Sunday, August 7, 2011

Q&A Interview and Giveaway with Dianne Sylvan

Hello everyone!  LITERAL ADDICTION and Book Monster Reviews are proud to welcome Dianne Sylvan to our sites today.   

Dianne is the author of the SHADOW WORLD series, two books on NeoPagan spirituality (“Circle Within” and “Body Sacred”), as well as a ‘cookbook plus’ called “Bowl, Book & Spoon: Recipes and Kitchen Witchery”. 

Dianne lives in Austin, Texas, has two beautiful yet neurotic cats – Owen and Stella, and enjoys wasting time away on Facebook and Twitter, dancing, shopping for cookbooks, collecting blank journals, drinking gigantic margaritas, idolizing her MacBook, and spending time with friends.
Her SHADOW WORLD series currently consists of Book #1, “Queen of Shadows” – released in August of last year, Book #2, “Shadowflame” – just released on July 26th, and Book #3, “Shadow’s Fall” – due out March 27, 2012. 

For those of you not yet familiar with Dianne’s series, here’s a little overview of the 1st two books:
“Queen of Shadows”:
Meet Miranda Grey – Music and magic are in her blood…
Overwhelmed by her uncanny ability to manipulate people's emotions through her music, Miranda Grey comes to the attention of vampire lord David Solomon. Believing he can help bring her magic under control, David discovers that Miranda's powers may affect the vampire world too...

It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.

As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance…
So… if you want a series that has incredible action, sensual romance, and “delightfully nerdy vampires”, you must check out SHADOW WORLD! 
Now that we’ve given you a sneak peek into the series and told you a bit about Dianne, how about we get to the Interview so we can learn even more!??  And don’t forget, Dianne will also be available to chat with us Live from 4-6pm EST this evening.

LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  Bright Blessings Dianne!  We’re very happy to have you with us today, and are excited to help you promote “Shadowflame”!  Thank you for taking time out to let us get to know you a bit better and tell us more about your wonderful series.
Dianne: It’s a pleasure to be here today.
LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  We like to start out by finding out a bit more about our guest author, and then we’ll dig into the books… 
Q1): Can you tell us 3 things about yourself that we couldn’t find out easily on the Internet?
Dianne: Let’s see...a) I love Madonna. b) I don’t wear makeup, but I paint my toenails. c) I’m left-handed.
Q2):  How and when did you start writing?
Dianne: I think it was in the second grade; as soon as I realized that books were made of stories, and stories were made by people, and I could take all those stories I’d been creating in my head and put them down on paper…it was a revolutionary thought for me.  The first stories I wrote were about talking dogs and cats.

Q3):  We know you love shopping for cookbooks, and that you wrote what we’re calling your ‘cookbook plus’, so we’re making an assumption that you like to cook… What’s your favorite dish to make?
Dianne: I’m locally world famous for my vegan cupcakes, but I also make a mean Indian dhal. I love Indian food. The complexity of the flavors fascinates me.
Q4):  What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Dianne: ”There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen.
Q5):  What are 3 things that never fail to make you smile?
Dianne: Maru (that big fluffy cat in Japan who likes to jump into boxes), that video of Jensen Ackles from Supernatural lip-synching to “Eye of the Tiger,” and putting my hair in pigtails.
Q6):  If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Dianne: I wouldn’t mind being telekinetic like my character David Solomon. It would be really handy since I live alone and my cats refuse to bring me coffee.
Q7):  Do you have a personal writing routine – specific way you lay out your day, things you must have with you, etc?
Dianne: I’m most productive if I leave the house and go someplace like Starbucks or a local coffee shop to write.  I do most of my planning on a drawing pad with colored Sharpie markers, so I always have those with me; I also have my mascot, Rupert the stuffed frog, who travels in my bag with me.  I have a playlist on iTunes I call my Writing Mix – mostly quiet background stuff.  I’m such a creature of habit that I have trouble writing without some sort of coffee beverage next to me.
Q8):  What book are you currently reading for pleasure?
Dianne: Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World.
Q9):  If you could describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be?
Dianne: Warning: May Contain Sarcasm, Nuts.
Q10):  Do you have any unique or quirky habits you can share with us?
Dianne: I make silly noises. I’m not sure why, but I always have.  Anyone who’s ever shared an office with me learns to expect chicken sounds at random intervals. I also love movie quotes; I tend to memorize my favorite films.
LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  O.K, now let’s find out some more about your awesome series…
Q11):  The characterization in “Queen of Shadows” was incredibly done, and your take on Vampires is very unique…  How did all of that come together for you to eventually become SHADOW WORLD?  Was there any specific inspiration behind the creation of the series and the characters within? 
Dianne: When I was 19 I wrote a fanfic series based in the world of The Vampire Diaries.  When I heard they were making a TV show from the books, I thought about the world I’d created and how it would have been such an excellent series on its own; I reread the stories and thought, well, it’s now or never.  So I took the ideas and some of the events and started from scratch. In all honesty it was never very much like TVD – I didn’t have the confidence to create my own universe when I was 19, so I piggybacked on someone else’s.  But now you’d be hard pressed to find any similarities…well, except that there are vampires in both. 
Q12):  You word-painted Austin vividly in “Queen of Shadows”.  Have you lived there all of your life?  Other than the familiarity, were there additional reasons for picking it as the setting for SHADOW WORLD?
Dianne: I’ve lived in Austin for about 14 years.  Austin is just such a quirky city, I love writing stories set here.  For all that Texas is kind of a conservative wasteland, Austin is funky and diverse, and the music scene here is vibrant.  It’s almost like another character in the story.
Q13):  “Queen of Shadows” had a very creatively done, yet undisguised pro-feminist plot.  Was there a message you were hoping to convey to your readers?
Dianne: You know, I really didn’t think of it as feminist when I was writing it.  I just got tired of all these vampire stories where the heroine is a damsel in distress who depends on her man for validation – I wanted to write a woman who relied on her own strength first.  Queen of Shadows is a survivor’s story; Miranda survives sexual assault but uses that tragedy to become a fierce warrior rather than letting it destroy her. 
Q14):  What are you favorite scenes to write:  action, intrigue, sex, comedy, etc?
Dianne: Dialogue.  I have so much fun writing dialogue.  I think that’s part of why I’m such an unabashed Joss Whedon fangirl; his dialogue is snappy and witty and I love that.
Q15):  Who has been your favorite character to write so far and why?
Dianne: That’s a tough one.  I love Miranda, of course; the entire series is her story, her journey.  I like that she’s brave and smart but tends to leap without looking.  Watching her unfold has been a delight.  But I’m also very fond of another character, Deven, who was introduced in Queen of Shadows but becomes a major character in Shadowflame. People are going to hate him, I’m sure – he’s difficult to love even when he’s not being somewhat evil – but he’s also really complex.  I enjoy writing vampires because once they reach a certain age, human morality and psychology are twisted into something very different.   
Q16):  Since most of us haven’t had time to read it yet, what can we expect out of “Shadowflame” and what do you have in store for us in “Shadow’s Fall”?
Dianne:  Shadowflame isn’t as much of a romance as Queen of Shadows was; it’s much more action-oriented, though it still has a lot of emotional oomph.  In it you begin to see how hard it is going to be for Miranda to grow into her role as Queen without losing her humanity.  She also has to get used to being married to someone who’s 10 times her age and has all sorts of mysteries in his past, some of which are going to haunt them forever.  There are also hints of a larger game afoot that will shape the coming books.
Q17):  Is the series only a Trilogy, or do you plan to write more after “Shadow’s Fall”?
Dianne:  Oh, it could go on for quite a while, if they’ll let me.  Shadow’s Fall is going to end o a rather uncertain note.  I’ve got at least six books in my head, but there could be more than that depending on how the story unfolds; there are also so many avenues I could go down to branch off the main story if I wanted to.  There are also supplemental scenes on my website – I call them “deleted scenes,” but in reality they were mostly exercises for me in character development that never would have been in the books themselves.  I enjoy fleshing out the world I’ve created, so there will be a lot of those extra bits.
Q18):  You’ve received some very high praise for the series thus far.  What’s the best compliment you’ve heard to date?
Dianne: I love that Publishers Weekly said I wrote “delightfully nerdy vampires.” They said a lot of awesome things but for some reason that tickles me.  I’ve also gotten a lot of compliments on David and Miranda’s relationship and how it develops, which was very important to me while I was writing the story.  I didn’t want it to be a given that they’d hook up and live happily ever after. Real relationships are hard and I wanted theirs to feel real.
Q19):  What’s up next for Dianne Sylvan?  Do you have anything else in the works outside of SHADOW WORLD that we can look forward to?
Dianne: I’m working on an e-course called Becoming a Spiritual Nomad, for people who want to practice eclectic spirituality outside traditional religion but don’t really know where to start. 
Q20):  Is there anything specific you would like to say to your readers while we have you here today?
Dianne: I’d like to take the opportunity to plug my favorite organization, RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.  They have a confidential online hotline as well as a toll-free phone hotline for victims of assault and abuse, and they’ve done a lot to raise awareness of the issue.  Every 2 minutes in the United States someone (male or female) is sexually assaulted but less than 40% of those assaults are reported to the police.  You can find out more, get help, or donate at  Thanks!
LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  Dianne, thank you so much for being with us today!  We can’t wait to dig into “Shadowflame” and would love to have you back for the release of “Shadow’s Fall” in March if you’re interested!  J 
Dianne:  I’d love to come back!
If you'd like to find out more about Dianne and her books, please visit her at the following sites:

Dianne is graciously offering up a signed SET (2 books) of the SHADOW WORLD series to a lucky Book Monster Follower. 
To Enter, make sure you’re a follower of the Book Monster Blog and post a reply to the Contest/Event thread with your email address.  Any comments without an email address will NOT be entered into drawing.
Want a 2nd chance to win??  Go to LITERAL ADDICTION Paranormal Book Club  (, read their contest entry rules, and enter to win the contest on their site too.


SdyLion said...

The series sound exciting and I am really intrigued. Thank you for offering the contest and it was a great interview! sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

Na said...

I just finished an urban fantasy series and I would to start this series. I think nerdy vampires are cool!


Victoria said...

This sounds like a fun series. Thanks for the contest.


Missyb0103 said...

I have not read this series but it sounds so good!! thank you for sharing!!!

alainala said...

i think this just went onto my to be read pile.. sounds awesome! (but i hope i win!)

Christina said...

wow sounds like you would be a blast to hang out with! I like your personality and I cant wait to read your books.
Thanks for the contest!

Michelle said...

The series sounds really interesting, I'm adding it to my tbr list, thanks for sharing today!

LIESA said...

I would love to win these books and start reading the series.

Debbie said...

I hope to get this series soon.Thanks for a great interview. Can't wait to chat this afternoon

legallycaz said...

I have not heard of this series before but I love the idea can't wait to read it!

Thanks so much for a great interview and contest!

Linda said...

A PNR with a musical element - sounds great. Adding it to my wishlist now! Hope I win *fingers crossed*

I'm a vegetarian too & love Indian food tho I'm not a very good cook.

hstreible said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hstreible said...

Would love to read these books.


Sharon said...

I'm left handed too! This series sound like a lot of fun :) Especially the vamp loving ;)

thanks for the chance to win

sstogner1 at gmail dot com

BlackwaterMama said...

This looks like a great series and I can't wait to try it.
jlkg102961 AT yahoo DOT com

Cindy McCune said...

I've read the 1st one...would love to own this series...thank you for the chance!

practimom said...

This sounds like a great series! I can't wait to start it. great interview. where is your e-course going to be offered?


Victoria said...

Your series looks very interesting to me. Would love to start it :).

Keisha said...

The series looks very good

Amy said...

I would love to read Shadowflame! I've read Queen of Shadows and it was really unique with the music element. Would love to continue this series.


Chrisbails said...

would love to win this series, have heard good things about it and have wanted to read for awhile. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

AmyS. said...

I love vampire books. I hope I win.
Thanks for the giveaway.

truebloodfan AT

Lori in Philly said...

Thanks for giving us a chance to know you. Your series sounds inviting and now I finally know how to spell the word oomph . Take care.

Temperance said...

This looks really good:)
Please enter me!
GFC follower/Temprance

kaisquared said...

I love books with humor and music... this series sounds like it would be perfect for me, especially nerdy vamps!

emmasmom AT wi DOT rr DOT com