How would you describe your books?
Emotional, romantic, with a touch of suspense.
What's the story behind the Mackenzies and New Zealand Brides series?
The inspiration for the Mackenzies series came from the view at the end of my road! I live in New Zealand, thirty minutes north of Wellington, and daily walk my two cocker spaniels along the cliff top overlooking Kapiti Island, the location of my hero's home in book 2, The PA's Revenge. In this book, I introduced Guy and Lucia whose story unfolds in The Real Thing, also set in Wellington and the surrounding areas—places I know well. From there, the series moves to the South Island's Mackenzie country (check out my Instagram (dianafraserwriter) photos from a recent visit). The last book in the Mackenzies series—The Lakehouse Café—introduces Max whose story is told in Yours to Give—the first book in the ongoing New Zealand Brides series.
Describe your writing process.
I think 'process' sounds far too orderly and systematic for how I write! I begin with an idea which is generally more of a feeling, an atmosphere, which usually involves a setting and one of the characters. From there I try to figure out what that character is doing there, and slowly the story evolves. After trying to impose some kind of order on the ideas, I begin writing. The order doesn't usually last long because the characters take over and begin interacting and taking the story in their own direction. My partner is an artist and I often think I approach writing in a similar way to him—creating sketches until an overall shape emerges, then it's a question of fleshing out the shape until the complete story emerges.
What's your favourite part of writing?
When I'm 'in the flow' and can't remember having written the words when I re-read them. The mind is a mysterious thing!
What is the one thing you want your readers to know about your books?
Some are sexy, some are sweet (NZ Brides), but all are written from the heart, about people who feel real and who have to learn about themselves, as well as each other in order to find their Happy Ever After. And they all do!
Describe your desk
Dusty! Piles of research books on medieval England (which I write under the name Saskia Knight), big desk pad to jot ideas on, an old broken Spode mug full of pens (including coloured pencils with my daughter's name on them—why I don't know, I never use them), a dying plant in a bright pink bucket, a Royal Doulton figurine and a Wade tortoise from my mother who died last year, a phone, perfume (Gucci Rush), diaries (which I never look at), two dogs (real) asleep beside the desk in an easy chair, library book I'm currently reading (The Shadow Hour, by Kate Riordan), oh, and a very large iMac.
What are you currently working on?
My lack of process also applies to my planning. I go where the mood takes me. At the moment the mood is taking me a number of ways! Works in progress include: (a) book 4 in New Zealand Brides series (follows on from the Mackenzies) (b) a medieval romance set in 1200 England is nearly complete (written under pen name of Saskia Knight) (c) a sheikh romance is half-written (d) a departure for me is a dual-time book set in England (1930 and present). You can find out more about the last book at dianakholmes.com.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town on the north Norfolk coast in England. Norfolk is an unspoiled county with a long varied coastline, medieval churches, fields of wheat and barley, and has a special light all of its own. I think growing up there gave me an awareness of the beauty of nature which I try to convey in my writing.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To have confidence and faith in herself.
What is the last book that made you cry?
I am David, by Anne Holm.
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