I’m moving my series of author interviews from Facebook here to my blog, as it gives us more scope, I think, to do the interviews justice.
This month I’m thrilled to have the author of 9 works of wonderful women’s fiction stopping by – Dianne Blacklock.
I met Di last year while doing one of her writing courses and we’ve become good friends since. She is one of the most generous writers I’ve met in the last few years and, as you can see from her answers, she’s pretty cool.
So sit back with a cuppa and get to know Dianne Blacklock a little better…
What is your favourite part of being a writer?
DB: Well, I’m writing this in my pyjamas … but really, that’s just a bonus. I think the only reason most writers persevere is because of the magical stage when it feels like it’s writing itself, and you can’t get the words down fast enough. It’s all-consuming, filling your head even when you’re not writing, and allowing no room for the bane of all writers – doubt – to fester. You don’t question any more, you’re writing too fast. Honestly, it’s like a drug. If it was like that all the time, I could have written twice as many books.
SD: Pyjamas are definitely a bonus. And don’t we love it when ‘flow’ hits and the story pours out. (Not that I’ve had for a while!)
Romantic elements feature in most Women’s Fiction. Who is your favourite fictional couple?
DB: I’m going to be terribly unoriginal and go for Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. But they still stand up so well, don’t you think? For the time it was written (and even now) Lizzie is such a strong intelligent woman, an early feminist, who would not forego her values for a bloke, and Darcy ultimately loved her for that. They both admitted their flaws – which is rare enough – and then got on with it. I suspect theirs would have been a very modern marriage.
SD: It’s not unoriginal. It’s classic. And classic becomes classic for a reason.
Which five fictional characters would you love to have over for dinner?
DB: Atticus Finch, and Aragorn from Lord of the Rings (though he’ll always be Strider to me) – both of whom will add dignity and wise counsel to the proceedings. Then I’d invite Rachael Samstat from one of my favourite novels of all time, Heartburn by Nora Ephron, which is really just an extremely thinly disguised account of the breakdown of her own marriage, so this is a sneaky way of having Nora Ephron at the table (writer of When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and more), or Meryl Streep, who played her in the movie. Either way it’s a win. And Bridget Jones would be good for a laugh, self-effacing, and likeable, just the way she is. Also a great drinking partner. And lastly, Vid from Liane Moriarty’s latest, Truly, Madly, Guilty. He’s my favourite character in that book – a big-hearted gregarious man who would actually do the cooking, and revel in it. I can just see him getting a huge kick out of the whole thing, and somehow he’d manage to make Atticus and Aragorn feel comfortable, despite them thinking they’d landed on another planet.
SD: You had me at Aragorn!
Just a couple of Di’s books.
What is one trait that one of your own characters has that you wished you possessed?
DB: Any one of the partners they end up with! Oh, but that’s not a trait, is it?
DB: Never mind … This was hard. I strive to make my characters ordinary, relatable women, so I see parts of myself in all of them, both the good and the flawed. Then I remembered Annie, the ‘absent’ character from Three’s a Crowd (too spoilery to explain why). She’s one of those people who has her own style, is not a slave to fashion but looks great in anything – she knows how to wear a scarf, you know what I’m saying? And she can throw a few shells or pebbles she’s just picked up on the beach into a bowl and it’ll look like a work of art. Without trying. I’d like to have that kind of effortless panache.
SD: Your characters are incredibly relatable, though I can’t say I can relate to effortless panache. I once read my horoscope that said no matter how hard Pisces try, we always look daggy!!!!
What are you working on next and when can we expect it out?
DB: I’m working on other people’s books mostly! I’ve been editing fiction for the past few years, and I love it to death. So much so that my own writing has taken a back seat for a while. I stepped off the publishing treadmill intentionally because I wasn’t feeling inspired. I felt like I’d explored most of the things I’d wanted to write about, and I didn’t want to start repeating myself. It’s been fun and rewarding to bring what I’ve learned to other people’s books. But I do have some irons in the fire right now, and though I’ve been saying this to my patient readers for some time, I really will have some news this year.
SD: After 9 successful novels, I’m not surprised you needed a break. But, like all of your fans, I’m excited that you’ll have some news later this year. Can’t wait!
Thank you so much for joining me Di.
Below is the blurb for Di’s most recent novel, The Best Man. If you want to win a signed copy of The Best Man, make sure you follow my Facebook page and the Mega March Birthday Giveaway.
Oh, and while you’re here, leave a comment below answering one of the interview questions yourself – who’s your favourite fictional couple?
IS THE BEST MAN ALWAYS THE RIGHT MAN?
With American fiancé, Henry Darrow, publicist Madeleine has at last found the yin to her yang – or whichever way round it is. The calm to her storm, the stillness to her constant motion. Balance.
Her boss, Liv, had to be talked into marriage, which predictably ended in divorce. Liv knows that she and her twins are better off alone anyway.
However, when Madeleine meets Aiden, Henry’s choice for best man, and Liv has a spontaneous chat with a stranger, the settled lives these women thought they had finally achieved are thrown into chaos. Secrets are unravelled and new doors are opened.
May the best man win.
‘A novel for fans of Maeve Binchy’ CANBERRA TIMES
‘Dianne Blacklock writes from the heart and The Best Man is a terrifically entertaining read about the choices we make in life.’ HOOPLA
‘Blacklock’s books have always touched a nerve with readers, addressing the complicated aspects of relationships with honesty, empathy and some humour.’ CANBERRA TIMES