or interest of yours and tell us a bit about it.
Writing was always my biggest hobby but over the past year, I went back to counted-cross stitch or doing puzzles to relax in the evenings. My other favorite thing is to hang out at Lake Huron in the summer finding seaglass on the beach.