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August Author Stalker with Dianne Blacklock!

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

Sharing a drink with the lovely Di.xx

Welcome to my Author Stalker series, where I will ask some of my favourite authors for the answers to 10 things that we're all dying to know about them and will get them to share a photo or two with us (it may be a photo of their writing space - who doesn't like to take a peek at where the magic occurs - or a photo of something special to them and why it is so special).

I have always been fascinated about the secret lives of writers; from the books that made them cry, to what they would choose to be if they weren't a writer, to advice they wish they had been given when they were just starting out.

For quite a few years, I have sought out authors whom I admire and reached out to them, originally via email, in recent years via social media and meeting them in person at author events. I used to joke to my friends that I was off 'Author Stalking' and they have since dubbed me, 'The Author Stalker'.

But let me be quite clear. There are only good intentions behind my stalking...that is to get to know more about my favourite authors and then promote their fabulous books!

I know first-hand how hard it is for them to get their story down, then have it published and find its way into the hands of readers. So it is my absolute pleasure to help promote our hard working authors and their latest releases.

I jokingly refer to Di as my first author stalker victim. Ever since falling in love with her character Samantha Driscoll years ago, in the wonderful novel Wife for Hire, I sought to connect with Di. I would appear at her author talks, armed with a handful of her books to be signed and a heap of questions to be answered. I love how Di creates such authentic and endearing characters, something I hope to channel in my own characters.

Over the years, and after attending an intensive six-week course Di ran at Writing NSW, the stalking turned into something more. She became my friend and mentor and I feel very blessed to have her in my life.

Di has published ten fabulous novels and now works as an in-demand freelance editor, helping authors to launch the best possible version of their book into the world.

So without further ado, please allow me to introduce my first Author Stalker guest, Dianne Blacklock...

Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?

A: Finish it! No, really. I took me more than ten years to finish my first manuscript. To be fair, I had three more babies in that time, was building a house and eventually returning to the workforce. However, until you take your writing seriously and grant it more than hobby status, you can’t expect anyone else to take it seriously. And you can’t do much with an unfinished manuscript.

Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?

A: Such an interesting question that got me thinking, but then left me stumped! I immediately thought To Kill a Mockingbird - but then I’d be dead and would have only written one book. The thing is, I guess there is no book I wish I’d written, more that sometimes when I’ve heard of the premise of a book, I wished I’d had the idea first – but then written it myself. I remember first hearing the concept for Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot and thinking just that.

Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?

A: Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner. No spoilers, but boy did I sob at the end!

Q4: Coffee, tea or ?

A: I’m going to say white wine, as it covers a multitude of options!

Q5: What is the next book on your tbr (to be read) pile?

A: The Erratics by Vicki Laveau Harvie. Now that I'm editing mostly, I don’t get to read very much for pleasure any more, so it might be on the pile for a while, but it is next up!

Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novels. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?

A: Hm, problem is, my ‘inspirations’ have grown older since I wrote my books, so they might be a bit old to play their parts now! But Sandra Bullock jumped into my head when I was writing False Advertising and inhabited Helen so I could never see her as anyone else. Then Rob Lowe was the inspiration for Hal in Wife for Hire. But not Rob Lowe, the 80s era 'brat packer', Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn from the West Wing TV series. He was such a sweet character!

Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?

A: My family. Wouldn’t want to live without them.

It’s probably pretty corny or obvious to pick a picture of my family. Everyone’s family is special to them, of course, but even as mine have grown up and moved on, we’ve remained close, and my sons have all been highly influential on my writing career, if not directly involved. And now I have two wonderful grandchildren as well. One of my sons lives in Melbourne, so whenever they’re in the one place, I insist on a photo together – and I managed to get the grandbubs into this one!

Q8: Dream holiday destination?

A: Any holiday would be a dream right now! But if I was given a blank travel cheque, I think I’d go straight to New York. Been there once for 8 days – it wasn’t nearly long enough.

Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?

A: I guess it would be editor, seeing as that’s what I’m doing now! I love editing so much – I get to play with words and stories without all the angst and doubt and dread that comes with being a writer.

My new computer set-up is my current pride and joy - having a large monitor hooked up to my new tiny laptop. It's not always this clean, but I do like a clean workspace. The Snoopy figure with the typewriter has sat on my desk for probably 15 years - my son gave it to me out of a Happy Meal! Now it's like a lucky talisman. And the 'blobs' on the wall in the frame are a recent gift from another son - two letters from an antique printing press he bought in Japan! (the letters, that is, he didn't buy a printing press!)

For number 10, our guests get to choose one question from a choice of four possible options.

Q10: Name one debut author/novel you would recommend?

This is good timing, as I’ve just finished Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, which I really enjoyed. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think he has a unique voice, and if you can get into the rhythm of that voice, it will take you on quite an unexpected journey.

'Dianne Blacklock makes her long-awaited return with a sweeping tale of first love and second chances told with her trademark warmth and humour.

It's 1980, and Kathryn Rowland is young and ambitious. She has precise plans drawn out for her future and no one is going to get in the way of them — not demanding parents, nor romantic entanglements.

But then she meets Jack Gallagher in a dark alley — long story. As one of the top fashion photographers in the country Jack knows all about ambition, but he's become bored with the picture-perfect women who surround him every day and he finds himself enchanted by independent Kate.

So how did they end up, almost a decade later, estranged, still nursing long held pain and regret? How did Jack find her, and what does he want with her son? As family secrets are revealed, and lies – so many lies – unravel, a tragedy brings them once again into each other's orbit.

Against the backdrop of Sydney in the 1980s, the fashion houses of Paris, strife-torn Ethiopia, and all the way back to a house overlooking the beach on the picturesque south coast, Jack and Kate asks if you can ever really put the past behind you.'

Well thank you Di for being my first Author Stalker guest. It has been truly fascinating and I have discovered things I never knew!

If you would like to find out more about Di and purchase her novels, you can find her at:

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Benison O'Reilly
Benison O'Reilly
Aug 25, 2019

Great concept, and great interview. I can't wait to read more!


Claudine Tinellis
Claudine Tinellis
Aug 04, 2019

Love this concept, Shell, and your first victim was a cracker! Di Blacklock is one of my all-time favourite Australian authors. Look forward to seeing which other authors you stalk in coming months! Well done.


Shelley Gardner
Shelley Gardner
Aug 03, 2019

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. It really means a lot that you liked The Author Stalker interview.xx

I have some amazing authors lined up for the coming months so watch this space!


Kay Hart
Kay Hart
Aug 03, 2019

Great way to start your stalking Shell. Fantastic questions well answered by Di. Congratulations. Can’t wait to read the next stalker interview ❤️


Aug 01, 2019

What an awesome author you chose to start such an interesting and inspiring post. Well done Shell. I look forward to where your stalking will take us next x

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