Dyanne Davis

Dyanne was born in a small town in Alabama. She moved to Chicago when she was eleven, with her mother and sister, where she remained. She’s happily married to William Davis, her newest critique partner. They live in a nearby Chicago Suburb with their only child, William Davis Jr.

A love of the written word began at the age of four when she began reading. Her passion for reading carried over into a desire to write. Dyanne retired from nursing three years ago with her husband’s encouragement to pursue her dreams of writing full time.

Dyanne’s work includes, The Color of Trouble, The Wedding Gown, Misty Blue, due May, 2006, and Let’s Get It On, due December, 2006.

You can find Dyanne Davis at www.DyanneDavis.com

Questions for Dyanne Davis

Q: How did you get into writing?

A: I started writing as a teenager. How I began writing romance took another thirty years. I wrote off and on before I became serious and I sent things to people in an unpolished and unprofessional manner because I didn’t know any better. I sent things to publishers that they didn’t publish simply because I didn’t know any better.

Fate always step in a lend a hand when you’re ready for it. In my other life as a nurse I was talking to one of my patients one day about the dream of writing. Her mother also wanted to write and was a patient of mine also. She told me about this group called Romance Writers of America. I could vaguely remember going to hear an author at my local library a few years back mention the same organization. She told me that this organization had local chapters all over. She suggested that we team up and become writing partners. As a teacher I had figured she had the where to place commas skill and she figured I had the completing the book skills.

We went to a meeting where I learned that romance was an entirely different thing than what I was writing or reading. I had read the romance magazines when I was younger but I wasn’t’ a romance reader. It took awhile to learn what I was doing wrong then even longer to learn how to do them right. It only took a short while to learn that I was a solitary writer and couldn’t write with a partner.

I strongly recommend especially for writers getting started is some affiliation with writing groups. Even if what you write is a different genre it can help. The knowledge and camaraderie alone is worth it. And I truly believe it takes a writer to know what it means to yo when you sell. It takes someone who has been in the trenches submitting and being rejected time and time again, someone who know how hard it is to get the call to appreciate the doubts that assail you when you finally get it. Just an aside. I am now the president of my local RWA chapter Windy City. romance Writers of America has a membership of over 9000 writers.

Q: Why do you write?

A: I think at different times I’ve answered this question in many different ways now this is my answer after much thought: With so many characters running around in my head demanding that I write their story, I think I write in order to have some peace and quiet. LOL. And of course I write because I love it. I love reading, always have. It feels magical to be a part of something that has always meant so much to me.

Q: Your first book, The Color of Trouble, was an interracial romance. I loved the book, and have a copy you autographed. Why did you write it?

A: I wrote The Color Of Trouble because I wanted to make a statement that anyone could be prejudiced. The idea formulated in my mind when I had heard the comment, “I never had anything against black people.” The question was never posed and there was no conversation that precipitated the remarks. But it told me that someone needed to say, I have never had any problem with white people. It also told me that it was assumed that racism was only in others and non blacks. That’s not true and I wanted to show that.

Q: Why did you make Kari and Jonathan an interracial couple?

A: I made Kari and Jonathan an interracial couple to point out that it’s not always the non black person that’s prejudiced. There is prejudice in all races and that was the reason I wrote the characters as I did. A lot of people including Kari never acknowledges the feelings that they keep buried deep inside.

Q: Wouldn’t the story have worked, if they were both black?

A: Because the story was one dealing with Kari’s prejudice and racism in general No it would not have worked had I made both characters African American.

Q: Did you receive any negative responses to The Color of Trouble, because of the color of the heroine being black, and the hero, being white?

A: I didn’t receive any negative response because of their race but I’ve read some nasty reviews that didn’t like Kari because of her views. That was the point I was trying to make. Racism is a cancerous growth regardless of the skin color of the person displaying it. I don’t think anyone had a problem with Jonathan. But on a more personal note the people who’ve contacted me personally loved the story. It is also the book I won an Emma for.

Q: Was, The Color of Trouble, your first manuscript?

A: No way. How I wish it were. The Color of Trouble was the first manuscript that I sold and probably the sixth book I had written.

Q: If so, you lucky woman, how long did it take before the book was bought by Genesis Press?

A: I can’t remember how long it too before The Color of Trouble was actually bought by Genesis Press but it was relatively quick.

Q: Could you give some insight into what happens when you get the call, and find out your book is being published?

A: This is what happened when I got the call for The Color of Trouble. The Acquisition Editor called and asked me if I had any other manuscripts that I could send immediately. I was never told they wanted to buy The Color Of Trouble. A couple more urgent calls followed which left me confused because at that point no one had actually said WE WANT TO BUY YOUR BOOK. I’m a Virgo. I need to hear it straight so that there are no mistakes later.

The next call I received was from the person running the company, the CO-publisher. She raved about the book and told me that everyone in the office loved it. She told me that she wanted another manuscript immediately so that she could give me a two contract deal. Then being the Virgo that I am, I said, “So you want to buy, The Color Of Trouble and she said YES. Was that enough proof for me? NO. I asked her to email me the glowing praise she’d just given me for the book. She emailed me and the praise was nice but not gushing. I called her back and asked that she email me the exact words. She did. I framed them. LOL. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of another author doing that. But I think that’s a part of my skeptical nature…you know what I mean. My proof has to have proof. LOL.

Q: What was your biggest fear when the book came out?

A: My biggest fear when the book came out was what was the members of my church going to say and think of me because of the sexual content and how was I going to reconcile what I had written with my relationship with God. This probably wasn’t the answer you were expecting was it? 🙂

Q: Your second book, The Wedding Gown, was a finalist for the Emma in two categories: Steamiest Romance and Book of the Year. Did you find it easier to write?

A: No, The Wedding Gown wasn’t easier to write with exception maybe of the love scenes. In that book the characters totally took over and it became a book about the relationship between a brother and sister and not the love interests. Mia, the sister stole the show. I knew it, my critique partners knew it and my editor knew it. But it was my editor who said, unhh unh, not going to happen. If you want Mia to have a book then write her a book. This isn’t her book. Give it back to Ashleigh. So I did and Mia has her own book which will be coming out in May of this year, Misty Blue.

Q: How long was it between your first and second book?

A: My first book came out June of 03 and the second one came out Feb. of 04.

Q: What were some of the challenges of the second book?

A: The only challenge in the second book was trying to keep it a romance and not a family saga.

Q: Ask your guest which publishers she has found to be most open to new authors of multiracial and African American romance.
– From Anna T.S. – Feb. 8th

A: For interracial romance Genesis Press is your best. Parker Publishing is a new publisher and will be doing interracial. As far as any other publishers of African American romance–the field is wide open. Publisher have finally gotten on board and now know what we all know that Black People read and that the color of the money is green. I was recently told by someone in the industry that publishers begin to notice a dip in their profits and after research found that their African American readers had found that other publisher were allowing African American writers to write stories that reflected their lives. And the color green became golden. One terrific site to go to for the most recent updated information is www.karenfon.com. Yeah, I know I’m promoting another author. She has done a remarkable job. I even check out her site for information. LOL.

Q: If she were starting today, what would she do differently, if anything?
– From Anna T.S. – Feb. 8th

A: If I were starting today I would probably start with learning the things that I didn’t know when I begin submitting several years okay. I would have done my homework and I would not have submitted stories that were about African Americans or interracial romance to publisher who were not open to that at the time. The research information had already been done. When I began I had no idea how to go about finding what I needed or even what it needed. So okay short answer after that long one. I would educate myself on the market.

Q: Has she found any writing organizations helpful?
– From Anna T.S. – Feb. 8th

A: As president of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America I can’t stress enough how important I think it is for a writer to belong somewhere in the beginning of their career. They may not need it later. But believe me the education is definitely there for any romance writer wanting a serious career.

Q: Does she have any opinion on Harlequin’s acquisition of BET books?
– From Anna T.S. – Feb. 8th

A: I’m taking a wait and see attitude. I do know that they’re acquiring some good names and keeping a lot of the same name that they had. From what I’ve been told the editor that was put in charge is not going to allow them to homogenize the stories. They have great writers I suspect they will have great books.

Q: Where did your ideas come from for your next few books, Shades of Gray, Love on a Two Way Street (I remember that song, Dyanne), Let’s Get It On (I remember that song also) and Misty Blue, coming out in May 2006?

A: I’ll tell you about, Misty Blue, first since I began it in an answer to an earlier question. Like I mentioned it’s the sequel to, The Wedding Gown. Mia and Damien became real for me and I wanted to tell their story. I also wanted to explore the brother, sister relationship a bit more to find out why their bond was so close. The mother who was briefly mentioned in, The Wedding Gown is a major player in, Misty Blue. All I can say is all women who give birth aren’t mothers. Lillian Black was not a mother.

Let’s Get it On is one of the books in my quest to have an interracial romance with a man of every race simply to show that despite religious or perceived beliefs love is possible. Let’s Get It ON is an interracial romance between and African American woman and a Moslem man that lives in Pakistan.

Love on a Two Way Street is between a Hispanic policeman and an African American woman who just happens to have a brother in Statesville.

Shades of Gray I begin writing when I came home from New York after wining the Emma for The Color of Trouble. One of the speakers at the conference told us about the dwindling African American bookstores. Many Shades of Gray is a story about a writer and a publisher. He has tons of secrets he’s trying to hide. Imagine the worst possible thing you could imagine encountering for an interracial couple and you just might hit on the secrets he’s carrying. The heroine also has a secret she’d been carrying. I really love the story.

Q: Do you think there’s a difference between white and black romance writing? If so or if not, why?

A: In that the characters are either white or black? Basically in romance black or white you have to follow certain rules. That’s a fact. And one of them is that at the end of the book you will have a happy ending. Are the life experiences of the characters different? Of course. Writers draw on their own experiences and on the ones of the people around them.

Q: Do you think a white writer can write black or a black writer write white?

A: Personally, I think they can. If you try not to use dialect you’re unfamiliar with and uncomfortable with I think all it takes is putting yourself into the other persons’ skin. In essence becoming your character when you write. When I write my interracial romance that’s what I attempt to do. I try to see the male pov from inside the male character’s head and I try to deal with his racial issues if he has any form his perspective. Remember this. I said I try. 🙂

Q: You have quite a list of books coming out over the next two years from Genesis, you lucky woman! How do you keep your projects straight?

A: All the books coming out from Genesis were written in the last two years. If you remember there was a long time span when Genesis Press didn’t put out any books. I believe it was about seven or eight months. They were going through transition. I never stop writing. The moment one book is done I start another. So while it will seem that I popped all of these upcoming books out, the truth is that they were produced in the last two years.

As for keeping them straight, the titles and characters are beginning to blur a bit and I sometimes forget whose in what book. But that’s because they’ve went through title changes also.

Q: Can you describe your relationship with your agent?

A: I have a great relationship with my agent. She’s wonderful, brilliant and knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s definitely one of the major blessings in my life professional or otherwise. I felt this way about her long before she became my agent.

Q: When did you get an agent?

A: It’s been two years.

Q: For unpublished writers, do you have some writing, and career tips?

A: If you truly want a writing career don’t give up. Treat your writing like a business that you want to see grow. make yourself a writing schedule. Give time to it and don’t allow it to take a back seat to your other responsibilities. Even if you can’t write but five minutes a day do it. You cant’ be published if you don’t write and if you don’t finish the book. Find at least one person who will tell you that you can do it. I’ll be that one person for anyone reading this. YOU CAN DO IT! Also and this is very important, when you send your partial off to a publisher, DON’T WAIT FOR AN ANSWER BEGIN YOUR NEXT BOOK IMMEDIATELY. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE ONE BOOK IN THE MAIL AND ONE IN YOUR COMPUTER THAT YOU’RE WORKING ON. And last never give up. It doesn’t matter that you may receive rejection letters. WE all do. I have a notebook filled with rejections for, The Color Of Trouble, that’s tucked away. And I have an Emma and framed letters from people telling me how much they loved The Color of Trouble that I display proudly.

Q: Beyond the books, you have scheduled for publication, are you working on anything else, any different genres you might like to try?

A: Am I working on anything else? Of course. LOL. Remember you always have to have something you’re working on. Actually I will have two books coming out next year in a different genre from a different publisher. I am fascinated with anything paranormal and more thrilled than I can tell you that my vampire novels have found a home. They will be out in 2007

Q: You write full time now, how do you keep yourself motivated?

A: Well, I suppose it’s the characters that keep me motivated. Once I start a book the character keep talking until I’m done. Even when I go to the movies they interrupt by shouting out something that happened to them that I hadn’t known.

Q: You’re a busy woman, what do you do to relax?

A: I spend as much time as I can lying on my husband’s chest. For example I’m up every morning by 3 or earlier and I have learned to accept it. And no I don’t set an alarm clock it’s internal. anyway when I hear my husband waking up, I yell not yet. He knows what I mean. I go back and get in the bed and cuddle with him until it’s time to get up. That’s also the way I fall asleep at night. Besides that, I read and make time to visit with my friends. It’s harder right now because I’m on deadline but I still do it.

Q: Do you have any booksignings coming up?

A: I went to a booksigning on Saturday and I will be going to one on Monday but these are not individual signing. I am getting ready to start arraigning book signings for my new book, Misty Blue in May.

Q: Have you ever given any workshops for black writers? Are you going to have any?

A: I have given workshops in the past but they weren’t race specific. Truthfully, I never thought in the past that I knew enough to impart. I’m still learning. But you have given me an idea. I do know that I know a heck of a lot more than I did three years ago. And I’m learning more about this business everyday so I think I would feel more comfortable. I would have to figure out how to even go about doing it and if anyone would be interested in anything I had to say. Thanks for that question and this entire interview. You really made me think on all of your questions. If you don’t mind my adding this for anyone reading, I’m giving away five signed copied of, Misty Blue. One to be given away at the end of each month. The name for the January winner has already been drawn. The contest will end in May. All that I ask is for the reader to visit my site and sign my guest book. www.dyannedavis.com

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