Dianna is a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. Her first book, The Hidden Son, released in print world-wide March 1, 2013.
After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need. Her suspense novels about adventurous characters thrown into tremendous circumstances provide readers with a similar kind of rush.
Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three athletic children.
She has offered to give away one copy of her book to one fortunate winner. Leave a comment with your email address to register. We need at least ten comments. Continental US only, please.
Dianna, tell us about your latest book.
Book One in the Cayman Islands Trilogy
When U.S. DEA Special Agent Lelisa Desmond refuses to follow an order to bury evidence in a high profile case, her superior hires a hit man to kill her deep in the ocean off Grand Cayman Island. Lelisa survives the first attempt on her life, but someone close to her is mistakenly murdered in her place.
With no one to trust, Lelisa enlists Inspector Alec Dyer for help but learns she’s his number one suspect in the scuba diving homicide. She sets off on a daring mission to bring down the man who ordered her execution. A man in a high position, with powerful friends. A man who will stop at nothing to silence her forever in order to hide his son’s crimes.
What are you working on right now?
Book Two in the Cayman Islands Trilogy
Paramedic Reyanne Cooper finds herself under gunpoint by her patient, Jason Keegan, an injured prison inmate. A standoff ensues between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
As his hostage, Reyanne fights to save herself before Keegan blows them both up, a threat he made to the Cayman police since he’d rather die than live life in a prison cell. However, he’s determined to escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever off radar.
If you could have dinner with someone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?
Female: Mother Teresa
Tell us three things about you that would surprise your readers.
I never read any of my high school required books. None of them caught my interest at all, so I read the Cliff notes and winged it.
I didn’t read much as a child or a teen. I don’t even remember reading an entire novel until my senior year in high school. My freshman year in college, I found my love of reading suspense novels.
In fifth grade, I discovered I was a writer. For details, check out my On Writing page on my website.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My highest percentage of writing time is when my husband is working and my children are in school. I write in our bonus room, a huge room over the garage. The large four hundred square foot room accommodates my need for space during the revision and polishing process when I print out every page to read every word and revise as necessary. To be honest, I never have enough writing time. There’s always another scene to write. There’s always ways to improve my current book in the editing and polishing phase. There’s always my next book to start. However, typically when I sit down to write, ten hours will pass and it seems like only one. I love my job!
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
With two careers and three children who are athletes competing at the national and international level, life can be a little tricky for me. Luckily, I’m a list person and very visual and organized. I write everything down inside my leather day planner I’ve had since 1996.
One of the best things about being an author: When I’m watching a movie or TV show with family and/or friends, I’m also working since I often apply it to my suspense novels. How cool is my job? However, life can sure get hectic juggling my children’s school and sports schedules with my writing deadlines and EMS career, but if I stay organized and focused, it all seems to get done. I trust God to lead my life and light my way.
Several of Sherri’s questions can be answered by reading the On Writing page on my website.
Tell us about the journey to getting published.
I started writing my first suspense novel in 1993. After completing five novels, I signed with an agent in 2007. Six agents offered me representation that spring; it was difficult to turn down the other five since all of them are top-notch agents. In the fall of 2007, a film agent requested a screenplay of The Hidden Son after reading the book. Just days before I completed the script, I learned the film agent recently and suddenly retired due to health issues. I never pursued anything further with the script.
In 2009, I was offered a four-book publishing contract, but soon after that my husband was diagnosed with cancer, so I turned that contract down to focus on our young family of five.
I finaled in the Golden Palm in 2007, finaled in the Daphne in 2010, double semi-finaled in the Genesis in spring 2011, and won the Genesis September 2011. I switched agents January 2012. I signed a nine-book publishing contract July 2012. My first book releases March 1, 2013 in bookstores in the USA, Canada and other select countries.
Starting in February 2012, for thirteen weeks I had a pending contract offer from one of the largest traditional print publishing houses. They made me an offer only three days after my new agent submitted my work out. The entire editorial staff and entire leadership team loved my writing, but much to the senior acquisitions editor’s stunned shock, after thirteen weeks the business team decided they can’t add another suspense author.
During this thirteen week timeframe, my agent and the senior acquisitions editor thought it was just a matter of time before my contract finalized, so my agent understandably let go of all the other interest in my writing. Soon after those thirteen weeks with that publishing house, Ellechor Publishing House, a small traditional print house, contacted me and asked me to submit my 2011 Genesis Winner, Illusion of Safety. A few days after I did so, they offered me a nine-book contract (three trilogies).
Thank you, Dianna, for sharing your story with us here! Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
Pre-sale orders of THE HIDDEN SON available at Barnes and Noble and all other book sellers.
My website: www.diannatbenson.com