Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday Spotlight on Diane Gaston

This week The Pink Heart Society spotlights RITA winning Historical author Diane Gaston!

About Diane:

My husband and I live in Virginia with four cats (don’t laugh). Our son and daughter are grown so I am able to devote most of my time to writing. I’m active in my local romance chapter, Washington Romance Writers (with Michelle Monkou, your Jan 14 Spotlight) and now most of my friends are romance writers.

I love writing Regency Historical Romance. Innocence & Impropriety is my fourth Harlequin/ Mills & Boon. I also write Regency Historical Romance as
Diane Perkins for Warner. I love the Regency time period, the characters, the drama, the blossoming of love.

The best thing about writing Romance, however, has been the friends I’ve made, a world of friends! I have some connection with each of your Spotlighted authors so far in 2007. Melissa James and I are in contact almost daily, even though we live half a world away from each other.

Spotlight On Diane:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

Because my books have been connected, my inspiration usually comes from a character in the previous book. At some point during the previous book, one character emerges as the one who needs a story of his or her own. During A Reputable Rake it was Rose who piqued my interest, so Innocence and Impropriety became her story. In Innocence and Impropriety Tanner kept begging me for his story, which is the next book, The Vanishing Viscountess.

What makes you mad?

Intolerance. It really angers me when people are intolerant of others because they look different or they choose to live life a little differently. So much ugliness has occurred thoughout history because of intolerance of differences. We are all merely people, more alike than we are different. We should love each other.

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

The most romantic things in my life occur in my imagination and make it on to the pages of my books. My husband is loving, but not romantic at all. He has come through with flowers on occasion, but not often. Probably the most romantic thing would be, before we were married, I was in graduate school in New Jersey and he would drive up to see me every other weekend, a trip of about 4 hours.

What in a hero makes you drool?

Integrity. The hero who does the right thing even when the rest of the world is against him. And if he looks like Gerard Butler, so much the better!

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

For me, this question is backwards, because I was a mental health social worker as my professional career and becoming a writer was the new thing I became! When I was working for the mental health center and the stress became too great, my colleagues and I would talk about what we would rather be doing. I always said I wanted to sit in a turret somewhere and write romance novels. I was joking then, but later when my busy life settled down a little I actually gave writing a try. A few days after I made the decision to retire from my profession, I got The Call that I sold my first book, The Mysterious Miss M. I loved my profession, loved my clients and colleagues, and I do not regret any moment of that career, but I do not miss it. I am happy now being a romance writer.

What do you do to relax and wind down?

Like a typical suburbanite, I watch TV! But I also love to get together with friends and talk and talk and talk.

How do you get out of a writing rut?

My husband’s cousin’s wife, Ann Cefola, is a writer’s coach, as well as being an award-winning poet, and once when I was in a rut, she advised me to do something to feed my spirit. I went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, near where I live, and just spent the day wandering around the museum. On my way home I stopped by an antique store and bought a 19th century drawing that I think is Byron. By the next day, it was easier to tackle my writing again.

Now I’m always on the lookout for ways to feed my writing spirit and I indulge myself, even if deadlines are looming.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I would always want to be close enough to see my son and daughter often, but I’d really love to live in England for a while. I’ve been to England twice and it is only enough to whet my appetite. I’d love to live in London long enough to walk around and soak up everything, and I’d love to live in an English village, like Lacock, to live in a place that will make me feel close to the Regency era that I love.

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

The most? Jane Austen, for giving us her masterpiece, Pride & Prejudice, and my favorite Austen book, Persuasion. I know scholars would like to tell you that Pride & Prejudice is great literature, and it is, but it is also a great romance novel. Pride & Prejudice has all the elements of a romance novel that we strive for in our own writing- vivid characters, a compelling and insurmountable conflict, a hero and heroine who both must change. She even has that Black Moment, when it seems as if all is lost. And the glorious Happy Ending!

What music do you listen to when writing?

I have some CDs that I purchased in England of music from the Regency era:
A Very Innocent Diversion: Piano Favorites of Jane Austen from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath

Music for My Lady: Favourite Chamber Music, purchased in the British Museum
The Royal Pavilion: Music for the Regency, purchased at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you

I met my husband in a mental hospital........we were both working there. Honest!
What was your most embarrassing moment?

When I was in high school my fellow girl scouts and I performed in a girl scout show. We lip synched to a popular rock & roll song and we must have been dreadful because when we were done there was dead silence. It was mortifying. Maybe that is why I do not like to watch American Idol and see that same sort of spectacular failure that I experienced first hand.

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

I have had a wonderful year! The highlight was my A Reputable Rake winning the 2006 RITA for Best Regency Romance. Not only that, but The Mysterious Miss M won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency, too. Miss M won Readers’ Choice awards from eHarlquin and All About Romance, too.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

Usually a Diet Coke and one or two cats!

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

I would love to kiss Tanner. Tanner appears in Innocence and Impropriety and then gets his own book next, The Vanishing Viscountess. Tanner is a mixture of strength and casualness. He takes his own worth for granted and I love that--a man who does wonderful things without even realizing it.

It helps that Tanner looks like Gerard Butler. I always I picked Gerard Butler to be the image of Tanner before I saw Gerry’s performance in the Phantom of the Opera movie. I immediately became a card-carrying Tart (a Gerard Butler fan) after that.
Blogged about it, too.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just turned in revisions for The Vanishing Viscountess--Tanner’s story. Tanner meets a lady fugitive in a most spectacular way--he rescues her from a ship wreck. I’ve also plotted Pomroy’s story. Pomroy is Tanner’s friend and you just get glimpses of him in Innocence and Impropriety.

Diane's next release is Innocence and Impropriety which hit bookstores on March 1st. (Isn't that a gorgeous cover!)

You can find it in both North America and the UK. For more check out Diane's website.

And Happy Mothering Day to all mums in the UK! What better gift for mum than a lovely new category romance novel ;)?


  1. Enjoyed your post, Diane. Love the cover of Inno. and Impr. You must be thrilled.

  2. I am, Carol. I've been very lucky in my covers!