Today we welcome Diane Bator.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about your life outside of writing.
Diane Bator: I am a mom to three teenage/grown boys and am totally happy getting messy either painting or working in the yard. I have a full-time day job at a local professional theatre and am thrilled when I get to help out in the props department. I love to hike and hang out with friends in my “spare” time.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Diane Bator: My books are all fiction. I don’t write to send a message, I write to entertain.
Wild Blue Mysteries
Book 1: The Bookstore Lady
Danny Walker is tracking Paulina Chourney who fell deep into the dark side of life and is lucky to get out before her boyfriend Maddox kills her. She escapes Maddox and arrives in a small town, which she sees as a blessing in disguise since the men she worked for would never think to look for her in a lazy, backwater place like Packham. She changes her name to Katie Mullins, makes a deal on a little bookstore and joins a local writing group then successfully fades into anonymity. Until Danny Walker shows up to visit family and figures out who she is.
When Paulina catches her 80-year-old landlady sneaking out in the middle of the night, the bad guys catch up to her and Danny disappears, she has to choose between spending her life on the run or standing up to face her past. Hopefully before the quirky townsfolk turn her death into a spectacle.
Book 2: The Mystery Lady
Danny Walker used to enjoy chasing criminals, but after being kidnapped and nearly killed, he longs to close the Wild Blue Detective Agency and live a simpler life. Forced to take leave from the police force, he has a long way to go to convince the shrink he’s even close to sane, especially when he helps his former partner solve a series of murders, which endangers the woman he’s tailing.
Wanna-be writer Lucy Stephen never wrote about murder until her husband moved out and thinks some man in a blue car is stalking her. When her husband and his girlfriend take her kids on vacation, Lucy discovers a hidden package of jewelry her husband desperately wants. The more she learns about the assorted pieces, the more Lucy realizes she may never see her kids again and needs to fight back with the help of the man who stalks her.
Book 3: The Bakery Lady
From the moment Leo Blue meets the tattoo artist ‘s sister Christina, he’s drawn into a web of bread dough and lies. Christina Davidson has returned to Packham with a duffle bag full of secrets. Leo soon discovers her biggest secret is Christina’s alter ego and her husband who stands accused of murdering an up-and-coming artist. He promises to help set things straight and plans to bring husband and wife together for Christmas—even if it costs him his sanity and the love of his life.
Gilda Wright Mysteries
Book 1: Can’t Keep a Brunette Down
Gilda Wright thinks she has a dream job at a karate school until she finds an instructor with a sword through his chest. When another instructor dies and someone stalks her, she and Sensei Mick Williams team up to find a killer who appears to follow the Four Possessions of the Samurai.
Book 2: Hard Headed Brunette
Gilda is left in charge of planning and promoting a grand opening extravaganza. Things go awry when their special guest is found dead on the beach and the school’s new weapons instructor stands accused of his murder. When her house is ransacked, Gilda must keep alert while piecing together some tangled history in spite of her promise to Mick to not get involved.
Anthology Short Story: Brunettes Just Want to Have Fun
The Nine Lives Consignment Shop is blown to pieces leaving Mick Williams badly injured. When a young man is found dead in the rubble and his grandmother left homeless, Gilda and Kane must team up to clear two of their friends of murder.
Book 3: Life is Better Brunette
Gilda Wright steps in to help Kane Garrick find a way to deal with the New Age shop he is stuck with and doesn’t want until a pretty psychic comes to town and refuses to leave Kane alone. As the psychic’s predictions of doom and gloom begin to come true—including one about the murder of a well-known person in town—Gilda begins to wonder if the psychic’s involvement in both her predictions and in Kane’s life are actually a mere coincidence or if he’s being set up.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Diane Bator: I always have a work in progress! Currently, I have just completed the first book in a whole new series which my agent is shopping to publishers. I am hard at work on Book 4 in my Wild Blue Mysteries, The Painted Lady. After that there will be a Book 5 and, hopefully, a second book in my new series.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Diane Bator: My most difficult book to date was the one I just finished, All That Sparkles. Mostly because I had to do a complete rewrite for various reasons, but also because I was going through a marital separation at the time and found it very hard to focus. I love that ideas for the next two books in the series keep falling into place as my life settles.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Diane Bator: It depends on the book. For my Gilda Wright novels, I was actually a karate student and worked at a martial arts school so the information and some of the ideas came easy. For my latest book, All That Sparkles, I had to dig a little and was inspired by the necklace used in the movie Titanic as well as second-hand stores. While I work on my Wild Blue Mysteries, I take many walks around town which is the inspiration for Packham. I’ve learned a lot of local history and used my writing group as inspiration.
Book “Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Diane Bator: Juggling as many things as I do, I don’t get a lot of time to read for pleasure. I do enjoy mysteries and romantic suspense. I also love Stephen King’s book “On Writing” which has become my guidebook to not getting impatient. Great things come to those who work hard and have patience.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Diane Bator: I was fortunate to have a couple great teachers who encouraged me along the way, but I never took my talent seriously until I joined a writing group. The members have encouraged me strongly from Day 1 to give it a shot. So far so good!
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Diane Bator: I am good with dialogue and weaving action into my words. I’ve learned the hard way to keep the story flowing instead of getting mired in dialogue.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Diane Bator: Routine? Ha! Right now my work schedule is a little erratic so it’s hard to have a real strict routine. Being a single parent, I have other priorities right now until my youngest graduates, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Diane Bator: Five years from now, I would love to be a full-time writer with a strict routine and churning out the books I really love to write. Living near a beach would be an asset, but not necessary. Living near great friends, totally necessary for inspiration and a kick in the pants when I need to get to work.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer once piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Diane Bator: Don’t let anyone discourage you and find a great editor!! Okay, that’s two but they are the big two. That and to read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” for inspiration.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider to be the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Diane Bator: “I couldn’t put it down!”
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Diane Bator: Life is Better Brunette
Gilda’s cell phone vibrated next to her plate, making the ice in her half-full water glass dance. She groaned, her stomach churning, as it had all week. “Not again.”
Across the table, Marion Yearly, her best friend and crying towel, scowled and flicked a toast crumb off the blue table cloth. “Just turn the stupid thing off already. If your boss needs you that badly, he’ll find you. Otherwise, he’ll wait. He knows we’re at The Cove Restaurant. We’re here every Friday morning. Actually, you should invite him to join us sometime.”
“Right.” Gilda laughed. Of course she’d answer Mick’s text. She always did and usually regretted speaking to her boss on her own time. “Like he’d want to hang out with his receptionist all day when he sees me half the night.” Her face burned. “That didn’t come out right. I meant during class times.”
Their weekly brunch certainly hadn’t been a peaceful one. Gilda’s phone had buzzed at least ten times since they were seated—three times alone since her Belgian waffle and crispy bacon arrived two minutes earlier.
Marion grimaced when the phone buzzed again. “Okay, I’ll bite. What does his majesty want this time?”
She sighed. “He can’t find the file for our lease or the latest inventory list.”
“Tell him to wait until you get there.” Marion sopped up runny egg yolk with a triangle of buttered toast. “It’s only another hour or so anyway.”
Gilda tossed a wistful glance at her food, her appetite waning, then reached for her phone. If she didn’t text him back right away, he’d send ten more messages by the time she took her next mouthful. “I would, but he’s going away for the long weekend and won’t be there by the time I show up. If I answer him now, he might leave me alone for a while.”
“Even better, you’ll have all weekend to find them and he’ll have to be patient for a change. You have a life. You can’t keep dropping everything just because he wants something.” Marion, dark-haired and raven-eyed, was taller than Gilda by a full foot and twice as wide, built more like an NFL quarterback than a 9-1-1 operator. Of course, Gilda doubted there was a stereotype for 9-1-1 operators anyway.
“I already know where they are. Sorry. Give me a second.” In the file drawer. She typed. Lease under Yoshida Lease. Inventory under Inventory.
Once she set the phone aside, she had just enough time to cut off a bite of waffle and bring it halfway to her mouth before her phone buzzed again. Her stomach sank. Cripes, at this rate, she’d never get to eat before her doctor’s appointment. At least her stomach didn’t hurt as much as it had lately. More than likely from stress caused by Sensei Mick Williams.
Marion grabbed the phone first and sat on it. “That’s it. The only time you and I have been able to get together is Friday mornings because Mick always needs something. Honey, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you two were married.”
Gilda flushed, bowed her head and picked at her waffle, not wanting to make a scene. Far from being married, they were only boss and secretary, which lately he seemed to take as the same thing as husband and wife. Somewhere over the past two years, the line had become a bit blurry and most of the black belts teased her about being his third arm.
When she started working at Yoshida Martial Arts two years earlier, she would mostly see Sensei Mick in passing. She once overheard him tell one of the instructors she was bright and competent and she could figure things out on her own. So she had. Lately, however, she couldn’t seem to breathe without him hovering over her and wanting to instruct her on how to take each breath.
Yoshida Martial Arts ran as smooth as a straight ribbon of highway and boasted a profit every month. Both of which had made the school’s namesake, Shihan Yoshida, sit up and take notice. Maybe Mick was nervous because Yoshida had become prone to showing up at odd times and nosing around to undermine Mick’s position as manager and sensei, teacher. Male posturing was one thing she’d never understand, no matter how long she worked at the school.
“Hello?” Marion leaned forward and waved a piece of toast in front of Gilda’s face. “For the record, you got two more texts while you were daydreaming. My butt’s shimmying so much I feel like a belly dancer.”
Gilda snorted then laughed. “I can put my phone in my purse if it’s annoying you.”
“No, I want you to relax and eat your breakfast.” A small grin lit Marion’s face. “Besides, I might keep it. I’m kind of enjoying this.”
“I think you need a real boyfriend.” Gilda wasn’t so sure she wanted the phone back anyway. “Actually, I think we both do.”
With Marion sitting between Gilda and her phone, they enjoyed the rest of brunch. Occasionally, Marion flinched. “Ooh, another text from your Sensei.”
“He’s going to think I’m avoiding him.” Gilda swiped one last gob of whipped cream with her finger and brought it toward her mouth.
“You are, so stop being a pushover. At least until we’re done eating.,” Marion said, waving her knife. “Look, you’ve stuck up for yourself before so stop sticking your head in the sand and lay down some boundaries with that man. Your time is your time. You don’t see me answering nine-one-one calls over breakfast, do you?”
“Good morning, ladies.” A tall, blond man stopped next to their table.
Gilda froze, her finger still covered in whipped cream. Detective Jason Thayer was the former boyfriend she’d stood up to when she dumped him in such a dramatic fashion the story made the newspapers for an entire week two years earlier. Apparently, Thayer had thrived on his sudden celebrity and had gotten a lot of dates because of the exposure. Gilda had cowered in her house for weeks before Marion was able to drag her out and helped her get a job in the karate school so she could get a backbone.
Marion batted her eyes. “Good morning, Detective Thayer. Are you here to arrest the kitchen staff for beating the eggs or just to harass Gilda some more?”
Thayer twisted his face into a grimace then turned his attention to Gilda, who sat motionless, the whipped cream blob beginning to slide down her finger toward her hand. “It looks like you were expecting me. I’d happily lick that off for you, but I have an image to uphold.”
“Yeah. We wouldn’t want to improve on that now, would we?” Gilda pushed away her plate and fought the urge to flick the goo at his suit jacket. She wiped her finger on her napkin. No point in giving him more ideas. “What do you want?”
He shrugged. “Nothing. I just stopped by to say hello.”
Marion rolled her eyes. “Oh, brother. You want to stick with that or tell her the truth?”
“Which truth is that?” Gilda asked. “The one where he says he loves me and would die for me or the one where he cheats on me with any woman who’ll have him?”
Thayer’s face turned pink. “I’m just trying to be sociable.”
“I overheard him tell a couple officers he’s this close to taking you back.” Marion held her index finger and thumb a quarter inch apart.
What kind of man refused to take no for an answer even after two years? Gilda shut her eyes and inhaled slowly. I am not going to make a scene.
Thayer frowned. “What I said was—”
His partner, Detective John Fabio, clapped a hand on his left shoulder. “Just ask her out already so she can deck you and get it over with. We have work to do today.”
Thayer growled, the color in his face deepening to crabapple red. “If you guys don’t mind, I’d like to do this alone.”
“I don’t mind at all. I was just leaving.” Gilda stood and grabbed her purse. She marched up to the cashier to pay for their food. This week it was her turn. A convenient excuse to escape.
Marion joined her, shoving the cell phone into Gilda’s back pocket. “You might want this before I get too attached.”
Links to my books:
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