Monday, June 11, 2012

TBR welcomes Dianne Hartsock

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Dianne. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Dianne: Absolutely. I grew up in a large, boisterous and loving family in California, spent ten years in the rocky mountains of Colorado, and now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon. At the moment I spend every spare second on my writing, but I also read books like mad. I enjoy going out for coffee or lunch with friends, live music and browsing antique stores. I also like walking on the beach, hiking, having a good laugh, and sitting by the fire with my husband.

Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

TBR: Tell us about Nathaniel and where it's available.
Dianne: Nathaniel claims to be a traveler from a distant continent, saying he comes in peace. True or not, the youth has powers beyond anything Taden has seen—control over men and animals and the very weather. Taden falls hard for the strange traveler, protecting him not only from the Sutherlins but from his own mistrustful people, who don’t understand Nathaniel’s powers and accuse him of being a witch.

Barnes and Noble:

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt

Taden edged closer to the men in the clearing, careful not to snag his cloak on the fragrant scrub brush concealing him. The two Sutherlin soldiers had stripped their captive of his shirt and his chest glistened with sweat in the firelight. His head hung heavily, arms stretched between two trees. A mop of blond curls hid his face. Taden’s knuckles whitened on the hunting knife in his hand as a soldier struck the prisoner in the face, making him cry out. Taden could see the dark bruising on his torso. This wasn’t the first time he had been beaten.
The second man slammed a balled fist into the prisoner’s abdomen and laughed at his grunt of pain. It was too much. Maybe he was being a fool for interfering, but he couldn’t stand by and watch the needless cruelty. He eased from hiding and silently closed the distance between him and the soldiers.
The closest man was raising his fist again when Taden reached him. He threw an arm around the soldier’s neck and jerked, exposing the vulnerable throat. The smell of sweat and fear filled his nostrils as he drew his blade in a quick motion across the knotty windpipe. Hot blood spilled over the back of his hand. The soldier wheezed and slumped heavily in his arms.
Taden threw the dead man from himself and started for the other, but his prey had no stomach for a fight and ran into the trees. Taden sprinted after him. He couldn’t allow the man to reach his companions. He caught the soldier within heartbeats with his longer stride and plunged the knife into the man’s back with both hands. Thrown off balance, they both went down hard on the forest floor. Taden scrambled to his knees and straddled the screaming soldier. He jerked the knife free and thrust it again into the blood soaked uniform. The keen blade severed bone and muscle, seeking the heart.
The soldier’s life pumped out around the knife handle and Taden swore bitterly, witness to the terror on the face pressed into the dirt. A boy playing at being a man. “Damn them,” he fumed. The Sutherlins had no scruples about whom they sent out to fight.
He tucked a blond curl of hair behind the boy’s ear as he muttered his soldier’s prayer, stirred to sadness for the one in the young man’s life who would never have the pleasure of that small intimacy again. Taden climbed to his feet, bone weary and heartsick, and tugged the hunting knife from the soldier’s back. A twig snapped as he wiped it clean in the dirt, making his heart pound, but it was only the scurry of a small animal in the brush. He took a last look at the dead soldier then made his way back through the moonlit forest towards the flickering fire and the young man bound to the trees.
The prisoner had his feet planted apart, knees locked to keep from sagging against the bindings, but blood slicked his wrists and ran down his forearms from where the ropes bit into the skin. His head was lowered and Taden wondered if his strength had given out.
“Hello? Don’t be afraid,” he said carefully. “I come without enmity.”
The prisoner lifted his head and Taden was caught in the gaze of the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen, clear green with a starburst of gold at the pupils, amazing eyes that held him confused and thrilling. The look brushed against the lonely spot in his heart he kept deeply buried. Then the man blinked and Taden felt released, as if he’d been spellbound. His heart lurched at the exhaustion in the oval face.
The captive dropped his head as he lost consciousness and Taden slung an arm around his waist, supporting the dead weight. He groped for the hunting knife at his belt and cut the ropes, finding the prisoner a lesser burden than he’d feared as he carried him through the trees to the horse hidden in a nearby glen.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Dianne: Goodness, my love affair with fantasy started way back in my early teens. Tolkien, of course. But like most teens, there was a dark patch in my life where the fantasy of Ursula K. LeGuin gave me the escape I needed. So did Anne McCaffrey’s ‘Dragon Riders’ series. And then I discovered C.J Cherryh, and I was hooked for life. Her heroes are so wonderfully flawed, brave and shy and powerful. They’re gentle people who are made into heroes by circumstance rather than desire.

I wanted to do that. I wanted to create worlds where readers could lose themselves, leave reality and enter the realm of fantasy and adventure and romance. Find worlds filled with enchantment and courage and magic.

With Nathaniel, I wanted to take this idea one step further. Sure, there’s magic, but I wanted my hero, Taden, to be completely enchanted by my magic user. Nathaniel is beautiful and sensual and possesses powers far beyond anything Taden has encountered before. Taden is bewildered and captivated by him, falling hopelessly in love despite his better judgment. The story focuses on their love affair, weaving Nathaniel’s magic throughout the pages until Taden surrenders to his charms.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Dianne: I’m mostly a plotter. There’s usually a main theme I’m trying to write about, and I’ll have a beginning, middle and ending thought out before I start to write.

Then the panster in me comes out! Often I have to change the beginning two or three times to make my characters come to life. And boy do they have minds of their own! Sometimes the story heads in directions I never anticipated. But somehow I guide things back on course and manage to tell my story, but not always the way I had plotted it to begin with.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Dianne: I never really develop my characters so much as discover them as I write. When I begin stories, I loosely outline the plot in my mind, knowing where I want to start, what happens towards the middle, and how I’d like it to end. Keep in mind, this is all vague until I get into the depths of the story. My characters often take me places where I’d never thought to go.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Dianne: I’d most like to invite Taden to dinner one night. He’s an honorable, brave man who seems to have a rich family history. I’d love to ask him more about the society he lives in.

My least favorite dinner guest would be Nathaniel’s cousin Corin. He’s a bit of a rogue and I would be in a state of constant fear that he would manipulate me in some manner. He’s not to be trusted.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Dianne: Nathaniel’s world is different from most fantasy stories because his people really don’t use magic in the typical sense. They have psychic abilities which others see as magic but which is something his race is born with.

TBR: What's next for you?
Dianne: Difficult question! I have several projects in the works I’m finishing up, then I’d like to write the sequel to Nathaniel and also the sequel to another fantasy story called Philip’s Watcher that I’ve recently signed a contract for. At the moment I have more story ideas than I have time to write!

TBR: Any other published works?

Shelton in Love Breathless Press:
Shelton is falling hard for his best friend and roommate, finding Nevil’s dark good looks and moments of gentleness almost impossible to resist. But Nevil is more interested in affairs of the body than the heart. As Shelton’s desire for the man grows, he wonders if he can change Nevil’s mind. But does he even want to? Nevil might not stay, once he learns Shelton’s secret, and then his loneliness would be complete.

Shelton’s Promise Breathless Press:
Shelton has a gift he’s eager to give to Nevil. At a party, Nevil flirts with one man after another, keeping Shelton on his toes. Then Percy, an ex, shows up to complicate things. Despite his best efforts, Shelton can’t find the right moment to give Nevil his gift. Will Nevil ever let Shelton get close to him, or will Shelton have to keep the gift in his pocket all evening?

Shelton’s Choice Breathless Press:
After a year of bliss with Nevil, Shelton is offered the promotion he's been working toward at the bank. Unfortunately the new position is in another state, and Nevil doesn't want to move. As tension mounts between them, Shelton is given another challenge in the form of a besotted coworker. Torn between the pressures at work and at home, Shelton has to choose his future. That is, until Nevil takes the decision out of his hands

ALEX Amazon:
Alex is twenty and confused. He always is. He hears the cries of children, the screaming women. He sees the brutal images of the tortured victims. Severely abused as a child, he is left with horrible scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. Even though it puts him in danger, he’s compelled to help those who call to him. He’s driven, motivated by his visions to rescue them and uncover the killer. When he can, he helps the police; yet some detectives suspect he’s the cause of the problem, not the solution. Often, Alex finds himself alone and afraid in a world he doesn’t always comprehend.

Eran’s Release Breathless Press:
Paul isn’t attracted to Eran—he’s intoxicated by the shy, sensual younger man. He’s also confused by Eran’s mixed signals. However, the sight of Eran injured and bruised arouses a protective passion that surprises Paul. Determined to protect Eran from his brutal past, Paul discovers his future.
Trials of a Lonely Specter MuseItUp Publishing:
There’s been an accident. Quinn believes he’s dead, though Liam insists otherwise. But if that is the case, why does Quinn see the two of them as ghosts? And why does Liam play along? Exposed to mediums and apparitions, Quinn has to make a decision: either accept his fate or risk everything to trust Liam one more time. 

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Dianne: This is my favorite comment by a reader talking about my paranormal thriller novel ALEX: Donald Ford, ‘This is as near as I have come to someone else’s beating heart.’

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Dianne: I love a good medical thriller by Robin Cook, Michael Critchon, Patricia Cornwell or Michael Palmer. I enjoy the romance/mystery stories of Elizabeth Peters and the fantasy/sci/fi stories of C.J. Cherryh. I love me a good Dean Koontz thriller. Oh, there’s so many others, I can’t name them all!

At the moment I’m reading the fifth Frankenstein book by Dean Koontz and I also read short ebook stories in the evenings.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Readers, Dianne Hartsock will give away a PDF copy of Nathaniel to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner next week and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Dianne. All the best to you.


  1. Welcome to TBR, Dianne! I love the comment about your writing - it's so true! I love the way you bring your characters to life.

  2. Thanks so much for having me over today, Cate! You have such a beautiful site here. :)

  3. Oh wow I love how the book sounds not to mention that the cover is just so damn hot!! And the other books you've published look just as good!


    1. Thanks for coming by, Sarah. I know, isn't that cover delicious! I swooned when I saw it. I couldn't believe it was mine. :)

  4. This looks like one that is going on the TBR file for sure...and I know I'll love it since I love everything I've read from Dianne Hartsock. Thanks for this great look at the book and you. :)

    1. Hugs, Havan! *blushes* Thanks for the awesome support. :)

  5. Great interview. Nathaniel looks wonderful! I'm definitely adding it to my huge wish list.

    Michelle V
    romanceinreview AT gmail DOT com

    1. Thanks Michelle! I know what you mean. My wish list is starting to look scary, I have so many on there. :)

  6. Wonderful interview! The book soumds great and I love everything I have read of yours so far! I will definitely be adding to my list of books!

    1. Morning Christy! So glad you came by. Cate does have the best interview questions. ;)

  7. Enjoyed the interview and especially learning about the up and coming projects! I think the book sounds good. I love the fantasy romances.

    1. Thanks, Sophia! So glad you stopped by. :)

  8. I *love* "Eran's Release," and so I'd love to read NATHANIEL. Thanks for the excerpt and interview!


    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed my Eran! Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. Vitajex is my winner! Thanks everyone for stopping by. I had a great time. :)


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