Thursday, March 21, 2013

Win a Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 24, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book below. If you're the winner. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.   


Our guest today is award-winning author, Dianna T. Benson. Dianna will give away a copy of her book, The Hidden Sonto the winner of our book drawing.

JO: Welcome, Dianna! Please tell us a little about yourself.

DIANNA: After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, I left the travel industry to earn my EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, I love the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need. My suspense novels about adventurous characters thrown into tremendous circumstances provide readers with a similar kind of rush. I live in North Carolina with my husband and our three athletic children.

I’m a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, I signed a nine-book contract. My first book, The Hidden Son, released March 1, 2013.

JO: What are some fun or unique things you can tell us about yourself that we don’t know?

DIANNA: I never read any of my high school required books. None of them caught my interest at all, so I read the Cliff notes and winged it. I didn’t read much as a child or a teen. I don’t even remember reading an entire novel until my senior year in high school. My freshman year in college, I found my love of reading suspense novels.

Starting in February 2012, for thirteen weeks I had a pending contract offer from one of the largest traditional print publishing houses. The entire editorial staff and the entire leadership team loved my writing, but the leadership team decided their suspense list is already too full. During this thirteen week time frame, my agent and the senior acquisitions editor thought it was just a matter of time before my contract finalized, so my agent understandably let go of all the other interest in my writing. Soon after those thirteen weeks with that publishing house, Ellechor Publishing House, a small traditional print house, contacted me and asked me to submit my 2011 Genesis Winner, Illusion of Safety. Days after I did so, they offered me a nine-book contract (three trilogies).  After I lost the contract with the large traditional print house and before Ellechor contacted me, I was accepted into Penn State’s psychology program to earn my Master’s degree to become a social worker (my body, especially my back, can’t lift patients too much longer). So, I wondered if the publishing industry wasn’t God’s plan for me. But Ellechor Publishing House reminded I need to spend most of my time writing for Him.        

JO: Please describe yourself with three words.

DIANNA: Diligent, compassionate, overachiever

JO: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

DIANNA: I work part time as an EMT. I’m a life-long athlete and an outdoor enthusiast. I love to spend time in God’s nature doing anything active and adventurous. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m climbing, running, skiing, camping, scuba diving, cycling or traveling the world. If I’m not doing a sport myself, I’m watching my oldest daughter swim for Virginia Tech, my son play goalie for the Jr. Hurricanes, or my youngest daughter play soccer for her travel team.  Spending time with my family and friends is a joy to me, especially my husband of twenty-three years.     

JO: How did you become involved in writing?

DIANNA: When I was in fifth grade, I realized I’m a writer. For those details, read the On Writing page on my website: www.diannatbenson.com



JO: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?



DIANNA: My office is our bonus room (the room over our two-car garage).  During the polishing process, I definitely need all that space since I print the entire 400 page novel out, read through every word, and make changes as necessary, so I have paper all over the place. 


JO: Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?  

DIANNA: The title just pops into my mind typically within the first twenty pages of writing the first draft.

JO: Please tell us about The Hidden Son.

DIANNA: The first book in the Cayman Islands Trilogy:
The Hidden Son
When U.S. DEA Special Agent Lelisa Desmond refuses to follow an order to bury evidence in a high profile case, her superior hires a hit man to kill her deep in the ocean off Grand Cayman Island. Lelisa survives the first attempt on her life, but someone close to her is mistakenly murdered in her place.

With no one to trust, Lelisa enlists Inspector Alec Dyer for help but learns she's his number one suspect in the scuba diving homicide. She sets off on a daring mission to bring down the man who ordered her execution. A man in a high position, with power friends. A man who will stop at nothing to silence her forever in order to hide his son’s crimes.


JO: What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?

DIANNA: In The Hidden Son (and in all my books), I want readers to be inspired by how my characters don’t try the impossible: “Get over” the difficult stuff in life and move on; instead, they accept the pain difficult events in their lives cause and they move forward with a renewed sense of understanding in themselves, in life, and in God.

JO: Where did you get the idea for your book?

DIANNA: I’ve been a scuba diver for nearly twenty-five years. I think the Cayman Islands are one of the world’s best diving locations. Since I’ve dove in Cayman countless times, the opening of The Hidden Son just popped into my head. I’m a pantser (not a plotter); meaning I write by the seat of my pants, so I just allow my writer brain free rein.


JO: Did you have to do any research for this book?



DIANNA: Since I’m an EMT and a haz-mat and FEMA Operative, my firsthand emergency medical and rescue experience and knowledge is automatically in my mind for me. However, for all those details I don’t know, to make things outside my expertise authentic, I turn to my various professional experts: Firefighters, law enforcers, attorneys, MDs, etc.    


JO: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?


DIANNA: In 1993, I started writing my first suspense novel. After completing three novels, I started querying agents in 2000; all of them requested a partial. After I completed my fourth novel, I queried agents again, and this time all of them requested a full after reading a partial.

After I completed five novels, I signed with my agent in 2007. Six agents offered me representation that spring; it was difficult to turn down the other five since all of them are top-notch agents. In the fall of 2007, a film agent requested a screenplay of The Hidden Son after reading the book. Just days before I completed the script, I learned the film agent suddenly and recently retired due to health issues. I never pursued anything further with the script.

In 2009 I received a four-book publishing contract, but soon after that my husband was diagnosed with cancer, so I turned that contract down to focus on our young family of five.

In 2012 I signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House, a small traditional print publisher.   


JO: What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?

DIANNA: If you want to be a published author, don’t listen to anyone say your writing isn’t good enough. Even if you’ve spent years submitting with no offers of agent representation and no publishing contract offers, don’t ever give-up. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Always believe in yourself as a writer. Above all, if you love to write, then never stop writing. God gave you a passion to write, so spend time on your passion and enjoy yourself, even if your writing is for your eyes only (plus a few select others).

JO: What are you working on now?


DIANNA: The second book in the Cayman Islands Trilogy:
Persephone's Fugitive 
Paramedic Reyanne Cooper finds herself under gunpoint by her patient, Jason Keegan, an injured prison inmate. A standoff ensues between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.  

As his hostage, Reyanne fights to save herself before Keegan blows them both up, a threat he made to the Cayman police since he'd rather die than live life in a prison cell. However, he's determined to escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever off radar.  

JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?


DIANNA: Read a ton of books in the genre you want to write. Watch a bunch of movies in the genre you want to write. Watch TV shows with strong characterization. Watch not good TV shows and not good movies on what not to do as a writer. Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Revise, revise, revise.  Don’t focus on the writing “rules” you hear about, and ignore any negativity about the publishing industry. Just write from your heart, and God will lead you on the correct path for you and your writing. Every person is different; every writer is different. Find your way. Don’t listen to anyone say your writing isn’t good enough. 

JO: Please tell our readers where they can get your book.

DIANNA:
The Hidden Son is available:



JO: Please tell our readers where they can find you online.

Thanks for hosting me, Jo!
Dianna

JO:  Thank you for the interesting interview. Dianna will give away a copy of The Hidden Son to the winner of the book drawing Sunday evening.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 24, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of The Hidden Son by Dianna T. Benson. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.


Don't forget to check into my Monday blogs where I have interviews with characters of my novel, That Summer. When you leave a comment on my Monday blog that is specifically about the interview, I'll give you an extra entry when you comment on Thursday's blog.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.


43 comments:

  1. Loved learning about Dianna. Her tips are encouraging and on target. I would love to win The Hidden Son. I am a follower and will tweet this blog.

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    1. forgot my email addy: pat at ptbradley dot com

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    2. Patricia, glad you came by and left your comment. Thanks for being a follower and tweeting this blog.

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  2. Loved the interview and getting to know Dianna. I have not read any of her books. Would love to win this and read and review it. My husband was an EMT, went on to be a Paramedic and then had to leave due to his knees. But then he became a Deputy. He is retired (hahaha) and now working part time as a Baliff.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Glad you could relate to Dianna's interview.

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  3. This author is new to me. Thank you for the great interview and introduction. I'm a regular follower. Blessings, Susan Fryman susanngarrylee@yahoo.com

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    1. Susan, you're welcome, glad you liked the interview and introduction to a new author. I appreciate your being a follower. Thanks for reading and leaving your comment.

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  4. Jo and Diana, thank you for the very interesting interview. I think The Hidden Son sounds like a book I'd enjoy. I would love to win a copy!
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com
    I follow on Blogger and email (different addresses)

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    1. Kay, glad you liked the interview with Dianna. Thanks for coming by and leaving your comment. I appreciate your being a loyal follower.

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  5. Thank you, Jo, for hosting me; I appreciated it!

    Thanks to Patricia, squiresj, Susan and Garry, and KayM for reading my post and for your kind comments.

    Best wishes to you all,
    Dianna

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  6. I WOULD LOVE TO WIN THE BOOK! I AM A FOLLOWER. calicolady60@hotmail.com . THANKS, SHELLEY S.

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    1. Shelley, glad you came by to read and leave a comment. Thanks for being a follower.

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    2. Hi Shelley. Thank you for reading my post and for your excitement to win a free copy of my book.

      Best wishes,
      Dianna

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  7. Jo, thanks for introducing us to diana. this was a good interview. Dianna, enjoyed reading about you. You seem to be a very busy lady. With all of the things you do, I don't know when you find time to write. This book sounds very exciting and nail-biting. I would love to win it. I am a follower of this blog. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot0com

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    1. Hey Maxie, you're welcome and glad you found a new author. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment. I appreciate your being a follower.

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    2. Hi Maxie. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and thank you for your kind comments. Good luck in the drawing to win a free copy of my book.

      Best wishes,
      Dianna

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  8. I'm intrigued by Diana's book and can't wait to read it .... sounds like the beginning of a great series......I am a new follower.

    seventysevensusieq[at]yahoo[dot]com

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    1. Susieq, thanks for stopping by to read and leave your comment. Glad you're a few follower--I appreciate it.

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    2. Hi there Susieq. I'm so glad you stopped by to read my post. Thank you for your excitement to read The Hidden Son.

      Best wishes,
      Dianna

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  9. What an inspiring testimony. You put your family first, even though I imagine that must have stung on some level, and God blessed you for it.

    I've never been scuba diving but have always wanted to. I went snorkeling in Hawaii with my hubby on our honeymoon and loved it! It was breathtaking beautiful!

    My email is jenniferaslattery@gmail.com

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    1. Jennifer, thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. Glad you seemed to have enjoyed the interview with Dianna. Visit again--on my Monday blogs right now I'm interviewing characters from my novel, That Summer.

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    2. Hi Jennifer. I truly appreciate your sweet words and your comforting compassion.

      I sure hope you scuba dive some day very soon. Snorkeling is amazing, and scuba diving is an incredible experience, like floating through a watery world undamaged by humans. Think: God's world down there. Enjoy!

      Blessings,
      Dianna

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  10. Our library users will love this book. I would like to be able to give it to the church library if I win.
    Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Janet, you're welcome. Glad you came by and left a comment.

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    2. Hi Janet. That is very sweet of you to think about the needs of other readers and your church library. Good luck on winning a free copy of my book.

      Blessings,
      Dianna

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  11. I enjoyed the interview. This sounds like a book I would enjoy.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview! Thanks for stopping by and reading and leaving a comment.

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    2. I'm so glad you took the time to read my post and write a comment. Thanks for your excitement to read The Hidden Son. Good luck on the drawing.

      Best wishes,
      Dianna

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  12. Great interview. Your book sounds wonderful. I love to read suspenseful mysteries. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    Rose
    harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Rose, you're welcome. Glad you came by and left a comment.

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    2. Hi there Rose. Thanks for your compliments and for your excitement to read The Hidden Son. Good luck on winning a copy of my book.

      Best wishes,
      Dianna

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  13. Susupense! Suspense! Suspense! I want to read that book. I'm a follower.teachesl3@aol.com

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    1. I appreciate your being a follower of my blog. Thanks for stopping by and reading and leaving your comment.

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    2. I'm so glad you read my post and are excited to read The Hidden Son. Thanks for your support.

      Blessings,
      Dianna

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  14. i would LOVE to read this novel...thanks for the chance, jo

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks for taking the time to come by and leave a comment.

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    2. Hi Karen. Thank you for your excitement to read The Hidden Son.

      Best wishes,
      Dianna

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  15. Looking forward to checking out your book, Dianna! It's been a long time since we attended Carolina Crime Writers. You're such a versatile person. How do you do it? :0) E. Kennedy

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    1. Hi Ellen. I knew it was you right away. I hope you're doing well. To answer your question: God gave me a huge supply of energy; I focus on applying it in ways He wants. My main focus nowadays is writing and enjoying my family and friends.

      Since I only work part time in EMS, I have massive respect for all the firefighters, law enforcers, EMTs and paramedics I work scenes with. These individuals work an incredible amount of intense hours every week and make low wages while risking their lives and health to help others. I hope my books give at least a little back to them for all their dedication and diligence to strangers in need.

      Thanks for your comment. Hope to see you soon!
      Blessings,
      Dianna

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  16. By the way, just in case. My email is eekmystery@hotmail.com

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  17. My email is eekmystery@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks again, Jo, for hosting me; I truly appreciated it.

      For everyone who doesn't win Jo's drawing for a free autographed and personalized copy of my book, The Hidden Son, you can buy it at your favorite local bookstore or any bookseller. Visit the Home page of my website for details. If you want an autographed and personalized copy, I can arrange that. Email me: dtbenson@diannatbenson.com

      Blessings to all,
      Dianna
      www.diannnatbenson.com

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