Jump to Diane's Dear Reader
cannot remember a time when I didn't have my nose buried in a book. As a child
I would cheat the bedtime curfew by snuggling under the covers with my teddy
bear, a flashlight and a forbidden (read "grown-up") novel. My adored,
exasperated mother warned me that I would ruin my eyes, but so far—knock
wood—they still work.
born and raised in Queens, New York, then moved to Los Angeles and attended
college at UCLA. After graduation, I went on the road and didn't get off for
many years. I was a back-up singer for several night-club acts (Johnny Mathis,
Ann-Margaret, etc.), the lead singer in a rock group (The Establishment),
and a member of the cast in over one hundred plays at various regional theaters
all across the United States and Canada. Along the way, I also worked as a
songwriter, disk jockey, and film critic—and that’s the short list. I don't
feel as restless as I sound; I just like the challenge of having a lot of
different things going on at once.
doing voiceovers as a way to finally set down roots and start a family, and was
lucky enough to establish myself as a top voice actor in the L.A. area. But all
actors experience "in-between times," so about twenty years ago, I began to
write for television, selling several scripts, including some to the original THE LOVE BOAT. I also created a weekly film criticism column for the
award-winning Malibu Times, which lasted four years.
friend recommended that I take up romance-reading as a way to heal a recently
broken heart, I scoffed, declaring pompously that I didn't want to read about “a
bunch of weak women waiting for a man to fix them.” Obviously, I had no idea
what the genre really meant, or how far it had come from the early,
“bodice-ripping” days. I turned down the friend's suggestion, but she
persisted—bless her—and I picked one up. And another, and another, until I was
in the grip of a full-fledged addiction (I do nothing half-way, which is the
good news and the bad). About a year and about three hundred books later, I
tried my hand at writing one.
that book, SULTRY WHISPERS, to the now-defunct Bantam Loveswept
Romance line, and it came out in 1992. Since then, I’ve written and sold a lot
more books, straight romance, romantic suspense, and light comedy—more of that
restless nature of mine which refuses to be pigeonholed into one category.
were five more books for Loveswept; one of them, SATISFACTION,
was runner up, Best Short Contemporary of 1993 in
the prestigious Oklahoma Readers Choice Awards. Also in 1993, I got to talk
nationally about romance writing when I was interviewed (my fifteen minutes of
fame!) by LEEZA GIBBONS on her TV show.
1997, I was invited to write for Silhouette books, a happy moment indeed. I
published two for the comedic Yours Truly line, FIRST DATE:
HONEYMOON and THIRD DATE’S THE CHARM. FIRST DATE:
HONEYMOON was a finalist for both the
Virginia Romance Writers’ HOLT Medallion and the Phoenix Desert Rose
Chapter’s Golden Quill.
first romantic suspense, a 1998 Intimate Moments entitled WHILE SHE
WAS SLEEPING, was not only a finalist in
the Colorado Romance Writers’ contest, but was
the winner of the Best Long Contemporary for 1998
in the Aspen Gold Contest. Its follow-up book, THE TOUGH GUY AND THE
TODDLER, a 1999 Intimate Moments, was extremely well-reviewed and
received and was a finalist in both the
“Bookseller’s Best” Awards. and the Colorado Romance Writers’ “Award of
a snappy, upbeat love story set at a small-town newspaper, was a March, 2000
release for Harlequin Duets, and placed second
in the Heart and Scroll chapter's "Madcap Awards."
personal life interfered with writing for a while, but I got right back into the
swing of things a few of years ago. In April of 2002,
a Silhouette Romance was released to lovely reviews and great sales. It
was yet another departure, style-wise, a sort-of fairy tale about a pair of
magical reading glasses that gives the owner one wish.
followed that up with
THE WISH, (April, 2003), which utilized the
same wacky pair of glasses-that-give-you-one-wish. It was about a klutzy genius
who owns a bookstore, her Cinderella-like transformation, and the two unusual
men who vie for her hand. I’m extremely proud to say that
was a finalist for the grand prize—the “Rita
Award” given by Romance Writers of America, for Best Traditional Romance! It
didn’t win, but I was in great company and quite pleased just to be considered.
THE WISH was a
in the “Golden Quill Award,” sponsored by the Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter of
RWA, for Best Traditional.
released, in September of 2003, was
RANSOM, another for Silhouette
Romance. It was about the lovely curator of a family museum, the hard
and sexy new police chief, and a ransom note that changed both their lives. I’m
pleased to say that RANSOMwas a winner
for Best Short Contemporary in the prestigious “Orange Rose Contest” sponsored
by the Orange County Chapter of RWA. I feel truly blessed to have so much
acclaim given to my writing!
December of 2004, my dark romantic suspense for Silhouette Intimate Moments,
entitled WHISPERS IN THE NIGHT, was released and got a 4½ starred
review from the Romantic Times magazine! By the time wealthy widow Kayla
Thorne realizes that the “accidents” on her property are meant to cause her
serious—possibly fatal—harm, it is nearly too late. Moody ex-con Paul
Fitzgerald offers help, but with his overly-macho demeanor, Paul is the
antithesis of the kind of man Kayla can put her faith in.
September, 2005, release was a follow-up to
WHISPERS IN THE NIGHT
entitled WHISPERS AND LIES, another dark tale, this one about
mysterious parentage, political lies and one man’s ambition to be the best. If
THE WISH and
RANSOM were written in a light,
humorous style, WHISPERS IN THE NIGHT and
WHISPERS AND LIES
revealed my raw, edgy inner life.
2007, I had two releases, both for the Silhouette Romantic Suspense
line: ONE HOT TARGET in March and
ONE COOL LAWMAN
in May. They are loosely connected (as is a 2008 book entitled
ONE TOUGH AVENGER) by a legal services storefront I’ve invented called The Last House
on the Block, which caters to the elderly, the poor, the dispossessed.
ONE HOT TARGET, the sister of the storefront’s founder finds herself
a witness to murder (while trying on outfits in a dressing room!) and spends the
rest of the book trying to untangle the web of deception and greed that has
surrounded her forever. In ONE COOL LAWMAN, the heroine is a
client of the storefront, a woman who pulled herself up from the
life of drugs and prostitution—and is making a good life for herself and her
kids when her past comes back to haunt her. Pretty gritty stuff, and I loved
ONE TOUGH AVENGER
is the storefront founder’s story,
and it involves a homeless amnesiac with a guilty conscience, a pseudo-religious
cult, and murder. Pretty gripping stuff, even if I do say so myself.
way, I’m still an active voiceover actress, supplying characters on cartoons
("Poison Ivy" on Batman), narrations (“Doctors Without Borders,”)
television infomercials, promos (ABC and CBS), and commercials (Kellogg’s Fruit
Loops, Radio Shack, Planned Parenthood, Cleveland Clinic, and hundreds more).
The nice part of this life is that there's still plenty of time to write—and not
just romances. There are two screenplays in the works, and I’ve finished the
first draft of a long, complicated mystery.
that my two wonderful children, Morgan Rose and Benjamin (both avid readers) are
grown, I travel as much as time—and finances—will allow. In recent years, I’ve
been to London, Prague, Rome and in May of 2007, my guy and I went to Spain.
Next year I’ll be in Washington D.C. for my son Ben’s marriage to Beth, my
darling future daughter-in-law. Note to Ben and Beth: Not to rush or anything,
but will I finally get grandbabies? Here’s hoping. Once or twice a year, I
return to my roots, New York, for a theater blitz of five plays in four days. I
am happiest wherever there's an ocean nearby, and often drive about twenty
minutes to commute with the blue waters of the Pacific.
live in Los Angeles, in a lovely condo nestled in the hills of Silver Lake, near
downtown, and am surrounded by supportive, loving family and friends. I’m going
on eight years with my man friend, Ken, and my two darling cats, Gilbert and
Sullivan, are now five years old. “The boys” I call them when they climb all
over me! I just re-did my entire kitchen and created the space I’ve always
wanted to cook in. And I love to cook!
taken on some added responsibility for Romance Writers of America, the
excellent, ten thousand-member-strong writers group I joined in 1992. I’ve been
on the national Board for three years. For the 2007-2008 term I’ll be the
President-Elect; the next year, the President. Lots of work, but all for an
organization I love.
and more, writing is filling up my time, my head, and my heart. I think it's
because, as an actress, I get to play only the part I'm assigned to; as a
writer, I get to play all the parts—in my imagination, at least. I
intend to continue creating new characters for as long as the ideas come and
someone wants to buy them. I have the delicious sense of being where I belong
I love to hear from my readers! Snail-mail me at PO Box 67424, L.A., CA
90067 or e-mail me here at Diane@Dianepershing.com. Thanks for stopping by . . .
I seem to have written a trilogy.
The first book was called
ONE HOT TARGET, which was
released in March, 2007. The next, ONE COOL LAWMAN, came out in May,
2007. The last of the three, ONE TOUGH AVENGER, is a January, 2008
book. The odd thing is I didn’t really expect to be writing a trilogy; in fact,
the heroine of the last book was the first character I wanted to write about.
She’s loosely based on my best friend Brenda who is very short, very assertive,
brainy as all get-out, and who has more energy than any three toddlers. I
presented this character (AKA Shannon Coyle) in an—I thought—interesting and
suspenseful story to my editor, who decided the character was great, but didn’t
agree as to the excellence of the story.
Undaunted, I came up with a whole different story, this
time with Shannon’s sister, Carmen (the total opposite of Shannon, she is tall,
flaky and often in la-la land) as a pretty important secondary character.
Again, my darling editor didn’t much care for the story I’d invented, but
adored both sisters. “Start with Carmen’s story,” she instructed. “We’ll
do Shannon’s down the road.” And that’s when
ONE HOT TARGET was born.
Carmen was an unwitting witness to murder, and the entire book was her on the
run from an enemy she couldn’t see, with help from her best friend, the male
kind, who had been in love with her for years. It came out, was received well (Romantic
Times said “Diane Pershing provides some surprising twists that make for an
entertaining novel…”), and I was on to the next book.
I have a bit of a social conscience and wanted to write
about a place where people who can’t afford decent legal help can get it from
socially committed volunteers. The Last House on the Block, the name of
Shannon’s storefront in the downscale section of Venice, California, became one
of the backdrops for Carmen’s story, and when I was done I was pretty sure I was
going to get to write Shannon’s story next.
Before I could begin, however, I heard about this real-life
amazing woman who had pulled herself up from being a teenage hooker and
drug addict with two illegitimate children to become an educated, gainfully
employed role model for those still on the streets. I just had to write
about her, and so ONE COOL LAWMAN was created. Not to brag, but Romantic Times gave it a 4½ stars, TOP PICK! review, declaring, “With
the touching ONE COOL LAWMAN (4½), Diane Pershing has created a couple to
root for. This is an excellent story about two people who choose love in spite
of the uncertainties they face.”
This time, The Last House on the Block played an even
bigger role, and when that book had been turned in, I knew it was—finally!—time
for Shannon. And—finally!—I came up with a story my editor absolutely adored:
the hero is a homeless amnesiac, rescued from near-death by Shannon; the bad
guys run a pseudo-religious cult; there’s vengeance and bad dreams and guilty
consciences. In other words, lots of yummy elements for suspense.
So, Book Three: ONE TOUGH AVENGER. Shannon’s tale.
I finally wrote about my friend, who may or may not forgive me for the portrait
I painted of her in the pages of the book. I’m hoping she’ll remember that it’s
based on her, not actually her.....I mean, that’s why it’s called
fiction, right? In any case, I’m pretty proud of all three books, but if
you haven’t read the first two, you can still enjoy the third one without any
problem. The stories stand alone. There’s an excerpt here on my web page, so
why not check it out?
As I pack on the years on this planet, I find myself doing
deeper character studies and writing in the gray areas more and more, which
perfectly suits the fact that romantic suspense seems to be my current home. As
I write this letter it’s coming to the end of 2007, and I’m working on a darker,
more complex book with elements of romance instead of the relationship
being the main focus. Freed more and more from the editor in my head, my brain
keeps coming up with these lovely plot twists, and I’m hoping the book will be
ready to submit early next year. But we’ll see. Maybe there’s another Last
House on the Block story to write. You never know, do you?
And it all started with my very short and very cherished
best friend. Seriously now, isn’t life an adventure?