Take Five With...Diana Hockley

Monday, June 13, 2011

Today, I’m happy to have Diana Hockley in the Take Five With...interview slot. Diana is a dear friend of mine and a writer from Australia who has been instrumental in helping me on my journey to publication.  She’s an excellent critique partner. She lives in Australia and has put out two novels in recent times, both of which I’ve read. Let’s cut to the chase now and find out a bit about Diana and her novels.

How did you start writing mystery/crime novels?
In 2005 I joined The Next Big Writer and because I always loved mystery/thriller/romances. I was drawn to review those genres. Then I decided that I would have a go myself! 

Do you see yourself branching into any other genre? 
No, because this is what I feel most comfortable with.

What, for you, determines a writer’s success?
Typing THE END!
Where do you see yourself in five years in terms of your writing?
Probably still churning out the occasional story. 

What do you think of current publishing trends? 
It's changing so rapidly that publishers can’t keep up with them. I think agents are going to be pretty much redundant within a few years.
How has your background influenced your writing?
I went to boarding school, lived on a sheep property – I put sheep into Celibate Mouse, so perhaps that influenced me. I love sheep!
What advice would you give newly published writers?
Promote promote promote!!!

Describe your editing process?
I use the Autocrit program first and then I print out the whole manuscript and go through it with a pen. Takes days! And I still won’t have picked up all the mistakes 

What are you working on now?
After Ariel, the third in the Susan Prescott series.
What advice do you have for those writing in the romantic suspense genre?
Have a brandy before you write a sex scene!

What inspired you to write Celibate Mouse or The Naked Room?
I produce and present a classical music radio program and one night I was wondering (as you do) what would happen if the pianist didn’t turn up for a major concert? There would have to be a very good reason – so I thought of one! Hence, The Naked Room. Almost three years later, I was in Tasmania watching the Tasman Cup Championship sheepdog trials and it occurred to me that the competitor penning the sheep in the final moments of his trial could be picked off very easily with a rifle! Hence, The Celibate Mouse.

Has publication changed your life in any way?
Only in that people recognise me in the street more often  LOL

How did you start writing? 
When I was ten I wrote a story in a competition and received a 'highly recommended'. It went on from there. In 1971 I wrote a novel set in Africa where I was living at the time. It was foul, got rejected but with a “it has merit” attached to it! My eldest son has it stashed away somewhere.

What kind of books do you read? Do they influence your writing in any way?
Yes, murder and romance.

Who are your writing heroes? 
Julia Spencer Fleming and Frank Muir
What elements do your stories always contain? 
Pet rats, humor and murder!
What's one genre you would like to try writing in someday?
All humour.

And how about one genre you doubt you'll ever write?
Science fiction and fantasy (one and the same I think!)

Why did you choose to self publish?
Because no agent would take me on, let alone a publisher!

What's your biggest, most far-fetched, dream-come-true wish when it comes to your writing? 
Someone buying one of my novels and making a movie out of it.

How different is the publishing business in Australia as compared to North America. 
Australia only has a few publishers here, lots of arrogant agents and hundreds of terrific writers. This makes for a desperately cosy situation. There are more opportunities in America in spite of the huge population.

One lucky follower who comments will win an e-copy of one of Diana's books. If you like edge-of-your-seat suspense, you'll enjoy these books.  For a short time, the Kindle version of the Naked Room will be on sale for $2.99. Diana's website is at http://www.dianahockley.webs.com/



  1. Thanks for posting this interview with Diana, Joy. It was funny, interesting and informative. Thanks Diana for all your wisdom and insight. Best of luck in all your endeavours :)


  2. She's good people and a good writer too, which makes it my pleasure.

  3. Fun interview! I love hearing from other authors.

  4. Great to find another mystery writer! Thanks for the interview. I'll look for her books.

  5. Hi Diana, Hello Joy,

    A great interview! Loved reading about Diana, JL.

    And thanks for sharing, Diana. I love that you always have pets in your story.

  6. Oh, I love sheep too! And I love your stories. I think I worked with you on "Mouse" on TNBW. Great to hear your stories are out. Who did your covers? Tish?

  7. I love the brandy idea! ;-)

    You ladies are so lucky to have each other for critique partners.

    Lovely interview!

  8. I'll look for Diana's books. Thanks to her for her insight and advice - I hadn't heard of Autocrit - gosh, but blogging is wonderful. Thanks, T Max, for hosting the interview. I also enjoyed your comment about cane syrup in Jamaica. We went on holiday once...*smiles at the memory of your delicious cane syryp*

  9. Folks, thank you for all your kind comments, they're greatly appreciated. There's not an author alive who isn't a sniveling, pathetic wreck at heart, and we do so need boosts to our confidence LOL

    Joy is a fabulous writer who is a dream to work with and supports me in all my sillier moments. I, of course, respond by pushing her to write more and more of her marvelous novels by sending her wild scenarios for off-shoots of her characters. This thoroughly muddies the waters and sends her into a frenzy!

    Blessings from Australia


  10. Yes, Liz, Diana's been great to have on the journey. As she's said here, she's chock full of ideas both when I hit a roadblock and when I don't even want to write.

    Thanks to everybody for stopping in and sharing your thoughts.

  11. Great interview. Very interesting how writers have different approaches to writing. I do love the have a glass of brandy before writing a romance scene. Will definitely have to infuse that into my writing.

  12. Thanks for the interview,ladies! It was interesting and informative. Diana has an engaging voice in the interview, and I'm sure her books are just as terrific!

  13. "Have a brandy before you write a sex scene!" You made me laugh!

    I feel attached to my genre too. I'll write middle grade and YA, always fantasy with the exception of short stories. For many of us, it's what our brains gravitates towards.

    Thanks for the interview!

  14. Fabulous interview and great answers, Diana.

  15. What an interesting and fun interview. I've never thought about sipping brandy for certain scenes, but it makes perfect sense. : )

  16. What an interesting interview. I was intrigued by her idea that one day agents will be redundant. I agree that we tend to write what we love to read.

  17. Cool interview, J.L.

    I love your candor and humor, Diana. Good for you. I wish you all the best in your writing career.

  18. Very humorous, wise and uplifting post, Diana. Interesting take on agents. Thanks to you and thanks to Joy for interviewing you. I so enjoyed reading and sipping coffee with you. :-)

  19. Thank you so much for your support and kind comments, girls. I should have qualified a comment I made about agents and I am writing a blog about it later today on my site :)

    Looking forward to finding out who is winning a book!

    Hugs from Australia,


  20. Thank you for your kind words, Ellie :) BTW, Clarissa, I mean to tell you that Andy McDermott from Publicious has thousands of covers and I chose this one from his collection. I thought was perfect for Naked Room!

  21. Thank you for your kind words, Ellie :) BTW, Clarissa, I mean to tell you that Andy McDermott from Publicious has thousands of covers and I chose this one from his collection. I thought was perfect for Naked Room!

  22. Great interview - love the brandy advice!

  23. Yes, what a fantastic interview. It was wonderful meeting you, and you should try your hand at fantasy, you might be surprised at how much fun it can be to live on the edge. hehe.

  24. Actually, I have to confess that I was part of a six author team to write a pet rat fantasy. This was about two pairs of rats from different clans, on an adventure to the Shining Mountains, seeking permission to marry from the Queen of Rats! There was a lot of shape-shifting, spells and miraculous escapes. I ended up re-writing the whole novel in the end as no one else wanted to and perhaps I was the most qualified. We are still discussing publishing this novel!



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