Where are you from? Scottburgh born and raised. It’s a small coastal town in South Africa that buzzes in the holiday season and goes sleepy in between.
Tell us a bit about Finding Mia. If you asked Isobel, or Bel rather—this question, she would tell you that sometimes finding means being found. For me? I watched God’s hand on this woman, and how finding Mia was the start of a process of restoration for her in every way.
What did you think the first time you saw Isobel? The very first time I laid eyes on her, she was arguing with my receptionist. Everything in me turned knight in shining armor. I couldn’t help myself. All I wanted was to rescue her.
That is so sweet! How about your second thought? She was barefoot and sandy from the beach, flushed and uncomfortable. I was intrigued. Nobody had caught my interest like she did for as long as I could remember.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? No look, that concept is for rom-com movies and soppy books. Intrigued? Yes. Fascinated? Yes. Could I have taken her to a coffee shop and listened to her talk all morning… without a doubt. Did I struggle to get her out my mind? Let’s just say that it was tricky to concentrate on anything after meeting her. But all that doesn’t add up to love. Does it?
Guess not, but what do you like most about her? Most? It’s going to be hard to narrow it down, there is so much. She makes a killer cup of tea. She’s genuine and has a capacity to love that floods over you like the waves of the ocean, deep and constant. I love the sunlight through her hair.
You're killing us, Liam. Kill—ing us. How would you describe her? Bel is a fascinating paradox of confidence and insecurity. She is fierce and independent. She is funny and warm. I guess you could wrap it all up in one word – complex!
How would she describe you? That’s easy. Incorrigible. That’s the exact word she used. On a good day, she’d probably settle for insufferable bully. Though we have come a long way since then.
What made you choose medicine as a career? Mostly I like helping people, but I enjoyed the mental challenge as well. I get bored quickly.
What is your biggest fear? Losing Bel.
How do you relax? A good long jog or swim in my pool.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Robert Neville from the movie I Am Legend. He is a brilliant scientist who is seemingly the sole survivor of a man made plague that turns people into blood thirsty mutants. For some reason, he’s immune and he work tirelessly to produce a serum that could heal the infected. Every day he would roam the streets of New York calling for survivors. He fascinates me because I can’t help wondering how long I’d hold it together under those circumstances.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? My dad told me never to give up on what I felt was right.
Whoa. We gotta have this one back for a return visit because he's kept us on our toes. But . . . now it's time to chat a bit with Dianne. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I’m hugely influenced by the writing of Marika Cobbold. She has this subtle humor and a way with words that makes me want to read paragraphs out loud to my daughters who will generally roll their eyes at me for not yelling spoiler alert. Liane Moriarty is also a huge inspiration. Her writing is down to earth, yet she crafts her plots in a way that snags your attention. You don’t want to do anything else but read.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? The zipper on my handbag broke. It’s all my fault because I insist on shoving too many things in. I left my bag in the lounge one night and a frog thought it would make a great bedroom so he moved in. The next day, I was driving and put my hand into my bag to get a tissue and instead of a tissue, I felt a cold, slimy living thing. I would be lying if I said I didn’t scream a little. Okay a lot. But it got me thinking about how we often pack too many things into our lives – activities, distractions, busy-ness… and then when something gives, we find ourselves allowing things in that we normally wouldn’t or having other things stolen from us. I wove it into Finding Mia as part of a conversation with her friend Melindi who couldn’t make peace with the fact that she’d been taken in by the charms of Roric – the antagonist.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Pelican / Harbourlight… I was looking for an agent or publisher for Shackles, my first novel. Good old Google helped me track down Christian publishing houses. Pelican is one of the few that still accept unsolicited / un-agented submissions. The editor I submitted to loved my writing, but the story wasn’t a good fit for them in terms of structure. She gave me a detailed list of what they needed. I took the next year to write Finding Mia to their specific requirements and the editor not only remembered me, but they accepted it for publication! Being offered a contract for the second one, I decided to make Shackles available as a free, warts-and-all-download on Smashwords and other ebook distributors - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396420
Finding Mia is available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Mia-Dianne-J-Wilson/dp/1611164451/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
as well as on the Pelican site: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=666
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-mia-dianne-j-wilson/1122057049?ean=9781611164459 and other online bookstores.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’ve just finished Affinity, the first in the YA Spirit Walker series. While that one is out looking for a publishing home, I’m juggling book 2 of the series as well as a romantic comedy tentatively called One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.
Anyone interested in following those developments can find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/diannejwilsonauthor
and my somewhat neglected blog: diannejwilson.wordpress.com/
What's up next for you? Working at writing quicker. These stories are queuing up in my head faster than I can get them out my fingertips!
This has been a terrific visit, Dianne [and Liam]. Please come back to visit us soon.
Kat and Veronica