Despite having lived in Japan for several years in the past, I’ve never written a book with that setting (probably mostly because so far, I’ve written only fantasy, and mostly of the alternative-world variety at that). If I was going to write a contemporary present-day romance though – and I’m not counting out the possibility – it would probably be set in rural Japan, and I know I’d go back there to live in a heartbeat. On the other hand, if I had to choose someplace I’ve never lived previously, I think it would be somewhere in Greece or Italy, and I’d write a historical fiction piece based around one of those settings.
- How do you come up with names for your characters?
Usually I sit myself down for a couple of hours and write down a whole list of possibilities, just based on certain sounds or meanings that I like and think will suit the characters’ personalities. Using these as a starting point, I do a whole lot of baby name/meaning searches, because I really like my names to also have some kind of historical or symbolic significance to the characters if possible, even if they’re fictional variations of the real-life names.
- Describe your writing space.
I currently live in a studio apartment under 250 square feet in size, so propped up on my bed with my laptop in front of me is usually my only comfortable option. I don’t like to write creatively in public, and when writing at home, my only requirement is relative privacy, relative quiet, and a soft place to park my butt with a decent amount of back support.
- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Five so far (although the fourth isn’t due to be released for another month or so, and the fifth is still currently in the final drafting stages). I’m not sure I have a favourite though. Even though some of my books are no doubt better than others as I’ve continued to grow in experience, I’ve loved them all in their turn. If I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have been comfortable having them published in the first place.
- Does one of your main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Probably Daymon from my very first book, A Trust to Follow. He was the first character I envisioned for the story, and although I never base any of my characters on people I actually know (myself included), in many ways, Daymon is probably the most similar to how I usually see myself – bookish, on the shyer side, not especially confident in his abilities, but willing to put his trust in those who prove themselves faithful and don’t think of him as weak, even in those moments where he doesn’t view himself as a strong person.
- Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Right now I’m working on that final draft of the book I mentioned earlier – it’s about a rather snarky incubus and a too-curious-for-his-own-good magician’s apprentice. I don’t want to give too much away (especially since it’s still technically in draft form and some things are subject to change), but let’s just say this particular WIP involves a newly instated apprentice, a secret book, and several spells that don’t work quite in the way they’re intended.
- What are you reading now?
It’s long overdue since I read the first and second books some time ago, but I’m currently reading the third book in Enlightenment, the M/M historical fiction series by Joanna Chambers. If there’s any genre of M/M I like just as much as fantasy or paranormal, its historical fiction.
- What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?
Nobody. Not because I don’t have any favourite authors or don’t think I could learn from them – far from it! – but because I’d probably be way too intimidated and be paralyzed into inactivity – the old “better to write nothing than write something horribly disappointing” mentality, which as I’m sure we all know, does not serve any writer well.
- What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to swim. I’m an ex-competitive swimmer from way back, so while I no longer compete now (at least, not to a very high level), I adore being in and around the water and keeping fit that way. Typically, I like to lap swim about 3 times a week.
- Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
I’ll wrangle them snakes any day – spiders scare the bejesus out of me, even when I know perfectly well they’re of the harmless variety. Then again, I’ve never had to really deal with snakes before. We don’t have any at all in New Zealand, and in Japan, I never had any invade my house (though I did occasionally see one in school, since I taught English in a very rural area. The kids usually chased them back outside).
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Travel. I’m not saying that any particular place or country inspires the actual stories I write, but for whatever reason, living overseas did inspire me to finally write at all. Maybe it was about being tossed way out of my comfort zone, or maybe it was just about being in a brand new space. Whatever it was, it definitely lit a creative fire under my ass.
- What is your favorite curse word?
I don’t have any single favourite curse word, but I do like it when people combine a curse word with something else to create a new insult. Whoever invented “fuck-knuckle” (which is apparently mostly a New Zealand and Australia thing) also deserves a round of applause, I feel.
- What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound of waves crashing on the shore, either from close up or far away, and of rain drumming on the roof at night, and windchimes ringing in the breeze, especially on a hot summer’s day or evening. To work or write to, I like either complete silence or soft, non-lyrical music playing in the background – think calm, casual and slow-paced, like lo-fi hip-hop or jazz-hop. In fact, that’s what I’m listening to as I write down these answers.
- What sound or noise do you hate?
This goes for writing or otherwise – I just don’t like very loud, sudden noises, especially shouting, doorbells buzzing, phones ringing or cars revving/backfiring.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Not that I’d ever actually want to run my own business (I think the stress of that would probably do me in), but aside from the actual day-to-day financial operations part, running my own used bookstore sounds pretty cool to me. Naturally, said bookstore would come with plenty of spirally staircases, artfully carved gargoyle statues and secret little reading nooks. I’d stock only the weird and indie stuff, of course.
- What profession would you not like to do?
Accounting. Ew. The thought of anything involving too many numbers frankly terrifies me.
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I’d want God to be the type of guy (or gal) who’s deliberately casual and prefers to avoid fuss. You know, not much one for fanfare? Possibly also a chill surfer. So I’d imagine him just saying something like, “Hey, brah. You made it. Nice one,” before waving me on in like it ain’t no thang.
Diana is an M/M romance author from New Zealand, although she currently resides in New York and has previously also lived in Japan and Thailand. She has no idea where in the world she’ll be this time next year and is pretty okay with that. Other than reading and writing, her main passions include travel, amateur photography and competitive swimming. Author Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/author/dianawaters Author Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/diana.c.waters Author BookBub link: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/diana-waters Author Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/diana_waters