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Author Interview

How do you develop your plot and characters?

First, an idea takes hold of me and won’t let go. I usually know the conflict and the end result. As I do research, I flesh out the characters based on their background and the difficulties. A good amount of plot comes from research and letting the story live as I write.

Tell me about your protagonist. What is their favorite trait and weakness?

In Melissa’s Fate; The Untold Story, Beth, a down to earth person, knows that success and wealth are measured by more than material things and money. I love that about her. She is unpretentious and unmoved by the hustle and bustle of the ‘real world.’ Phil was born into money, but he knows something is missing. He is filled with compassion despite not being raised with love. Beth’s weakness is jumping to wrong conclusions and Phil’s is learning that he can’t always be in control. Sparks fly when the two unite to win back their daughter from a less than savory couple who adopted her.

What has been a fascinating writing research experience for you?

My last manuscript is set in New York City and rural Connecticut. I relied totally on reference books, articles, and the internet since I’d never been to either one. Then, last June, my husband and I flew into LaGuardia and drove to Connecticut, ending our adventure in New York City. What a blast to see first hand the scenes I had written, the Statue of Liberty, Madison Square Gardens, and the covered bridge at West Cornwall. I’m thinking my next project should be in Paris or Tuscany!

What are your current/future projects?

I’m currently working on My Brother’s Eyes, set in the Minnesota Territory in the middle of the nineteenth century. Maggie and her father nurse back to health a wounded Indian brave they found in the fields. Neither one of them know that nearby a family has been massacred by Indians. Only after Maggie falls in love with the Indian brave, Nahkeetah, does she realize that their relationship is plagued by more than cultural differences. It is surrounded by danger and evil. Maggie’s father is the country doctor, Nahkeetah’s is the chief of the Chippewa tribe. Nahkeetah is next in line to be chief. Can their love survive the prejudice of his people and a hatred that boils beneath the surface?

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you? (website, blog, social media?) Please include links.

On my website there is a contact page which feeds directly into my email, or you can email me at That is the best method, but please feel free to follow me on Facebook or Twitter @dianedyates and Instagram at

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Have patience and understand that the road to publication takes time. Don’t let rejection discourage me that much. (Especially not enough to cause me to throw an agency returned manuscript in a box before reading the notes and forgetting all about it for the next twenty years!)

What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success to me means that people read my books, look forward to the next one, and something I’ve written touches them. I often say, I write to be read. I want my readers to laugh, cry, and rally for my heroes and heroines, and when they read the words “the end” and close the cover, nothing would please me more than if the book they’d just read would inspire them to be a better person.

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