Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Meet Diana Rubino

My guest today in My Writing Corner is Diana Rubino, author of the new book, A Bloody Good Cruise. Tell me a little of your writing journey.  How did you get started?

My 'overnight success' took 18 years. I wrote my first novel at age 23, after a dose of reality in the brokerage business. This was the early '80s, when executive-level women were virtually nonexistent in the world of finance. My first novel, largely autobiographical, as most first novels are, featured my heroine who made it to the top of a brokerage firm. It was continually rejected on the grounds that I had an axe to grind—and of course I did.
After three more novels, which I consider practice at honing my craft, I wrote my first historical, The Jewels of Warwick, centered around Henry VIII and two fictional heroines. I have a strong spiritual connection with late medieval England, which is the basis for my enchantment with this place and time. Jewels took 2 years to research and write, with no internet. It came very close to publication with several romance houses, but missed the mark for containing too little romance. When I finished Jewels, I scoured the history books for another legendary figure to write about. While I browsed the Cambridge Library stacks, a book snagged my eye. Lying, not standing, on the wrong shelf was Crown of Roses by Valerie Anand. It drew me like a magnet. Richard III is a central character in the story, and the author thanks the Richard III Society for helping her. Already hooked on Richard, his tragic death at 32 and his reputation as a usurper and a murderer of his little nephews, I joined this Richard III Society. As everyone else who has a story about how they ‘met’ Richard, he fascinated me. I’d found the subject of my next novel! And it tied in perfectly as a prequel to The Jewels of Warwick. Titled Thy Name is Love, it made the same rounds of publishers, remaining homeless after several rewrites and seven years.

In 1999 with the Internet making my life so much easier, I queried the many E-publishers that had recently set up shop, and British publisher Domhan Books responded in March with an offer for my two historicals. That was the beginning of my journey.
Have you always wanted to become a writer?

Yes, since I was a little kid I always wrote short stories. I actually attempted a novel at age 12, but didn’t get very far.
Your bio says you like to travel.  What are some of the great places you’ve been and what do you like best about them?

I feel I have a spiritual connection to England, where I met my husband. I love Austria because I’m a HUGE Mozart fan, and Italy, where my roots are.
Tell us a little about your new book, A Bloody Good Cruise, and what made you want to write it?

I always wanted to write a vamp romance, and I love cruising. I thought combining Italian vampires, comedy and cruising in one package would be fun, so I hopped on my imaginary ship The Romanza to get my characters in all kinds of trouble. I envisioned the hero, Fausto, as actor Vincent Irizarry (Dr. Hayward on All My Children). That made my job so much easier. He is THE perfect vampire.

Italian vampires and hunters (the Vampire Ball Busters) leave the field wide open for comic relief, and I had plenty of chances in this story. Since I'm hooked on cruising and I'm Italian, I didn't need to do that much research.

My husband and I are hooked on cruising, and my very first cruise was on the Eastern Mediterranean, beginning in Rome and ending in Istanbul. The ports of call included Rhodes, Cyprus, Santorini, and Egypt. Because I love Italy and cruising, I wanted to combine those passions with a humorous story about vampires and how they face prejudice in the human world.

I met an Italian woman named Fausta in 1983 and always loved that name--I always planned to use that name in one of my books someday. I finally got the chance with the hero Fausto, close enough!
Where else do you look for your story ideas?

I go to friends, because I’m terrible at ideas. Now I’m writing biographical novels with no fictional characters. I follow the historical record as closely as I can, so I don’t need to do much idea-hunting.

What do you like best about your hero?
Fausto, a vampire, wants the world to understand that vampires mean no harm, and they want to live in peace with mankind.

 What about your heroine?
What makes her angry is intolerance. She saw first-hand what someone different must go through to gain acceptance. She’s trying to change that by giving talks about vampires, explaining who they really are, so someday prejudice against them—and anyone else the ‘majority’ deems ‘different’ will be an ugly thing of the past.

What do you do when you are not writing or travelling?
Reading, playing my piano, working out, bicycling, golfing, and going to the beach.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on revisions for DARK BREW, a time travel set around Alice Kyteler, who lived in 1324 Ireland and was accused of being a witch.

What genre do you like to read most?
Historicals, either biographies or novels, either set in England or the US.

You write in a number of genres. Is there one you like to write in most?
I’m really enjoying the bio novels I’ve started to write. My most recent one is about Martha Washington.

Who are some of your favorite authors who inspired you?
Bertrice Small inspired me to write THE JEWELS OF WARWICK, set around Henry VIII and two fictional heroines. I also read anything by Barbara Erskine and Margaret George. I greatly admire Lorraine Heath, who has a knack of evoking emotion in her stories.

Would you say you are a careful plotter or do you work more by the seat of your pants, letting the story just flow whichever direction it (or the characters ) take you?
I outline in as much detail as possible, but the story sometimes does go in its own direction, because the characters make it happen!

Any words of advice to beginning writers?
In the words of Winston Churchill, Never, ever ever ever ever give up.

What was the best tip you ever received as a writer?
From my first agent Janet Adams: “It has to be character-driven.”

How about a blurb?
A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE is a fun-filled blend of the vampire world and luxury cruises.

Romance writer Mona Rossi's book sales are slipping. She needs new ideas and fast! Her vampire love, Fausto Silvius is a doctor aboard the Romanza, a luxury cruise ship. Holding a "Motion on the Ocean" writer's cruise sounds like a great idea. What better way to combine a career boost with romance? But they soon discover hunters on board who give chase to Fausto and his fellow vampires. While he longs to bring Mona into his world, how can he convince her to join him with fringe lunatics on the hunt? In the prime of her life she's not sticking her neck out for a shot at eternity.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
Blog: Website: Facebook: Twitter:
Email: Thanks, Diana for being my guest.  Questions or comments?


  1. Thanks for hosting me! Come back & be on my blog anytime! Diana

  2. Hi, Diana and Rebecca! I love the cover art! The red makes it eerie. This sounds like an exciting and spooky story. :)

  3. I enjoyed the interview with Diana. I love to hear writers share their paths to publishing. It's encouraging to see authors succeed after years of hard work and perseverance. Congrats on your latest release!


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