It's April, and you know what April means, right? It means it's really and truly springtime.
As such, you've got plenty of sunshine to soak up. No excuses allowed.
Here's my recommended recipe for doing so...
Clean off your patio furniture, grab a glass of iced tea and then download a copy of Dianna Wilke's intrigue-filled Main Street, the first book in her Providence Island romantic mystery series.
When you do, expect to get swept away into a picturesque setting with delightfully twisted plots, plus compelling characters to walk those roads with.
Meanwhile, anyone working on (or wanting to work on) their own plots or nonfiction pieces can reach out right here for expert, encouraging editorial feedback.
The same goes for already published authors looking to promote their work on platforms like this Genuine Writer blog. Here's a link for you as well.
Not quite ready for that? Need some breathing space before you get back to the grind?
Then let's get down to the details of Main Street and what makes it the fun and fascinating read that it is.
April’s Author of the Month: Dianna Wilkes
Featured Title: Main Street
Age Appropriate: 17+
Bio: Dianna Wilkes is an award-winning contemporary romance author known for her Providence Island mystery series. Reading has always been an important part of her life. She says, "I learned to read when I was four years old. Writing my own stories seemed a natural progression." Dianna holds a B.A. in visual communication and a M.Ed. in instructional technology. She worked as an education consultant for a medical technology company before leaving the corporate world. Despite all that nerdy stuff, she loves creating stories of romance and mystery with touches of humor. When she isn't writing or working, Dianna is deep in researching various twigs and branches on her family tree or fulfilling entries on her travel bucket list.
Jeannette: The first question is always the first question. So let’s have at it… What is Main Street about?
Dianna: Main Street begins the story of a recently widowed interior designer who starts a new life on Providence Island. There, she finds a secret connection to her past and the murder of her husband. The mystery in Dana Canfield’s personal history extends over three novels, with each including a love story.
Jeannette: Now, obviously, those love stories involve characters. Engaging ones too. One of the things I like so much about Main Street is how down-to-earth they are. They’re real, which means they’ve each got their good and bad sides, baggage and dreams.
It makes me wonder whether you normally base your characters off of actual people, or if they’re completely made up.
Dianna: Thank you for that observation. But yes, the characters are completely made up. As I write with multiple points of view, it’s essential that each character has a distinctive voice and presents both the good and the bad.
For example, one of them, Erik McCall, is not a sympathetic character in Main Street. Yet as the series progresses, the readers learn more about the events that occurred in Dana’s life through Erik’s perspective. This also provides an opportunity of growth and healing for Dana.
Jeannette: You know, I kinda had a feeling about that Mr. McCall. And the dynamic between those two was quite intriguing. I have no idea how you’re going to resolve that tension, but I’m very interested in learning more about it.
Dianna: It definitely gets interesting when Dana learns of the shared history between Erik and her new friend April Davis in Book 2, Towne Square.
Jeannette: Oh, I love April. April’s adorable. I want good things for April. Lol. Speaking of her, let’s stick with talking about your characters for one more question. If you had to choose out of all of them, who would be your favorite and why?
Dianna: Without a doubt, it would be Nick Warden. Handsome, romantic, sense of humor (at times on the corny side)… He’s Dana’s rock, but also becomes a father figure to several other characters.
Jeannette: That keyword “becomes” ties right back in with my last response about the intriguing possibilities ahead for this series. Let’s face it: You leave a lot unexplained in Main Street.
I mean, happy ending? Check. But there’s still a lot that needs to be figured out. Did you always plan on turning it into a series?
Dianna: Definitely a series. If Providence Island was a television show, Main Street would be Season 1. The original plan was for a trilogy, with each book having a happily-ever-after romance set against the mystery of Dana’s past. Book 3, South Pointe, resolves the final mystery there.
However, when I was finished, I still felt there were stories left to be told for other characters – ones who’d played important parts in the previous books. So that’s why Book 4, Crossroads, picks up with Joshua Canfield’s story.
Jeannette: Well, good for you for ultimately not going the cliché route of a trilogy – says a person who has definitely gone the cliché route of a trilogy. They’re just so easy to do though, aren’t they?
Since that’s a different discussion for a different time though, here’s a random question for you: What’s the best story idea that ever got away? Some premise or plot or even character that you’d love to turn into a full book someday but haven’t gotten around to yet?
Dianna: I have a paranormal romance written at least fifteen years ago that I may pull out some day. That one might have to wait awhile longer though, as I also have plans for a cozy series about a genealogist.
Jeannette: Paranormal romance seems to be huge right now, so that really could be a great idea to pick back up. Remind me to ask you some other time whether it’s about ghosts or vampires or some other mythological/mystical source.
Until then, I’d like to switch over to your publishing process. If I’m not mistaken, you’re self-published, right? Yet your cover art looks top-of-the-line.
Do you leave that up to someone else entirely or are you very involved in designing and approving it?
Dianna: Yes, I am self-published, and the cover designer for all three Providence Island books is Karri Klawiter. I provide a few ideas at the beginning of the project, and Karri takes it from there.
Each cover includes an “Easter Egg” – an insider’s image, as it were – which appears in that book. For Main Street, it was a hummingbird.
Jeannette: I had to go back and look at the front cover. I totally missed it before! Very interesting. And very well thought out.
I’m imagining you’re more of an organized kind of writer then too. What does your idea-to-book development plan typically look like?
Dianna: Story ideas start with “what if,” followed by character development. I used to be a die-hard “pantser,” but with a series such as Providence Island, I had to become a “plotter.”
That’s not to say that a thread might not change along the way. My editor, Dana Delamar, provides keen feedback, which makes my work stronger. As for organizing, I’ve tried various tools but always come back to an Excel workbook.
Jeannette: You’re killing me here, Dianna. You keep bringing up things I want to discuss further – such as how you use an Excel workbook to keep your stories organized. I think you’re just stringing me along to land another Author of the Month spot.
For the record, it may be working.
Dianna: Lol! Invite me back anytime, Jeannette!
Jeannette: I just might!
In the meantime, before we run out of space, let’s tell everyone where they can find you. And then I’ll send them on their way to the one and only Main Street.
Dianna: The three best places to find me and my books would be:
Jeannette: Wonderful! And last but not least, readers, here’s your road map to a truly delicious drive.