It may be drizzly outside. Snowing. You may be reeling from Black Friday blow back or tucking into Thanksgiving leftovers. But a sit-down with today’s guest, multi-published Fire Star Press romance author and dear friend Diana Tobin, is exactly what your weekend needs if forging ahead with a smile and success is what you’re into.
Her latest book, Christmas Wishes: Men of Maine Book 6, a contemporary tale with a personal connection to Di’s Webster, Maine roots, is due out December 4th. (Pre-order on Amazon.)
“Quiltmaker Claire Stone and her young daughter, Grace, are newcomers to the small town of Webster, Maine. Erasing the past is something Claire is determined to do, for divorcing her cruel ex-husband was the only solution to save herself and her daughter—and she’s never regretted it. But when she meets handsome Marc Baxter, the attraction is instant, and she begins to realize what she’s missed in life—someone to care for her…someone to care for.”
Who couldn’t relate to Claire’s dilemma? Small town dramas are anything but small and often the most moving as they strike close to home . . . and heart.
Di knows all about hearts. That’s what comes from meeting challenges and never surrendering. And while reading up is great, its Di’s penchant for passionate living that lends itself to the complex characters, compelling tension, and meaningful characters that keep readers turning pages.
Her quest for continued improvement has resulted in some fine quilts, too. And critical takeaways on what strong women—when faced with life’s lovelies—should do to create a better sense of self. Inside and outside the world of fiction.
So who is Diana Tobin?
I’m a grandmother, mother, aunt, cousin, friend, writer, and crafter. Yes, they’re listed in order of importance. Family is everything to me, whether it’s through blood or friendship. Career-wise I’ve been a banker, teacher’s aide, cake decorator, secretary, and published author. It’s that last one I’m most proud of. (I love that about Di.)
You write romance, but what is “your” message?
My message is this; with love, being honest with yourself and those you care about, you can accomplish most anything. Love can bring about miracles. It doesn’t cure everything and sometimes isn’t enough, especially if you’re the only one feeling it. But we all need that hope, that feeling, that someone, that knowledge that some being loves us.
This means you need to love yourself. Know you are worthy of what others give to you.
I write romance because I like happy endings. I thought I’d grow old with the love of my life in a place my children and future generations would want to come home to. That didn’t happen for me, mostly because the “love of my life” turned out to be something entirely different. I give my characters their happy ever after. Fortunately, for me, I have a wonderful daughter, son-in-law, and amazing grandchildren. And, with each book, I have a hero I can dream of. (And so do we, Di. Thank you. Lending hope and the example of happily ever after is an effective love that often supplies where others fail.)
How does family play a role in your work?
Family means a lot to me, which I’ve pretty much stated. We don’t always like who we’re related to, maybe we don’t even love them, but family is the foundation. We can choose to accept our foundation as our due, or punishment, depending. Or we can use it to learn from, appreciate what we have, and improve upon things.
I’ve used many family names in my series. My characters don’t reflect their namesakes as much as paying homage to those who came before me. Starting with my first published book KISSING COUSINS. The heroine is named Augusta, the name my mother grew up with.
Give us a quick rundown of your body of work.
My work is about ordinary people who are extremely lucky to find THE ONE for them. Sometimes I have to hit them over the head before they realize it, but they end up with that one that makes everything else worthwhile. I’ve seen relationships like the ones I write about, so I know they aren’t all fiction. That being said, I do incorporate things that have happened to me, or others, and expand on them. Many around me say or do something then look at me and ask, “Is that going to end up in a book?” My answer is always a smile (or is that smirk?) and reply, “It’s possible.”
Take us through your writing day, your process.
I consider myself an undisciplined writer, although I’m always thinking, and wondering, questioning even when my fingers aren’t on a keyboard. When I’m doing the actual writing, I have an idea where things will go, but often my characters don’t pay attention. Since it’s their story, I usually go where they lead. There are times I write until my body protests. At other times, I’m beating my head against the proverbial wall, hoping my fingers will make words magically appear.
In all fairness, these past 18 months have been more about absorbing the setting of my series. The scent of the air, how it really feels to be trapped in a blizzard, the joy of driving down a twisting road with trees hanging over it, seeing deer scamper through the woods. A squirrel peering through the window, begging for a treat. The sound of a snow plow going down the road in the dark.
What has Di’s Maine Men taught you about yourself?
I’ve learned I know more about the state of my birth than I thought, but I now have a greater appreciation for Maine. Mainers are a hardy breed; they have to be to endure winters that last toolong and a spring that zips into summer. Mainers are steeped in tradition; some good, some not so much. Westerners are also hardy. Think of those pioneers traveling across rivers, dry desert land, and over mountains. But I think westerners are more open to new ideas, or maybe we’re just crazy enough to try first and think about it later.
My daughter summed it up best. She said Oregon will always be my home (I’ve lived there the majority of my life), but Maine is my spirit animal.
What would you like other women to know/learn?
Women, especially my generation, were taught to take care of others before themselves. We need to move ourselves up the line. No Prima Donnas, no need to be self-centered, but we must realize we matter. What we think is important. I believe our daughters and granddaughters have a better handle on that. Let’s make sure they don’t lose their self-worth.
What’s next on your horizon? Include crafting adventures, daytrips, we want to know it all!
After moving to Maine I’ve been learning to quilt. In fact, one of my quilts is on the cover of my next release, CHRISTMAS WISHES. (Available for pre-order on Amazon!)
I assumed, incorrectly, quilting was only about the blankets to keep us warm. It’s that and more: table runners, bags, purses, wall hangings, whatever you can imagine. I’ve discovered I like to do hand applique.
I’ll continue sewing. Let me just add that quilters are among the most welcoming of people. Willing to share ideas, tips, even fabric.
(Di just learned how to make fresh wreaths today!)
My trips around the state will continue, as weather allows. I’ll never see enough, but will do my best until I return to my family in Oregon.
What would you recommend to new writers/established writers?
I’m going to recommend to writers what my hero, Nora Roberts,told me years ago: join Romance Writers of America. This group is an excellent source of learning and networking. Read, read, read, and then read some more. Read the genre you want to write for. Read other genres tokeep your brain stimulated. Write the story in you. Not what your friend saysto write, or your mother, or the man on the street. Be open to ideas, suggestions, but remember that you have to write what’s inside you. Listen to those voices in your head.
Where can reader’s best connect with you? Social media, etc.
I have a Facebook page: Di’s Maine Men, where I talk about my books and experiences in Maine. You can also find my books on my page at Amazon; Amazon.com/author/dianatobin.
So now you have the skinny on Diana Tobin. An insight into the active pursuit of HEA that, whether you’re a writer, reader, or both, you can follow. She’s got me thinking. She always has. Thanks, Di.
2 thoughts on “Sit-down with Diana Tobin: Series star of Fire Star Press”
Thank you, Ann, for a lovely interview. I’ve always appreciate how you made me think. For those who don’t know, once upon a time Ann and I were critique partners. This woman can weave a powerful story, and helped me SO much to do the best I could with what I was working on. It was never “you need to” it was more a what if? And, let’s face it; writers are always thinking about what if. 😉
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You’re the best, Di. Thanks for taking the time for a sit down. I’m looking forward to doing it again ;^)