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Author Interview with J.M. Diedrich

A Lady’s Duke comes out tomorrow! J.M. was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

You can get your copy of this exciting historical romance HERE!

Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today?

Lol. I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. On a whim I wrote a story when I was sixteen; a 45,000 word travesty of a young adult fantasy with no concept of head-hopping or character development. But, while my writing skills were lacking, something about the process of putting words to paper sparked a desire to create more. And more. Jump forward ten years: Several creative writing classes and two more novels under my belt—another sad excuse for a young adult fantasy and a historical romance that will never see the light of day—and I’d finally found my writing style. From there, I wrote another three novels in five years. (Two young adult fantasy/romances I thoroughly enjoyed and what has now become my debut novel: A Lady’s Duke.) A twitter pitch, one optimistic agent, and a signed contract with Dragonblade Publishing later and now I’m here, preparing to debut my first series . . . with more drafts nearing completion. It’s been a fun and instructive seventeen years, and I have every intention of going on writing until I’ve no more characters crowding my head begging to get out. (I think the next fifty years should be enough time to vacate the space.)

Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader?

I am a notorious discovery writer. Most of the time I’m gasping and laughing along with my characters when something goes amiss. (Or gets steamy.) Worse, I approach a first draft like actors film scenes; On a hectic schedule and usually out of order of the actual story. I will write whatever scene inspires me that day. It makes for some creative, and at times frustrating, problem solving as I figure out how to combine and transition all the chunks of text into a comprehensible sequence of events, but it also means writing is never boring and I rarely suffer from writer’s block.

Do you write better in the morning or evening? How do you handle distractions of working from home, especially if you’re sharing the space with others?

Chirp. Chirp. (My imitation of the early bird.) Early—5am early—is my witching hour and when my best work happens. Maybe it’s because there hasn’t been time throughout the day to get weighed down with other thoughts, or maybe I’m simply not awake enough to second guess the words I type out, but my focus is better early in the morning and it detracts those numerous distractions like small children, a hungry dog, constant emails/texts. If for whatever reason I don’t get that hour plus to myself right away, I plan a two-hour window later in the morning. With my kiddos distracted with some educational show or other, my headphones on, and my classical piano station loud enough to turn the background noise to white noise, I can usually crack out my daily 1,000 word count goal with few interruptions.

From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?

Hands down, my favorite hero is Percival Cole: ex-spy and sarcasm aficionado. There’s something comically honest about his snarky view of the world that had me grinning every time he showed up on the page; First as a loveable scamp who gives everyone a hard time in A Lady’s Duke, and throughout the Dark Duke Series, including book #3 where Percy gets his day in the sun. (Or night outwitting a homicidal maniac.) I value humor above any other literary element in a story, and Percy’s personality made that easy and, for me at least, memorable.