Diane Martin was born in Chicago, Illinois. And she currently lives in the Chicago area. She earned her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degree from Chicago State University. She is the author of three novels: Never What it Seems, Autumn Leaves, & Fallen Angel.
Diane describes herself as “a nerd by nature – spending most of my time writing, marketing, editing, responding to emails, and taking care of my family…not always in that order.”
I’ve studied under some incredible people, but have chosen not to “drop” names because I want people to buy my books and support me because they believe in me and my work.
I have written three novels in one year and edited/published another. I’ve been blessed that everyone enjoys my novels. We are on the second print of Never What it Seems after only one year in circulation. Autumn Leaves, my second novel, went international last year – during the first seven months of its release. Currently, I am proud to say that they are all still doing well even in this economy.
My novels have been “checked-out” more often than any fiction novel currently in circulation and more copies of my novels have been stolen from the local libraries as often as Sista Soulja‘s, The Coldest Winter Ever. One library director told me that, “You know you’ve made it when people start stealing your books.” One library had to purchase several copies of my novels just to meet the demand and during the first year of their release there was always a waiting list to take them out of the library.
Humble by nature, I don’t usually share things like this, but I’m telling you.
I don’t know if any of this is interesting, but it’s as interesting as it gets.
What got you started with writing? And, what led you to self-publishing your own books?
I’ve always loved literature, but never saw myself as a writer. I was writing something one day and my husband stumbled upon it. After reading it, he said, “I didn’t know that you could write.” I thought that he said that because he loved me, but he kept encouraging me to finish. Of course, as a mother and a wife, I wasn’t thinking about finishing a book – I didn’t have time to read one, let alone, write one. After obtaining a Master’s in English, he approached me again about finishing the book, but as always, life dictated something else. Finally, a year ago he asked me again about writing and told me that if I would write, he would take care of everything else. Three novels later, here I am. I decided to self-publish because I wanted to have complete control over my art.
How do you go about creating your characters and your plots? What inspires you — Do you start with characters or with a plot?
My novels are my dreams. When I write, the goal is to get the story out of my head and onto paper.
Fallen Angel is the story of a man. He’s someone who walks among us every-day. On the outside, he’s the picture of perfection, but on the inside there’s a war going on. His name is Izrael, biblically, the Angel of Death. He just wants to be left alone as he struggles to deal with the demons of his past – his fears, his guilt, and his regrets. Everyone wants him – to be a part of his world whether willingly or by force. He fights daily to destroy the frightening thoughts that wreak havoc on his ability to find balance and peace of mind. He realizes that in order to survive – a part of him must die. His survival – his redemption depends on it. Join me as we take a journey with Izrael as he delivers his message with contempt and conviction.
I wrote this novel to bring awareness to mental illness and how it affects those who are forced to live with it and the family who has to take the journey with them. It is a debilitating disease and so many of our soldiers who has returned home from the war are dealing with it. My novel depicts the dark side of it. Izrael doesn’t represent every individual dealing with the disease. He is a physical manifestation of their dreams, their nightmares, and often their reality from my perspective.
Do you have a favorite character? Will we be seeing more of that character in your books?
I don’t have a favorite character. I love them all.
Is writing easy for you? Or, do you have to enforce a discipline to write, to review, to re-write?
Writing is really easy for me. I write at least 15 hours a day. I really love it.
Another slant on the previous question: Is writing getting easier for you, now that you are a published author? How much input do you get from your fans and critics?
I receive a lot of reviews from my readers. I really appreciate the feedback. I have published many of them on my website and in my books. It is my way of saying ‘thank you’ for supporting me.
What are you doing to market and promote your books?
I’ve done a lot of book-signings, television interviews, radio interviews, online-chats, emails, and I promote them via word of mouth. Book signings are most effective and I enjoy them because it gives me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.
Any plans for a next project?
We just finished my husband’s book and I am currently working on the sequel of my first novel, entitled, Never What it Seems.
What are your favorite reads? What books are your shelves?
I enjoy all forms of literature. I love to read anything written by Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, Ernest J. Gaines, and Langston Hughes. I am a collector of African-American literature.