Welcome, Diana Green, author of On the Outside, a novella published with KDP and Create Space.
Shall we get to know Diana?
Since my childhood, growing up in New Zealand, I have been an avid storyteller. For years, I enjoyed teaching art and special education, while continuing to write as a hobby.
After I developed chronic fatigue syndrome, a career change was necessary, but happily, this led me to become a professional author.
My favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, historical, and romance. I write for The Wild Rose Press, and my first book with them will release in 2014.
Home, at present, is beautiful Washington State. I live there with my husband, son, and our many animal friends.
Here's a blurb from On the Outside:
In a not-so-distant future, the privileged live within protective walls, and the rest fend for themselves...on the outside.
From a life of relative comfort and safety, Orla is plunged into a struggle for survival. Her newly emerged phasing powers force her to become a fugitive, hunted by government agents, and driven to the edges of society.
In desperation Orla joins a band of smugglers. Their caravan could offer the perfect hiding place, or it could be her undoing. Much of that depends on Charlie, top gunslinger and ‘teeth’ of the operation. Will he prove to be a valuable ally or just another kind of trouble?
Diana, what jumped out at me in On the Outside is Phasing. Where did that come from? Did you create the idea?
When I first started writing this story, I didn’t even know Orla would have a special ability. This was one of those rare times when I started writing the first scene with only an image of the setting and strong feeling for the main character. I let everything else unfold as I went along. Normally, I plan the whole book out, but On the Outside just came to me from my muse.
Oh, you are a Pantser! Sometimes, this is the best way to develop newer ideas.
As I began to shape this future dystopia, I wanted Orla’s character to have grown up “inside” a walled city and then be forced to live “on the outside”. The ability to phase (teleport) simply popped into my head. It gave her a reason to be on the run, but it also added an extra tension, with the possibility she could be ripped away from her present location, at any time. That would be a frightening prospect to live with.
Did you do research on telepathy?
I relied on my imagination for most aspects of this book, including the special abilities. I tried to visualize how it might feel to teleport or to have someone make telepathic suggestions to you. Then I did my best to put those images and sensations into words.
This resonated with me because your characters actually felt what they were doing and you did a good job conveying this to the reader!
Thanks. Writing believable, engaging characters is always my top priority.
I noticed your heroine has an unusual name—Orla. Where did that come from?
Orla came to me already named. Truly.
Sometimes, I struggle with naming characters, but with this book, they stepped into my awareness, already named and already fully-formed. It was a lot of fun to experience that kind of easy inspiration. I wish all my writing was that way.
These quotes jumped out at me: "The world is far from perfect." "If you don't tell me, I can't fix it." "I give a little, you give a little, and we make our peace." "My gut generally doesn't say much." "This is just spring fighting its way past winter." "Turning eighteen doesn't make you an adult. Only experience can do that." "You can't push a river and you can't push a woman either." "Sometimes young people act crazy." "Everyone has things they're good at, and other things that are new." From where did these tidbits come from?
I felt a powerful connection to these characters. I could see them, as if they stood in front of me. I could hear their dialogue, as if I shared the same room with them. Each one had a unique voice, and I just listened to see what they had to say.
That happens when I have a character written well. I know what they would say and how they would act in a particular situation, without having to think about it. That’s one of the strengths of this story. The characters really live and breathe.
I especially like this: "Like you're a starving woman, and I'm the last steak on the grill."
Yep. That’s one of my favorite lines too. I figured if Charlie was any kind of food, he’d be a hot, scrumptious, grilled steak, and Orla was most definitely hungry in that scene.
I can so totally see my Handsome man as a steak. LOLOL
In On the Outside, a young boy, Wendell, is featured, but then Orla leaves him. I wanted to get to know Wendell even more. Why this? Unfortunately when Orla phases, she can’t take anyone with her. When the Feds find her and she is forced to phase away, she ends up hundreds of miles from Wendell. There is no way for her to visit him, until the end, when she learns the ability to phase to a specific person. I liked leaving the story at the point where she can control her ability, and she now knows how to reconnect with her family and with Wendell as well.
I also found interesting that water is regulated. With the California drought news recently, this truly resonated. Have you experience with water regulation?
The western United States has experienced a lot of drought in the last decade. I have family who live in towns where water usage is regulated for certain things, though not as much as in my story. I also have family who farm, and their ability to irrigate crops is impacted.
I guessed that water might become even more precious in the future, as underground aquifers are depleted. We are on the way there, now, unfortunately.
The hero, Charlie, gives Orla a cute nickname—Jackrabbit. How did this name develop?
I thought about how she might appear to him, at their first meeting…smallish, kind of twitchy and nervous. But jackrabbits are also hardy animals, and Orla certainly shows her toughness in the face of adversity.
You also have Orla quote poetry by Walter Headley. Are you familiar with his work?
Funny that. I made him up. I do that sometimes when I’m referencing a song, poem, novel, etc. That way I don’t get in trouble with a real poet, songwriter, author, for using their work in my book. Besides, this story is set in the future, so I wanted to think of a poet that isn’t around yet. I’m glad I was convincing. J
Wow, you did a great job! I totally thought him to be a real person. I guess I could have done some research…. Lol
How did you get from teaching special education and art to writing science fiction and fantasy romance?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it remained a hobby until recently. I developed chronic fatigue syndrome, complicated with an autoimmune thyroid condition, about 2 ½ years ago. This was largely due to the demanding nature of teaching, combined with the daily exposure to germs, germs, and more germs.
With an autoimmune condition, it was out of the question for me to continue working in schools. Though I was saddened by this, as I loved my career helping special needs children, I came to see it as an opportunity.
I returned to my lifelong interest in storytelling. I started with self-publishing, but now I have a fantasy romance trilogy, Dragon Clan, started with The Wild Rose Press. The first book, Dragon Wife, will be released this year. The second book, Dragon Warrior, is complete and currently with my editor. It’s an exciting time for me, starting a whole new livelihood, in my forties.
We shall be TWRP friends as I have something in the works, too.
Excellent! I will keep my eye out for your book. I’ve been making a point to read other TWRP authors, so that I can network and offer support.
Now, down to the nitty gritty of writing. What is the hardest part --drafting, editing, research, or marketing? Why?
Marketing is definitely my challenge. I’m a bit of an introvert, so putting myself out there and “selling my wares” is beyond my comfort zone. The upside is I’ve connected with great people, both readers and other authors. I love my fans and deeply appreciate their interest and support. They make the promotion aspect of my work a lot more fun.
I hear you. Sigh. And it really can cut into the writing.
Don’t I know it!
What is your newest project? Anything else you want to share?
New Sion is my latest release. It initially came out digital only with Champagne Books, but I recently received the rights back. I have now created a “new improved” edition and published it in paperback as well as e-book.
It’s a romantic sci-fi novel, set in the far future, on a colony planet of earth. The main character, Finn, is a woman pretending to be a man, in order to survive on that world. Things get complicated for her, when she falls for her bounty hunting partner, Eamon. For more info, reviews, excerpt, and a book trailer, people can visit my website at dianagreenbooks.com.
Let's do a speed round:
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite drink: Chocolate frozen custard shake from Fiamma Burger
Favorite movie: My perfect movie zone fits somewhere between The Lord of the Rings and uncommon westerns like Thousand Pieces of Gold, or The Ballad of Little Jo. Strange combination, I know.
Favorite accessory: A beautiful necklace of polished shells my husband bought for me at a Native American potlatch celebration.
I don't know Fiamma Burger, but have had custard shakes, and they are delish! I also am not familiar with Thousand Pieces of Gold or the ballad movies. Hubbies can really rock!
Thank you, Diana, for being with Coffee Time Romance and me. I wish you much success.
Thank you for having me here. I appreciate the opportunity.
Find Diana at: Website | Facebook
Find On the Outside at: Amazon