Diane Barnes - Making You Think About Love and Fate
Diane Barnes loves to be enveloped by the smell of chocolate while she writes about love, fate and many other things that makes her readers think deeper about life. Her book, Waiting for Ethan, was the result of the NANOWRIMO challenge, committing to writing 50,000 words in the month of November. As our Author of the Day, Barnes chats about true love, reveals why she allows her characters to make some very bad choices and why she chose to write about an older heroine.
Please give us a short introduction to what Waiting for Ethan is about.
Waiting for Ethan is about a 36-year-old woman, Gina Rossi, who tries to turn the wrong man into the right man, Ethan, because of something a fortune teller told her when she was 13.
What inspired you to write a story about a girl who is waiting for a very specific guy?
HA! My friends and I used to discuss whether soul mates exist, whether there is one specific person you are meant to be with. I think it’s romantic to think they do exist. One time on a bus trip from Boston to New York City, one of my good friends who is an attorney and likes to argue debated it the entire trip. Other passengers even chimed in. It’s something that I always found interesting.
Why write about an older heroine instead of someone in her twenties?
There are many books of heroines in their twenties who are finding love for the first time, but not many about single women in their thirties who have never been married. Yet, I think there are a lot of women and men who are still single in their thirties, but you’d never know that by many of today’s books.
Do you think waiting for Mr. Right is a good idea? Or is it better to settle for someone who might not be perfect, but you feel comfortable with?
I don’t think you should ever settle for anything. That being said, you have to realize there is no perfect person out there, but if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone who is perfect for you.
Waiting for Ethan is a real page-turner. How do you keep your readers engrossed throughout the book?
Thank you! I tried to create challenge after challenge for Gina. I wanted Ethan’s behavior to raise doubts in her, but I also wanted her to be able to balance her doubts with Ajee’s prediction that Ethan was the one for her.
Tell us a bit about your journey as an author. Did you always want to be a writer? What were some of the most defining moments in your career?
I wanted to be an author since second grade! We came in from recess and there were giant paper footprints set up around the room. We had to write a story about who/what left the footprints. I’ve pretty much been writing since that day. I started Waiting for Ethan during NANOWRIMO (a challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November). After dedicating the month to writing it, I was determined to see the book through. I attended two years or so of writing classes/novel critique workshops to revise it, and the novel I ended up with is much different than the one I wrote during NANOWRIMO, but NANO is where it got its start so that was important.
After I finished the book, I queried agents to see if I could find representation. That’s a bit of a grueling process, but I was lucky because I received several requests from agents to read the entire manuscript and that was encouraging. Then I spoke with Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency (LRA) and she was super enthusiastic about my manuscript and agreed to rep me. It was really cool when Waiting for Ethan was published because I accomplished my lifelong dream of becoming a published author.
How do you make your characters so relatable? Are any of them based on real people?
My characters really aren’t based on real people, or at least not on a specific person. I may take traits/characteristics from several different people and incorporate them all into one character. I will admit some of my friends who read Waiting for Ethan insist Gina is me. We’re both Italian, have curly hair, and were editors, but I think that’s where the similarities end.
Gina made some bad choices in the book. Why did you take this approach?
I think that when it comes to love, people do make bad choices. I think that’s realistic. Sometimes you want something to work out so much that you ignore all the signs that it’s not, or you think you can change the person, which you can’t.
Tell us about your writing habits. When, where and how do you write?
I usually write on weekends or in the evenings when I get home from my fulltime job. I have this weird habit of lighting a Chocolate Layer Cake Yankee Candle when I’m writing so that my entire house smells like chocolate, which I guess is better than me eating a whole bunch of chocolate when I’m writing!
What are you working on right now?
The novel I’m working on right now is titled Reshaping Peggy. It’s about an overweight woman who transforms her body and life by attending a boot camp class at a local gym. It’s been a lot of fun to work on this, and I’m super excited by the positive responses to it in my critique workshops. The other writers in my class really seem to like the character Peggy.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is dianembarnes.com, I’m @Fenwayscribe on Twitter and Facebook, or I can be emailed at [email protected]. I love to hear from readers!