Monday, September 13, 2010

Interview with Lucienne Diver

A BIG welcome to literary agent and author, Lucienne Diver!

It is such an honor to have you here today. Let's get started, there's so much we want to know about you.

Revamped is a quirky and engaging read! Where did the story idea come from?
Thanks so much! Actually, originally Gina’s second story was going to go in a completely different direction. Then, once I got the plot on track, I decided that every third chapter was going to be from Bobby’s point of view. (Gina was actually going to give him some facetime…now that’s love!) But both turned out to be false starts.

One of my authors once said that she writes twice as much on each novel as is ever published, and I think that’s true for me as well. I throw out as much as I keep…sometimes more. Just like life, fiction doesn’t come with a road map. Oh, okay, some writers use these funky things called outlines, but I can’t seem to work like that. My stories are very character-driven, and characters, like people, are unpredictable. I always have a general idea where I’m going, but if I find that any specifics more than three or four chapters ahead are irrelevant by the time I get there.

Any obstacles during the writing process?

Noise! Coming from New York City, where the walls are fairly thick to tune out the neighbors, I was totally unprepared for what I swear are paper thin walls in Florida. I love my son and my puppy, but neither are exactly quiet, and it often isn’t cool enough here for me to go write on the dock, which is one of my favorite spots to sit.

The need to beat my household and my inner editor/critic awake are what prompt me to rise between 5:30 and 6 a.m. (depending on how late I was up the night before) to write.

What aspect of writing has been the most difficult for you?

Endings. I have a very bad habit of racing to the finish line once it’s in sight. Because of that, my endings generally suck the first time through and take several revisions or complete rewrites before they’re ready for prime time.

What is the first thing you like to do when planning a new project?

If it’s part of an on-going series, I usually have two or three completely divergent ideas about what I want to do. I sort of let both percolate and research in the various directions until one solidifies in my head and says, “This is it!”

How long did it take you to write Revamped?

Six months all told.

Any bites yet on movie rights?

I wish! There’s so much vampire material out there already that Hollywood’s pretty much said, “Enough!” It would be wonderful, though, if someone out there would fall for my characters the way I have. I mean, what would be cooler than a fanged Cher (Clueless) or Elle Woods (Legally Blond)?

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up your dreams! I started writing when I was eleven. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I started selling. Some people are clearly quicker on the uptake, but the point is that writing, like any art, takes talent but then also refinement. Men and women aren’t born knowing how to work metal or fire glass or any other old thing. They might be self-taught or instructed, but either way there will be failed efforts, learning experiences, marked improvements and lots and lots of practice before success.

Any advice for writers seeking representation?

I won’t sugar-coat it, there’s a lot of competition out there. The days, if they ever existed, when agents or editors had time to nurture diamonds in the rough are long gone, which is why I always emphasize honing your craft. Once you’ve done that, it’s a good idea to do your research to find the right, reputable agents for your work. Whatever you write, there will be a writers organization that can help you, like:

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)

The Mystery Writers of America (MWA)

Romance Writers of America (RWA)

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

And many others. These groups will likely have a list of agents they’ve vetted, who’ve made legitimate sales within the fields. Two other great reference sites are Preditors & Editors and SFWA’s Writer Beware site. Both give alerts and information for what to watch out for. For who’s selling what to whom or for interviews with publishing professionals, there are Publishers Marketplace (full subscription will cost) and Media Bistro (which won’t). The latter is comprised of many blogs; signing up will get you a daily summary of links and headlines.

How do you balance the time between agenting and writing?

I spent a lot of time on seesaws as a child, practicing for later life. Oh, seriously? Writing is a compulsion and agenting is a calling. I couldn’t give up either one. To stay sane, I only wear one hat at a time (see Author hat here). I write in the mornings before I’ve offered my agent-self enough caffeine to make an appearance. Then I have an agent who is not me to handle my work during business hours and to keep submissions et al at enough of a remove that I won’t obsess and can focus on my clients’ careers.

Where can we learn more about you?

Thanks for asking! Here’s my link soup:

To sign up for my newsletter:

Author blog:

Character blog:





Whew! I’m tired just looking at all these links. Wouldn’t swear I’m interesting enough to maintain them all!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule. You rock!! And so does Gina! Any film agents out there reading this? Pleeeease, Gina would make for an awesome movie star!! She really would.

My pleasure. Thanks for having me here and for rocking so hard yourself!


Audra Krell said...

Thanks for this great interview Mart! I really appreciate the advice about honing my craft and only wearing one hat at a time.

JC Deacons said...

Sweet! :)
Congratulations on the awesome opportunity! :)


Unknown said...

Thanks Mart, and thanks Lucienne for such a great interview.

Being on the down side of the query process, I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am more amd more confident in my MS. How did I get that way? By doing what you said, honing and refining.

D'Ann said...

Thanks for the talk. I'm always curious about how to juggle the author/agent roles.

Mike Lynch said...

Nice interview. Very informative, and sadly true about agents no longer having the time to groom talented but not-quite-there writers. Thanks for sending it.


Penelope said...

Thanks Mart! Managing juggling acts is one of my fave topics. It's nice to hear from someone who is successful at a couple of them. One hat at a time - good advice.


Mart Ramirez said...

Thanks so much for all the great comments! I just asked the questions. It was Lucienne who had all the great answers:)

Anonymous said...

Awesome job! Kudos to both Ms. Diver and Mart on the interview. I just love being able to make note of good advice.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, Mart. I'm going to sign up for Lucienne's newletter.

Lucienne said...

Thank you all for stopping by! And thanks, Martha for hosting me here!


Anonymous said...

Great interview.Very informative.Your interviews always keep me wanting to read more :)

Zee Monodee said...

Great interview! Good job on the questions, Mart, and fab job by Ms. Diver for the answers. Good to know others juggle different hats too and it's good to get a clue how they do it.

Greta said...

Thanks so much for sharing this great interview. I like the way she made comparisons to other crafts and I'm looking forward to checking out Revamped!

Sheri Fredricks said...

Those were great questions asked to Lucienne, Mart. And her answers were what everyone wanted to know! Just knowing others are out there finding a professional balance in family and work shows me it can be done. One doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing the other. Maybe I need to take Lucienne's cue and get my butt out of bed an hour earlier! Thank you, Mart and Ms. Diver, for the wonderful interview.

Anonymous said...

Wow Martha! I am so proud of you! How exciting that you got to interview Lucienne!