Hello everybody! Today I am very happy to welcome Dianne Hartsock, author of “ALEX” to Coffee and a Keyboard. Thank you so much for being here!
You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me as your guest today.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in first grade, a two paragraph story about a giraffe. I can’t remember much about it, except that everyone liked to visit him at the zoo. I was very proud when the story was pinned up on the wall for everyone to read, the teacher liked it that much. And I’ve been scribbling stories ever since.
What inspired you to write your latest book?
The first novel I attempted was a fantasy/adventure, which is still looking for a home. As I became more involved in the life of my main character, I began to wonder how he would fair in a modern setting. In his world, this character is considered a magic user. What would he be labeled in today’s society? Would he be accepted, or forced to live away from others? Would he have been born with this ‘gift’ or would it have developed over time?
I found these questions intriguing and began my research into psychic abilities. Most people seem to develop their talents in their late teens. I wanted to show how Alex had been born with his gifts, and how the trauma of his childhood brought them out even stronger than is usual.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
One reviewer summed ‘ALEX’ up for me very nicely. ‘Overall, I am left with a new definition of what love is: an emotion that can endure through life and death. Love isn’t over-romanticized as something that will conquer all, but love makes life worth living.’
What books have most influenced your life most?
The fantasies of Tolkien and C.J. Cherryh, whose characters I always seem to fall in love with, those flawed, wonderful heroes. Ray Bradbury’s stories which remind me of the joys and fears and wonders of childhood. Richard Bach, who opened my mind to possibilities and Douglas Adams, who reminds me not to take myself so seriously.
What book are you reading now?
‘The Dead Town’, book five in Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series.
The war against humanity is raging. As the small town of Rainbow Falls, Montana, comes under siege, scattered survivors come together to weather the onslaught of the creatures set loose upon the world. As they ready for battle against overwhelming odds, they will learn the full scope of Victor Frankenstein’s nihilistic plan to remake the future—and the terrifying reach of his shadowy, powerful supporters.
Now the good will make their last, best stand. In a climax that will shatter every expectation, their destinies and the fate of humanity hang in the balance.
Oh I LOVE that series!!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Abandoned by Alex’s father, his mother raises Alex in isolation, physically and emotionally abusing him as she tries to drive the ‘badness’ from him inherited from his father. With no one to show her differently, they both suffer under her emotional confusion.
It broke my heart when I researched child abuse. The horrible things people do to their children. It hurts to know that a child is suffering even as I’m writing this down. I made it through the research somehow, but no matter how bad things got for Alex, it’s nothing to what some children endure every day.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just relax and write! Don’t try to copy anyone else’s style. Write the words as they come to you and worry about cleaning up the mess later. It’s the best way to find your own unique ‘writer’s voice’.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
A million things. I read books like mad. I enjoy going out for coffee or lunch with friends, live music and browsing antique stores. I also like walking on the beach, hiking, having a good laugh, and sitting by the fire with my husband.
Where can we find more information about you and your current projects?
And of course, last but not least…do you have a favorite brand, flavor, type of coffee?
Seattle Mountain 100% Arabica whole bean, Costa Rican French Roast. A mouthful to say, I know, but so rich and yummy!
Solstice Publishing: http://amzn.to/ikCVTW
Alex is twenty and confused. He always is. The world presses on him with its horrors and pain, with scintillating auras that pierce his eyes and drive the migraines deeper. He hears the cries of children, the screaming women. He sees the brutal images of the tortured victims. He feels out of control and his mind slips…
Severely abused as a child, he is left with horrible scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. Even though it puts him in danger, he’s compelled to help those who call to him. He’s driven, motivated by his visions to rescue them and uncover the killer. When he can, he helps the police; yet some detectives suspect he’s the cause of the problem, not the solution. Often, Alex finds himself alone and afraid in a world he doesn’t always comprehend.
Dianne Hartsock lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.
She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write her tales. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles her imagination.
The intricate and fragile nature of the mind is always fascinating. Having worked with the public through various careers, Dianne has come to respect the resilience and strength of the human spirit. She’s always trying to capture that spirit in her writing.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop, which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.
Dianne’s books include Trials of a Lonely Specter and Alex.
You can visit Dianne Hartsock at: http://diannehartsocksalex.wordpress.com/