10 Questions: Diana Sobolewski
Welcome to 10 Questions! Each month, we’re going to talk to a different member of Passionate Ink and ask them 10 questions about their writing and interests.
Today we’re talking with Diana Sobolewski, who writes sophisticated sexy romance novels with a luxury wine sub-theme!
Diana, before we ask you our 10 questions, tell us a bit about yourself.
DS: I live in Montreal with my supportive husband and lovable dogs. I have a B.A. in marketing communications, was president of the Montreal chapter of the Business/Professional Advertising Association and have worked in marketing communications on the corporate and agency side.
In 2004, I founded an agency specializing in the sale and promotion of upscale wines. The fascinating world of fine wine and bigger-than-life individuals that pass through it inspired my Desire & Luxury Wine book series.
1. Fascinating! So, does writing energize or exhaust you?
DS: When I’m in the zone, it’s absolutely euphoric and I’m super energized. If I go for hours and hours like that, I get exhausted, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion.
2. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
DS: I think self confidence is essential, but a big ego can stand in the way of accepting constructive criticism and improving your writing skills.
3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
DS: No. Writing under my own name makes the marketing easier, and since my producers’ wines can be found in my books, I often cross promote. In my case, the notoriety works in my favor. The only drawback is that my last name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and the spelling makes it harder for readers to do a search on Amazon, for example.
4. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
DS: Knowing full well that stepping outside of the more popular themes wasn’t going to bring me the same kind of commercial success, I opted for the “write what you know” and “original voice””approach. Nevertheless, I like to have a sense of what readers like and don’t like. I get information through various newsletters, but I also read positive and negative reviews that other authors have received. You can’t please everyone all of the time, but it helps me to avoid certain pitfalls and reinforces certain decisions I’ve made.
5. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
DS: It may have been ambitious to undertake a series right out of the gate, but that’s what I did. There are four books in the series. Two are published and available on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) and I’m at 60% with the manuscript for book 3 and even have some chapters done for book 4.
In the first book, readers meet supporting characters that are poised to take over as central characters in the books that follow. There’s a connection or overlap, but never a cliff hanger. It’s more of a hook or set-up for the next couple’s story. It would be best if the books were read in order, but since they are almost stand-alone novels, it’s not like walking into the middle of a movie.
6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
DS: On a professional editor with experience in the genre and a professional designer for the covers and production.
7. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
DS: Most of my research is done as I go along. Though much of what I write, including glamorous venues, is familiar to me thanks to the upscale wine business, I still look things up to get the details right. Also, many of my characters are used to the finer things in life, so I have to work hard to create the kind of world that that would be familiar to them.
8. How do you select the names of your characters?
DS: I break some rules here. I know you shouldn’t have names that sound the same or are hard to pronounce, but I like names that are distinctive and fit with the nationality of the character. It helps me with the character development. I research names by nationality. I go through lists until something pops out and works with the image I have in my head.
9. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
DS: Yes! And that’s all I’m going to say about that (ha ha).
10. Do you Google yourself?
DS: I put myself in readers’ shoes to get a feel for how my brand might be perceived.
Thank you, Diana! It was great talking with you.
We look forward to talking with more PI members in the months ahead. If you’d like to participate in 10 Questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.