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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Please Welcome Author...Keta Diablo!!

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us! Keta Diablo’s release is Decadent Deceptions. Her full length erotica/historical novel is available at Noble Romance in e-format.


Noble Romance:
All Romance E-books:
Keta’s Author Home:
Keta’s Author Blog:

Now, for the first-part of Keta's two-part riveting interview:

When/how did you know you wanted to write?

I’ve always written in one form or another. Even as a child, I loved to create short stories and name characters. My mom tells when of the first stories I wrote was called, “Santa Lives With Me.” I imagine I was talking about my dad, who loved Christmas. In 5th grade, a teacher introduced me to “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I’ve been hooked ever since. It seemed amazing to me that you could open a book and be transported to another place and time in a matter of minutes. Of course, in order for this to happen, the writer/author has to have a knack for stringing words together, and a basic understanding of what makes a scene work. More importantly, what doesn’t. Then the day came that I was innately curious about my family’s origins and started reading true-life stories about the pioneers of this great country. Many of my historical novels are spawned from those intriguing tales.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Helen Kirkman, Julia Quinn, Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, of course, and most authors who write historical erotica.

How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

If I’m writing a historical, research is most of the battle and consumes much of my time. Occasionally, I write fantasy and an author has a lot of freedom to create her/his own world, and not rely so much on historical facts.
If I'm writing gay fiction, which is often contemporary, then again, research helps, but it isn't as crucial as historical novels.

Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

E-books, along with Audio books are the way of the future I believe. Even is this dismal economy, booksellers and publishers are reporting record sales. The younger generations are really into technology and this has had a tremendous influence on the market. A year ago, I scoffed at downloading an e-book, and now I prefer them to paperbacks. I think there will always be peeps who love to hold a book in their hand, but they are becoming fewer and far between. E-books are here to stay!

How long does it take for you to write books?

Again, that depends on what genre I’m writing in. With me, I plan every book out in my head perhaps months ahead of time. I run through every scene, every conversation between the characters, so by the time I sit down to write, I know where I’m going. I don’t write outlines or use indexed note cards. I’ve tried all those methods and they only slow me down. I think every writer needs to develop a system that works for them and stick to it.

A historical takes months to plot, and another two months to write; whereas my gay fiction, either historical or contemporary, are much shorter, and I can generally produce a novella (25,000 words) every month.

Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?

I love Morgan from Decadent Deceptions. He is as tough as nails, except when it comes to Olivia. When he’s dealing with her (and sometimes not too well) he sort of morphs into this caring, tender man we don’t see much of when he deals with others in the book.

My most controversial character to date has been Sophia from The Land of Falling Stars. While reviewers rate the book very high, they never fail to mention their frustration with Sophia. I didn’t intend for her to be controversial, and to me, she isn’t. It must be a subjective matter. Sophia goes through numerous trials and tribulations in the novel, most of which would crush a grown woman today, yet she survived. Like Olivia, she was difficult to deal with at times, but in the end, won the day.

Recently, a reviewer who read Crossroads and Valentine’s Vindication, my recent gay fiction novellas, struggled with my “incorrectly political” characters. I wonder . . . is that same as “politically incorrect” characters? In any event, I took this as a compliment. I have no intention of writing cookie-cutter characters and formulaic plots – the stuff New York has shoved down our throats for years (no offense). Human beings on their best days come with warts and flaws, so why does a reviewer think heroes and heroines in a book shouldn’t? I write them as I see them, and sometimes, it’s down and ugly. If you think about, there are few humans who are designed like those in the romance novels in the last twenty years. To create and develop characters in this manner is to me, hypocritical nonsense. Give me a private eye like Frank McGuire in Crossroads, who not only dabbles in the sixth-sense type mysticism, but also dabbles in naughty sex scenarios with younger men.

In Valentine’s Vindication, one of the main characters (a gay man) cheated on his partner before the story began, and it did end up a HEA, but the reviewer was mortified that I wrote about infidelity. Hello . . . can we say REALISM?

Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 years? If not then what?

The Good Lord willing, I hope I’ll be writing in ten years, and if so, I imagine it will be what I write now – erotic historical and erotic gay fiction. The possibilities in these genres are endless, paranormal, suspense, thriller, etc. I love what I write and I hope it shows.

Although I do venture into the contemporary world on occasion, I don’t read contemporary novels and I’m not real fond of writing them. Only if a character is tugging at me to spill his guts will I venture down that road. I’m more comfortable writing about the good old days.

What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

Recently I edited an anthology for Noble Romance and am in the process of editing one for Ravenous Romance. I was really amazed at the inferior quality of the submissions. People often say (and I’ve often heard them), “I think I’ll write a book.” Under my breath I say, “Good luck with that.” It’s much, much harder than it looks, and there are so many do’s and don’ts, most of which you should learn and practice when it comes to the basics (sentence structure, point of view, noun and verb usage, and a host of others). It isn’t as simple as, “I think I’ll write a book,” although many must think it is and so they do.

I would encourage anyone who has the heart to try, anyone who harbors a strong desire because he/she loves the written word. I would tell them to learn everything they can about writing BEFORE they write the book. Of course, many say the best way to become an expert writer is to write every day. I believe that’s true in part, but a big part is a natural talent, a ton of perseverance and a hunger to learn. You can write until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t’ recognize a dangling modifier when you see one, you’re in trouble.

Two other things astound me – the books that are published by very poor writers, and the writers who never make it to the big houses and yet, I’d give my eye-teeth to write like them. I find that rather contrary.

Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

This happen a lot with me. The brainchild of Land of Falling Stars stemmed from a real life article I read about cousins who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War. And then my distorted view of the world ventures of into a thousand what-ifs. What if the men who fought on opposite sides loved the same woman? What if one killed the other on a smoke-filled battlefield? One of the one who lived had the terrible burden of telling the woman? So, you can see where this is going.

For Decadent Deceptions, I read an article about old-time brothels, and again my curiosity propelled me into that dark, secretive world. I knew very little about them when I started, and now I think I could work at one, given the other attributes I would need. (lol).

What is your favorite part of writing?

I’m asked this often, and without a doubt, my answer is always the same—to hear from a reader that he/she loves my book, and it brightened their day or broadened their horizons. Perhaps they learned something after reading it, or maybe they view the world a little different now. While I love writing, it’s a lonely occupation, more so if no one reads your books and likes them.

Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

I’m working on the sequel to Crossroads, aptly titled Crossroads Revisited, due out in May or June from Phaze. I’m writing another full-length novel set during the Civil War for Ravenous Romance (main characters’ genders as yet undetermined), and I always have about five novellas or short stories in the works. I wish I had more time or I wish there were more hours in the day. If I live to one hundred, I’ll never be able to write everything rambling around in my over-active brain.

Do you write your stories out with pencil and paper first or do you work straight on the computer?

From the computer, but see above. I might have some post-it notes lying around but everything is stored in my mind. I’m not good at staring at a blank cursor trying to prompt it to move across the page by staring at it. I have to have the story in my head before I achieve success.

Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.

Crossroads Revisited picks up with the main characters Frank McGuire, private investigator, and the younger family friend, Rand, who ultimately saves Frank’s life in Crossroads. This time perhaps Frank will save Rand’s life. And, yes, Virginia, Frank will appear with all his nasty habits and warts!

I just finished a gay fiction novella, a vampire story (my first), called The Sin Eater’s Prince. I don’t know yet who will publish it, but I’m confident you’ll see it out in the next six months. Carnal Cravings, another gay fiction will be released by the Dark Roast Press in May, and then from there, I’m not sure.

Join us and Keta again this coming Thursday, April 23, 2009, to read the second part of her interview!!! And then next Tuesday, April 28, 2009, Gracen Miller will debut the review of Decadent Deceptions.

3 Moonbeams (comments):

Carrie said...

Hi there Keta!

You and I are definitely the same when it comes to how we work. Most of the time I'm working things out in my head before I sit down to write, however, some really nice nuggets surface that I hadn't intended.

I'm guessing your a fan of North and South then, huh? I loved that story but I think it was the fact that I watched the TV version with all those great actors!


Margay Leah Justice said...

Hi, Keta, thanks for stopping by the blog and sharing your process with us.


M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.