Sunday, February 8, 2015

Meet Author Diane Rinella

Hello and welcome back.  I want to thank you all for stopping by last week.  For those of you who don't know, I featured my book review for Diane Rinella's new book "Something to Dream On."  Today she is back to talk about what is going on with her life, including her book, "Something to Dream On."  Let's all give Diane a warm welcome back.

"I didn’t know what to think of Something to Dream On at first for it’s unlike any other book that I have ever read.                        



What is your story about? 

Something To Dream On is about two characters, Jensen and Lizetta, who struggle to improve their lives. In the prologue, we see that Lizetta has body image issues that were brought on by bullying and that Jensen has substance abuse issues. Jensen is pretty much a jerk, yet there is something there that lets us know that his soul is beautiful. The two meet and fall in love, but what appears to be a sweet love story takes us down the path of their life’s challenges. Something To Dream On is about giving yourself, and others, a second chance.

It is also about accepting yourself as you are. Just because someone has bullied you does not mean that you need to let their words harm you. Also, being hurt by someone is never an excuse to hurt someone else in turn. Bullying does not need to be a cycle. Revenge and bitterness are useless, but compassion can help you improve the world. We are all interconnected beings. We should celebrate that.

What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main character for this story?
The story is about hope, redemption, and giving yourself and others a second chance. Thus, I needed the characters to have the traits of those who have been through their own personal hell and back. One of the main characters, along with a supporting character, has substance abuse issues. One is triumphing while the other is struggling. For the sake of the story, the one who is struggling needs to be unlikeable, yet you need to feel for her. Giving a character qualities that will make readers sympathetic while hating her is tricky.

What was the deciding factor for your book title?  Did it just come to you or did you try different ones?
I was pretty clueless on that for a while. Then one day I checked out a jellyfish exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I was surrounded by room after room of jellyfish that were illuminated under black light. The whole thing was so surreal that it was like living in an alien, psychedelic light show. At the very end of the exhibit was a quote by Jimi Hendrix, “You have to give people something to dream on.”  Dreams were already a part of the book, and seeing that felt like the universe was telling me to delve in deeper. At that moment, the book was named. I’ve never considered naming it something else.

Did you do any types of writing while you were in school?  If so did you receive any awards or recognition for your work?
I really didn’t consider writing to be of much interest until I got into college. I think I needed the creative freedom that I got there. Still, it wasn’t until years later that the bug bit.
Was there anyone, in your life who was an inspiration for you to write.   If so what did they do?
It wasn’t a person that pushed me, it was a movie. In The Buttercup Chain, two cousins, related through identical twins—thus making them genetic half-siblings—have a strong attraction. She is fine with the situation while he is a huge ball of denial. The entire film I waited for the obvious to happen. When the film ended and the man was heartbroken I felt a huge opportunity had been squandered. Clearly they were soul mates, and never once did we find out why he was so freaked out by his emotions. All you could believe was that he hid from who he was because of society. What a horrible world we live in where love is wrong.
The sadness of the situation stayed with me, as did my anger at the author for not taking the story where it needed to go either by explaining the problem or by facing it. Upon doing research I discovered that there are so many biases toward the subject that I could not find a single book that really tackled it non-judgmentally. Yet the more I dug, the more common I found the real-life situation to be. The proverbial gloves came off and I started writing Love’s Forbidden Flower. What started as a story ended as a chalice in which I placed my heart, all the while asking why we make love laws. How we can tell others it is wrong to love, I will never understand.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?  Can you elaborate on what has worked for you?
I can’t thank my readers enough. Seriously. I have so many amazing fans who bring so much joy and perspective into my life. If you are a fan, please reach out and give me the pleasure of getting to know you.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a big, old school rock n roll fan. I’m sure that I have spent way too much time cataloging my collection. I also have a background in the pastry arts and previously had a business making high-end wedding and special event cakes. I love to bake and do anything where I feel creative.

What was the last movie you saw?  How was it and why?
I recently watched Wild In The Streets, a 1968 film about what might happen if the voting age were lowered to fourteen. While it may not have been the best movie ever made, it really drove home the notion that those younger than you, even by just a few years, will see you as out dated. How we view age, maturity, and intelligence is a cycle. When you are twenty, someone who is forty is old, but once you turn forty, you see how wrong you were. The film really drove home that the sooner you get a strong world perspective, the better off you will be.

What has been your favorite part of being an author?  The least fave?
The best part, beyond a doubt, is connecting with readers. Discussing my work with someone who enjoyed it is such a rush! I love seeing my characters through the eyes of others.

What is in the works next for you?  If you can’t share, I totally understand and respect this.
Before Something To Dream On, I released Scary Modsters … and Creepy Freaks, a chick-lit, rock ‘n roll fantasy about a British rock star who was murdered in 1968 and has now been summoned back from the dead by a quirky woman named Rosalyn. Rosalyn then meets Niles, who could be the man of her dreams. The three are strangely connected. Scary Modsters is a story about embracing who you are, as well as who you are not. Right now I am working on another book in that same universe. 

As I mentioned in my review, "Something to Dream On" is a  dynamic story that has a big twist that kept me glued to the story.  The author's love is felt on each page.  Words of wisdom are said, which touched me.
Diane has been so kind enough to share these two excerpts from this fabulous story:

Excerpt 1:
“Hi,” the flirty guy says. I return the greeting and smile. He is kind of cute, despite being wasted. Tipsy I can handle, but I really dislike being around anyone who is hardcore wasted.
He nods. “What’s your name?”
“Hi, um, Liz. I'm Denny. This is Jerry.”
Jerry steps forward so that he is now by my side. Once I get the up/down full body glance from him, I accept what the game is. It’s proven when Jerry snickers. Even if I do stand a chance with Denny, Jerry’s judgment will likely convince his friend that I am not worth it.
Jerry motions to Denny not to bother and says he wants to go for another drink elsewhere. Denny steps up to shake my hand. He takes a good look at my body before saying it was nice to meet me and then makes his way back to his friends.
My eyes close off the scene. You’d think I’d be used to this by now. You’d think it would no longer rape my self-esteem, yet it does. This is so unfair. I have so much to offer. There is so much inside me that I long to share. My shell may not be perfect, but is it really all that bad? Doesn’t my heart matter? What about my soul?
The rap of Griffin’s fingers on the table creates a roll of thunder. He’s tireder of this happening to me than I am. Still, he sits in the shadows with the light barely catching the skin on top of his head and lets me handle it. He may not allow that for much longer though.
“Bye.” I give a friendly wave while trying to hide that my ego has been stomped on and smeared like a spider.
“What did you expect?” Jerry says. “Fatties turn into hags because they can't get anything else.”
Griffin slams his hands onto the table, commanding their attention. When he steps out of the booth, Denny and Jerry turn to face a monolith. It's like the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where the apes worship a wall of onyx; only instead of caressing it in wonder, these monkeys freeze in fear. Griffin’s voice sounds like God’s vibrato is rippling through Heaven and he is challenging them to a smack down. “I believe you meant to say, ‘It was a pleasure to have met you.’” Despite Griffin having muscles the size of machine-guns, that voice may be his scariest weapon.
I’m wished a nice day before the jerks grab their friends and flee the bar. Griffin sits, and his voice goes back to the way I am used to hearing it in casual situations—moderately flaming and laced with hospitality that makes you expect him to have a Southern accent. “You okay there, Honey Boo?”
I look Griffin in the eyes and tell him in no uncertain terms that I am fine. We both know I am full of it, but it is either that or do what I really want—give Denny a piece of my mind and then feel like an even bigger fool as I break down in front of him. I shouldn’t have to get used to childish people who have issues with my body, but that is what it comes down to. I can tell myself that their opinions don’t matter, but that doesn’t stop incidents like these from happening. I don’t know how many more times I can pick my shattered self-esteem off of the ground before I vow to never leave the house again.

Excerpt 2

The bed feels unusually comfortable as I slip in. It’s much like I imagine a cloud in heaven would feel. Tonight I had a date with a guy who opened doors for me, carried my jacket, watched hockey with me, shared garlic fries with me (even if he did fib and say it was only so we could share garlic breath), and who gave me the sweetest kiss goodnight after walking me to my door. It was one of the most perfect evenings I could imagine. With a sigh of bliss, I drift off to sleep … 

I’m walking through a valley. Beneath me are patches of green among a desert of sand and dry grass. My bare feet trudge through the heat. Each step sizzles as I seek patch after patch of cool grass and pieces of shade. Every time a breeze brushes the hair from my face, I long to stop and enjoy the peace, yet my feet keep moving.
In the distance, a rainbow sprouts from a field of grass and wild flowers. I run toward it, stop in the middle of the field, spread my arms, and then twirl in the glory of comfort and light. My eyes close off the world so I can savor the cool air as it whiffs up my nose, bringing in the scent of flowers. I smile, reveling in the glory of life. Suddenly I tense. I know what comes next, but this is all in my mind, so logically, I can control it. I just have to stay locked on the bliss. My body loses all weight as it floats heavenward. No! This can’t be happening! I try to return to Earth. As my will deepens, my body descends. The grass below tickles the tips of my toes. I can do this! I can stay! A force yanks me upward and into the heavens. My eyes open to find I’m among a cluster of stars. On the ground below, a figure races into the field where I just stood. She throws open her hands, twirls, and falls to the ground, spreading her arms like the wings of an angel, as if claiming the land as her own. A sense of injustice fills my heart. I want what is mine, yet a sense of peace keeps me tethered to the stars.

Here are Diane's links for you to check out:

I want to thank Diane for chatting with us today.  Her book, "Something to Dream on" is doing very well and people are talking about it.  Get your copy and join in with the conversation.


Until Next Time,


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