Interview with Diane Jewkes

I’d like to welcome another Crimson Romance colleague to my blog today. Diane Jewkes’s novel The Heart You Own was part of Crimson’s debut launch last week! I’m very excited to have Diane here to tell you about herself and her novel. Enjoy!

Me: Tell me a little about yourself.

Diane Jewkes: My name is Diane R. Jewkes. I live in Colorado outside Denver in the foothills. I have been married for 32 years this September and I have two children, a daughter and a son, and three grandchildren, two girls and a boy, all under 6!

I grew up in southern New Mexico and attended the University of Arizona (go Wildcats!) where I received a degree in Journalism with a minor in history. I worked in radio for my father and for a small town newspaper in New Mexico (home of the original Duck Races with real ducks). I then spent 11 years working in the travel industry.  My husband and I moved to Colorado in 1988 and I began working in software quality assurance. My training in journalism (who, what, where, when and how, and the need to fact check everything!) translated quite well into quality assurance. I currently work for a financial institution in technology, and I am lucky enough to be able to work from home.

Me: Describe your journey to becoming published.

DJ: How much time do I have? I started writing “The Heart You Own” just out of college. I wrote in long-hand and on an electric typewriter. I put my dreams of being the next Woodiwiss or Rogers on hold while I got married and raised my family.  I started toying with the idea of writing in the 90’s and began researching the history of my setting and fleshing out my story. My mother, who supported my writing, and all my artistic endeavors, passed away during this time. It is one of my regrets that I didn’t get finished and published while she was alive. I finished my first incarnation and the book was over 100,000 words. I joined RWA, entered Golden Heart, started submitting to editors and learning the fine art of accepting rejection without taking it personally.  I pared down my story and continued submitting; and continued getting rejected for the next several years. It was a learning experience! I did have some publishers that wanted my story, but only after making changes that I felt would take the heart out of my story, so I soldiered on, looking for a publisher. In January I saw an article about a new line, Crimson Romance, and thought, “What the heck,” and submitted. Jennifer contacted me, and here I am…about to be published!

Me: Who or what inspires you as a writer?

DJ: Good question, and one I hadn’t really thought about before. I would say the small, unusual stories throughout history inspire me. I like finding those pieces or places in time that might not have gotten the fanfare, but are still compelling stories.

Me: When do you make time for writing?

DJ: Some days I am very good about sitting down and writing, and others, I will do everything in my power to avoid it.

(My note: Me too!)  

I do find that a lot of scenes come to me when I am outside walking on my property or driving in my car. Do I have a recorder or paper at these times? Not always…and then I’m dashing back desperately trying to remember these wonderful scenes and dialogue so I can put them down. I can’t say I write every day. When I decided to complete The Heart You Own, I did write every day, so I know I will as this next book progresses.

Me: Why do you write romance?

DJ: I love stories, and I love stories that have happy endings. I am a big fan of science fiction, fantasy, suspense, spy thrillers, horror…pretty much most fiction. I think I write romance because any one of those genres can be romance. I love my characters to learn not only about the person they ultimately end up with, but to learn about themselves.

Me: What advice do you have for other writers?

DJ: Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid of rejection. And if you don’t submit…you won’t get published.

Thanks so much to Diane for answering my questions! You can learn more about Diane by visiting her website or liking her on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out her book The Heart You Own.