Diane Marquette is the author of five published books: In Over My Head, Too Close For Words, and Suitable For Framing from her Chesapeake Conference Center mystery series, as well as two stand-alone novels, Good Fridays and Almost Mine.
She has written more than one hundred and fifty articles, which have been published in the Baltimore Sun, the Star Democrat, Delmarva Quarterly, Shore Living, Talbot Guide, Caroline Review, Delaware Beach Life, and Women’s View. She has written six screenplays, which she is promoting and shopping to directors, actresses, and actors in Los Angeles.
Diane has been interviewed on local television and radio news programs and on the blog talk radio show “Murder, She Writes.” Visit podcast.com/show/141743/rss to listen in. She also has read her work on local public radio and this piece can be heard by clicking on Public Radio Essay on the menu. She is a former Vice President of the Eastern Shore Writers Association, and a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the Maryland Writers Association. She helps coordinate the annual Bay-to-Ocean Writers’ Conference at Chesapeake College in Maryland. Her website www.dianemarquette.comcontains plenty of information about her five published books.
Jan: When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?
Diane: Twenty-five years ago, before I moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I wrote freelance articles for various newspapers in the Baltimore area. But it wasn’t until about twelve years ago that I attended the Bay-to-Ocean Writers Conference in Easton, and became inspired and motivated to get serious about writing again.
Jan: What did you do to make your writing dreams real?
Diane: I set goals. And quickly achieved the first one, to get a freelance article published in a local magazine. Over the next several years, more than 150 of my articles were published in regional and national newspapers and magazines. I’ve written five books, all of which have been published. I’ve also written six screenplays, which I’m marketing with agents and producers.
Jan: Many readers know you because of your Chesapeake Conference Center mystery series: In Over My Head, Too Close For Words, and Suitable For Framing. What inspired you to write a mystery series?
Diane: I worked for several years at the Aspen Institute/Wye River Conference Center in Queenstown, MD, witnessing the Mideast Peace Talks and many other high-level government meetings, so a great deal of my own work experience is going into my Chesapeake Conference Center mystery series.
The first three books in the series, In Over My Head, Too Close For Words, and Suitable For Framing describe what goes on behind the scenes at an exclusive, upscale retreat frequented by prominent professionals and famous world leaders. I’ve enriched these stories with even more details that required me to do additional research involving topics such as the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, abductions, arson, and bomb-sniffing dogs. (For more “national security secrets” revealed, see my “Behind the Story” under the Book section on the menu for In Over My Head on my website www.dianemarquette.com.)
Jan: So do you envision more books for this series?
Diane: I’m currently writing the fourth book in the Chesapeake Conference Center mystery series, which has the titled – Stop the Car.
Jan: Did you know that you would be writing a mystery series when you began? Why did you decide to continue this mystery series?
Diane: It’s rare for a writer to begin researching and writing a book knowing it’s the first in a series; even anticipating a sequel is pretty ambitious. I’ve enjoyed working with the characters in this Chesapeake Conference Center mystery series and I want to know them better, so I continue to write about them. After writing the first three books in the series, the characters have grown and become more three-dimensional. It’s just like a blossoming friendship – each time we’re together, I learn more about them.
Jan: So how did these characters take form for you?
Diane: Well-developed characters help the author write the story, too. The characters actually bring me story ideas now. I put them in a particular situation and consider how they will react, given the unique personality each of them has. I have ideas for at least three more mysteries in the series, so with the help of the protagonist, Deputy Jill McCormick, and her buddies, we’ll be working together for quite a few years to come.
Jan: Your novel, Good Fridays, was published in August 2011, and has since been republished on Amazon as of August 2012. Tell us about that process to move it into the Amazon arena.
Diane: A popular method to get a book published right now is to be a self-published author and to reach out directly to readers on the Internet, by publishing through a website such as www.amazon.com. In addition to being the leading seller of print books and electronic books (ebooks), Amazon is now the recognized giant in the book publishing industry. The process of self-publishing one’s books with Amazon is simpler and faster than more traditional methods, and gets books into the readers’ hands much more quickly.
Jan: What are the challenges you see?
Diane: After publishing a book, one of the most challenging jobs an author faces is marketing the book to make readers aware it exists. One of the most attractive features of publishing with Amazon is that Amazon provides extensive marketing support to its authors.
Jan: And what have you discovered?
Diane: In the beginning of my Amazon journey, the most important decision I made was to hire some experts to help me. A writer I know referred me to someone in England he had used to do the technical formatting for both the ebook version and the print version of his book. I know my limitations and how long it would have taken me to accomplish this step on my own, so I hired this person to do it for me, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.
Then I also hired another writer friend to do the final proofreading because it’s extremely difficult for a writer to proofread his or her own work. So, again, that was money well-spent. Writers have to realize that any time they spend doing technical work for publication or any energy they spend on marketing, are not being spent on the actual writing process itself.
Jan: You’ve said that your first book, Almost Mine, remains a personal and a fan favorite. Why do you love this one so much?
Diane: My first book, Almost Mine, is about step-grand-parenting, and the belief that unanswered prayers can sometimes be blessings. That story was inspired by my own surprising experience of falling head-over-heels in love with my two step-grandsons when they were born. I wanted to write a book about that feeling. I sense there are other women who understand that children bring their own love with them and they don’t care that there isn’t a blood relationship between you and them.
Jan: Have you considered a sequel and what would be the focus of it?
Diane: Yes, I have thought about writing a sequel to Almost Mine. That story ends with Joey, Helen’s step-grandson, at the age of two. I’d like to re-visit Helen and Joey about ten or twelve years after Almost Mine ends. My own two step-grandsons are now teenagers, so there are plenty of experiences to incorporate into Joey and Helen’s next story. Some of my fans have suggested this, too, so I owe it to them to explore this! Thanks for the nudge, Jan!
Jan: Some authors are considering alternative forms of publishing, such as self-publishing, print-on-demand (pod), and electronic books. What are your thoughts on the changes and which of these forms looks most inviting to you and why?
Diane: Whether you’re a reader or a writer, you know the world of book publishing has greatly changed. What was once considered the “traditional” way for an author to get his or her book published was to sign a contract with a literary agent who would secure a contract with a major publishing house. That scenario was the norm for decades.
But with the advent of self-publishing, print-on-demand (POD) and electronic books, everything’s changed. A popular method right now is to be a self-published author and to reach out directly to readers on the Internet, publishing through a website such as www.amazon.com.
In addition to being the leading seller of print books and electronic books (ebooks), Amazon is now the recognized giant in the book publishing industry. The process of self-publishing one’s books with Amazon is simpler and faster than more traditional methods, and gets books into the readers’ hands much more quickly.
After publishing a book, one of the most challenging jobs an author faces is marketing the book to make readers aware it exists. One of the most attractive features of publishing with Amazon, is that they provide extensive marketing support and tools.Writing a book is difficult enough, but getting it published and then marketing it takes an enormous amount of time and energy. Typing “The End” on the last page of the manuscript is never really the end.
Jan: Well. This is not the end of our interview. We’ll continue this interview on Friday, January 18, 2013 – to be posted after 4:00 p.m.
Her website www.dianemarquette.comcontains plenty of information about her five published books.
Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2011Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers. Learn more at: Website – www.janbowmanwriter.com