A Conversation With Diane Dean White
Diane Dean White started her writing at an early age on an old royal typewriter. She was a newspaper reporter, and did stringer work, ancestral history, and donor appeal letters for nonprofit organizations. Diane wrote a weekly column for a magazine for four years and has penned more than 300 short stories. Her books include Carolina in the Morning, On a Summer Night, Stories from a Porch Swing, Texting Mr. Right, Winter Wonderland and This Side of Heaven.
What’s the hardest part of writing romantic suspense?
Diane: Leaving my characters—they’ve been such a part of my writing life, in this case, This Side of Heaven was a two-year project, and they’d been introduced in On a Summer Night—a previous book—so it was rough after working with them not to want to keep them close. I’ve learned there is a time to stop, and I came to the end and said good-bye.
Why do you like writing romantic suspense?
Diane: I write inspirational romance/suspense. I enjoy creating characters and bringing romance into their lives. In my last book, This Side of Heaven, I had an aunt who came to visit her nephew at his, and formerly her ancestral home, and she became reacquainted with her old high school sweetheart. I created a young couple and someone my age at the same time. Funny, I kept picturing the aunt much older than me! I played two parts writing this drama of love.
There was a lot of suspense not related to romance, and I think you need that, to make the thread of love more exciting, I also showed the reality of life and sadness that comes with it. But because the Lord is bigger than anything we can imagine, He took front stage, and my characters with different needs looked to Him. And redemption comes into play too.
I enjoy court room drama, but with suspense, although fictional, you have to be sure you’re right on the mark. Because this book takes place in rural Georgia, I had a good contact in Atlanta, a captain in the police force, and he answered so many questions that were pertinent today. In my book. a young romance bloomed throughout, and an autumn romance as well.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
Diane: In This Side of Heaven, the title came first. I was critiquing a friend’s story and came across the phrase. I asked her if she was going to use it—she wasn’t, so I did. Then I continued This Side of Heaven with the characters I’d introduced in my previous novel, On a Summer Night, and wanted to work with them further as my hero and heroines. I’m a fly-by-the-seat writer, but I’d also lived in an area similar to where I wrote about. Since the late 1970s, I’ve wanted to bring some memories to light, so this was a very important book to me to write, and I had a good critique partner to work with. And you don’t have to read the previous book, as This Side of Heaven stands alone.
Current book: This Side of Heaven
After fleeing an abusive marriage, Darlene and her two preschoolers move to rural Georgia, Detective Brett Gafee’s hometown. Will they find a new beginning together?