Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Diane Escalera makes her home in sunny South Florida. The sultry paradise is a steady source of inspiration for her hot love stories. Diane is married, has two children and a super cute dachshund she can’t get enough of. She writes contemporary romance, and is published with Kensington Publishing and Lyrical Press, Inc.
Q. Hi Diane. We're so pleased to have you with us this month. First of all, I see that you write Latino romance for Kensington Publishing. Can you tell us something about these titles and why you felt you had to tell these particular stories?
Diane: Thank you so much for having me! Right after I finished writing my first novel, I came across an article that Kensington Publishing was launching the first-ever Latino Romance line. My hero just happened to be Latino, so I submitted to them. Nothing had prepared me for what happened next — I sold three books! My debut novel, Dangerous Heat, came out in January 2001. Written in English, these contemporary romances allowed me to explore Latino customs and traditions, something that came easily since my mom is from Puerto Rico. Writing about Latin lovers was a nice foray into the industry. Unfortunately, the line went into hiatus, but some of the novels can still be found online. Lyrical Press, LLC
Q. When did you first know you could be a writer? And what inspired you to write your first book?
Diane: Unlike most authors, I didn’t know I was destined to write. In fact, I worked in banking for several years, but deep down knew that it wasn’t my dream job. At the young age of thirty-five, my sister died of an illness. I realized the same thing could happen to me. There are no guarantees. I couldn’t waste another moment doing something I didn’t love. Writing was one of my greatest joys when I was growing up. I decided to enroll in an intensive course where I learned everything I could about the craft. It didn’t take long before I left the bank to pursue a writing career.
Q. You're new to ebooks, with your first Lyrical Press, Inc. release – Dangerous Desire – having come out in July. What made you decide to go digital? And did writing an ebook teach you anything you didn't learn from your experience at Kensington Publishing?
Diane: The publishing industry has caught up with the times. eBooks are generating a nice buzz. Naturally, I wanted to be in on all the excitement. There are so many more opportunities to get my work into the hands of readers. Who could say no to that? People might think it’s easier to get published now. The format may be different, but there are no shortcuts. The writing still has to be solid.
Q. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for you?
Diane: An online presence is a must. The Internet definitely makes it easier to connect with readers. I use my website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Shelfari to promote. Reviews, blog posts, and interviews with leading romance sites are very helpful in drawing awareness to a new release. I try to build relationships, give back to those who support my efforts. What I’ve learned along the way is that success takes time, patience and commitment.
Q. Have you developed what you'd consider a specific writing style? If so, why did you choose it
Diane: Third person works best for me. I can stay true to my voice, get inside the character’s head, and the story just seems to flow more naturally.
Q. What is your greatest strength as a writer?
Diane: I really strive to write believable characters, people I would want to hang out with in real life.
Q. Can you tell us about your upcoming book(s)?
Diane: I recently sold a novella to Lyrical Press, LLC, which comes out in March 2012. Sexy, fun and romantic, Still Hot for You takes a peek into the marriage of Dylan and Shay LaCosta. Theirs is a hot and steamy union, with an even hotter couple. Just like in real life, relationships have problems. But when two people are meant to be, they fight with each other, and they fight for each other.
Q. Can you share a little of what you're currently working on? Please tell us a little about the hero and heroine in this book.
Diane: Right now, I’m getting ready for the Print Edition of Dangerous Desire which comes out October 1st. On top of that, we just sold our house and we’re moving in a few weeks! It’s crazy busy, but once things settle down, I’d like to start work on a sequel to Dangerous Desire. This story will feature the heroine’s daughter, Marina, and the hero’s brother, Cole. I can’t wait for these two to get together!
Q. How important do you think villains are to a story? And why?
Diane: I like to write villains because I can get away with a lot more. Bad behavior is expected. It’s fun giving the reader someone to root against.
Q. What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
Diane: When I first started, we didn’t have the Internet. It’s so much easier to network, join groups, and research the industry. But the most important thing is to sit down and write. The rest doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a good story to sell.
Q. What dreams have you realized as a result of your writing? And what are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your writing career?
Diane: I truly feel that I’m fulfilling my purpose in life. Getting published was a big accomplishment. I get to do what I love.
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax?
Diane: Like to hang out at home with my family, watch scary movies, read a sexy book. Taking our little dachshund to the dog park is always fun. So is riding on the back of my husband’s motorcycle!
Q. Please describe your typical day. Is there anything you'd like to change about it?
Diane: On a good day, I exercise, write, promote, play with the dog, run the household and all that other good stuff. If I had my way though, I’d do only two things: Write and play with doggie!
Q. Where can your readers learn more about you?
Diane: Please visit my website at www.DianeEscalera.com. I love to interact with readers! “Like” my Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/dianeescaleraofficial. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dianeescalera.
Dangerous Desire is available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lyrical Press, and digital bookstores everywhere.
Q. If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would it be?
Diane: My favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”