How long have you been writing and when was your first book published?
When our oldest daughter Sara was a toddler, I started writing nonfiction. I wrote a partial book, Born to Love about her. I never finished it because no book publisher was interested in the story, but I did get a few magazine articles out of it. One was in Virtue magazine, one in Down Syndrome Today, and a few other publications. My sweet mother bragged about the Virtue article to her friends and relatives. She told me that my article was better than Debby Boone’s in the same magazine. LOL In 2001, my first short book was published and later I switched to writing fiction. My first inspirational romance was published in 2006.
What advice or tips do you have for writers who are just getting started?
Even thought I’m published now, it’s been a long road to publication for my books. Getting published has never been easy. But I made it with self-discipline, faith in my writing, family support, and determination. If you are an aspiring writer wanting to get published, hang in there. You have to continue to write and to believe in yourself. Writing is not a career for the weak. You have to be persistent and develop a thick skin when it comes to rejections. Remember this is a subjective business so don’t get discouraged.
Where do you get ideas for stories?
I get my creative ideas sometimes from my own family and life. Other times something on TV or the newspaper might spark an idea for a story. Once I heard a TV reporter talk to a survivor after a plane crash, so that give me the idea to write Never the Same. It’s about two women’s priorities being changed after they survived a plane crash where many people died. A Christmas Gift is based on my childhood experiences, but the characters and story line are fictional.
Has anything surprised you about being an author?
I thought it would be easier than it is being a published author. Promoting takes a big chunk of time so that doesn’t always leave me enough time to devote just to writing.
Tell us how you come up with characters.
Well, A Christmas Gift was inspired by my parents and siblings. I had thought of writing a story about my father for a long time. His life was hard with his mother’s rejection and being raised by various relatives. Even though both his parents deserted him, he had a deep faith in God, and was able to be a good father to me and my siblings. A Fiery Secret is based loosely on my daughters, Christina and Amanda. Learning more about various careers gave me ideas for other characters. Also I like to write about family relationships, so that’s how I came up with the characters in Whitney in Charge. It’s a sweet contemporary romance about three sisters.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
While writing a new book, I try to write so many pages a day, but I’m afraid that I don’t always meet my personal writing goals. We were blessed with six children and two daughters with special needs. Once I have a publisher’s deadline for a particular book, I am very disciplined and focus hard on my writing. I always finish the final editing on time.
How long does it normally take you to write a book?
That’s hard to answer. I’m a slow writer and I don’t write daily. Although I consider my writing as a career, family and promoting my published books all take time away from writing. I also have a seasonal scoring job. I score the tests that students hate to take. LOL It probably takes me on the average seven to nine months to write a book from beginning to end. If I actually wrote daily, I’m sure it would take less time.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I’m usually sitting in a comfortable chair in the living room and writing on my laptop.
What is your favorite genre of Christian fiction?
I enjoy reading inspirational romances. It can be either historical or contemporary Christian romances.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading In All Things written by Shawna Williams. I read her book, No Other and enjoyed it very much, so it’s fun to read more about her memorable characters, Meri and Jakob, in the sequel and their lives ten years later.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I enjoy reading, watching movies, TV, college football,(big Ohio State fan), bicycling, swimming and spending time with my awesome husband and six children.
What is your favorite movie?
I watch a lot of movies but Ever After is one that I especially enjoyed. Drew Barrymore plays a strong heroine which I liked a lot. Even though the prince comes to rescue her, she’s already rescued herself. She has a cruel stepmother and stepsisters like the Cinderella fairy tale.
What 3 things would you rather not be without?
Well, of course, first my husband and children. Next, my laptop. And third, I’d definitely need my medication for my acid reflux condition.
If you had the time and the money, what would you like to do?
I’d love to go to Hawaii. My problem is that my husband has no desire to go there. I’d also like to travel out west.
How can readers and fans contact you?
My website is http://www.dianecraver.com/ and my blog is http://www.dianecraver.com/blog. And another spot is my Jewels of the Quill group: http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/jewelsofthequill.html I’m also on Facebook and various yahoo groups.
I have lots of fun prizes listed on my blog. By leaving a comment here, you’ll be entered in my two drawings. More details on my blog.
Thank you so much, Janet, for having me on your wonderful blog. It’s been fun!
My Review of "A Christmas Gift":
The story starts out in the present day with Debra Reeves Cunningham telling her story of what happened back in 1957, at the age of 7. Debra saw something back then that she wasn’t meant to see. Her father had an overwhelming disability that he was trying so hard to overcome. He was a farmer and a good provider for his family.
Debra is the youngest of 4 children in her family. Her oldest sister, Gail, is 25 and still living at home. Her brother, Carl, 21, is in the Army. She shares a bedroom with her 14 year old sister, Kathy, who is crippled by polio. On this particular night in 1957, Debra wakes up needing to go to the bathroom. There is only one bathroom in their home, downstairs close to her parents bedroom. As she is sneaking to the bathroom, she sees something that she doesn’t understand. She returns to bed, pondering what she had seen.