Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dog Days of Summer: Diana Castilleja On Writing

I recently had the pleasure of asking author Diana Castilleja of the Aiza Clan shapeshifter books to tell me a little about her writing process.

Diana told me that not only does she try to write "nearly every day" with a goal of 1,000 words, but she also says: "Often I can get between 2-5K on a rockin' day."

When asked if she had or did anything in particular to get into a writing mood, she replied, "Not really. I just start concentrating on the immediate action of the story, whatever scene I'm in. I don't have candles or a soundtrack or stuff like that. I just...write. I know. I'm boring."

What three tips would she pass on to aspiring authors?

1. Stay positive. There are a lot things that will turn you off of writing. Long waits, attitudes, reviews. Write what you want to write, how you want to write it, for the book that you would want to read.

2. Understand the basics of writing. Good grammar, self-editing skills, learning the proper concept of the story itself (story arc, character arc, pacing), understanding Point of View and how to use it effectively are important. They are all things that can be learned. Any well known, published author was once a new untried voice. Give yourself room to make mistakes, to learn what works for you. As you develop those, the essentials will solidify. But make no mistake. They are essential.

3. Be patient. There isn't a single aspect of book writing or publishing that moves quickly. For as long as it takes you to write a story, it will take as long if not longer to see it published.
I wondered how Diana chose the publisher she's currently with...

I watched Tease for almost year. I know the people behind the scenes, but have learned patience (see above) is a virtue when it comes to writing. I originally sent my vampire novel, THE ETERNAL KISS to them for their Dark Tarot Imprint, did the whole loop-de-loop of cover, edits and production and was very impressed on the whole with their attention to detail at every step. Since that first book, they've become my primary publisher and they have worked with me to get more attention to my books.

...And what she likes most about her publishing house.

I adore my primary editor. She's funny, and corny. Kinda like me. They don't accept just because I'm already there either. I have had stories rejected for different reasons. We have to work together to make each book a success and I really can appreciate the business sense behind that. Their cover artists are phenomenal.*

*Agreed! Holy heck, have you all seen this puppy--sorry, must show it again..

About research for Diana's writing:

I do geographical research for believability of their surrounding world more than anything. Most of their living world are straight creations. If there's anything that is the "expected accepted" I see if it will fit with my intentions, but it's not required. I like to create little nuances that make the stories individual.
An interesting note regarding the flexibility and openness we as writers need to maintain:

"As an aside, I had originally started the series with Selene's story, A Trust Earned. About two chapters in I realized it wasn't the first book that needed to be written. Roman, the hero in book 1 was all for that. After I knocked out Delilah and Selene the next two were a cakewalk, and just a ton of fun to get into to write."

Diana has a lot planned for this book release:

I have scheduled nine signings so far over the summer, with one or two pending. There will be a radio spot in June, and I'll be attending the Authors After Dark Paranormal Weekend conference in Suffern, NY (Oct 23-25) along with about forty or so other authors in the paranormal, urban fantasy and horror genres. I also do excerpts on loops and one or two contests a year.

Man, I was looking at the Authors After Dark thing, too... Hmm...
I like to know what authors feel their strengths are when it comes to their writing. Here's how Diana replied:

I've been told the sensual aspects of my stories are HAWT! LOL I enjoy doing the introspective of my characters, their monologues. I think putting the reader right there with my characters is something I do well. It's what I am for anyway.

LOL--I have to say Diana's a great gal to interview, and if her personality shines through this easily in one of my little interviews, you can imagine how she tears up a page! Let's all wish a fond farewell to Diana and the intriguing shifters of the Aiza Clan-- and don't forget where you can get her books:

Trusting Delilah : Available in E at ARe
A Trust Earned : Available in E at ARe
Aiza Clan Shifter Combo : Available in print

Thank you, Diana, you've been terrific! We all wish you great success with your books and hope you drop us a line from time to time to update us! Take care!

About Our Contest:

We've had winners from several different states--and you could win!

I'll wait until 6pm EST tomorrow evening to announce the winner of the random comment contest for Diana's time with us.

*If you'd like a chance at Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spear, Atlantis Unleashed by Alyssa Day and some wonderful European chocolate, make sure you've left a comment following one of the posts about Diana's books.

I'll roll the dice and either post your name requesting you contact me, or I'll try and contact you via email. :-)


Diana Castilleja said...

Thank you sweets! I'll hang around today and check the posts for any questions. Thank you again for hosting me this week. I need to hire you for my P.R.! LOL

Cathy M said...

Hi Diana, great to learn more about you. I love shifter stories and can't believe I've missed seeing this series. I look forward to reading these stories.

Diana Castilleja said...

Thank you Cathy! Hope you enjoy them.

J Hali said...

Same here, looks like I've got some catching up to do. LOVE! shifters.

Anonymous said...

Looks like I missed a good shifter series myself.

I, too, thought it was great to learn more about Diana. Her advice to aspiring authors was very good.

Great guest blog!


Sandy said...


Great interview. I'm dying to read something of yours, and this just might be it. Smile.

Diana Castilleja said...

Thank you ladies for stopping by. I had a lot of fun with this series and characters. I hope it shows through, because they are definitely characters in the sense of the word!

I already ahve the cover for the 3rd book, but I'm holding out. I want to make a grand unveiling. ;)

Saoirse Redgrave said...


It was a real treat to host you. You're definitely entertaining and talented.

And you have the cover for book 3 and you're holding out?! *sniffle* ;-)

You have to keep us updated!