My guest today is author Diana Rubino. I met Diana through that fabulous group Authors Helping Authors.
Welcome, Diana, please tell us about yourself.
My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books, and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. I live on Cape Cod with my husband Chris
Where can readers find you?
Let's learn a little about your writing. How long does it take you to write a book?
Since I write historicals, the research can take up to a year or longer. When I’m writing, I set a daily goal of 2500 words, about 10 pages.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre. My husband and I have a home on Cape Cod that we try to get to as much as possible.
What do you enjoy most about life?
Having something to look forward to—even something simple, like going to the beach on the weekend.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I use Donald Maass's THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK, which has many probing questions about characters and the story. I then write a detailed outline, which I don't always follow when writing. My daily goal is 2500 words a day.
I do everything in Word on my computer, but sometimes I write in longhand; it helps me connect to the characters more closely.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
Character, in the genres I write in…the characters are who drive the plot; they make the plot what it is. The plot happens because of who they are and what they do to make things happen.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
I always ask readers what era they’re interested in—medieval, Renaissance (Tudors), or what part of American history. Then I recommend whatever book is set in that era—Richard IIIs time, Henry VIIIs time, colonial, Civil War, early 20th century…and I do have one about vampires on an Italian cruise ship if anyone wants to go there!
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
My mission is to make readers forget their troubles for a while, escape into another time and place, and maybe get a few laughs along the way.
What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
I read all of John Grisham’s books and for nonfiction, Ron Chernow writes the best biographies.
Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is a time travel romance, DARK BREW.
This story took 11 years from start to finish. In 2004, I read an article by Pamela Butler in the Richard III Society's magazine The Ricardian, about Alice Kyteler, who was accused of witchcraft in 1324. She then vanished into history. I couldn't resist writing a book about her.
Accused of her husband’s murder, druid Kylah McKinley travels back through time to her past life in 1324 Ireland and brings the true killer to justice.
Two months of hell change Kylah’s life forever. On her many past life regressions, she returns to 14th century Ireland as Alice Kyteler, a druid moneylender falsely accused of murdering her husband. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate—they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or forever be doomed to repeat it.
Kylah shut Ted’s den door. She couldn’t bear to look at the spot where he gasped his last breath. His presence, an imposing force, lingered. So did his scent, a blend of tobacco, pine aftershave and manly sweat. Each reminder ripped into her heart like a knife. Especially now with the funeral looming ahead, the eulogies, the mournful organ hymns, the tolling bells . . .
These ceremonies should bring closure, but they’d only prolong the agony of her grief. She wanted to remember him alive for a while longer, wishing she could delay these morbid customs until the hurt subsided.
Throughout the house, his essence echoed his personality: the wine stain on the carpet, the heap of dirty shirts, shorts and socks piled up in the laundry room, the spattered stove, his fingerprints on the microwave. But she couldn’t bring herself to clean any of it up. Painful as these remnants were, they offered a strange comfort. He still lived here.
“I’ll find that murderer, Teddy,” she promised him over and over, wandering from room to empty room, traces of him lurking in every corner. “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure justice is served. Another past life regression isn’t enough anymore. I know what I have to do now. And I promise, it will never, ever happen again—in any future life.”
She inhaled deeply and breathed him in. “Go take a shower, Teddy.” She chuckled through her tears as the doorbell rang. She cringed, breaking out in cold sweat when she saw the black sedan at the curb.
“Not again.” No sense in hiding, so she let the detectives in.
“Mrs. McKinley, we need your permission to do a search and take some of your husband’s possessions from the house,” Nolan said.
“What for?” She met his steely stare. “I looked everywhere and found nothing.”
“Mrs. McKinley, the cupboard door was open, four jars of herbs are missing, and the autopsy showed he died of herb poisoning. Those herbs,” Nolan added for emphasis, as if it had slipped her feeble mind. “Foxglove, mandrake, hemlock—and an as-yet unidentified one,” he read from a notebook. “The M.E. determined it was a lethal dose.”
Sherlock Holmes got nothin’ on him, she thought.
“Where’s this cupboard, ma’am?” Egan spoke up.
“Right there.” She pointed, its door gaping exactly the way she’d found it that night. Nolan went over to it and peered inside.
“Ma’am, it would be better if you left the house for a half hour or so. Please leave a number where you can be reached,” Egan ordered.
Nolan glanced down the hall. “Where is your bedroom?”
What could they want in the bedroom? “It’s at the top of the stairs on the right. But we didn’t sleep together,” she offered, as if that would faze them. It didn’t.
After giving him her cell number, she got into her car and drove to the beach.
An hour later, she let herself back in and looked around. They’d taken the computer, her case of CDs, her thumb drive, her remaining herb jars, Ted’s notebooks, and left her alone with one horrible fact: This was now a homicide case and she was the prime suspect.
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Thanks for coming, Diana. It's a pleasure getting to know you better. Best wishes on your latest release.