Monday, March 09, 2009

Make-Believe Mondays With Keta Diablo

Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Keta Diablo.

Keta, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Keta: Thank you for having me today. I have a WIP (works in progress) that takes place in 1572 Scotland. At the time, there was territorial warring between Clan Forbes and Clan Gordon. Parliament finally intervened and decreed that both clans must lay down their weapons and to ensure peace Broccin Gordon’s daughter, Catriona, must wed The Lion of Forbes, Bryan. Mortal enemies, neither want to marry but are forced into it. Let’s hope by the time I’m done with the story, they fall in love (lol). Tentative title: The Lion of Forbes.

Debra: Oh, I do hope they fall in love. lol They must have that happy ever after ending.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Keta: I don’t have a problem with creativity because my brain runs on overtime. I have a thousand story ideas, but putting them to paper is another dilemma. Where to start, where to go, and how to finish so the reader remains interested through each scene, every chapter, now, that’s the never-ending challenge. For me, creativity isn’t the issue, but the actual writing sometimes is. It’s much harder than it seems.

Debra: It is much harder than it looks from the outside, I know. But also it is wonderful when the story starts flowing together.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Keta: So many authors say their characters speak to them (literally). This has never happened to me. But, after 100 pages, you begin to know your characters intimately and a sixth sense should tell you how they would handle a situation that arises, what they would say in a certain scene. If you know your character’s weaknesses and flaws, strengths and vulnerabilities, you should know how they would react. I often write something, perhaps a piece of dialogue and then I second guess my writing. I’m always asking of the hero or the heroine would really say that or react in that manner. I like to pretend they’re standing over my shoulder to keep me in check, perhaps shaking their heads and saying, “I would never say such a thing, and you should know that by now.” Or, they might say, “That was perfect; that’s exactly what I’d say to that feisty little hellcat.”

Debra: Hmm, the pretending is pretty close to them speaking to you. I think it has to do with how deeply you can enmesh yourself into the story world. Some days it is easier than other days and sometimes characters are silent. So pretending is good because we can always pretend.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Keta: Normally, I write historical because I’m most comfortable with that genre. I’ve always been a history buff and spend hours surfing the net reading true accounts of the Civil War or even early Scottish history. Fascinating stuff to me. Then several years ago, two author friends asked me to participate in a fantasy anthology with them. I reminded them that I’d never written fantasy. Not one to back down from a challenge, I agreed to write a 12,000 word fantasy novella and called it Dust and Moonlight. The pre-reviews for the anthology came back very good and I had so much fun creating this make-believe world with names and creatures that I’d never seen or heard of. I opted out of the anthology (with their blessing) and lengthened Dust and Moonlight into a full novel. It’s now available at Siren Publishing and I’m very happy I tried something new. Will I write more fantasy? That depends on how well readers receive the book.

Debra: Ah I love history too, especially Scottish history (probably because of my heritage) Fantasy is great fun to read and to write. I'll have to look for that one.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Keta: Oh, that happens to me all the time. See above where I said my brain runs on overtime. This includes sleeping. I keep a notebook on my nightstand and you’d be surprised how many times I jot down my dreams in the morning. I can remember them vividly. Dreams are mystifying. Have you ever wondered where the person’s face came from? I mean they’re real people, their features are perfectly clear, but I don’t know them, have never seen them. Was it someone I passed once in the grocery store and my mind took a snapshot of them? You venture down roads in dreams you’d never venture down in real life and it makes for fascinating stories.

Debra: The dream world is so fascinating. Those notebooks are essential for capturing what we see in our dreams. I have one of those too.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Keta: From the moment I read To Kill A Mockingbird in grade school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I couldn’t get over the fact that Harper Lee could transport me to another time and place where I could feel the hot, summer air and taste the prejudice in that town. Scout and Jem resonated with me. And all because a writer strung together (most proficiently, I might add) words, sentences. I was hooked from that moment on.

Debra: A most excellent book for many reasons and one all children should read in school.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Keta: Hmmm. Good question. My preference would be historical fiction with a trace of romance, but that doesn’t sell well in today’s world. Readers are like every other human on the planet; they want more and more of everything. Five years ago, erotica was sort of still in the closet, yet today I think it outsells vanilla or mainstream romance ten to one. I like writing erotica, but I must admit, the fact that it’s very popular is an added bonus.

Debra: Readers tastes change and I think with ebooks becoming more popular there are more changes to come. I suspect this has had something to do with the longer historical novels being less popular as people seem to want shorter novels. Chapters seem to be getting shorter and books seem to be getting shorter and I don't think I'm imagining that. But that's a whole other direction to take this chat into.

Keta, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Keta: Thank you so much for having me. I love to hear from readers, so drop by my web site and enter my book-give-away contest. I hold a drawing at the end of every month.

My blog is Keta’s Keep at
Here you can find news about my books, reviews, new releases and lots of guest authors drop by every month to showcase their new releases.


Debra's News/Debra is watching:

So many exciting things are happening to look forward to!
My new bookmarks came in this week and they are lovely.
Monica Parks, one of my dearest friends, took photos of me holding the first copy of my book and they are posted on my website and on Facebook.

Plans and preparations for the book launch party are under way and the invitations will be going out very soon. I will be reading and signing. Here are the details:
Thursday April 2nd
5:30 pm
Burkes Books
Memphis TN

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