TweetDiana Hockley is a prolific reader, animal welfare advocate, classical music nut and community volunteer from South East Queensland, Australia. She is married to Andrew, mother of three, granny of three.
Time to chat with Diana!
What is your latest book?
Who would have guessed that the world of classical music could be so deadly?
Asked what she would do on her last night on earth, Ariel may have rolled her eyes, giggled and said, “Listen to Miley Cyrus while, like, kissing red hot abs!” in one respect she would have been spot on.
DI Susan Prescott has a secret; Pamela Miller wants to find love.
Dingo just wants to play games.
Then it all goes wrong…
Is your recent book part of a series?
Yes it is, but each book is a standalone story. The Naked Room was the first, second The Celibate Mouse.
What are the special challenges in writing a series?
Remembering all the details about the characters used in each one and deciding exactly how much the reader would want to know about them down the track.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?
I love crime and romance so that is what I write – well, mainly crime with a tinge of romance!
What else have you written?
Short stories (six on Amazon), article, a little poetry over the years. I won a poetry prize in our town festival a number of years ago. I write articles and edit for Kings River Life, a free online California magazine.
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
That we are so hopeless that no one will publish our work!
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
Both are important and I know them before I start. However, I may not know who the killer is. In After Ariel I didn’t know his name until the moment he was captured. My next book is called A Dark and Lonely Place and is, of course, a murder mystery!
Over the years, many well-known authors have stated that they wished they’d written their characters or their plots differently. Have you ever had similar regrets?
Oh yes, I’ll re-read a book when it comes out and think anything from “Wow, did I write that?” to “OMG, did really I write that?”
Authors, especially Indies, are constantly trying to understand why some authors sell very well while their talented fellow authors have a hard time of it. It’s an ongoing conundrum. What do you make of it all?
Sheer luck. If you think of the most notable – Fifty Shades of Grey – it was sheer luck that got that author her accolades. I’m very envious, but good luck to her!
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
DO NOT EDIT YOUR OWN WORK!!!! Do not ask Aunty Flo, Cousin Sue or Sister Petunia to beta read or to edit your work. Hire a human literary Rottweiler!
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
Five years from when I joined the worldwide workshop site, The Next Big Writer, and then published the first book. I did over three thousand reviews on that site and was in turn helped by so many wonderful and kind writers.
Do you have any grammatical pet peeves to share?
Oh yes! Sentences that start with “and “ and “but,” the use of phrases such as “He done good” and the dropping of “ly” in words – e.g. “It works more effective.” Lack of knowledge of the language, e.g. many writers do not know the difference between “site” “cite” and “sight”!
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
The humour and including animals in my books. Worst – I loathe books where there is animal cruelty/killing and where the hero constantly calls the heroine “Babe.”
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
I have a retired (2014) Detective Senior Constable who gives me lots of help, a retired Senior Sergeant and our local Station cops who are very generous with their time.
Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?
A reviewer described After Ariel as “film noir”! Very exciting J The style of After Ariel was a gamble in that the reader knows the murderer from the start, but not WHO it is!
Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?
No, I learned on the workshop site to write drabbles (100-word stories) and droubles (200-word stories) Writing a synopsis is easy for me.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
Yes! Go and look up your favourite book of all time – mine is that brilliant classic, The Wind in the Willows – and read the reviews. Yep, it has bad reviews as well as good. You don’t like every book you read, and that goes for readers of your work as well. Be as philosophical as you can – after you’ve had a good stiff whisky!
Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?
They were when the option was first put out there, but now there’s too much competition. The Celibate Mouse got 21 thousand + downloads and it still has only 44 reviews.
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
VITAL!! That is your first line of defense, followed by the synopsis and then the first two pages. If they don’t like it by the second page, you’ve had it L
How would you define your style of writing?
Detailed and finicky. Very character oriented.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?
Chocolate, wine and whine.
Would you like to write a short poem for us?
A fellow writer, Kat Nove, lamented on the workshop site that she had found the remains of a mouse in her house and was thinking dark thoughts of her cats. I volunteered to be their advocate for the occasion and here is the statement they asked me to put to the court!!
“We’re innocent”, they purred with glee,
“The mouse remains were up a tree.
We brought them down for you to bury
To send them o’er the Styx by ferry.
But then we realised we were peckish
And we thought you had a fetish
For finding dead heads in the house
So for you, we hid some mouse.
We’re innocent, we promise you
We took advantage of the view
Of a dead mouse in the tree –
but we can fetch it for your tea!”
(c) Diana Hockley, Scribe. Hired by Nove Cats 2008
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A successful cancer operation.
What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?
If you had a million dollars to give to charity, how would you allot the funds?
Animal welfare organizations.
What music soothes your soul?
What makes you angry?
Abuse of animals.
Best subject at school
CONNECT WITH DIANA