How did you start your writing career?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid. I still have a book I made in Grade 3! But I’m also practical and knew I couldn’t rely on writing for a career, so I focused my efforts on my education and teaching career. Plus having a family limits writing time! Last fall, I noticed on another author’s blog that Harper Voyager was having an open submission call. Even though I didn’t have a manuscript, I had an idea that had been kicking around and decided to go for it. I never had any real hopes of getting accepted, so the rejection was no surprise. But once I had the story, I decided to search for another publisher and that’s how I found Evernight Teen.
Tell us about your current release.
X5 is story about a guy and a girl who have visions of the future and have to escape from the group holding them prisoner and using those visions to gain power and money. It’s a paranormal book with suspense, sci-fi, and romance.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I tend to be a perfectionist, and so I often get stuck because I want to be able to use the best phrases or descriptions. Sometimes I’ll re-write the same sentence over and over until I get it right. I’m trying to do less of that and focus on getting the ideas down first, and then going back to revise afterward.
What group did you hang out with in high school?
I was an Artsy. I played in the band, sang in the choir, and worked on all the plays.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Don’t ever give up! It took me a long time to get to this point, and most other writers will tell you the same thing. It’s not a world of instant success, but that doesn’t mean that success isn’t possible. Keep writing, keep learning, keep perfecting your craft. And don’t get stuck on the idea that success only comes with a contract from one of the big houses. The world of publishing is changing and there are a ton of small presses and e-publishers out there. Plus the self-publishing options are greater than they’ve ever been. If you want to get your story out, you can!
Are the names of the characters in your novels important? How and why?
This is a tricky area for me. I’ve been a teacher for a lot of years and met thousands of kids in that time. I try to avoid names of students, which makes it tricky, especially with more common names. The problem is, there will always be those out there who are convinced that a character named John, for example, is really modeled after the real John Smith that I taught in 2004, or something like that. Of course, that’s ridiculous, especially with such a popular name. However, many of the characters in X5 were named after friends of mine who were particularly supportive while I was writing, even though the characters are nothing like my friends.
Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
At the moment, I’m working on the sequel to X5, which will continue where X5 left off. I have a couple other ideas that I’ve been tossing around, but nothing concrete yet. I need to finish telling Tara’s and Travis’s story first!
Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words
Busy. Exhausting. Rewarding.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
So far I haven’t seen any reviews! I think it’s important to keep in mind that it is impossible to please everyone. Yes, I’d be upset if someone didn’t like my book, but at the same time, if they had a valid criticism, I wouldn’t begrudge them their opinion. Unfortunately, I’ve seen reviewers attack authors without having a valid point, and I’ve seen authors react badly to reviewers who give fair and honest reviews. I will try to keep that in mind when I see reviews in the future.
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
I’m a combination. So a Planter. Or would that be a Plottser? I have to have some idea where the book is going or I’ll write myself into a corner. When I began X5, I Pantsed my way through the first half before realizing that it just wasn’t going to work. So now I try to make myself a basic outline. I don’t go nuts, just enough that I know what to do if I get stuck.
Being a socially awkward geek with anger management issues has made Travis Armstrong an outcast, but on top of that, he has visions of the future. Not that he can tell anyone, except in an anonymous online forum. When he takes a chance and meets with another group member, he winds up at The Bunker, where everyone is like him, and where, finally, he feels like he belongs.
Tara Gage has been at The Bunker since she was thirteen years old. Even among the residents there, she’s unique, and her special talents lead her to discover that The Bunker is not the safe haven it seems to be. She’s determined to escape and get back to her family.
When they each have visions of the other’s death, Travis and Tara know they have to run. With their captors desperate to get them back, they must rely on each other to get away before their visions become reality.
Diana Stager never met a book she didn’t like. An avid reader from a very early age, she discovered she loved writing her own stories down. She dreamed of being able to write a book, but more sensible ambitions shoved that dream onto the back burner. Over the years, she dabbled with the written word, but always had difficulty finding the right story. Then, one day the light bulb went on, an idea was born, and the rest is history (so cliché but so true).
Diana lives in Cambridge, Ontario in a house full of books. In the space that’s left, are her husband of 13 years, two children, and a cat, all of whom are adorable. She used to have a creepy fish, but sadly, he now swims in the big tank in the sky. She’s an elementary school teacher, who loves music and art.