Monday, June 9, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lesley A. Diehl

1     Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

When my husband and I moved to New Mexico following our respective retirements, he began to devote full time to finishing his novel, something he looked forward to and planned to do when he retired.  I had dabbled in writing short pieces, parts of a novel, I guess, so I took up writing also.  Since I had always read and loved mysteries, I began one using a psychologist as a protagonist since that was what I had done for my career.  That manuscript went nowhere, so I shelved it and wrote other mysteries which publishers picked up.


How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I write on a laptop.  I begin my writing each morning and often continue into the afternoon.  I do not write in the evenings or before bedtime as it gets me so revved up I cannot fall asleep.  When we’re up north in our cottage in Upstate New York, my desk and laptop are in front of a window in my office.  The window looks out into a lilac bush.  It’s so lovely to sit there is late May, open the window and breathe in the smell of the flowers.  In the winters we go south to rural Florida where I write in our little house overlooking a canal.  Birds of every kind come there to feed, turtles sun themselves on the bank and alligators swim past.  I’m treated to a little zoo while I write!

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

Beginning a new project, a book or short story, is the fun part for me.  I love the challenge of creating a character and beginning to plot out the story.  What I like least is the editing, editing, editing.  I try to set a story aside for at least a month after I've written it before I begin edits.  I rewrite as I go, so by the time I’m finished before editing, the manuscript is as I’d like it with respect to characters and plot.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

I wish I could delineate a process by which I create a character, but they seem to just spring into my mind rather fully formed.  I have a number of short stories centered on the theme of Thanksgiving.  They feature an “Aunt Nozzie” who is loosely based upon an aunt of mine, at least they look alike and both of them love cooking, but, if my aunt were still alive, I doubt she’d recognize herself in the fictional character.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I do interviews, both on blogs like this one and radio interviews.  Like all authors today I use the internet, e.g. twitter, Facebook, other social networking sites, and I have a website which contains my blog.  However, the most fun is to attend events and meet my readers.  

My husband and I do a joint program called “Retirement is Murder”, very appropriate since both of us write mysteries.  It’s a fun presentation which we do for literary groups, at libraries, for retirees, anyplace wanting to hear a couple of writers talk about living together as a writing couple.

I also speak at libraries and to fine arts groups or to other organizations such as business women’s groups.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

As I've indicated, I try to write each day, usually in the mornings and afternoon.  I like to take a block of time and devote it to writing, but I also intersperse it with other activities like cooking, gardening, running errands, visiting friends, taking a walk, or doing some work on the 1874 cottage we’re renovating.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?


I self-published a book (my very first manuscript) this spring and have been promoting it for the month of May.  I’m excited at how well it has been received.  It’s really my “little book that could” and gaining legs among readers.

One of my publishers, Camel Press will release the second book in the Eve Appel mystery series (Dead in the Water) July 15, and I’m having a book launch for it on July 18 at a local restaurant.  The remainder of the summer I’ll be working on several short stories about Eve and also writing another Aunt Nozzie story for Thanksgiving.  You can find all my books and my short stories by going to my website www.lesleyadiehl.com.  I’d enjoy visits from readers and you can contact me through the website too.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I have too many projects on the back burner.  I plan to write a third book in my microbrewing series, a third book in my Big Lake murder mystery series, some more Eve Appel books and I have two manuscripts I've been playing around with for several years that are a departure from my humorous cozies.  These are darker and, although there is humor in them, it is more noir.  Gosh I wish I had begun writing when I was younger.  Ideas seem to tumble out of my brain, and I worry I won’t have time to do everything!

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

When I began writing I knew I liked mysteries, and I certainly knew I could write scientific literature, but I had to learn how to write mysteries.  I’d advise reading what genre you want to write and read many different books in that genre.  I also found help and support by joining on line groups such as Sisters in Crime and the unpublished subgroup of sisters called Guppies.  Guppies has on line writing classes for mystery, manuscript exchange opportunities, and information about contacting agents and small presses.  Attending writing conferences such as Sleuthfest or CrimeBake, for example, where you can attend panels and sessions devoted to the craft of writing and meet other writers will help the novice learn about all aspects of writing from plotting, pacing, character development to pitching work to an agent or editor.  Rubbing elbows with others passionate about writing makes you feel empowered, fuels your writing engine and makes you feel like what you want to be…a writer.  Sometimes a critique group or a critique partner will work, but value your own writing voice before those of others.
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