Diana is published by *Champagne Books and their sci-fi imprint, Burst Books. Diana’s fantastic book trailer for Zirconya is right here and her free-read appetizer, ‘Nahtaia: A Faery’s Tale’, can be found here. (I highly recommend it.) Take a look at Diana’s website for more up to date info on other projects and get to know her better at www.dianailinca.com.
Here’s an idea of what’s between the covers of Zirconya;
Synopsis: A young elf named Caelum is forced from her world of Zirconya into an unmagical realm called Earth. Ignorant of the life she left behind, she lives as a normal human being, but nothing could be further from the truth. After seventeen years of unknowing exile, a man from her real world, Maze, comes to escort her back, but without her memories of Zirconya, his tale sonly convince her of his insanity.
When holes begin tearing through the dimensional fabric between Earth and Zirconya, Caelum must find a way to remember her past life before Zirconya’s existence is discovered. But how can she remember something she doesn’t even believe in? As if surviving high school isn’t tough enough, add the constant dogging by an annoying, though hunky, mythical man, and the appearance of a creature from her darkest nightmares, and you’ve got a troubled teen.
“Listen, Vicky,” she cut in. “I know about Lockesith and Zirconya and the
Sages. I know about them all. Don’t say a word to anyone else unless they
know who Maze is.” She began to speak in a panic as the dark man spoke with
the teacher. “It’s all true. You have to believe it, all right? Please!”
The teacher turned and pointed to Chloe. The sinstarian glared at her as he
neared. Chloe glanced at Vicky once more and flashed a half smile when she
suddenly shot out of her seat, jumped from desktop to desktop and dashed out
through the back door of the classroom leading her outside. She ran along
the edge of campus, Craban close behind. The other sinstarian came up from
the side and joined the first. The pursuit seemed in slow-motion as she ran
for her life.
Turning her head, Chloe saw the pair as they drew dangerously closer with
each stride. The Sage faced forward again and saw Maze standing a few paces
ahead, holding a large, silver sword which he lifted above his head and
slashed the air before him, creating a tear similar to the one in the sky.
Chloe had too much momentum and couldn’t stop herself before she reached the
tear. Her eyes widened as she ran directly into it and the campus
Hi, Diana. I really enjoyed ‘Nahtaia: A Faery’s Tale’, and thank you for taking the time to chat with me. For starters, could you tell us a little about what drove you to write?
Hi there! Thank you for having me!
As just about any other author will tell you, it was my over-active imagination that got me interested in writing. Wait, that’s a lie. It got me reading which got me to dreaming and from there it all broke loose on paper. When I would see a movie or read a book, my mind and creativity would really let go and I’d be dreaming myself into some odd situations. One day I had this string of fantasies that just felt too jumbled in my mind, so I decided to write them down. That’s when I first realized I actually had the ability to write something down and have it make sense.
Now, it’s a sense of relaxation when I write. If I’m stressed, writing helps. If I’m feeling like my brain is mush, writing is my answer.
As a writer myself, I find my books somewhat thought provoking. But then,
that’s the effect they have on me. How about you? When you finish a book,
Diana, what effect does the completed work have on you? Is it relief, or is
it a subject and theme that lingers on your mind?
Good question. That really depends on the story and how it ends. If it’s a stand alone, I’m usually glad to finally end it. It seems to me the stand-alones are so much more difficult to write and I feel more of an urge to get them down and out onto the submission boat. As for series, they are thought provoking and I’m usually more excited about moving on with the
story in another book. There have been a couple times when a book I meant as a stand-alone hung over my head with additional scenes I could add, or more “history” to the story materializes in my mind and I’m tempted to write a sequel after all. It depends on the story, really. What I know for sure is that I can’t seem to let some stories go and there is always more in my mind.
I’m sure finished products affect each writer differently. Considering that,
do you sometimes find an element in your last book something you may want to expand upon in the next volume, or in another title?
For sure. Sometimes there will be something that happens in the story or a character that is introduced that fascinates me. Usually, though, I’d try to fit whatever it was into another story because once I finish a book I expected to be a stand alone, I don’t want to have to think up a whole other plot and subplots for a sequel. If it doesn’t fit into another wip, then
sure, I can eventually come up with another volume to that story.
Here’s something I struggle with. Maybe your answer to my next question can
help writers that share this particular concern. When you write a story,
what values do you adhere to? And if you adhere to any, do you sometimes
want to break out and be chaotic? (E.G., not a happy ending?)
Values in books are a big matter that has always been talked about among authors. Some don’t think they’re necessary while others feel every book should teach the reader something – typically in childrens’ or young adult novels. I myself am with the latter, and enjoy a good sense of values from the author. Not forced values that make the book sound preachy but something thought provoking to the reader that will make them think beyond the story. Happy endings are not always the case and I wouldn’t want to lie to my readers by making it seem that way,(Though childrens’ books are different) In my writing.
As for my own values, in my writing, I try to show the YA’s that yes, there * is* evil out in the world and bad people and bad things, but that all of these things can be overcome with the correct sense of right and wrong. I also like to see the change and growth of a character that begins as a person that no one likes. Someone who’s just not nice and unpleasant to be
around…to see them change into a whole different person through experiences and troubles that many teens/people face in our modern day…with a fantasy twist of course.
How about characters? What method do you use to come up with character
I have no set method, really. Sometimes it just comes to me. Sometimes I take a word and twist it or add another word to it. It’s all a matter of the story and the type of character, too. Elves and dragons, for example, are much more difficult to name than humans.
Okay, now let’s talk about Zirconya, specifically. I’ve heard it through the
grapevine that you’ve actually constructed Elven dialect and language. Tell
us how much work went into that.
Oh goodness, haha! I’ve been hearing this all over the place, too, but it’s only partially correct! Yes, I do have elvish in the Zirconya series but I don’t have the entire language spanned out Iike, say, Tolkien. I’ve put together bits and pieces but not an entire language…yet. I wish I could say I did but, yikes! That’s something that would take a lifetime!
In that the language of the characters in Zirconya is critical to the story,
you’ve created a study in culture, so to speak. So, when writing your book, how much time did that epic creation-ism take to develop?
Culture-wise, yes, I did delve much more into that. Each species has their own culture; their own typical beliefs, allies, quirks, etc. I have eleven chief species in Zirconya, too, so there was quite some work put into that when trying to explain every species separately and their own culture. I’m currently working on putting it all together in readable, understandable form for my website, but believe me when I say that it takes some time and brainwork. You have to think about the creatures’/person’s surroundings and way of life to be able to form an idea of what effect they would have on a species, what they would eat, how they would hunt, etc. A lot of history also has to go into the world for everything to fit together and make sense. For example, in Zirconya, sinstarians would have no reason to hate elves so much unless there were some epic problems in their history. I have to create that history and have it down to understand it and make it understandable to readers. All of this creation, though, has been going on for the last decade. It’s not only time that’s needed, but a passion for the world to keep you going.
When constructing such an epic fantasy, did you outline the story or did you
pants it? Or did you use a mixture of the two methods?
It was a mixture that is still a process now. I have the basic outline of the next two books in the series but ideas are still hitting me. Subplots are still coming so I am forced to wonder whether or not I’ll really be able fit the whole story in three books. At this point, the main plots are outlined but I’m “pantsing” the subplots.
Okay, Diana, tell us how you came up with that stunning cover for Zirconya.
The wondrous Amanda Kelsey from Champagne Books designed it for me. She’s a
wonder in the works!
What can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Zirconya: The Sage of Aluh’Nehn is the first book in the series and focuses mostly on Caelum Foriei, aka, Chloe Wiles and Maze, “the Sagen bodyguard.” Around Chloe/Caelum, t’s about the typical, skeptical traits of our modern world and how she discovers that, all this time, we’ve been wrong and there is a whole other dimension out there full of things people only write faery-tales about. It’s the beginning of a series about the growth of two characters (Chloe/Caelum and Maze) as they learn to cope with one another and their fate while trying to keep darkness from veiling the land of Zirconya and passing into the modern world of Earth. Think about it. Two people who realize they’re going to have to deal with each other for all of eternity, work together to keep two dimensions safe and in-line…when they could hardly stand one another for a year. It’s not exactly fun; unless of course you do in fact find some form of enjoyment in torturing your characters, which I do.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all
Some of the events were true to my own life, though highly exaggerated so it’s really not worth sharing. Some of the characters are also based off of people who I know or knew at one point. Basing characters off of people you know helps with the whole sense of reality when you think about it, like, “how would that person react in real life if <insert event here> just happened?” Not all my characters, though. I do like using my imagination,
How did you choose the genre you write in?
Fantasy has always been important to me. I grew up constantly pretending instead of playing with Barbies and video games. The idea of creatures and magic has been something close to my heart for as long as I can remember. It’s the one genre I can enjoy while reading and enjoy writing the most. I guess it’s just my personality.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has
been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism is the criticism I get almost all the time when someone hears I write fantasy, but that’s not directed to my writing. “Fantasy is pointless.” I am often put down for my passion in writing things that “can’t happen” but it hasn’t stopped me this far and I don’t plan to let it.
The best compliment I’ve ever received was when I received the news that a seventh grade class used my Zirconya offshoot, Nahtaia, as a class reading project. They sent me pictures of the art from their presentations and everything! When I see that kids are actually getting something from my writing *as well as enjoying it,* it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Read! A lot! The more you read and the more diverse books you read, the better your writing becomes. And when you start querying, don’t expect things to move quickly. Expect tons of rejections for a long time. It took me years! It’s the nature of the literary beast and there’s no fighting it. I was rejected because my book wasn’t as good as I thought it was. (and, shoot, I thought it was awesome, haha!) Jumping to self-publishing because
you think the agent/pub-house is “wrong” will only hurt you in your future attempts to get an agent or be pubbed by a bigger house.
Also, write what you enjoy! Not what “the market calls for.” Readers can tell the difference between a story written for the money and a story written for the passion and the love that’s there for that story. Unless, of course, you’re only writing for the money, then go for it. (Please keep in mind, this is not PROFESSIONAL advice. Just advice from my own personal experiences to aspiring authors – not already published authors)
Thank you for squeezing some time for me to jabber! I love sharing the world of Zirconya with anyone mad enough to listen!