# Why did you choose to write in your particular field/genre?
I am all about the romance. Let’s face it – we live in a very hectic and stress-filled world today. Reading, particularly a romance novel with its guaranteed HEA or happily ever after, allows us to escape for a while and live vicariously through the authors words. I strive to write with a lot of emotion because I believe romance is about that – emotion – not just sex. There’s that, too, but it is secondary to the emotional journey my characters are on.
# What do think most characterizes your writing?
My stories are character-driven versus plot driven and I try really hard to write with a lot of emotion – not just words. I want the reader feel what the characters feel, hear what they hear, see what they see. When someone tells me they laughed or cried or stayed up late reading or couldn’t put it down, that’s music to my ears because it tells me I achieved my goal.
# What was the most difficult book you’ve written?
Without a doubt, it was Chasing Hope, which is also my personal favorite. Deciding how to handle Max’s PTSD kept me up nights. It’s such a serious subject and affects so many people today, not just soldiers, though that is what most of us think about when we hear the term. It can affect anyone who has suffered trauma of some sort. The more I researched it, the more I knew I was not qualified to delve too deeply into it, and a romance novel was not the place to do it, either.
But, it was an important part of Max and needed to be included, so the story begins over a year post treatment. With the help of a dedicated professional and a couple of close friends, he has developed some coping skills to deal with it and is now ready to venture out into a relationship.
# Do you write under a pen name and if so, why?
As a matter of fact, Dana Wayne is my pen name. I have always wanted to write and one day, when I was a freshman in high school, I was talking with my mother about my desire to one day be a writer but thought my name didn’t sound very writery. After much brainstorming, we came up with Dana, which is a play on my middle name of Dianna, and I loved it. She immediately said Wayne for a last name because John Wayne was her favorite actor, and ta-dah, Dana Wayne was born. Unfortunately, she passed away before I published my first book, but she was convinced it would one day be a great story because I read bits and pieces to her over the years. As it turns out, she was right because Secrets of The Heart won first place in a statewide contest.
# What book do you wish you could have written?
Actually, there are two very different ones. First is the ultimate romance, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have read it at least six or eight times and worn out three DVD’s of the BBC production. The other is Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard. It came out in the late ‘80’s and I’ve read it multiple times, too. It’s a romantic suspense that had me laughing out loud in places and holding my breath in others. The ending blew my mind. The two MC’s are among my favorites to this day.
# Is there a person you credit for being your inspiration for reading and/or writing?
My dad. He had a stack of paperback westerns beside his chair and devoured one or two every day. I can remember sitting on his lap as he read passages to me and being fascinated at how someone could paint a picture with words so vivid, I saw it in my mind. That’s when I decided that one day I would be a writer. The first book I ever owned was Riders of The Purple Sage by Zane Grey and still have a copy to this day.
# Do you have a mantra for writing and/or life?
Keep looking for the pony. I know it sounds weird. My husband tells me I am the eternal optimist. He claims if walked into a room full of horse manure, I’d immediately start looking for the pony. And he’s right. Life gets hectic, your writing muse takes a vacation, people disappoint you, stuff happens. But it will pass. Maybe like a kidney stone, but it will pass. By choosing to focus on the good doesn’t mean I ignore the bad, it simply means I don’t dwell on it. I know there’s a pony out there somewhere, and I’ll find him. Eventually.