Nov 10, 2008

Interview with Diane Whiteside

Update - Using the selected winner of Bond of Darkness is christyjan
Please contact me with mailing information at

It's wonderful to have Diane Whiteside author of the Texas Vampires series with us. Book three of the series Bond of Darkness: A Novel of Texas Vampires was published October, 2008.

Welcome Diane! Thanks for joining PVN today.

PVN: Please tell us about the universe of the Texas Vampires?

Diane: Texas is full of wide open spaces. I wanted a universe where vampires could survive where there are less than two people per square mile – and that’s every man, woman, and child.

The Texas Vampires’ universe is based on modern science not folklore, modified by only a few what-ifs. (For example, what if people drank blood to survive?) Everything else follows from those what-ifs.

In the end, their world is rural and gritty, with elements of gangster lore and medieval strongholds.

PVN: What is it about Moorish Spain that fascinates you?

Diane: It’s the only time and place where Christians, Jews, and Moslems lived together for generations in peace (more or less). The art, music, agriculture, and commerce were incredible, drawing upon the strengths of all three peoples. The more I learn about it, the more fascinated I become.

PVN: What attracts you to vampires?

Diane: Vampires live forever and their life is in the blood, making for powerful metaphysical implications. If they get a love relationship right, then it lasts forever. So my characters are playing for the highest of stakes. They can’t change their minds later, unlike somebody in another world. It’s a wonderful knife-edge for an author.

PVN: Don Rafael is a strong presence in the Texas Vampires series. How did you come up with this character?

Diane: I wanted the Texas Vampires’ leader to come from Spain, since those were Texas’s oldest roots (from a white man’s perspective.) I was also interested in a reluctant vampire, who was making the best of his situation and didn’t whine. The patriarchal implications of the Texas Vampires’ rural atmosphere pointed me toward a knight and I immediately loved the ongoing conflict he could have between medieval ideas of honor and the modern world.
I went through that thought process really fast, as in a few days.

The next thing I knew – hello! Don Rafael walked into my brain and took it over. Medieval Spanish knight from their most legendary court, who loved his wife for seven centuries. Captured and tortured into becoming a vampire. Member of one of the greatest knightly orders, who has difficulty resolving his duty as a knight with his existence as a vampire. Holder of an enormous land grant from the last Spanish king of Texas, a monarch whose name is barely mentioned in Spain.

Ruthless enough to kill any woman who’s a threat to his beloved Texas but won’t change a woman into a vampire because she’ll probably either die or go insane.

PVN: I love the tough state trooper Steve (Stephanie) in Bond of Darkness, who wants a family and a house with a white picket fence. Tell us about her.

Steve comes from a long line of cops and has totally dedicated her life to that job. On the other hand, she’d love to be a wife and mother, thus giving herself the family life her own mother denied her. But no man has ever been able to cope with her as a woman. (Hey, how many men can snuggle up to a woman who can outshoot them? Or lifts how many pounds? Just not good for her love life.)

So Steve has focused on her job, never quite realizing she has to become comfortable with herself as a woman, too.

PVN: How did you research the locations where your stories take place?

Diane: I’ve visited many of them, especially in the U.S. For example, I’ve worked in New Orleans. I also have books; I’m especially fond of driving guides to an area. (A friend sent me a collection of historic ones for the Texas Hill Country which are awesome!) Texas Highways magazine is priceless for anyone writing about Texas, whether historic or contemporary.

PVN: You are such a prolific writer. What other projects are you working on?

Diane: Kisses Like A Devil, the next generation of my Devils, comes out in February 2009. Brian Donovan (the son of William Donovan from The Irish Devil) meets his match in a feminist college student in 1900 Europe, who’s stolen the plans for the era’s ultimate weapon.

CAPTIVE HEARTS, the sequel to CAPTIVE DREAMS, comes out in November 2009. Alekhsiy, Mykhayl’s younger brother, comes from Torhtremer to a Con on modern-day Earth. Unfortunately, the sorceress who can destroy his world is also the one who’s saved his life times without number.

PVN: Where and when do you write? Describe the ambience.

Diane: I have a full-time job so I write at night and on the weekends. The littlest bedroom in the house became my office. We crammed three bookcases along one wall and they overflow with books. My desk fits into one corner under the big window. I always do aromatherapy and lots of CDs – instrumental music for when I’m writing but period music when I’m delving into my characters’ psyches.

Since I suffer from what Erma Bombeck called “the mayonnaise jar syndrome” where I’d rather read anything else – including a mayonnaise jar label than write – I try to keep my office as neat as possible. I do try, with more or less success.

PVN: What books or authors most influenced you?

Diane: The The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard. The trilogy’s structure was strongly influenced by The Lord of the Rings.

PVN: When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?

Diane: I enjoy spending time with my family and pets, garden, and travel.

Diane's website

Bond of Darkness: A Novel of Texas Vampires

Book trailer for Bond of Darkness

Diane has graciously donated a copy of Bond of Darkness for a contest.

Contest details:

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Bond of Darkness

For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:

*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.

*Ask Diane a question. Each question counts as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at 11:59 pm November 11, 2008.

Winners will be announced later in the week.


Ruth Schaller said...

Hey there Patricia and Diane~~

1) Have you always been a fan of vampires?

I have since I can remember.

2) Any advice for the apsiring author?

I could use all the help I can get...LOL

Great interview and the book definately sounds like it's right up my alley!!!

SciFiGuy said...

I have absolutely loved all of the Texas Vampire novels so my question is obvious - do you plan to write more about them in the future?

Beawhiz said...

I was really interested to learn a little about Moorish Spain. I love history, but that's not one of the areas I've ever done reading about.

So, Diane, have you ever visited Spain or do you have plans to? If so, what attraction/site would you most like to visit?

Ladytink_534 said...

Lol. I just started a series set in Texas by Rachel Caine. I've heard a lot of good things about this series and I just LOVE vampires so I know this would be a good read for me.

What is your most memorable scene from your book? When you think of it what immediately comes to mind? Have any authors or books in particular inspired you?

ChristyJan said...

Your Texas Vampire series sounds fascinating ~ I can't wait to get my hands on all three.

Did you have any other thoughts for places or states besides Texas for the setting?

Lazy Lady said...

I love the Texas Vampire series. I actually picked the first book up when browsing at my library (in Fort Worth) and have made a point of reading the others since then.

I like that you mention that you have a full-time job. I like extra examples of the fact that writing rarely pays the bills for my teen who wants to be a writer (Gwyn Cready -- go ahead look her up on amazon and buy one of her books ;-) --is a family friend, so she has been very helpful explaining this idea to him).

So, Ms. Whiteside, do you like Texas?

Anysia said...

I like to know that she has a full-time job. I admire people who can do that AND write AND put out books regularly.

I had no idea that such a mix of cultures lived in Spain peacefully at one time. They were too busy cramming our heads full of North American history to leave any time for European when I went to school (except the European history that lead to North America).

I'd like to ask Diane if she is under pressure from her publisher to produce a certain number of books per year, and if so whether this helps or hinders her writing (motivation, quality, etc.).

I've added a link to this giveaway on my front page.

ddurance said...

I haven't read any of your books yet, but those Texas vampires have certainly been calling my name.

Diane, do you believe that vampires mate for life?


RebekahC said...

Looking forward to checking out this series. It looks wonderful. You mention you enjoy spending time with your pets. What kind of pets do you have?


darbyscloset said...

Okay, my post includes a comment and a question.
Diane, your ability to compile so many extremes is brilliant! The part aout the "Moorish Spain" way of life, how did you get into that? Was through your research on Texas? I marvel at your blending of the knight and vampire along with the Spainish ways in TX.
Very cool!!!
Thanks for your interview!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Diane Whiteside said...

Ruth: I've been a fan of vampires for more than 10 years. My big advice for aspiring authors is don't blink. For example, don't flinch from a climax and skip a key (but painful) bit.

scifiguy: Yes, I definitely intend to write more about them. I've got one completed novel about how Ethan became a vampire, which only needs some hard polishing before it can be published.

Diane Whiteside said...

beawhiz: I really, really want to visit Llugo and the Costa Verde in Northern Spain. Fiords, high mountains, wild horses - wow! Plus the Celtic music...

ladytink_534: That's a really unfair question, when an author has this many characters crowding her head, you know that! The first scene that comes to mind is Don Rafael dancing with Grania on the Fourth of July. Their passion for each other, mixed with the fiesta atmosphere, the bodyguards desperate to protect them - and his long-time enemy finally, finally locating the key to breaking him. Or maybe Ethan bringing Steve back to Compostela, with all his love and loyalty on the line.

christyjan: I'd love to write about Chicago in the 1920s. (That's where Don Rafael meets Lars, for folks who've already read at least one book.) I'd like to write more about Spain, especially Llugo during the Peninsular Wars. Llugo was the first provincial capital liberated from the French, something Napoleon found so humiliating that he wouldn't let its name be mentioned. As an author, I could DO something with that.

Diane Whiteside said...

lazy lady: I love Texas! I visit Austin every chance I get! I'd like to explore the Big Bend country and the Panhandle, plus see more of my friends in the rest of the state.

anysia: I have 2 publishers. Neither one can push me to produce more per year since that would infringe on the other publisher's rights. The result sometimes make me feel like the rope in a tug of war, though! LOL At least I tend to write better under stress.

ddurance: My vampires mate for life. :-)

Diane Whiteside said...

rebekahc: I'm blessed with dogs. I'm currently in-between Tibetan Terriers, which are like Lhasa Apsos. We now have a German Shepherd who found us. I have pictures of our TTs on my website and will post one of my GSD as soon as she permits us to take a photo.

darbyscloset: Thank you! I'd heard about Moorish Spain before I started work on my Texas vamps. But I got much deeper into it through my research, especially the chivalric aspects. The first knightly manual actually came out of Spain (totally awesome!). It's surprisingly respectful of Islam, too.

xtraliciousssx said...

omg, i love love LOVE vampires (eek :) i'm totally willing to try this book out.

i have a question: when did you start writing? and why is it called Texas Vampires and not something like..montana vampires?


Diane Whiteside said...

xtraliciousssx: I started writing 10 years ago. The series is about Texas because it's such a melting pot of cultures! The number of flags that have flown over Texas! (Heck, there are even a ton of ecosystems there. LOL) And besides, my ancestors rode the Goodnight-Loving Trail out of Texas. I've got a rather proprietary interest in the place.

Logan Lamech said...

Vampires might want to pick a place a little less rowdy to invade, I don't think they'd fair to well in Texas.

Logan Lamech

PatriciaAltner said...

Posted for Wanda

I like the part where Diane said "Vampires live forever and their life is in the blood." My question to her is, Will she come up with or is in hopes of coming up with two characters that will have that kind of (love relationship) that is right and will last forever?

Anonymous said...

I have a question: Where Diane said, "Vampires live forever and their life is in the blood." My question is, will you come up with or are you in hopes of coming up with two characters that will maybe someday have that kind of a (love relationship that is right and it lasts forever)?

Ellory said...

Are there other genres you'd like to write?

Do you have a TBR pile? What's next to read?

Your books sound very interesting. Will have to add you to my must look to buy list.

Diane Whiteside said...

Lots of good saloons to hunt for prey in down there Texas way, Logan!

Each of the books in my trilogy, Wanda, is built around a couple who has a love relationship that is right and will last literally forever. My series motto is "Even forever doesn't seem like long enough" because the bond between a couple is so strong. What I really enjoyed writing - and didn't realize until I started writing the series - was how terribly important that bond is to everyone around them. They too will drop everything and fight to protect them because having a bonded couple around can save everyone else during a war. I loved that part. :-)

ellory - I also write Victorian-set historicals. Next in my TBR pile are the latest from Elizabeth Lowell and Jet Mykles.

ArkieRN said...

I really like The Devils books. I've only read the first Texas Vampires but enjoyed it. The mayonnaise jar syndrome - huh - didn't know ther was a name for it. I have been know the re-read the same cereal box for two weeks straight just because it's in front of me though.

Diane Whiteside said...

Thank you, arkiern! I love writing the Devil books. And the distractions I've found! I'd rather watch men stringing phone cable than write. Oy... No wonder I have very heavy blinds on my office.

Anonymous said...

Welcome Diane,

I love your Texas vampire series and now I need to check out your Devil series.

I enjoy reading books and watching movies that has gangsters in them (it's quite refreshing).

I was wondering how many books ae going to be in the Texas series?

Where have you travelled?

Keep up the good work!


Terri W.

rb said...

I like the book cover! Vampires are a really mysterious, magical bunch. They have this interesting allure to them. (Or so I feel.) I really envy how you could hold a full time job and still be able to write..but writing is a passion so I suppose that is akin to me working and then example? :D

Diane Whiteside said...

Hi, anonymous12:16! The trilogy is the foundation for my Texas vampires. I can write as many books in it as I want now. Dunno know exactly when though. I've traveled all over the western US, including a lot of camping.

Hey, rb, if vampires weren't mysterious, would so many of us enjoy talking about 'em? Immersing oneself in a world, whether writing or reading, is still expressing a passion.

Judi said...

Hi Patricia & Diane.

I love vampires and find Texas interesting because I've never been there, so your books sound like a great mix!

How long would you say that it takes you to write one novel, from draft to finished manuscript?

Diane Whiteside said...

judi, that's a really difficult question to answer. There's think time (while the plot churns around in one's mind) and write time (while one's fingers hover more or less actively over the keyboard). Some books take four times as long as other books, which are the same length. Some novellas take as long as a book to write, yet they're far, far shorter! So the answer is - it all depends. Trust me, if anybody had a formula, they'd make a fortune saving author's sanity with it! LOL

Jeanette J said...

I'm impressed. It must be very hard to work full-time and squeeze in writing and family life. I don't think I could do that

Beawhiz said...

I really want to read this book! : ) I thought it was really interesting that the Lord of the Rings trilogy influenced Diane's writing. Those are some of my favorites. If my TBR pile wasn't so big, I'd be off to re-read them again right now.

Diane Whiteside said...

jeanette, I try to give 100% to whatever I'm doing at that minute - whether it's family, day job or writing. I just keep telling myself to focus.

beawhiz - I like to reread LOTR and watch the movie frequently. But I'll admit I read the books in snatches...

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reading in Seattle said...

What a great and interesting interview Patricia!! :)

Your interview has been added to

About the Author - An Author Interview Index

thanks - Wendi