Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Straight Chatting from the Library: Dianne Hartsock

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dianne Hartsock will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What inspired you to write this story?

A couple of years ago I wrote a flash fiction piece on a serial killer at a nightclub watching the boys dance, picking out his next victim. Now, before you think this is an odd thing for me to write about, keep in mind I read a lot of Dean Koontz and also Patricia Cornwell books. Plus I watch X-Files and Supernatural, so my mind tends to wander into dark places. It was interesting and a little frightening to put myself into a killer’s mindset. I expanded the story to see how far I could go with it, and ended up with Birthday Presents.

What was your favorite part to write?

I have a soft spot in my heart for all my characters, but in this story, Gene Mallory is my favorite. I loved writing the scenes where I could climb right into his skin and show him at his most vulnerable, and yet touch that core of strength inside. My very favorite scene to write was when he’s reunited with his brother. I had tears for that one.

What was the hardest part to write?

The scenes between Crimson and Kyle tore my heart to shreds. So difficult to write. I did a lot of research on kidnapping cases from the victim’s point of view. Also read up on serial killers who kept their victims alive for a while before killing them. Not pleasant to read at all, but I wanted to make sure I got this right. This was not an easy book to write by any means, but digging into the motives and emotions of these characters was a challenge I enjoyed. <

How did you come up with your characters?

In every story I write, my character simply come to me. I don’t have to look far to find someone who wants me to tell their story. In Birthday Presents, Kyle is a customer I saw once at work. Crimson is a creeper I saw one night while out dancing. Tracey is also a guy from the same nightclub. Gene is a character that walked onto the page demanding I help him find his brother. Craig and Paige just kind of showed up. Daniel is the man Tracey whispered in my ear about one day. I think my characters make themselves known when I need them.

Do you have anything coming up and can you tell us about it?

I had three short stories published this November, and that’s about it for this year. Currently, I’m about finished with a psychological thriller I’ll send to my publisher and then begin a Christmas story based on an old legend. It will be a bit of a mystery, but mostly a love story. My last couple of books have been a bit grim, so it’s time for something lighter and much more romantic. After that, I’ll probably write another crime drama. I like to keep busy.


For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he's held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle's help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson's hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson's birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.


Gene stared at the golden brown liquid swirling in the shot glass as the bartender filled it yet again. Maybe he'd had enough. God, he was tired. He rubbed his gritty eyes, the techno music blaring through the crowded room throbbing in his head.

He turned on the stool to the small dance floor and watched a young man gyrate to the pounding beat. Strobe lights caressed the man's pale skin and dark clothing. The sleek body twirled with flowing, sensual movements. With a graceful twist, the guy's black hair swept like silk across his white cheek. Achingly young and beautiful. Gene noted the men standing back, drinks in their hands, watching the dancers. His suspect could be any one of them. Or none.

He picked up the shot glass and held it up to the flashing lights. How many nightclubs just like this one had he been in these past six months? It felt like hundreds, with him no closer to finding Kyle's abductor. If he'd even been kidnapped.

Gene put the glass to his lips and tossed back the whiskey, savored the burn in his throat. Most members of the police force believed Kyle had been bored with his life and simply walked away. He was nineteen, after all. Even Craig had backed off the search as more pressing cases took precedence.

But Kyle would never have done that. Gene knew his brother. Sweet and shy, Kyle would never had gone willingly with a stranger, without a word to his family, leaving his parents in this nightmare.

"But he never told you he was clubbing, either," Craig would remind him.


Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination. Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Less Than Three Press, or Kobo.

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  1. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

    1. Hey Lisa! Do you have an all time favorite character?

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Danie! Who is your all time favorite author?

  3. Thank you Straight From the Library for hosting me today!

  4. Sounds like a powerful book I'm adding it to my wish list.

    1. I'm glad you think so! Thanks for stopping in. :)