Author L. Diane Wolfe ~ Interviewed

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” L. Diane Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association. “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting”, ties all of her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together into one complete, enthusiastic package. Her YA series, The Circle of Friends, features morally grounded, positive stories that appeal to both teens and concerned parents. Ten years associating with a motivation training system and experience as a foster parent gave her the in-depth knowledge of relationships, personality traits and success principles. Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, manages an online writer’s group, and contributes to several other sites.

What one issue makes you struggle the most as an author? How do you handle it?

The lack of time to do everything sometimes overwhelms me! I’m very active online, trying to promote on the Internet as well as in the real world, and it never feels like enough. I’m also trying to juggle my professional speaking career and two other businesses. I desperately need a forty hour day!

I have to remind myself that I can’t do it all. At some point, something is just gonna have to slide!

Tell us a bit about your current project.

My latest book is the final installment of my YA series – The Circle of Friends, Book V…Heather. Described as “encouragement personified”, this Southern-based series portrays love and friendship overcoming all obstacles. This fifth book follows a dominating and driven young woman…

When confidence turns to frustration…

A new beginning awaits Heather Jennings as a basketball coach at Clemson. Sadly, her father lies dying of cancer, her sister appears incapable of achievement, and a cocky player challenges her remaining patience. Her life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her feisty attitude. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…

What mistakes have you made while seeking publication? Or to narrow it down further what’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

Plenty of mistakes! I subsidy published my first book back in 2004 out of sheer ignorance. I worked hard, selling thousands of copies and actually making a profit, but it’s a path I warn other writers to avoid. I also banged my head against the agent wall for a while before another author suggested I try submitting directly to a small to mid-sized publishers instead. Yes, I learned a lot in the process of those two mistakes – but I’d rather learn from someone else’s mistakes next time!

What is your favorite source for finding story ideas?

Believe it or not, my own dreams! My entire five book series was conceived from just the wisp of a dream. I’ve several other fiction projects in the works, all inspired by a dream. All of these ideas were influenced and further formed from outside sources, such as other books, movies, music, and real life.

With the clarity of experience what advice would you offer up to the wet-behind-the-ears writers beginning this writing journey today?

Study the industry in depth and understand the path you intend to pursue. Read every book on promoting and marketing, as you will be required to do most of it. Maintain realistic expectations, but don’t give up on your dream.

What event/person has most changed you as a writer? How?

So many things have nudged me forward a few more spaces! However, meeting author p.m. terrell probably had the most impact. She led me to the Book ‘Em Festival and numerous other events that have proved pivotal in my career. Most importantly, she provided me with a role model. Trish is the epitome of a gracious, generous, well-rounded person and author. She is a dear friend and my mentor, and I strive to achieve the standard she sets.

Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?

I wish I didn’t, but… people who approach me at book signings to ask questions about getting published, taking up fifteen or more minutes of my time, and then never have the courtesy to purchase one of my books. That is so rude! I would never occupy an author’s time without buying a book.

Oh, and slow people in the fast lane. (I log a lot of miles every year traveling, so that’s still book related!)

Share a dream or something you’d love to accomplish through your writing career.

Between my writing and speaking career, I’d like to establish an organization that teaches teens the importance of reading, people skills, a positive self-image, and goal setting.

What gives you the greatest writer buzz, makes the trip worth the hassles (besides coffee or other substances, or course )?

The feedback from readers and fans! When I hear that others have caught the spirit of my series or gained confidence from my self-help book, I am motivated. True success is based on how many lives we can touch in a positive manner, and that is worth far more than gold.

What is one of the more unique or strange life experiences that has really given you an extra oomph in your writing?

I was part of a motivational training program for ten years and learned a great deal about success, people skills, and relationships. I also spent several years as a foster parent. Those two experiences provided so much to both my YA series and my non-fiction book in terms of material and expertise.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

I focus on characters first. I create detailed profiles on each character, including background information, personality, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies, family & friends, and goals. I always have a basic idea of a storyline, but I don’t form an outline until after I’ve created my characters.

Plot, seat of pants or combination?

Plot every time! I always create an outline. If I don’t have a goal (and a path to follow) how will I know when I’ve hit it? My life is chaotic enough without adding confusion to my stories.

Have you discovered any successful marketing/promo ideas that you’d share with us?

Well, since I’ve tried just about everything under the sun…

Virtual tours work really well and I highly recommend authors set those up themselves. One must be an active blogger and Internet user, though. The exposure is fantastic and the friends made along the way are priceless.

In the real world, I recommend avoiding the bookstores. For history and non-fiction, visit libraries. For children and YA books, visit schools. Find creative locations and outlets!

Parting words? Anything you wish we would’ve asked because you’ve got the perfect answer?

Be willing to try anything and everything, but stop doing those things that don’t work.