Today, our guest is Diana Gardin. She’s here to talk to us about her novel, OUT OF THE ASHES…
Out of the frying pan and into the fire…
Paige Hill is discovering who she is again after losing everything she loves in a tragic fire. She’s endured a long road to recovery with the help of her best fiend Gillian and is finally beginning her life again: college, a job, and a blossoming love she never even saw coming.
Clay Forbes is the notorious campus playboy. He’s a star athlete, a senior architecture major, and the only son in a family with power and money back in his hometown. When he crashes into Paige, his whole perspective on life shifts, and his world as he knew it becomes nonexistent. He’s wrapped up in her.
They’re both learning how to love, but Clay’s ex-girlfriend Hannah won’t make it easy for them. She puts a target on Paige’s back, and won’t stop until she’s derailed their budding romance once and for all. Who will be left standing after the ashes settle for the second time?
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I used to be a teacher, in my other life. I taught second grade and third grade, and I loved hanging out with those little guys every day. I left that career to become a stay-at-home mom. I have a husband who I’ve been married to for six years. We live in Fort Mill, South Carolina, which right outside of Charlotte, NC. I love living in the South, and I love to cook accordingly. Reading is what I love to do when I have alone time (or sometimes when I’m not alone when I’m elbow-deep in a thrilling series). It totally bred my love of writing. I also love dogs, and I have a four-year-old boxer named Landis.
Q: When did you begin writing?
A: I liked teaching, but then I had my daughter, and I chose to stay home with her. Being a mommy is my very favorite thing in the whole world, and I wanted to do it full-time. But all of that time to myself with a one-year old fueled my creative mind, and my first story was born. I had written a couple of novels before, about three years ago, and just couldn’t find my voice. I never edited the books, or went back and looked at t hem very much at all. Then I got the idea for Color Blind, and sat down and wrote it over a four-month period, and I knew that it was my new baby and I had to complete it in every way. So my first, all the way completed novel was Color Blind, and I started writing that in April of 2013.
Q: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
A: I’m releasing my first New Adult Romance novel in December. December 12, to be exact, and I am so excited. It’s entitled OUT OF THE ASHES, and it’s a story told from two POVs, a girl names Paige Hill who is a recovering burn victim and has a lot of physical and emotional baggage to go along with that. And Clay Forbes, who is a successful senior in college and is planning a great career, but is spending his college days getting laid as often as possible. They collide, and are both forever changed as they help each other to heal from past and present scars and find a whole new leash on life. It’s suspenseful in that they are being thwarted at every turn by an ex of Clay’s, a girl gone crazy who is hell-bent on putting a stop to their budding relationship.
Q: How did you get the idea for the book?
A: My ideas always just pop into my head while I’m sitting on the couch. The idea for this one started with me wanting to write a story about a burn victim. Someone who has lost everything in a tragic way, and has to start life over again and rebuild everything they once knew. Paige’s character grew in my mind and I was forced to write her story.
Q: If you could recommend just one of your books to my readers, which book would you choose?
A: I would choose OUT OF THE ASHES, because I’ve really found my niche in the New Adult category. This book is so full of emotion and I think it will pull readers into the world of the characters through their hearts.
Q: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
A: Gillian, Paige’s best friend in OUT OF THE ASHES is my favorite. She is only a supporting character, but she’s so quick and witty and funny, and there’s more to her than anyone realizes. She’s deeper than she seems, and that depth might one day lead to a story of her very own.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
A: For me, the most challenging aspect of writing any book is in the details. I’m a big-picture kind of person. So I can see the beginning of a story and the ending of a story, but the twists and turns on the road to getting from Point A to Point B often eludes me. I have to really buckle down and focus on the details, and a lot of my revision process is taking feedback on beta readers about things I haven’t fully developed yet. I hope to get better and better at that the more books I write.
Q: What is your primary goal as an author?
A: My primary goal is for people to fall in love with my characters and stories the way I’ve fallen in love with so many other author’s stories and characters. I want people to read my book and feel the need to recommend it to their friends because it made them feel a certain way. Even if only five people read it, I want all five of those people to be affected by it. But of course I’d rather more than five people read it! I also want to meet and talk to new people through my writing. I am such a people person, and I love socializing, and so it would be so fun to hear from someone who has read something I wrote, and hear how it made them feel and just talk to them about life. That would be so awesome.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: I’m currently revising my third book, another New Adult Romance in the Contemporary genre, and the first in a serial called Nelson Island Novels. It’s called WANTED. It’s sweet and raw at the same time. I’m also writing my fourth book, the sequel to OUT OF THE ASHES. It picks up right where OUT OF THE ASHES left off, and it’s super suspenseful and sexy.
Q: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
A: Man. I just think you need to take the reins of your own career. I’m an Indie author, and the whole experience has been so empowering for me. I’m building my own brand, my way, and I’m learning and making mistakes a long the way. But they’re my mistakes. No one is telling me what I should do. So I’m really happy I’m doing it this way. Also, write the stories you really want to write. Don’t let anything hold you back. Sometimes when I’m writing I worry about what a particular person in my life will think about a word I’m using, or a sexy scene, or what a character is saying. Don’t do that! Just write, and the rest will fall into place. The world will keep turning, and you will be proud of yourself and your work in the end, because it’s true and it’s yours.
He continues walking forward until he’s standing right in front of me. He takes my chin in one hand and rubs the side of my face softly with one thumb. He stares down at me, and all I can do is stare back. He’s held me in the palm of his hand the second he looked at me like I was something good enough to eat.
“I want to kiss you,” he states simply. “You don’t know how much. Would you push me away if I tried?”
My eyes are wide as I shake my head.
“That’s something,” he whispers. He focuses on my lips as he speaks, which makes it really hard to concentrate on what he’s saying.
“I’m not going to kiss you right now, though, Cam.”
Disappointment washes through me. “Why not?”
“Because I want to by the only guy allowed to kiss you when it finally happens.”
“Oh,” is my brilliant response.
Cooper bends down and pauses, his face so close to mine I can feel his warmth radiating out from his mouth. My heart stills and I look up at him, waiting. My lips are pursed slightly and I am hungrily anticipating the moment his lips will touch mine. I’m so tempted to lean forward and let my mouth graze his, but I somehow am able to restrain myself.
He kisses my cheek, then backs away. “Next time, I’m stealing you away.”