Today I am thrilled to share with you my latest author interview with Diana A. Hicks. Diana is the author of Love Over Lattes, the first novel in the Desert Monsoon series.
Before we get into the interview, here’s a quick overview of the book:
Single mom Valentina wants to provide a good life for her son, starting with the perfect home. When the deal on her dream house falls through, rather than move back in with her parents and disappoint them and her son once again, she accepts the help of the intimidating-as-hell stranger she’s admired from her coffee shop seat for the last six months. She’s afraid to fall for the wrong guy again, so she makes Cole promise to keep their relationship strictly professional. Following his failed marriage, Cole can’t find a reason to care about anything or anyone. Saving his company from his ex-wife is the only thing that has kept him afloat for the past six months. As loneliness sets in and he begins to lose the fight over his company, Valentina becomes his lifeline. Cole wants to be more than her landlord, and he has a plan to get her to release him from his promise.
Single mom Valentina wants to provide a good life for her son, starting with the perfect home. When the deal on her dream house falls through, rather than move back in with her parents and disappoint them and her son once again, she accepts the help of the intimidating-as-hell stranger she’s admired from her coffee shop seat for the last six months. She’s afraid to fall for the wrong guy again, so she makes Cole promise to keep their relationship strictly professional.
Following his failed marriage, Cole can’t find a reason to care about anything or anyone. Saving his company from his ex-wife is the only thing that has kept him afloat for the past six months. As loneliness sets in and he begins to lose the fight over his company, Valentina becomes his lifeline. Cole wants to be more than her landlord, and he has a plan to get her to release him from his promise.
I adored this story. It’s a fun romance with some steamy scenes, sweet scenes and few that make you laugh out loud. I enjoyed reading Love Over Latte and had a great time collaborating with Diana on the candle we created – Las Nubes. Las Nubes is the home of our main man, Cole. And the scents we put together turned out amazing!
Let’s meet Diana!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with us today, Diana. It was so fun to read your book and work on the Las Nubes candle with you.
I want to start off asking you about how you became a writer. I noticed in your bio that you have a background in IT and Accounting. When did you decide to start writing? And how did you find your way to a writing career?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me. I wish I had an original answer to this question. Like most authors, I’ve always wanted to write. But it wasn’t until high school, when my English teacher told she liked my writing, that I began to seriously consider the stories in my head. Some of them I would write and then throw away because becoming a novelist was too big a risk for me. Which is why I went with a business major (nice safe choice), and then later obtained a master’s degree in IT. I love technology and working in the field, but the little writer in me never gave up. About six years ago, I decided to pursue a career in writing. I didn’t know about writing groups in my area, so I did the only thing I knew to do. I googled “how do I get a novel published?” True story. This took me to several websites that wanted a bunch of money, but eventually I stumbled upon the #amwriting hashtag, and later #pitchwars, and bunch of others. The writers community on Twitter is the best!
Love Over Lattes is a great romance novel. Cole and Valentina have great chemistry! I always wonder how romance novelists work through those love making scenes. How do you know you’ve got the scene just right? And do you edit them as you do other scenes between characters?
I love this question. The sexy scenes are always my favorite because they’re such a turning point in the story and the characters’ growth. I like seeing my hero/heroine jump into this physical exchange thinking it will fix everything that ails them, only to find out (usually in the next chapter) that it made everything worse!
When writing a first draft, even though the love-making scenes can be emotionally taxing, I don’t treat them any different than the others. I spend a few moments before I dive into a scene (steamy or otherwise) to consider how the characters feel, and then I just let them take it from there. Sometimes I make myself blush with the things that come out during fast drafting, but it’s all part of the process. During revisions, I focus a little more on the technical aspects of things. Otherwise, I end up with characters that have two sets of hands, and an excessive amount of hot breath. 🙂
Is Love Over Lattes your first work of fiction?
Love Over Lattes is my first published novel, but it’s really my fourth completed book. All those others will never see the light of day. Except for maybe one. We’ll see.
Love Over Lattes is the first in the Desert Monsoon series. Will we get to see Cole and Valentina again as you move through the series?
We will see them again. They have a cameo in Love Over Time (Nikki’s story, coming this Fall), and Love Over Logic (Dom’s story, coming Spring 2019). My editor and I have talked about possibly wrapping up the series with a Christmas novella that features Valentina and Cole. But we’re not there yet.
I lived in Arizona for a few years and your descriptions of the desert, the mountains and the way the Southwest “feels” was really great. Have you been to the area that was the setting for your book? Is there a real Las Nubes out there?
I grew up in Arizona. The University of Arizona is my alma mater. So yeah, I’m very familiar with Tucson. Unfortunately, Las Nubes is a fictitious mansion. Though the smells, trails, and overall feel were inspired by a resort North of Tucson. I was so happy we were able to capture the scent of the place. I hope readers enjoy the “Las Nubes” inspired candles.
Another thing I read in your bio is that you have been an avid romance reader. Who are your favorite romance authors? Was there one that really inspired you?
My very first romance read was A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux (I still have this book, by the way.). I’ve read all her series at least three times each. She definitely inspired me to write romance with characters that seem, at first, like complete opposites and not meant to be. But it wasn’t until I read Sylvia Day and Elizabeth Hoyt that I decided I could probably add a little more heat to my writing.
And finally, I know that authors often lean on each other for support. What other authors are you friends with and how have they helped you to become a better author?
I’m smiling right now because I never would’ve guessed my answer to this question would be, “so many to list.”
I’m going to name them by hashtag…#Pitchwars. This is where I met my awesome critique partner. Several mentors there helped me with query critiques and guidance. I’m truly grateful for all their support. Last year was my first year as a Pitchwars mentor. It’s a great way to give back to the community, and help other aspiring writers achieve their dreams. #Authors18, this is a group of authors with debuts in 2018. They’re the reason I haven’t lost mind. Everyone is so supportive and always willing to help out. And of course, #GRW. This is my local chapter. We meet once a month to talk about all things publishing. They also host an awesome conference in the Fall, where authors are recognized for excellent writing in their category. I’m talking about the Maggie Contest, which I’m hosting this year!
Thank you again for spending time with us today. I hope everyone grabs a copy of Love Over Lattes and their own Las Nubes candle to accompany it!
(Photo by: Pamela Robertson)
is inspired by the Desert Monsoon Series by Diana A. Hicks.
An enticing blend of desert flowers, rain, agave and aloe in red
What I loved about Love Over Lattes:
Love Over Lattes, the first book in the Desert Monsoon Series, was a really great romance novel. I loved the chemistry between Cole and Valentina. Cole is a really dreamy, but between his issues and Valentina’s it takes a few starts to get things right. Overall, this book is a great read for those who love romance.- Nalana @ Book Scents
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