- Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique? I’m a sucker for a good romance, at least reading one or watching one on the TV or in a movie. In real life, coming home to find my husband has started dinner is romantic! A lot of books I’ve read have dealt with the insta-love angle, and in nearly all of them, the characters all just fall in line. I believe in love at first sight, but I also believe in taking a beat and making sure it’s real and true.
- How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? I’m like the worst plotter known to man. I fly by the seat of my pants, change directions halfway through, and then again three-quarters of the way through. It’s all about the way the story unfolds as I’m writing it. Since I was serious about publishing this book, I did take the time to put together a very basic outline. I didn’t follow it, but I did put one together!
- How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? There wasn’t a ton of research involved in this book, but it did take me several years to write it. That was more for personal reasons than anything else. I have several more books in this series that I want to write, and they will definitely involve a lot more research.
- How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted? I self-published my book. I think the self-publishing and indie author boom in the last few years has given us a lot of amazing authors that we might not have ever been introduced to.
- If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author? I am madly in love with everything Lucy Score has written. I just discovered her, and I burned through all of her published works in no time at all. If you haven’t read anything by her – do it now!
- Do you have any pets? I briefly lost my mind and adopted three puppies….basically at the same time. I’m still not sure how it happened. So currently I have two pups that are two-years-old and one that is one-year-old and literally no sanity left.
- If so, what are they? We have one beagle, and two lab/hound mixes.
- And what are they called? Scout is our beagle, then we have Piper and Hobo.
- Do they help you write? They have a habit of trying to chew on my laptop, or the cord, or my feet, or anything they can get in their mouth.
- What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? Scout has a habit of closing my laptop, with my hands still on the keyboard.
- What, in your life, are you most proud of doing? Can I play the sappy mom card and say my kids? They astound me every day with how smart they are, but also how caring and loveable they are.
I found this a much better read than book 1.
For 2 reasons.
1. The author was not constantly trying to give us the background on the Cole Brothers and the previous series in which they had been involved; and
2. The writing style had improved.
The storyline and content was much better as there was now room in the story to tell us about the characters we were interested in – the hotelier’s daughter Ela, and Cole brother #2 Matt.
I am not at all sure however, that if Ela really had been an alcoholic it would that easy for her to quit the first time and then the second time to actually drink a glass or 2 and then give up. This seemed unreal as the nature of addiction doesn’t work that way. We all wish it did! That way we could eat 1 square of chocolate and not the whole bar…
However, I liked the fact that she had gone to a Cordon Bleu cookery school and had come out baking scones and not fancy French pastries. That said, scones are an under-rated delicacy and can be flavoured in many ways and made with many different ingredients, from savoury to sweet and with alcohol too. Wikipedia does a round-up of different scones around the world, from buttermilk, to drop to Australia to Japan…
So, yes, I did like this book better. I think Diana could do better still and make this a true 4 star rather than a 3.5 rounded up.
About the Author
Diana A. Hicks is an award-winning author of steamy contemporary romance with a touch of suspense. Book two in her Desert Monsoon series, LOVE OVER LOGIC, won the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Romance – Suspense genre
When Diana is not writing, she enjoys kickboxing, traveling, and indulging in the simple joys of life like wine and chocolate. She lives in Atlanta and loves spending time with her two children and husband. Connect with Diana on social media to stay up to date on her latest releases.
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
Immortal Defiance is a slow-burn paranormal fantasy romance, where the lines blur between heroes and villains, and where things are far from what they seem. In its heart is an elven heroine who finds that not all heroes are good… or even alive.
The story of Immortal Defiance is a story of friendships, love, valor, and courage against the backdrop of a freedom war, set in a medieval-like world. There’s magic, elves, talking dragons, vampires, ancient castles, and a cure that may be deadlier than the poison.
I wrote Immortal Defiance and its sequels (it is the first book in a trilogy) because I wanted to explore a soul-reaching connection between two unlikely people. Dulcea and Krath’s story is a story of overcoming conflict. On the surface, these two people, an elven lady and a vampire, are as dissimilar as can be, but they may yet discover that differences are often only skin deep.
I feel the approach is unique, because I’ve not yet read a book with elves, vampires, and dragons, questioning whether something perceived as evil can be good or neutral. Also, I wanted to explore a more realistic way in how our mortal elven heroine might overcome her prejudices and see the man who our vampire truly is (and he is no Mr. Nice Guy), and yet still come to appreciate him for exactly who he is.
Enemies to best friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and one you’ll find for this series as whole.
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
The same as on any other day – whatever I am currently reading on my Kindle. Or these days, my Kindle App on my smartphone. More likely than not, it’ll be something from my favorite genre (see answer below).
What is your favorite genre?
I read a lot of fantasy. Serve it to me with a side of slow-burn romance, and I am a happy camper. I also like suspense and thrillers and historic romance, but the fantasy genre is my favorite.
If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?
For a living author, C.J. Sansom and his splendid Matthew Shardlake series. For a dead author, I struggle between J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen, and… let it be undecided. May each of you make their own decision, based on the genre you more prefer.
What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
Rewrote them time again. I have been writing since my early teenage years, for about 25 years now. Immortal Defiance, the slow-burn paranormal fantasy romance now releasing, is based on writings began during those days. To my memory, it took about twenty years and four complete rewrites to come to this situation, to the release of the first book in the trilogy.
I have spent a long time with these characters and know them like the back of my hand. I have grown up and matured along with their story, rewriting it to suit my current level as a writer.
Do you have an unusual hobby?
I would call it anything but unusual these days, but growing up in a small northern European town, it was an oddity. Like… 25 – 30 years ago. I am talking about gaming. Us gamer girls were a little odd back then. I am still an avid gamer; I love playing RPG games. They often have excellent stories; some of them could easily compete with many other forms of entertainment.
If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She is one of my favorite heroines. She is bold, smart, and loves to read! But she can also admit to her mistakes and learn from them.
If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?
I have long loved Scotland. The image of its highlands appeals to me on a deeply spiritual level. I have visited the country before and hope to do so many times still in the future.
What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?
For my love of romance, Pride and Prejudice. For my love of fantasy, the Lord of the Rings. And for my love of mystery/suspense, any of C.J Sansom’s Shardlake novels.
Would you like to add a jpg of yourself? Or something that is important to your writing? Why is it important? Does it have an emotional impact?
I am pleased for this question. I have long also been an artist, for over 20 years. I find that my writing and art hobby support each other. Art allows me to bring my characters and scenes to life in a way that nothing else can.
I would like the show your readers a piece of my artwork featuring the leading lady Dulcea, together with her friend and dragon guardian, Amparo Darksun; both enjoying a rare moment of peace.
“I live in my own little world. But it’s ok, they know me here.” (Who besides me has this fridge magnet; raise your hand!)
That’s sometimes what it feels like. Who says stories aren’t real? I live in the land of the Midnight Sun and Polar Nights, together with my husband and daughter, and a cast of fantasy characters running around in my head. It’s busy here. Care to stay and chat a while?
Laura Maybrooke is an 80s’ child, who works too much and writes too little, but who’ll never say no to a thrilling romance, a high fantasy adventure, or a cookbook full of delicious treats she’d like to bake
A nicely written story with plenty of twists and turns and mis-understandings. Straight forward romance, but not cozy.
The Colorado mountains certainly have lots of snow so if you are a skiing fanatic like those in the story, then it is a great place to live, otherwise…
For me the skiing seemed authentically described, but as I am unfamiliar with this sport and very much not a fan of the cold, I’ve never been. Though I did once visit a snow resort – in the summer!
Just a thought though – why doesn’t she use foot deodorant? There is plenty around and inners for shoes with anti-smell. If not fungal, foot smell is always optional.
A millenial love story? Or why dating apps cause havoc.. or provide you with bad dates or with males that are on the app for really good reasons! Beware.
So this a romantic story of finding love in your workplace – which is where most people used to find their partners before apps came along. And how getting to know someone slowly works better than the instant date from an app.
An adult theme about romance and dates with explicit scenes but very much in the milieu/trope.
I thought it quite sweet with some fun aspects, and the bad dates remind me of some that I had when young – the paintballing for me was pot-holing… even when I told him I was claustrophobic he didn’t believe it until I had hysterics deep in the ground! And as he was the pot-holing club leader it proved very embarrassing for him to have to bring up to the surface.. And then there was the Indian guy who insisted on showing me his wool vest and also insisted that all English girls had sex on the first date. I proved him very wrong.. Oh the bad dates we women have all had…
AJ Renee is the author behind the St. Fleur series, Beauty Unmasked, Winter’s Surprise, Surviving Paris, and Finding Love at the Falls…. She’s a military wife and mother to three young girls. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with her Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology while working at the library.
She loves to write steamy romance with suspense and a happily ever after. When she isn’t writing or interacting with her readers, you can find her spending time with her family or reading. AJ enjoys traveling, researching family history, and all things New Orleans.