ONE TOO MANY TIMES
The fifteenth-century English King Edward IV and his younger brothers
George and Richard travel to the twenty-first century in order to try to
rewrite history by making a film portraying Richard as he really was, a
kind soul and benevolent king. In the course of their adventures, the
brothers fall in love with very different women who reshape all their
Hi all published and aspiring authors. I’m Diana Rubino, author of 18 historical and paranormal novels. My publishers are The Wild Rose Press www.thewildrosepress.com and Moongypsy Press www.moongypsypress.com where I’m also Acquisitions Editor.
My story will inspire you to push on, if nothing else will. My story is unique, because I'm probably the longest aspiring author to be published‑‑18 years. I wrote my first novel in 1982, and although my third or fourth novels came close to getting published with Harlequin, they didn't quite make it.
My first published novel was actually the ninth one I'd written.
Towards the very end, a year before my publication, I'd begun to realize publication wasn't my destiny, so I chose another endeavor. I started studying for a master's degree in archaeology.
I wouldn’t be published if it wasn’t for the internet. That’s where I met my publisher, through Lisa Hamilton, another author I'd met on the CompuServe Romance Forum, but I met many great authors and made some wonderful friends at RWA and RT conferences.
I also increased my confidence to great levels at the editor/agent appointments.
I had 2 agents before becoming published; one retired, the other gave up. I made my sales on my own. I now have a great agent, Jewelann Cone. I signed with her a year ago.
What surprised me most about the publishing business is that it's very hard to be recognized. You really have to work on promotion as well as writing. I've read many differing opinions on this, but I do believe you should promote as much as time allows, without taking away writing time. I have a website, a mailing list, and attend as many signings and conferences as possible.
But you have to be realistic; it's not easy to shoot up to #1; I'd had delusions of being on talk shows and seeing my name on the NYT bestseller lists after my first novel.
I never felt I had enough information to convey at a workshop, but I can tell aspiring authors to make sure the opening is enough of a grabber, make sure the characters are compelling, make sure they're interesting enough and the reader cares enough about them to keep reading, make sure the novel is structured well, so that it doesn't have a sagging middle or any pacing problems, make sure the stakes are high enough so they're in life or death situations that it seems they can't possibly get out of, make sure the secondary characters aren't mere cardboard, and a humor always helps.
And NEVER give up on your dream!
1. Let’s start with your inspirational journey to publishing. I know you’ve published 12 novels at this point, but tell us about how it all started.
I thought the way to publication would be to write short stories and get recognition that way, but my former journalism prof told me to forget that, and write a novel. The idea scared me to death, but he sent me titles of a bunch of ‘how to’ books, and I hunkered down and began. I quit my full time job, a bold move, and started the first draft of my first novel in 1981, at age 24.
2. Other than British historical romances, what genre(s) would you consider writing and why?
I love American history, so I’ve written a few books set in the U.S.—Colonial, Civil War, turn of the century, Prohibition, and the early 1960s. I’ve also written a few paranormals—ghost novels and time travels. My latest is a chick lit vampire romance set on an Italian cruise ship.
3. If you were going to write a non-fiction book, what would the title be? (this is my novelist’s version of the Barbara Walters’ special question of “If you were a tree what kind would you be?”)
I actually have a cookbook in the works, no title yet. I’d love to write a biography of Mayor Frank Hague of Jersey City, who was very good friends with my great grandmother in the 1930s. If only she’d kept a journal!
4. Who is your favorite romance author? Who’s your favorite non-romance author, if any? What books are you reading these days?
I don’t have any one favorite, but there are authors whose books I’ll buy if their name is on them. That includes Doug Preston & Lincoln Child (they write great thrillers together), Barbara Erskine (very eerie paranormals set in Essex, England), and Bertrice Small. She never disappoints.
5. Tell me your favorite most zany “when I was doing research for this novel you wouldn’t believe what I did/what happened” story:
I was in England with my husband on a research trip, and I got us locked in Carisbrooke Castle after it closed. We squeezed through the locked gate to finally escape.
5. How long, on average, does it take you to write a 100,000 word novel? What is your typical writing schedule like when you’re on deadline for a novel?
I give it a year, between research and writing. I’ve never had a deadline from a publisher, but I’d once sent an agent the first 3 chapters of my vampire romance. He said he’d like to see the entire ms., so I wrote ,5000 words a day til it was finished. He later rejected it. Oh, well. But at least I know I’m capable of turning out 5,000 words a day. My usual output is 2,500 words a day.
6. I know you’ve had a few, so please share your other fascinating jobs/careers. Do you, or will you ever, write full-time?
I own an engineering business with my husband, based in Cambridge. I quit my full time job at a brokerage house to write my first novel, and wrote full time for 7 years. But I wouldn’t want to write all day, every day, all the time. Our work from the business comes in spurts, which gives me time to write all day when it’s slow. But spending all day every day with no one but fictional characters drove me a little nuts.
7. Anything else you’d like to share with readers that I haven’t asked?
I’d like to tell any aspiring authors who are frustrated that it’s taken them 3, 4, 5 or more years to get that first contract, remember, I wrote for 18 years before getting ‘the call’ so never give up! Keep believing, and keep the faith! And of course, keep writing, because you’ll only get better.
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