Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Guest Author, Diane Craver

Today's guest is Diane Craver, fellow Sweeter Romantic Notions author. I met Diane last year at the Lori Foster Readers and Writers Get Together, and she is a delightful woman. So sit back, relax, and enjoy an interview with this busy mother of six!
Who are you?
Hi! Liana, thank you for having me here today. I'm Diane Craver, wife to Tom (just celebrated our 34th anniversary), mother of 6, and the youngest sister with three older sisters, which you'll learn later here why that means anything. :)

What type of stories do you like to write and why?

I write chick-lit mystery, inspirational romance, contemporary romance, and women's fiction.

What type of stories do you like to read and why?

I like to read contemporary romance, romantic comedy, mysteries, romantic suspense, historical romances, inspirational romances, and women's fiction.

When do you write?

I'm an early riser so I write a little before I get our two daughters with special needs up in the morning. After I get them to their programs, I'll do a few loads of laundry and etc., then I get busy again on my writing. On some days I might only have short periods to write, but other days I might have longer chunks of time.

When do you read? Where?

I read at different times but probably mostly in the evening or on weekends. If it's in the summer, I'll take a book with me to read outside after I go swimming. Sometimes I might read a little in bed before going to sleep or curled up in a comfy chair. I do buy quite a few ebooks but I don't like to read them from the computer so print them on the back of my rough drafts. I'd love to buy an electronic reader someday.

Where did you get the inspiration for Whitney in Charge?

I wrote Whitney in Charge because I thought it'd be fun to write a story about sisters. I wanted the focus on Whitney, the youngest sis, since I'm the little sis in my family. I decided to have Shannon and Regan, the older sisters, play matchmakers to help Whitney meet a new man.
How did you come up with your title and main characters’ names?

The title came to me when Whitney expresses to Shannon and Regan how she wants the three to start a new business, but she wants to be in charge of it. She plans on putting the most time and money into their new venture, but all three will have a say about everything. However, when final decisions have to be made, Whitney wants to be the one to make them.
I chose the main characters' names by first checking to see what names were popular in the year the characters were born. There's an online search under social security for the most popular names in each decade. I also looked at baby name books, and tried different names out before I chose Whitney, Shannon, and Regan. When I chose the guy names, I asked my daughters for suggestions. Then I had to make sure the first names sounded right with the last names.

Why do you write?

I can't imagine not writing. I love reading and writing. I'm constantly thinking of future story lines. When something happens in my real life or if I hear something on the news, I think about putting a different outcome or spin on it. I ask myself, would that be a good story? I also love developing my characters into warm and vulnerable people.

As the youngest in the family, growing up on a farm in Findlay, Ohio, Diane often acted out characters from her own stories in the backyard. Before embarking on her writing career, Diane was a school teacher and play director.
Diane enjoys her life with her husband and six children in southwestern Ohio. Her husband of thirty-four years is very supportive, as well as her awesome children. Her novels are published by Desert Breeze Publishing and Samhain Publishing. Learn more about Diane Craver and her books at or read her blog at

Whitney in Charge

Whitney Benson is tired of her older sisters’ attempts to fix her up with every single male they meet. Shannon and Regan cross the line when they arrange for her to go skydiving with the simple excuse that more guys like to float in the air than women. Whitney needs to find something else to keep them busy.

When she suggests that the three of them start a family business, the fun begins in their small town. And she thought being a TV producer in New York had been exciting.

Without going skydiving, Whitney meets two eligible bachelors, Jack and Ben, who constantly battle for her affection. Which one will she choose? Both men make Whitney realize, even a heart shattered by her husband’s death, can once again be made whole.

But did she have to fall off a cliff to learn that?

Shannon and Regan entered the room with determined looks, immediately making her wonder what they were up to. With her being widowed and their mother gone, both felt she needed direction and had told her so more than once.

“Whitney, we need to talk,” Shannon said.

“But first, let’s go into the kitchen.” Regan smiled, carrying Chinese food. “I brought your favorite.”

“And fortune cookies,” Shannon added.

Well, that wasn’t a good sign. When they wanted her to cooperate with their plans, Regan always thought food was necessary in winning an argument against the youngest sister. Two years ago, she’d been a television news producer for a popular morning program, but those two still treated her like the baby sister. Maybe if she’d had children with Rob, things would’ve been different. Probably not. She’d always be their little sis.

What plans did they have for her? She loved Shannon and Regan but at times they overwhelmed her. Whitney followed them into the kitchen, getting plates from the cupboard while Shannon made coffee.

Regan opened up the containers of food. “We think it’s time you get out of the house and do something exciting. Mom would want you to go on with your life. And…” She grinned as she scooped out fried rice. “We thought of something to do for you.”

Whitney shook her head. “That’s not necessary—”

“Yes, it is.” Shannon put a spoonful of sugar in her coffee. “You quit your job and came back to take care of Mom.”

“I didn’t mind. Both of you have families, and I didn’t have any reason to stay in New York.” Please don’t mention Rob.

Shannon carried the cups of coffee to the table. “Regan and I have thought of the perfect thing for you to experience.”

Whitney broke open a fortune cookie and read from the slip of paper, “You will soon fall in love with a handsome stranger.”

Shannon thumped Whitney on the back before joining them at the table. “That fortune fits right in with our plans for you.”

“I think it fits in with any single woman’s hopeful plans,” Whitney said. “But certainly not mine.”

“It’s a sign,” Regan said in an eager voice. “You’ll see.”

“Not a cruise. Remember, I told you I don’t want to go on another cruise.” Several months earlier, they made her go on a three-day trip while both took turns staying with their mother. They had meant well but going by herself and being surrounded by couples hadn’t been much fun. Shannon and Regan were disappointed that Whitney hadn’t fallen in love on the ship. The only available guy she might have been interested in was the recreational director and he was too short.

“We knew you’d say that, and we’ve heard you say how you’ve done it all.” Regan put a lock of auburn hair behind her ear and cleared her throat. “But we thought of something you haven’t done and will be a thrill of a lifetime.”

“And when we tell you what it is, please don’t say no,” Shannon said. “We already paid for it.”

Whitney stared at them. “Okay, you have me curious now. What is it?”

Regan set forks down on the table and mumbled, “Skydiving.”

Whitney gasped, spilling coffee on her hand. Why in the world would they pay for her to go skydiving? Had they lost their minds? “You can’t be serious. Are you trying to kill me?”

“You won’t be jumping by yourself. We talked to the owner about signing you up for a tandem skydive for your first jump. You’ll meet fun people.” Shannon patted Whitney’s hand. “And the female-male ratio is good…”

Regan nodded. “There are more guys than women skydiving. And the men are hot and love any woman who drops from the sky.”

With raised eyebrows, Whitney asked, “How would you two know?”

“We checked it all out before we got it for you,” Shannon said.

Regan grinned. “Shannon, you’re skipping the best part of our visit. We drooled over all the instructors before we signed you up. I did mention I thought you’d be the most comfortable with Nate.”

“Why Nate?” Whitney asked.

Shannon laughed. “Regan couldn’t take her eyes off him. He’s drop-dead gorgeous.”

Whitney swallowed a forkful of rice. If her sisters were correct and there was an overabundance of men, she knew why. Men wanted to act macho, but how many brain cells did they have to think jumping out of a plane made them tough? That wasn’t fair. Just because she wasn’t into skydiving didn’t mean it was stupid. When had she become so critical? She knew when. After Rob’s death, the optimistic, open-minded part of her died with him.

“Maybe you two should go skydiving instead of me.”

Regan shook her head. “No way. We want you to go.”

“But I’m afraid of heights.”

“It’s time for you to overcome your fear of flying.” Shannon took a bite of shrimp. “We want to go to Hawaii sometime. Remember how we promised Mom we would? Just the three of us.”

Whitney shrugged. “That’s different. I can fly to Hawaii without doing skydiving first.”

“I don’t think so.” Regan scooped a heaping spoonful of chow mien onto her plate. “You drove me crazy when we flew to Wisconsin for Aunt Martha’s funeral. You had such terrible anxiety attacks.”

Why did she have to have such stubborn sisters? The last thing she felt like doing was something stupid like skydiving, but she knew they’d never give up on her. They always thought they knew best because they were older and married. Big deal they were a bit older. Shannon just turned thirty-nine, and at thirty-four Regan was only three years older than Whitney.

Shannon nudged Regan, grinning with her eyebrows arched high. “Tell her about Jack.”

Regan shook her head. “Not a good idea.”

“Who’s Jack? Another skydiver?” Whitney asked.

“He’s a paramedic and single. He’s worked with Casey, but Jack’s not a firefighter. He’s not interested in meeting you.” Regan gave Whitney an apologetic shrug. “Sorry. It’s a shame because Jack’s a dead ringer for Matthew McConaughey.”

Shannon raised her eyebrows. “What did Casey tell Jack about Whitney?”

“Not enough obviously,” Regan said. “But I’ll─”

“No.” Whitney put her hand on Regan’s arm. “Don’t say anything. I don’t want to go out with someone who feels pressured.” She grinned. “Although resembling McConaughey might change my mind.”


Diane Craver said...

Hi Liana,
Thank you for hosting me and I'm happy to be here. I love your blog - you always share so much of your passion for life in your writing and here.

I'll be back to check to see if I have any comments or questions.

Hope everyone has an awesome day!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview, Diane. This book really looks like a lot of fun.

Dru said...

Great interview!

Diane Craver said...

Hi EA,
Thanks! I'm glad you stopped by. I enjoyed writing Whitney in Charge!

Diane Craver said...

Hi Dru,

Good to see you here. Thanks for reading my interview with Liana.

Judy said...

Enjoyed the interview~!! Everyone have a great day.

Diane Craver said...

Hi Judy,
Thanks! Going outside soon to enjoy the sunshine.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Great interview Liana & Diana. I love excerpt. The banter between Shannon, Regan, and Whitney is very natural and flows well. I enjoyed reading the book very much.

Sean B. Halliday said...

First off, I have to say that I LOVE cruise ships.
I spent over 12 years working on them as a Scuba Instructor,
Shore Excursion Manager and an IT Officer.

For 2 years I also worked shoreside in Miami as a database IT guy.

During my years on ships, I have to stay that many things happened
and that life is definately stranger than fiction on cruise ships.

Many people have asked me to share the stories I have collected over
the years, so I am complying with their request.

My site is:

If you had any stories of your own to add, please
send them to me and I will be happy to add them.

Sean B. Halliday

Sue Perkins said...

Lovely interview Diane, I'm still following you each day although I don't always comment.
Sue, NZ

Diane Craver said...

Hi Steph,
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my book and for reading Whitney in Charge! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Nancy G said...

Hi again, Diane. Loved the interview and excerpt, and just wanted to drop in and say hello!

Diane Craver said...

Hi Sean,
I can't think of any stories at this moment but if I do, I'll email you. I went on one cruise with my daughter to the Bahamas. Sounds like a great idea for you to write a book about your many work experiences. It will be an awesome book. Thanks for visiting Liana's blog and sharing.

I'll go to your site soon.

Diane Craver said...

Hi Sue,
I hope you have enjoyed all the blog stops. It's been fun for me to learn about other bloggers and to read some of their previous posts.

Thanks for following my tour - I appreciate the support.

Diane Craver said...

It's nice you visited today. Enjoy the rest of your evening! And hope you are busy writing. :)

Christine said...

Hi Diane, very nice interview and your books looks very enjoyable

Diane Craver said...

Hi Christine,
Thank you for your nice comments - I'm glad you stopped by.

Diane Craver said...

It's been fun. Thanks again for being a stop for my tour. Hope our paths cross again soon. I enjoyed meeting you in person a year ago at Lori's event.

Chris J. said...

Hi Liana and Diane!
Great blog/interview and it was great getting to knoww more about you Diane. Wow six kids, and you write, that is truly inspiring Diane. :)
Whitney in Charge sounds really good and I love stories about sisters.
Best Wishes to you both and have a Great Day.

Diane Craver said...

Hi Chris,
Writing kept me sane while raising 6 kids. LOL I'm glad you like books about sisters! Thank you for joining us on my tour!

Infinite Designs said...

Hi Liana and Diane, great interview ladies ;)!

I absolutely loved the excerpt and want to read more. Thank so much for sharing!

Pam S

deb said...

Your book really caught my attention. I come from a big family and that is so something my sisters would do. I can't wait to read the rest of it.
Debby Creager

Diane Craver said...

Hi Pam,
I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt - thanks for visiting!

Have a great weekend!

Diane Craver said...

Hi Deb,
I'm glad you could relate to the excerpt. By the way, I'm going to have some kind of a sister contest in September at my blog.

Not sure what the prize will be yet. But want commenters to share a short story about their sisters - need to figure out the details yet. LOL