I don’t know DiVoran Lites personally, but her publicist, Onisha Ellis, has good taste in authors (after all, she faithfully retweets my stuff), and steered her my way. Welcome, DiVoran.
1. Many people say that authors can’t or don’t do well with more than one genre. You have contemporary mystery, some romance, historical, and western themes. What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write these different types of books?
I’m ready to begin the publishing process for my first trilogy, called, “The Florida Springs Trilogy.” All three books, Sacred Spring, Living Spring, and Clear Spring, are contemporary Christian romances, the last two with a thread of suspense. They take place in Florida and are rich in description of the environment.
My next series is historical. The working title for the trilogy is, “Go West.” The three books are westerns because they take place in the west and historical because the stories happen from after World War 1 up until right after World War 2. Both trilogies come out of my life and the people and family members I have known. Both have a Christian, romantic theme, so in that way they are essentially the same genre. However because one trilogy is contemporary and environmental the other has western scenes, and life may be considered western they are different. Both trilogies have grown organically inside of me.
I am able to write contemporary novels because I have been young, and for the last many years have had close contact with young people. My love of history, especially American and Western history and the experiences from living in different places and through various decades have made me able to tap into sights and sounds that I carry in my subconscious memory. Maren Elwood’s title, Characters Make Your Story, states, people and their goals, loves, and hates are what make the story regardless of what genre it falls into once it is finished. Basic human nature doesn’t change, so we start from there and we have the ingredients for any kind of genre for which we have a calling, a talent, or a passion.
What do you say to the charge that men can’t write romances that women will like, and how will you tempt guys to read your books?
In general, it is true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. But, male or female, every person is unique. It may be best to target a specific audience. We don’t need the whole world to read our book, it’s impossible for that to happen anyway, especially in genre writing. As to whether men can write romances that will interest women, it depends on the man writer, and the woman reader. My books target women from teens to golden agers, but men have read them and liked them too. I call that a fluke and an unexpected bonus and I rejoice when I hear that it is so.
Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life – family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help from people or circumstanced?
Everything I have ever written has come directly from either life or from the stories people tell me. Presently I live in Florida where my Florida Springs Trilogy is set. Our family has camped at many of the gorgeous fresh water springs; we have walked the jungle trails, felt the heat and humidity, and heard the night calls of chuck-will’s-widow and cicada. I have taught all ages of Sunday school, up to and including young married women. I like teaching children because they are usually curious and interested. All of us have different roles to play in life, and these roles prepare us to write fully formed characters. Thanks to the goodness of the Lord, I’ve had the blessing of being a character in nearly every spot a family has from child of parents, sister to a brother, a grandchild myself, I’ve had aunts, uncles, and cousins, and I am a wife. I’ve had in-laws and been an in-law. None of that is unusual, but it gives me a treasure of empathy for just about any character my imagination comes up with. I am the proverbial little girl with a curl, when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid. So for me real life is the only grist for the mill. That’s why I believe in the suggestion to write what I know. Oh, yes, I can take all the flights of fancy and imagination I wish, and I can use the vast resources available to us, but still, I feel I have a strong foundation in the people I have known and in the real life stories that have come my way. In addition, my real life has a large part in my writing. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, having friends over, shopping and praying, all turn out to be material for fiction and non-fiction writing. I’ve recently been re-watching, “The Waltons,” and I identify so much with John Boy who seems to have written down most of what his siblings, parents, people of the community, and strangers have done and said.
Tell us about things you enjoy – what you do for fun or personal satisfaction.
Writing is the greatest enjoyment in my life. But, I love to read fiction and non-fiction as well. I like to swim, take long walks in the woods, paint, draw, and journal, both art journal, and writing journal. I enjoy good, clean movies. I like to cook for my husband and meet family and friends for dinner. I enjoy singing on the church praise team and I like to dance in my kitchen to lively music. The neighbor kids come over for short stretches of time and I like visiting with them. My husband loves to travel and I enjoy it when he goes away for a week to see an aviation museum or four, because it gives us a chance to miss each other and refresh our relationship when he comes home. Yes, I live a quiet life. I feel as if this time truly is, “the best of life for which the first was made.” Robert Browning.
Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books – Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
I like to paraphrase, “no man is an island,” and say, “no book is an island.” I suppose there are people who do everything for their books, but I don’t know any, and I can’t imagine going it alone. My husband is my helper in every way, he helps with the writing, and he goes out and sells the books. Also, my friends at Rebekah Lyn Books are as vital to my writing as air is to my breathing. I have Beta readers, who help me keep my face clean, helping with everything from inconsistencies to typos. Artist friends also help critique my cover paintings. Then I have an editing service and a graphic technician who do both the editing and the formatting for books and covers. One of the greatest joys I can think of it to work with like-minded people I trust for help and encouragement.
Since you have several books out, tell us what you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?
Again, I wouldn’t have sold the number of books I have sold without help. My publicist-friend works as hard at marketing as I do at writing. We have successfully had a tea, gone to a bookstore on street-party night, and done online promotions. My publicist is on Twitter and other social media where she gets to know people and tells them about Rebekah Lyn books and me. I’m on face book and other sites, where I post frequently, and I write a fun and chatty blog post every week for oldthingsrnew.com.
I love doing that. It’s all a matter of being friendly and getting connected.
Have you done anything writing related, but besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
I love doing the blogs. There are several regular writers and sometimes we have guest writers. Our posts have been in many places all over the world and had favorable comments. That’s very gratifying. Also, I have poetry published in a couple of textbooks. I hope to publish a book of posts and a book of poems for the sheer joy of it. When I was more active in the art world, I sold many paintings and cards and that encouraged me to paint my own covers.
Clear Spring is my newest book. It’s about Mel Nicolaides, who is one of five children. She has lived a happy but sheltered life. When her parents and siblings go to Europe for the summer, Mel opts to stay home and take a job, at a remote North Florida spring. There she begins illustrating a botanical book while learning about Seminole Indian medicine and culinary herbs from its author. This is her opportunity to fulfill her deepest desire, which is to become an independent woman who needs no one. She throws herself into the experience with enthusiasm. But the sudden revelation of a family skeleton forces her to find the rhythms of a power within herself that will profoundly change her life.
Five Star Review Excerpts from Living Spring and Sacred Spring, the first two books in the, The Florida Springs Trilogy
By DiVoran Lites
J. Wills (Orlando, FL)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book – the second in Ms. Lites’ trilogy. Since I live in Florida, it is quite easy to picture the events as she describes them, around the swamps and springs. She is so very good at creating word pictures, that they come to life as I read. The story is well written, with just a touch of the characters I came to know and love in her first book. I eagerly await the final story in this trilogy- J. Wills
More than a good read-Mary H. Sayler, Poet, Writer, Poetry Editor
Sacred Spring, the first book in author DiVoran Lites’ Florida Springs trilogy, was a delight to read and enjoy. I grew up in Florida and enjoyed visiting the beautiful springs found throughout the state. Through Sacred Spring, I was there again, enjoying the beauty, imagining myself immersed in the cool water, and enjoying a meal at the Old Mill Restaurant. DiVoran’s descriptions come to life, like a water colored painting, in deep hues and colors….in the lightning flashes of a dangerous storm, and in the beauty of a soaring eagle-Pamela
I put aside all my library loans just to finish this one.-Julia
Raw emotions in verdant Florida-William
Great story-Susan E. Bowers
This story has a great plot and I love her characters.-J. Z.
A delight to read and enjoy-Pamela
A book I couldn’t put down-G. Reindl
The beauty of the language and excellent storyline far exceeded my expectations. Alliji
This is a lovely book filled with characters you can relate to.-Rebekah Lyn
What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?
My basic intent is to write novels that grab a reader’s attention in the beginning and hold it until the end. Along the way, I’d love to convey something of the God’s love, Jesus’ Atonement, and the guidance of Holy Spirit. One editor compared them with Bach’s Two Point Invention by saying that they can be read on two different levels: one as great stories and the other as deep thinking, or both.
Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
The biggest, the best, and the most wonderful person I have met is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
I’ve been getting to know Him for years now…Him, His Father, and Holy Spirit, and I have never tired of the excitement of my new life in them.
Tell us one place you want to visit, or person you want to meet, and why.
Someday I want to go to Heaven, but not quite yet.
Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.
I really enjoy animal videos from the Internet, especially the funny and silly ones. I like fractured English in instruction booklets, too, even though I admire people who can speak and write different languages, because I can not.
Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.
Nature is amazing to me. It astonishes me in one way or another every day. Just the sheer abundance of it and the plan and design thrill my soul.
What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written (plots, finding needed information, getting a cover done)?
Clear Spring, the new one just coming out kept getting more and more intricate and revealing and I had to keep re-writing to structure it correctly.
What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Some time ago, I met Rebekah Lyn in a store and we were discussing novels, and we up and decided to get together once a week and write. Her novel turned out to be contemporary and about Florida and mine was historical and about Colorado. It’s my next project and I love it.
Go West takes place on a ranch in a Rocky Mountain valley run by a cowboy named Aldon, a World War 1 army pilot back from the front. In the interest of making enough money to keep the ranch in the family, he has had to open as a lodge. Two boarders and his Aunt/Housekeeper live there. A young woman, Ellie, a driver in the ambulance corps during the conflict, applied for a job on the ranch. Aldon meets her at the train-station in the first scene.
Ellie finds she must spread herself thin as Lia, the Italian wife wants her for a full time companion, and the housekeeper/cook needs her too. In addition, Aldon wants to teach her all he can about ranching and riding. The book is rich in historical detail and wonderful characters.
Here’s DiVoran’s Amazon author page. Give her a like, and check her works out!