From the High Sierras: A Chat with Diane Benefiel

October 2, 2019 by in category Jann says . . . with 0 and 0
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Diane Benefiel writes adventurous romantic suspense novels that are all about the romance. Like your heroes a little rough around the edges and your heroines strong enough to stand up to them? Then you’ll love her books. Diane enjoys travel and flies to the east coast often to see her baby granddaughter Grace (and Grace’s parents). A history teacher in her day job, she’s always searching for pockets of time to write. She and her husband are huge fans of the national parks and hit the open road to visit as often as they can with their trailer in tow. Visit her website and sign up for her newsletter to stay abreast of new happenings.


Today we’re chatting with Romantic Suspense author, Diane Benefiel.

Jann: Your book, Solitary Man, was the National Reader’s Choice Award Winner for Romantic Suspense in 2016! How did it feel winning the award?

Diane: It was awesome.

Jann: August 15, 2019, Hidden Betrayals, The Jamesons, U.S. Marshalls – Book One made its debut. When starting this new romantic suspense series, did you think of character, plot or theme first?

Diane:I almost always build my characters first, and the Jamesons, US Marshals series is no exception. I’d had the idea of a burned-out marshal ready to give up his badge percolating since watching the series Justified, and I wanted a heroine who’s been strengthened by adversity going toe to toe with him. I think I succeeded with Linc and Mikayla.

Jann: What major conflicts do your leading characters in Hidden Betrayal, U.S. Marshal Lincoln Jameson and Mikayla O’Kane, have to work through on the way to their HEA?

Diane:Linc discovers that Mikayla witnessed a major cartel member at the scene of a murder, and the Marshals finally have the witness they need to put the vicious killer behind bars. Linc wants to put her in witness protection, but following a childhood trauma, Mikayla has spent her life trying to escape from the smothering confinement imposed by her mother, and she isn’t about to be put into what she sees as a cage, even if it’s for her own protection.

Jann: How many books do you have planned for this series? Are you working on Book Two? Can you tell us about the characters and their story?

Diane:The Jamesons, US Marshals features siblings Linc, Eleanor, and Seth Jameson, and will be a three-book series. Book Two, Hidden Judgement, features Eleanor, whose skill is being able to emotionally read people. Growing up with two brothers, she has learned to fight harder and be tougher, but always seems to have greater insight into people’s motivations. We’ll see Ellie in charge of protecting a federal judge (yet to be named) who has been threatened by a white nationalist extremist group led by her own father, a man who abandoned the Jameson siblings when they were teenagers.

Jann: Also available for our readers is your High Sierras Series. These six romantic suspense books take place in my favorite areas—the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Tell us about this series and why you chose this particular setting.

Diane:I chose the Eastern Sierras as the setting for my first series because it’s my absolute favorite part of the world. When I was a child my family took may vacations to the Sierras, and I have fond memories of staying at the cabins at Convict Lake with my sisters and parents. My husband and I have taken our children there, and we still visit a couple of times a year. My fictional town of Hangman’s Loss is a blending of Convict and June Lakes, and the story of the town’s name is inspired by the history of how Convict Lake was named.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Diane: I do have a recurring theme, and that’s ‘woman in danger’. I love writing strong female characters who can take care of themselves, but who are in a situation where they have to accept help from a strong, protective hero. The next book in The Jamesons, US Marshals, will be a challenge, because for the first time I have the heroine wearing the badge. She’s going to be kickass.

Jann: What are you currently working on and when can we read it?

Diane: I am currently finishing up Break Away, Book 7 of the High Sierras Series. I had thought the series was done, but a character kept popping up in my head and I pitched the idea to my editor, and she said to go for it. Break Away will feature the youngest of the Gallagher siblings who have been the heart of series. Levi has lived away from his family and the town of Hangman’s Loss for all his adult life, but he returns to deal with his past.

Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Diane: I do hit walls where the ideas won’t come. One way I’ve dealt with that is with a technique I learned from a workshop at a Cal Dreamin’ conference. The presenter suggested a ‘list of twenty’ if a writer gets stuck. Can’t think how to end a scene? Make a list of twenty possible options. Write down even the horrible ones, but make a list of twenty and you’ll find you can come up with some great ideas. I do this all the time.

Jann: It’s been great talking today Diane. Looking forward to reading Hidden Betrayal and Book 7 of the High Sierras Series.


Some books by Diane Benefiel

CLEAR INTENT

Buy now!
CLEAR INTENT

HIDDEN BETRAYAL

Buy now!
HIDDEN BETRAYAL

SOLITARY MAN

Buy now!
SOLITARY MAN

Author bio
Author bio
Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since. Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined Romance Writers of America. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.
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    Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since. Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined Romance Writers of America. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.

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