Hi, all published and aspiring authors. I’m Diana Rubino, author of 18 historical and paranormal novels. My publishers are The Wild Rose Press, Creativia Publishing and Endeavour Media.
My story will inspire you to push on, if nothing else will. It’s unique, because I'm probably the longest aspiring author to be published—18 years. I wrote my first novel in 1982, after a dose of reality in the brokerage business. In those days, executive-level women were virtually nonexistent in the finance industry. My first novel was largely autobiographical, as most first novels are. Although my third and fourth novels came close to getting published with Harlequin, they didn't quite make it.
Because I’m a huge history buff, I decided to write a historical, which became The Jewels of Warwick, set around Henry VIII and a fictional mistress. Jewels took 2 years to research and write, with no internet. This was 1990. It came very close to publication with several romance houses, but missed the mark for containing too little romance. When I finished Jewels, I scoured the history books for another legendary figure to write about. While I browsed the Cambridge Library stacks, a book snagged my eye. Lying, not standing, on the wrong shelf was Crown of Roses by Valerie Anand. It drew me like a magnet. Richard III is a central character in the story, and the author thanks’ the Richard III Society’ for helping her. Who’s this Richard III Society? I wondered.
Already hooked on Richard, his tragic death at 32 and his reputation as a usurper and a murderer of his little nephews, I joined this Richard III Society. So, I joined up again through snail mail, no internet.
As everyone else who has a story about how they ‘met’ Richard, he fascinated me. I’d found the subject of my next novel! And it tied in perfectly as a prequel to The Jewels of Warwick. Titled Thy Name is Love, it made the same rounds of publishers, remaining homeless after several rewrites and seven years.
But the miracle of the internet came to all of us. My first online experience was CompuServe’s Romance Forum in 1993. This led to meeting many authors who shared leads and their own writing journeys. In 1999, Lisa Hamilton, an author I'd met on the CompuServe Romance Forum, sent me a list of E-publishers, since E-publishing was new and quickly catching on. One of those publishers was Domhan Books, a British publisher who also did print.
When I heard back from them, I figured it was just another rejection, but it was an offer to publish my historicals, since Siobhan McNally, the owner of Domhan Books, was a huge Richard sympathizer. They also published print books, so I lived the moment I’d dreamed about—seeing my first book in print. This was 18 years after that first novel went out into the world.
What surprised me most about the publishing business is that you really have to work on promotion as well as writing. I've read many differing opinions on this, but I do believe you should promote as much as time allows, without taking away writing time.
I can tell aspiring authors to make sure the opening is enough of a grabber, make sure the characters are compelling, make sure they're interesting enough and the reader cares enough about them to keep reading, make sure the novel is structured well, so that it doesn't have a sagging middle or any pacing problems, make sure the stakes are high enough so they're in life or death situations that it seems they can't possibly get out of, make sure the secondary characters aren't mere cardboard, and a humor always helps.
I don’t have any one favorite author, but there are authors whose books I’ll buy if their name is on them. That includes Doug Preston & Lincoln Child (they write great thrillers together), and Bertrice Small, who we recently lost. She never disappointed me.
I’ve never had a deadline from a publisher, but I’d once sent an agent the first 3 chapters of my vampire romance. He said he’d like to see the entire ms., so I wrote 5,000 words a day til it was finished. He later rejected it. Oh, well. But at least I know I’m capable of turning out 5,000 words a day. My usual output is 2,500 words a day.
In my ‘other’ life, I own an engineering business with my husband, based in Boston.
I’d like to tell any aspiring authors who are frustrated that it’s taken them 3, 4, 5 or more years to get that first contract, remember, I wrote for 18 years before getting ‘the call’ so never give up! Keep believing, and keep the faith! And of course, keep writing, because you’ll only get better. And NEVER give up on your dream!
Genre: Biographical Romance Novel
Blurb: Abandoned and left to survive on the streets of Providence, Betsy Bowen dreams of being reunited with her father – none other than George Washington. During her ninety-one years, she begs, sells her body, marries a rich man, marries a poor man, solves a murder, meets her father in secret and becomes Eliza Jumel, the wealthiest woman in New York City. She actually could have been George Washington's daughter, according to the historical record--he visited Providence nine months before she was born.
A story of desperation, ambition, heartache and betrayal, borne with humor and refusal to compromise with what the heart asks first.
July 11, 1804, a day I’ll never forget, a Wednesday, I rose early from fitful sleep. Two of my servants huddled in the kitchen, murmuring instead of cooking. They held the newspaper wide open.
When I walked in, they froze as if turned to stone, and held the paper out to me.
“What is it?” Without fresh coffee I was half-awake. But seeing the paper, I trembled. My mouth dried up. “Oh, no …” I hid my eyes with my hands, I couldn’t bear to look.
“M-Miss Eliza …” Mary stammered. “Vice President Burr shot General Hamilton in a duel.”
Too weak to stand, I grabbed a chair and sank into it. “He … shot Hamilton?” My head spun, dizzy with relief. But I still didn’t know about Aaron. “Is he all right? The vice president?”
“We don’t know, ma’am. It just says General Hamilton was mortally wounded.”
Without another word, I ran down the hall, threw open the front door, not closing it behind me, and raced to Gold Street in the gathering morning heat. Humidity soaked my clothes. I mopped sweat from my face.
I banged on his door. No answer. “Aaron, open the door, it’s me, please, we need to talk!” I banged again. Echoes answered me. I stepped back and squinted into the sunlight, shading my eyes to see the upper windows. Nothing stirred. The house was shut tight. He’d fled. But where? When would I see my beloved again?
Hamilton died the next day, and the city fell to its knees in mourning. It was even more pronounced than when Papa passed – because Hamilton was one of New York’s own.
Public grief over Hamilton paled beside the anger at Aaron. As I approached Trinity Church for the funeral, Gertrude’s father Gouverneur Morris greeted me. “I’m to deliver the eulogy. But indignation mounts to a frenzy already,” he cautioned me, eyeing the mob.
The tolling church bells and muffled drumbeats echoed through the sweltering city air. I thought of every place Aaron could be. I knew he hadn’t meant for this to happen. It was a tragic twist of fate. I also knew Aaron’s political career was over. He’d never be president.
“Oh, Aaron,” I wailed, “Where are you, my love?”
I heard nothing from him as each empty day slipped away. Desperate, I wrote to his daughter Theodosia but received no reply. I contacted his friends, but no one knew his whereabouts.
I saw Mrs Hamilton on Broad Way, head to toe in widow’s weeds. I wanted to approach her and offer my condolences, but she knew I was intimate with the vice president, so I kept my distance. Their country home, The Grange, was not far from the Morris mansion I planned to buy. We’d be neighbors someday.
Diana has written many historical, paranormal and biographical novels set in England and the U.S. She’s a longtime member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. She has written articles for Romantic Times and appeared on The Book Swap Café, shown nationwide on Comcast channels. Diana and her husband Chris own an engineering business, CostPro, and make their home on Cape Cod. She’s a golfer, pianist, fitness nut, and Jersey Shore Italian.
Where can your readers find you?
Website ~ http://www.dianarubino.com
Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor/
Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/DianaLRubino
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