Wednesday, October 17, 2007

[Interview] L. Diane Wolfe

L. Diane Wolfe grew up in Salem, Oregon and traveled around the United States before eventually settling in North Carolina.In addition to being an author, Diane Wolfe is also a professional photographer and a motivational speaker. She conducts regular workshops and seminars on writing, publishing and book promotion.

Her books include The Circle of Friends series of novels for young adults which, so far, is made up of four books: Mike (AuthorHouse, 2007); James (AuthorHouse, 2006); Sarah (AuthorHouse, 2005) and Lori (AuthorHouse, 2004).

In a recent interview, Diane Wolfe spoke about her writing.

How would you describe the writing you are doing?

My current series falls under young adult fiction. Previously, all of my writing had been science fiction... but when I discovered I had a growing teen fan base, I shifted the focus to young adults. I had never intended to write anything in this genre, especially since my first love is science fiction, but I was inspired to write realistic stories that portrayed healthy relationship dynamics. The YA section tends to have rather salacious material, and I wanted to give teen readers something that was positive and uplifting.

My biggest concern is in how teens and their parents perceive the message of my work. I want them to realize that real people do the wrong things sometimes, but all mistakes can be corrected and obstacles overcome with the right attitude.

Who has influenced you the most?

I’ve always been a reader, devouring several books a week. The desire to write sparked inside of me when I read Anne McCaffrey’s The White Dragon. I’d already fallen in love with science fiction, but what I admired most in her book was the richness of character.

Motivational writers such as Og Mandino, Norman Vincent Peale and Gary Chapman influenced the positive focus of my work.

Have your personal experiences influenced your writing?

Most definitely! I learned so much reading books that taught relationship, success and positive mental attitude principles, and I poured a great deal of that into my current series. My own moral standards of faith are very evident in what I write as well.

I feel there is enough out there promoting negative, destructive and deviant behavior already. What the world needs is more hope!

What are the biggest challenges that you face? And, how do you deal with them?

Optimism is a tough sell! The media wants the salacious, controversial news. It’s difficult to promote a series that is secular but moral.

For one, I just continue to hold fast to my resolve and refuse to sell out my standards just to move a few more books. While enticing the teen audience, I try to capture their parent’s attention with the wholesomeness of my series.

Do you write everyday?

I do try to write everyday, but during my peak promotion times, it is difficult.

Some days I will spend several hours on a scene, especially if I am “in the mode”, and other days it’s only twenty minutes.

How long did it take you to write Mike?

Mike follows a character that was very prominent in Book II. Mike is the epitome of stability and despite the temptations of college life, he has maintained his moral standards. Yet beneath the peaceful surface, Mike is consumed with guilt. A former girlfriend’s abortion and the intense love he feels for his roommate’s wife constantly remind Mike of his failures. Unable to forget and full of shame, he refuses to forgive himself. When Danielle enters his life, he realizes he can no longer hide his past.

Book IV took me a little over a year to complete, due to the fact I was heavily touring for Book II at the time, and was published in March of 2007.

Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult?

Several of my books followed characters through college, so accurately presenting each campus experience was a challenge. Research into settings is always the most difficult for me.

Which did you enjoy most?

The character development is the most fun! I have studied personality types in depth, so knowing what personality a character possessed took the guesswork out of their response to situations. Relationship dynamics fascinate me and it’s interesting to place the characters in different situations and watch them respond.

What sets the Mike apart from the other books you have written?

To start with, the entire series was a departure from my science fiction work. Mike probably has a much stronger emphasis on faith that the other books. It has also been the one men have responded to best, which tells me I am portraying a male character accurately.

In what way is it similar?

All of my work is encouraging and positive. I show realistic people responding to situations, adversity and obstacles with the desire to do the right thing.

What will your next book be about?

I will be completing the series with Book V: Heather. Her character is evident in the first two books and I had many requests for her story. She is bold, dominating and a bit overbearing. Her story will explain her selfish nature. It will also show her overcoming this negative personality trait.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

For me, it is the response from fans and readers. They are so encouraged by my series! I wrote The Circle of Friends in hopes of inspiring others to achieve their dreams, and knowing I have made a difference in other’s lives is true success to me.

The work I have done in promoting my series, along with research into starting my own publishing company, has allowed me to become a paid speaker on these subjects as well. It is a delight to be able to pass along the knowledge gained through my experiences to others.

How did you get there?

Hard work and determination helped me acquire those achievements. I have never lost my enthusiasm and persistently pursued my goals without compromising my standards. And if I can do it, then I know other writers can achieve their dreams, too!

This article was first published by OhmyNews International.