Hello, Readers! A special Wednesday edition for you of Author Spotlight! Today I have an author who writes clean romance – both contemporary AND historical! Author Diane E. Tatum has a new release that is the second book in a three part series set in early American history. And I am just itching to get my hands on it. But let me introduce you to Diane and get this interview going…
Welcome, Diane! First, can you tell us a little about your novel?
Michael Browning was the first child of Amanda and Colin in Book 1. His parents have died when he was 19, leaving four siblings who needed his care. A blacksmith like his father, Michael has run the forge and supported and cared for his siblings. When his Uncle Ben died, Michael feels left alone with no hope for a life of his own now that his siblings are grown and gone. Like Beauty and the Beast, he became bitter, striking out at those around him, particularly the beautiful new pastor’s daughter Susannah who encouraged his youngest sister to elope and has promised to care for him. In the days before the War of 1812, Michael and Susannah find they have A Time to Love.
Interesting storyline…and take on Beauty and the Beast. Care to share the more historically significant events behind A Tie to Love?
Michael’s brother Theo is impressed into the British Navy. Michael postpones his and Susannah’s wedding to find Theo and bring him home before he is murdered.
Quite a twist! What was the inspiration for A Time to Love?
I wrote book 3 before the others because the Civil War is so integral to the American experience. Clearly Book 1 was about the American Revolution. Being an intergenerational story, I needed to write Michael’s story, and the historical setting had to be prior to the War of 1812. Having been born during the Battle at Bunker Hill, Michael’s age is older than the average to be married and having a family. His bitterness at not having that experience due to his parents’ early death reminded me of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. So I brought a beauty to help him shed the curse of bitterness.
Fabulous! I love how the writer’s mind has to work like this. And I love even more that I’m not the only one!
Did you always want to be a writer?
I always wanted to write, but I was also pragmatic. I studied Accounting for my first degree, then married and had 2 sons. When they entered high school, I went back to college to get a Masters of Teaching – Language Arts and a teacher certification.
Finally, my husband asked me to retire from teaching and “come home to write your stories.” Gold Earrings is my first novel. I began it as a short story when I was in high school.
How wonderful to have such a supportive and encouraging husband! I have one at home, too. We are blessed for certain.
But not everything about writing is roses and sunshine, as you well know. Some things would be great to “farm out” if we could. What part of the writing process do you dread?
Marketing and finding a publisher
I know for most of us our first love was reading, and most of what we learn is intuitively picked up from reading other authors, or from research, or from reading books on the craft of writing. What about you? What are you currently reading?
The Black Prince: England’s Greatest Medieval Warrior by Michael Jones
This is research for a contemporary romance set in Oxford, England, called Oxford Fairy Tale.
Love it! I generally have to “set the mood” when I write. I love instrumental music of some connection to what I’m writing. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
I don’t listen to any particular music while writing, but I do have themes for each of my novels, should anyone want to produce them for Hallmark!
What about your writing environment? Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
I’m an adjunct English professor teaching Composition 1 & 2 in the dual enrollment program for our local community college at our local high school from 7-8:15 AM Fall and Spring semesters. I love being able to come home by 8:30 and still have the whole day to write. Mornings are my best times.
Sounds like a nice segue. Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
A Time to Choose, Book 3 of Colonial Dream. The latest novel of the Browning family as they navigate the Civil War.
Kudzu Sculptures, a Main Street Mystery, Book 1
Dorie Hudson moves to Daelin, GA, to be an investigative journalist who discovers a murder and works to solve it with her fiancé Ross MacAvoy.
How exciting. I, too, have to have multiple projects going at one time.
Thanks again, Diane, for your time and for visiting. I appreciate you sharing about your process and your works as well. Now, I’ll not delay, but let my readers dive into A Time to Love!
A Time to Love
Michael Browning, a child of the American Revolution, becomes surrogate father for his four siblings after the early death of his parents. His Uncle Ben has also died, leaving the pulpit empty in the church he started after the war. Bitterness has overcome Michael as each of his siblings finds love with only his youngest sister, Louisa, remaining at home. When the new pastor and his daughter, Susannah, take over the rectory adjacent to the Browning home, he cannot accept Reverend Hawthorne as a substitute for his Uncle Ben. When Louisa falls in love with Susannah’s cousin Theo, Susannah encourages Louisa to elope and offers to serve Michael in her stead. Susannah enjoys matchmaking and sets out to find a match for Michael.
When Michael’s brother Isaiah is taken by the British Navy, Michael must leave his bride before the wedding to find and save his brother as the country begins a new war with Britain.
Can the beauty tame the beast and his bitterness to create a new relationship based on trust and love?
How will a second war for Independence from Britain affect their love?
Enjoy a Video
Enjoy an Excerpt
A Time to Elope
Warwick Village, VA, 1810
After a hard day at the forge, Michael Browning entered the kitchen. The aroma of the mouth-watering stew emitted from the iron pot hanging over the fire. His sister Louisa was known throughout the village for her stew. He began eating as soon as she served him.
“Wonderful stew, as always.”
Louisa nodded, then bowed her head in prayer.
Michael had no use for religion since Uncle Ben died. A new pastor filled Ben’s pulpit and parsonage. He couldn’t abide that.
When she looked up, he asked, “What issues fill your prayers, Louisa?”
She stretched out her hand to cover his enormous one.
“A ring?” Michael jumped up from the table. “What does this mean?”
“Theodore asked me to marry him. I said yes.”
“Without consulting me nor asking for my approval? I am the head of this household. In lieu of Papa, he should have asked me for your hand.” Michael sat back down, but he shook. He softened his tone. “Do you love him, baby sister? Has he found a home here then?”
Louisa came to him and knelt beside him. She turned her blue eyes up to meet his. “I love him with an everlasting love, Michael. But he’s returning to Baltimore tonight. Talks with the British are failing, creating political disruption in the District of Columbia. He feels he needs to return now.”
Michael kissed her forehead and tucked loose strands of her blonde hair behind her ear. He remembered the first time he’d had to braid her fine hair after Mama died. “When does he plan to return for this wedding?”
Louisa’s eyes were bright with unshed tears. “The wedding is tonight. Please give us your blessing and come with me to the church.”
“Tonight?” Michael’s voice sounded louder than he intended. “Were you going to tell me this at all? No, I forbid you to leave with Theodore James tonight, or any night. You’ve not posted banns at church. He has not asked me for your hand!
Tears flowed down Louisa’s blushed cheeks. “You must let me go sometime.”
“I forbid it. I cannot run the forge and the household without you.” Only then did Michael notice her bag by the door, packed and ready to go. Why hadn’t he noticed it before now?
More About the Author
Diane Tatum grew up in St. Louis, MO. She started writing her own stories in elementary school. Her first novel grew out of a short story she wrote in high school. College was a detour to a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration and later a Masters in Teaching Language Arts. Between degrees, she stayed home raising her boys and began writing again. She started freelance writing for magazines and church Sunday school curriculum. She also finished her novel, Gold Earrings.
After teaching middle school language arts in Tullahoma City Schools for 11 years, she retired with her husband’s encouragement to write the historical fiction books that she had been starting and saving on her computer. Gold Earrings was published in 2011. She completed her second novel, A Time to Choose, in 2012, and finished her third, Colonial Dream, in 2013. In addition she serves as an adjunct English professor at Motlow State Community College.
Diane has taught and worked with youth at her church for 38 years. Her Bible study Guide and Resource Book are meant to help youth workers create new Bible studies to use with their youth groups.
Connect with Diane and her works