“BLANK” Makes Me Happy – Diana Rowland

Welcome to the first of my new monthly feature to find out what’s making some of our favorite authors smile.

Our first guest author is Diana Rowland, author of the Kara Gillian: Demon Summoner Series. I love, love, love this series, and the third book, Secrets of the Demon was just released last week.


You can read my review of Diana’s first book in the series, Mark of the Demon, HERE.

You can read my review of Secrets of the Demon HERE.

Here’s what Diana had to say about what’s making her smile these days.

Things that make me happy: The fact that people really seem to like my books. Does that sound corny and sappy?  Sorry! But it really is the biggest thrill in the world to know that I might actually have a shot at pulling this gig off!

Okay, seriously, there are lots of other things that make me deliriously happy, even more than the fact that I seem to be doing all right as a writer! I’m pleased and relieved that my daughter only had a mild cold this week and that it didn’t turn out to be the flu. I love that my husband and I have had some terrific date nights recently (although usually they tend to be date afternoons, since that usually works better with our schedule.) And yes, I could probably write up a few paragraphs about all sorts of things that really lift my spirits… but I think I’ll just show y’all instead:



  • Explanations:
  • Pic 1) The Kid. Need I say more?
  • Pic 2) The darling husband is a HUGE Yankees fan, and the last time we were in NYC a good friend of ours got us free tickets to a game!
  • Pic 3) Kitty!  Need I say more? (This is my Angel kitty. Not pictured are Demon and Seraphim.)
  • Pic 4) Yes, that’s me when I was about sixteen. I was a HUGE Doctor Who fan. (Still am!)  Total Geek. (Still am!!)
  • Pic 5) My agent, Matt Bialer. He’s made of much win.
  • Pic 6) The perfect red!!

Happy 2011, y’all!!!

After she sent all those fantastic pics… I just had to ask a couple of questions, about them, and the new book…

1) It’s not at all corny that people loving your books makes you happy. Who was the first person you let read one of your books? What was their first impression? Did you do much altering based on their comments?

The very first person I let read one of my books was a woman with whom I worked when I was a dealer at a casino in Mississippi. I was writing a sprawling epic fantasy and I would bring in chapters to work as I finished them and give them to her to read. Knowing that someone *wanted* to read the chapters as I finished them was a huge motivator to keep going and finish. Unfortunately the book suffered from First Novel Syndrome, i.e. it sucked..LOL  Okay, it didn’t TOTALLY suck, but it had enough issues that it wasn’t worth trying to rewrite it (once I finally accepted it wasn’t the work of genius that I’d originally thought and realized that it HAD issues.)  Doubly unfortunately the woman then went on to have an affair with my then-husband…  but hey, at least I’d finished a novel! (And I really needed to ditch his ass anyway. I suppose I should be grateful to her for finally opening my eyes…  Nah. Still can’t stand her!)

2) My sister is a HUGE Doctor Who fan, which Doctor (which Doctor? witch Doctor? haha) are you in that pic? Why do you love the show? Seems to me that the show is having a crazy boost of popularity right now, have you noticed?

I started watching Doctor Who when I was in high school–which was right at the very end of the Jon Pertwee era. I was a rabid fan all the way through the Tom Baker years and beyond through Peter Davidson and Colin Baker, but when I went off to college I couldn’t get any stations that were still playing it when Sylvester McCoy was the Doctor. Sad! However, when the new series started up on BBC America, I was utterly thrilled to see what they’d done with it. It retained all the wonder and geekiness of the original, but they’d peeled away a good measure of the cheese and given it a pathos that made it absolutely ROCK. *fangirl sigh*  Oh, and I’m doing an odd cross between Tom Baker, Romana, and Peter Davidson in that picture. Not intentionally…  it just sort of turned out that way! (I have NO idea why I never had a date in high school..hahaha.)

3) You say on your site that you would like Kara’s story to be an 8 or 9 book series. Is Ryan’s backstory part of the long arc of the series, or will we find out before then exactly what his secret is? Is there anything more you can share about him for those of us who were left with our mouths hanging open at the end of this book? (that would be me, you brilliant, evil woman, lol)

*evil laugh* You will definitely find out more about Ryan, Rhyzkahl, Kara, Msatl, Vahlla, Szerain, and the demon realm (and no, I haven’t introduced a couple of those characters yet!) as part of the long series arc. The next book will be titled SINS OF THE DEMON, and we’ll start to find out just why Ryan is called an oathbreaker.  I say “start” because it’s very complicated, and it will take some time for Kara to figure out the truth–and then decide what to do with that knowledge. She’s not going to have an easy time of it, that’s for sure. But yes, Ryan’s backstory–and Rhyzkahl’s, for that matter–are VERY critical to everything that has happened and will happen.

4) Rhyzkahl says he wants to take Kara to his plane. If Kara allows that to happen, do you anticipate writing in depth about that alternate world? I can imagine the kind of trouble she could get into there, and what it would take if, say, another with similar skills tried to go after her. *caughRyancaughZackcaughAuntTessacaugh* Have you thought about that in terms of complete worldbuilding, or as a secondary activity?

Yes, she’ll be heading back there, though perhaps not in a way that she would have wanted. And yes, that’s going to be very important as far as the overall plot. The demon realm and our world are linked–and Kara will need to learn what exactly that means for both worlds if she’s to have any hope of saving [spoiler redacted.] 😀

AAAAAHHHHH… she IS evil, lol!! But I just love her! Thanks so much to Diana for answersing (kinda) my questions. Now it’s YOUR turn. Have you read the books, are they on your TBR list? What do YOU want to know about Kara, Ryan, Rhyzkahl and the rest of the crew? What do you want to know about Diana? She’ll be stopping in throughout the day to answer your questions. AAANNNDD she *may* have sent along an extra ARC of Secrets of the Demon for one lucky commenter to be given away by random drawing at midnight tonight. 🙂



  1. Comment by Aleetha:

    My question for her
    Have you sold your book rights to another country?

  2. Comment by Diana Rowland:

    Aleetha–Yes! So far language rights have been sold for the first two books for German, Thai, French, Russian, and Hungarian. The German version of Mark of the Demon came out last summer, and the next should be out next month. 😉

  3. Ping from Tweets that mention “BLANK” Makes Me Happy – Diana Rowland « Books Make Me Happy -- Topsy.com:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lisa Kessler, Jennifer. Jennifer said: *NEW INTERVIEW* w/ @DianaRowland…Find out what's making her smile & ask questions! Win SECRETS OF THE DEMON tonight! http://wp.me/pOeF4-7l […]

  4. Comment by Dianne Barskey:

    These books are on my TBR list and I cannot wait to read them.

  5. Comment by MANtasticfiction:

    How do you decide when a story idea is enough to support a series instead of a single novel? Do you find it easier/harder when creating your world?

  6. Comment by Diana Rowland:

    Mantasticfiction–I think it all boils down to the characters and the worldbuilding–not necessarily the original concept or idea. I think you can build a series or a book or an epic saga around just about any *idea*… but it’s not going to be sustainable unless the characters are interesting and compelling, and there’s plenty at stake to keep the story moving forward and interesting. For example, let’s look at vampires. That’s a fairly basic idea–undead creatures of the night who drink human blood. Pretty much every vampire story starts with that, with perhaps a twist on the specifics on how the actual vampirism works. But it’s the characters and what’s at stake for them (no pun intended!) which will determine how far the story can go.

    That being said, sometimes the conflict isn’t enough to sustain more than one book, and that’s the sort of thing that is usually apparent fairly early on in the brainstorming process. With my Kara Gillian series I knew from the very beginning that there was a long story arc that would take a while to spin out, and I also knew that I had plenty to fill books with while I revealed the various bits and pieces. On the other hand, I have a new series starting this July. MY LIFE AS A WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE is the first book in the series, but I only have three books planned in this series–mostly because this is a much smaller story and I feel confident that I can tell it in that time frame. (This might change if I suddenly come up with something exceptionally cool and “Oh WOW!” but for now it’s just going to be three books.)

    Hope that answers your question!

  7. Comment by Jaele:

    Out of everything that you’ve written, which is your favorite scene and why?

  8. Comment by Shellie:

    I really like to know behind the scenes stuff…..Why did you chose demons and How do you chose your characters names?

  9. Comment by Shellie:

    Wow…I meant choose

  10. Comment by Jackie Evans:

    Hi Diana Love your books read secrets last week what a great end but could you tell me please how many books in this series are you planning or is it open ended? she says hopfully

  11. Comment by Diana Rowland:

    Jaele–I have lots of favorite scenes, but I think the one that hits my #1 spot is at the very end of Blood of the Demon, when the case is over and the threat is gone, and Kara thinks that Ryan now hates her…When he comes over to her house and she falls apart and he holds her. Just holds her while she cries. Wow, that scene made me sniffle (okay, I cried) Every. Single. Time I read it. See, I’m doing it now, just thinking about it!! It just hits at the very core of who they are and what their relationship is. *happy writer sigh!*

  12. Comment by Jennifer:

    That ending scene from Blood of the Demon is one of my favorites, too!!! I don’t remember if I cried *selective memory* but it sure was powerful. 🙂

  13. Comment by Diana Rowland:

    Shellie–Basically I wanted to do something completely different and new, since then I’d have ultimate freedom to do whatever I wanted. Yes, demons have been done before–but not like this, where they aren’t *really* demons. They’re complicated supernatural creatures who aren’t necessarily evil or good–just as humans aren’t necessarily evil or good. I wanted creatures with a lot of ambiguity and complexity, which would give me the chance to do absolutely anything with the story, and go places with the genre that hadn’t been explored before. I think it makes for a much more interesting story if you don’t already have the assumption in place that a character’s motivations are founded in its nature. By that I mean, if you read a story about Satan, you know going into it that he’s evil, malicious, or at the very least a skilled liar–and therefore your perceptions as you read the story will be colored by that knowledge. But if you’re not sure whether a creature or character is altruistic, evil, or something in between, I think it adds depth to the story as a whole.

    Now, for your second question: some character names I come up with off the top of my head, some I pick because they seem to fit the character, and sometimes I don’t know the name of the character until I’m almost finished with the book and realize I need to put something in place instead of [victim1] or [othercop], which is when I either flip through the obituaries or the telephone book. 😀

  14. Comment by Diana Rowland:

    Jackie–There’s definitely going to be an end to this overall arc, hopefully in book 8 or 9 (depending on how the writing goes.) That being said, I have very tentative plans for a spin-off series (which I don’t want to say too much about just yet. Sorry!), plus I think there’s definitely the potential for more story about the demon world and ours, if there’s demand for it. (And I know this will sound horribly crass, but spin-offs and more books will be dependent on how the sales of the existing books go. It’s a business, and publishers won’t invest money in projects that won’t make them money. :-/)

  15. Comment by Carmen R:

    I love the Demon Summoner Series. I can’t wait to read Secrets of the Demon.
    I so want to read more of Rhyzkahl and Kara. Everyone I know seems to be a Ryan fan but I’ll take Rhyzkahl over him any day.

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