Our giveaway for Me and Mom Fall for Spencer is still going on for another week. We'll announce 4 worldwide winners next week and more details are below.
We got a chance to speak to the author, Diane Munier, and she answered some questions about her first published story, fan fiction, Edward and of course, Rob!
ROBsessed Interview with Diane Munier (counselor)
ROBsessed: How long have you been writing? Did it start as a hobby or did you study the form?
Diane Munier: It started very young in one form or the other. The movies were such an escape for us from a turbulent home life. I remember being very bad in the theater. I don’t think Mom was paying attention, but finding those heroes on screen and then in reading-- I can almost see that process in my life. I needed heroes to believe in for a fundamental sense of safety. I did this comedic writing in high school (which explains why I still can’t speak French after two years.) And I wrote my first novel in those years and really enjoyed the process of creating a tale, moving the characters around.
Study came later. Lots of it. Writing seminars for years. I watched several people explain methods of putting a story together. Some had elaborate storyboards. Those were the years I thought a more organized method held the secret to good writing. But…nah.
I found many things helpful but nothing substitutes for keeping writing. Actually learning to write is where many writers were camped out so they didn’t have to face writing. So….
The characters in my stories drive the plot. I may know where they are going vaguely, but I’m willing to change all of that if they show me something new. And they do that all of the time. I just start writing. At some point I’ll go back and review the chapters and start an outline. But that’s only for reference. The most helpful thing is that act of writing the outline. I remember this way.
I’ve had some positive validating experiences along the way and worked really hard to claw down to an authentic voice. That was like a digging process—writing honestly. For a lot of years I was so angry at my writing. I’d think—what a bunch of (bleep). But that’s just part of the journey. For me it was. I suspect a lot of writers quit there. Which is a shame.
ROBsessed: The first story I read by you was Turkey Baster. Where did you get the idea for this story and why was it one of your early adventures for Bella and Edward?
Diane Munier: I was lying in bed thinking about someone I knew and loved and they so badly wanted a baby and I was thinking of surrogacy, did I love this person enough to imagine having a child for her, and what could motivate such love and was it even possible, and how was it possible, and that led to a woman who might do such an outrageous act and then who was the man that signed up for this? And I started to laugh because the title hit me (it was probably close to Thanksgiving) and I had read of someone using a turkey baster for artificial insemination (don’t try this at home). But what if you used a person that way—as the baster? So it went like that.
ROBsessed: What was inspiring about Twilight that it was the fanfic road you traveled over other stories/characters?
Diane Munier: For me, Edward was an old-fashioned hero. And I love them. I really was most intrigued at how much Edward had in place. Of course his hundred and five years of life had given him time to be prepared. But I loved how he had this thought-out world. In their family everyone knew their role and performed it perfectly. They worked for each other. And he pulled Bella into that. His family is very old-fashioned and traditional (potential for blood-sucking aside). But think about it. Edward gave us family.
I think that is missing today and that protective Cullen-family-dynamic stirred a deep ache in the readers.
Edward was not only a lover, he was a devoted son and father. He hit all the bases.
Yes he was handsome and romantic and doting, but he protected and sacrificed and provided. The second half of that sentence is what is lacking today in relationships for many women. The cultural message has been to protect, sacrifice and provide for yourself. Bella was doing that. Then along came Edward and we all went wild. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Bella is the lone wolf. She’s had to parent her mother, and then her father. She comes from a fragile place of not being very protected and not developing much of a sense of self-protection. Bella’s family dynamic was very today and now. Edward and his world transcended Bella’s fragmented family structure.
And we loved it.
[Editorial note: *swooooooooning at her answer*]
ROBsessed: One of the many things I love about your work, is that you've kept canon relationships with the core Twilight characters but can still bring in characters we love as if we've known them all along - your kids especially (Johnny, Charlie, Junie). And your last two works, you practically don't use the names we know, DITHOM especially. Hello Tonio and Sobe! Those are names that I imagine you get to use in a published version. Has this been a conscious decision? Moving away from the obvious Twilight identifiers? I feel like DITHOM isn't fanfic and publishable material already...except that last name ;)
Diane Munier: I’m never writing with Twilight foremost in mind. I am writing to the ancient themes that are also done very well in Twilight, the biggest one being the devotion of the central characters.
When mama and papa are committed a whole world can be built on top of that (Carlisle and Esme, Bella and Edward). When that kind of covenant is there, it’s like the table under the dishes. There has to be a commitment and B and E have that—it’s unto death! If the commitment isn’t there the dishes fall to the floor (Bella’s family.)
Once that central commitment is there, a family can be built on it, and that includes friends.
SM built a solid traditional family. Women went wild.
I respect those themes and the generous opportunity to write in the Twilight arena with, in my opinion, the best readership ever, and SM’s generosity and technology have allowed this merge of writers and readers. Out of that merge has become a continued evolution of tremendous creativity—some extraordinary creativity. Not only have writers been validated there, but readers have evolved. They have been able to turn into super-readers. By that I mean, what readers (like myself) have only wished they could do (have access to those writing books they love, have a way to show support, watch a story be developed allowing a level of reader involvement and investment on a grand scale here-to-fore unparalleled and unknown) the technology today has brought things to a whole new level.
On the names like Isbe, Sobe, etc., that’s probably for me. It helps me keep them distinct. I’ve been turning out a lot of work and want to honor the workroom of Twilight while maintaining something unique and individual to my characters if possible.
ROBsessed: Why was Me and Mom Fall for Spencer your choice for a debut? Tell me what you loved about developing Sarah, Spencer and Marie.
Diane Munier: I choose this story to debut because it’s middle of the road for me, test the waters. It was well liked but not my most loved. That’s about how deep that decision was. And four of my stories were tied up with my agent. And I’d only pulled MaMfiLwE and HH. So since HH was in New York, that left MaM,etc. That’s about it.
What I loved about developing these characters was their weirdness. Sarah is childlike. She’s made a very good life and she’s tried to be compassionate in her life, but she’s also in a state of arrested development. Like a lot of us. So much time passes while we figure things out. Then when we do we say—wish I’d have figured this out sooner. But there is a process of growth in life that’s hard to control. Even if you determine to live all-out the process still has to move along at its own speed. Once the change comes, you can’t say, “I should have just leapt to this. The process was a waste of time.” On the contrary, the process brought the change. No change without process.
Spencer jars Sarah’s process in a big way. And she challenges his. He’s a runner, but she doesn’t run. And…she can’t. Run. So vicariously everyone is affected and everyone ultimately moves vertically or horizontally.
I had women who felt very passionately about Sarah as a heroine. They related to her quirks. Most of us are Sarah-like in that we are not the standard idea of the leading lady. Sarah was in that gap so she became a vehicle for the under-represented perhaps. People like me.
ROBsessed: I find lovely threads of humor in many of your stories but this story was the first time I read something you specifically noted was part of the humor genre. I love the humor in Me and Mom Fall for Spencer, mainly because of Sarah. Was this a test for you write or is it something that came from the characters naturally?
Diane Munier: It came from them. It flowed out of them. Even hurtful people can be incredibly funny. And hurt people are often the funniest. I didn’t give it a thought really. I just listened and sometimes they were funny.
ROBsessed: You set several stories in the Midwest. Is this a preferred location? What inspires you about a setting when you decide where to place your story? Do you see the characters is certain settings and/or eras first?
Diane Munier: I love the Midwest and we need to get over the stereo-types about it. We have access to the same ivy-league schools, the same books and movies and music. We are no less enlightened. Yes, it is my preferred location. I adore it actually. But I love us sea to sea as well. My roots are Midwestern however.
When it’s locale first I see it and it inspires me to hear and see what might have gone on. So right away I’m seeing the character. If it’s character first I’m immediately drawn to an idea of his or her environment. The kiln where they were forged.
What is the history here? What happened here? When? Who lived here and who died here? On and on.
ROBsessed: Tell me what you hope readers experience when nestling down into their favorite spot to read Me and Mom Fall for Spencer?
Diane Munier: I hope they can suspend judgment long enough to enter and ride in someone else’s skin. I hope they can go that deep in, that I’ve gotten out of the way enough to allow that. I hope they are entertained, yes, but also blessed in some way, reminded of something good, maybe even precious.
I’m writing small stories about real things that may be some of the most important things. That’s my hope anyway.
ROBsessed: I saw Darnay Road is up next - a story that keeps its name and its Easy. That made me smile. Is that still slated for late March?
Diane Munier: Yes. And Finding My Thunder. They are fighting it out right now. I’m kind of pulling for FMT but we’ll see. It mainly relies on manuscript preparation as we get under the wire.
[Editorial note: The cover for Finding My Thunder was shared on Diane's blog! Here's a glimpse of it if you haven't seen it already. It will also be the next book up and Darnay Road will follow.]
ROBsessed: I hope to interview you again for your next release and I can't wait for the day I see My Wounded Soldier in upcoming. We'll get Rob to play the movie version. It must happen. ;) Final question and since we're a ROBsessed blog, what's something about Rob that you believe is worth adoring?
Diane Munier: Thanks so much for all of this. Really. I have always been blown away by your support on Robsessed. I remember the first time it happened, that you mentioned one of my stories, someone told me and I thought it was a mistake. I still do! But I really appreciate it.
On Rob - Due to technology we have been allowed to watch Rob’s story unfold. That has been as captivating as Rob’s role as Edward. What I find most endearing about him is that he is his age, put in this beautiful exterior, and at first he seemed bewildered by the whole thing—all the accolades and he seemed painfully aware it was too much. And it was!
But let’s face it – God made him on a good day. (quote stolen from MWS) And we’ve watched him figure it out as he’s been pulled along on a speeding train. He provokes the young girl inside (sigh) and the mother (no don’t do that! Or I’m so proud!). For me as a writer, he’s downright inspiring. Like Edward, he hits all the bases. I get it. I do.
Well if that wasn't an awesome note to close the interview on, I don't know what is. I get super sappy when folks dish out some sweet-lovin praise for Rob. Diane nailed it. He hits ALL bases. *le sigh*
Click HERE if you missed the synopsis for Me and Mom Fall for Spencer last week as well as some other 411.
You can enter the giveaway just under the guidelines. Many ways to enter!
- You only have to click a button, which you'll see when you enter. Tweeting the giveaway, following Diane on Twitter and visiting her Facebook page are optional but give you more chances to win!
- Giveaway is worldwide!
- You MUST enter using Rafflecopter or your entry will not be counted
- You can enter once a day, everyday, until the closing date - Friday, March 20th
- There will be 4 winners receiving an eBook (Kindle) of Me and Mom Fall for Spencer by Diane Munier! You can download Kindle apps for free. We can give winners instructions if needed.
- Winners will be chosen by random.org and announced after the giveaway ends
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If you want to purchase Me and Mom Fall for Spencer tout de suite, click the Amazon link to buy now!