Thursday, February 23, 2006

Interview with Diann Hunt and book giveaway!

Captain's Log, Stardate 02.23.2006

Diann Hunt is WAY COOL and I'm so excited for a chance to get to know her better with this interview! You might have seen her blogging with her pals Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, and Denise Hunter at Girls Write Out.

Interview with Diann Hunt:

CT: Your book is considered "Lady-lit" for older women. Is that who you primarily write for, or can younger women enjoy your story? What do you want to say to your demographic readership?

DH: While it is true that my books have middle-aged characters, I try to make them deal with problems that all women can relate to. For instance, though Maggie (Hot Flashes & Cold Cream) dealt with age issues, she also dealt with low self-esteem and obsessed about her appearance. What woman doesn’t do that? She went through a time of wondering what to do with herself once the kids left home, but I think various stages of life bring on that question. When the kids start school, Moms start wondering if they should go back to work, that type of thing.

So in answer to your question, yes, it’s geared toward middle-aged women, but I believe (and hope) women of any age can enjoy the read. :)

CT: Where would you like to see your writing going, in terms of genre and scope, in the next several years?

DH: Whether through lady lit, women’s fiction, or whatever, I hope to write stories that give women hope for the future, and maybe enjoy a giggle or two along the way.

CT: Do your kids influence your writing at all? How? How about hubby? How about your students?

DH: There are bits and pieces of all of us in my books. The scene in Hot Flashes where the son writes home to Maggie with the subliminal message, “Send Nick some money”? That happened. My son did that very thing when he was in college, and I wrote back similar to the way Maggie did. I thought it was hilarious, so I asked him if I could use it.

My husband is my hero so, of course, there are bits of him in all my heroes. I’m not telling you which bits. :)

CT: What was the funniest part of writing HOT FLASHES AND COLD CREAM?

DH: I love Maggie. She and I are best friends because we understand each other. :) While writing Hot Flashes my husband would say things like, “Uh-oh, what would Maggie think of that,” or “Is Maggie going to do that?” She became a part of our lives. Scary, I know, but there it is.

CT: What's your favorite scene from HOT FLASHES AND COLD CREAM?

DH: Hmm, I suppose it’s when she dives into the bush to spy on Lily. Maggie has a protective nature and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her best friend Lily from the men she meets on the Internet.

Maggie has quite a few antics up her sleeve, and I love how she always gets herself into one fix and then another.

CT: How did you come up with this story idea?

DH: True story. I got up one morning and went to the sink to wash my face. Just as I started to pull the water to my face, I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror. For the first time ever, I saw my grandmother looking back at me. Let me just say I wasn’t prepared for her visit. :)

I realized then and there, I could get bitter about aging or I could write a book about it. I decided to write a book.

CT: What's your next novel to be released?

DH: Well, I have two Love Inspired novels (under my pen name of Diann Walker) coming out next. In March, A Match Made in Bliss will be released, and its sequel Blissfully Yours will be released in June.

My next lady lit, RV There Yet?, also comes out in June. It’s a Women of Faith summer selection. I’m really excited about that, because I get to do a book signing at the Women of Faith Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana in August with Colleen Coble.

Also, WestBow is sending Colleen and me to Florida where we will pick up an RV and do a book tour in the month of June! How fun is that? Too bad I didn’t get to do that before I wrote the RV book. :)

CT: I love that title, RV There Yet?!!! What books do you like to read and why?

DH: I like to read lighthearted women’s fiction and romance. I also read writing how-to books and throw in an occasional non-fiction read.

Before writing, I worked for ten years as a court reporter, so I don’t enjoy reading about heavy issues. I can put too many faces on those issues and it depresses me, so I go for the happier things. I read to escape not to wallow in reality. LOL! I know I’m not the norm, but there you are.

I do read Colleen Coble and Terri Blackstock suspense books (and love them!), but for the most part, I choose to go with lighthearted tales.

CT: You know (or maybe you don't know) how much I LOVE FOOD. I once went to an Ethiopian restaurant, and not only were the spices exotic and slammin' interesting, but I got to eat with my fingers! What's your favorite ethnic food to eat and why?

DH: I love Mexican food, but that’s about as ethnic as I go—no, wait. I like Chinese too.

I went to dinner one night with Kristin Billerbeck and ordered calamari. I thought it was some sort of pasta dish. I start to eat it and discover “something amiss.” I’m like, “I thought these were noodles, what is this?” She starts laughing and says, “Don’t you know what calamari is? It’s squid.”

Amid my gasping and choking, the kind waiter took my full plate back and brought me something I recognized. :)

CT: Confession time: what's your weirdest habit?

DH: Well, my habits include coffee and chocolate, but I don’t think they’re all that weird.

CT: Do you cook and why or why not? What's your most famous (or infamous) dish?

DH: Funny you should ask. Once our kids left home, we just started eating out all the time. I don’t know if it was a celebration or what (just kidding, kids). Anyway, we’ve noticed our party selves are taking a toll on our finances. So, I’ve rediscovered cooking. And more importantly, I’ve discovered Paula Deen. :)

Lat week I made Taco Soup, (Paula’s recipe) with cornbread and it was fabulous!! It’s sort of a cross between chili and tacos. Yummy!

My most infamous dish was during our first Christmas together after we were married. My husband was sick with the flu, but I attempted to make a cherry glazed ham for our Christmas meal. Not the ham shank type, mind you, but rather the CANNED ham. The problem was not with my recipe, but rather with how to OPEN the canned ham. For crying out loud, why didn’t someone tell me that stupid key was SUPPOSED to break off? Sigh. I made such a mess of things--slimy juice everywhere--that my husband had to get out of his sick bed, grab a hammer and screwdriver and pry that sucker open. That was twenty-nine years ago, and the family still talks about it. :)

CT: Any TV shows you love?

DH: I rarely watch TV, but the one I watch most consistently is Seventh Heaven. I love the family values it teaches.

CT: What magazines are on your coffeetable right now? Any strange ones? And will you confess if they're yours and not your husband's?

DH: Cooking magazines. Paula Deen, Cooking Light, and a few decorating magazines. Boring, I know, but there it is.

Camy here: Part two tomorrow!

Bible in 90 Days: Day 45. I finished Song of Songs. It was nice. Some of the references threw me--eyes like doves, breasts like deer (like I told Mir, there is something just wrong with comparing my boobies to woodland creatures). Sorry, was that TMI?

I started Isaiah. I'm so glad I read Samuel, Kings, Chronicles before going into this book. I'm more familiar with the kings being mentioned, and the devastation he's predicting. I'm also again reminded of God's grace to His deviating people--just like me!

Writing: What's that? All I know is this Genesis stuff. It never ends... Actually, it will end next week once the entries are mailed out. Phew! And it's also making me itchy to write.

Diet: I did really great yesterday, not as hot today. I think I ended at 1800 today. Sigh. Self-control, toots, self-control. Good thing I have PT tomorrow.