Diane O’Key and Cherish the Knight

Comment on this blog post for a chance to WIN Diane O’Key’s debut novel, Cherish the Knight!

Tonight, Diane O’Key had her first LIVE chat on Facebook. The following is the transcript from this chat. Hope you enjoy! Comments are awesome, so please leave one for Diane. Hopefully she’ll answer any questions she missed. One random commenter will win a FREE copy of her book or a piece of jewelry!

LIVE Chat with Diane O’Key! Comment below, ask her questions, find out how she went from slush to agented to published! Here’s your chance to get the inside scoop! http://www.amazon.com/Cherish-Knight-Diane-OKey/dp/1612172822/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344294142&sr=8-1&keywords=cherish+the+knight

Marisa Cleveland Hurray!!! Diane, I want to ask you how you chose your hero’s name???

Christy Newton Do you know the average word count for romantic suspense and mystery?

Diane O’Key Risa, a bit bizarre, but he just popped into my head, full-blown, and I knew his name instantly.

Peggy Bennett Hope this all works for the chat. My question: What comes first, story line or characters?

Cecy Robson Diane, your novel sounds exciting. Without giving too much away, what’s one of your favorite moments / scenes that doesn’t involve action?

Lynnette Hallberg What’s your favorite scene from the book–if you can tell it without it being a spoiler.

Diane O’Key Peggy, For me, always characters first. My stories are character-driven.

Lor Huebner The book looks good. Did you have to do a lot of research in writing this novel?

Marisa Cleveland Diane, does your heroine resemble anyone famous or is she based on anyone I might know from today’s stars?

Peggy Bennett p.s. L-O-V-E the ferret!

Lynnette Hallberg I just read Cecy’s question, so ignore mine.

Lynnette Hallberg If you had a single piece of advice to offer a brand-new writer, what would it be?

Marisa Cleveland Diane, mine’s the same question as Christy – what’s your word count?

Diane O’Key Lynn and Cecy, oh boy! My computer did a funky thing and kicked me off. Cecy, your question’s not here. Ask again, please?

The Seymour Agency Don’t forget to keep hitting refresh so you can update the comments! These are some great questions so far!

Christy Newton Would it be okay to resend the same book to an agent if it has big changes?

Diane O’Key We used to have a ferret, and what I describe in the book as to her behaviors actually happened–with me, my son, and our sweet Sheltey, Grimme

Lynnette Hallberg So the ferret, Di, is an example of writing what you know, correct?

Diane O’Key Lynnette, yes, it’s write what you know a lot of the time–the rest it’s what I imagine, or wish, or just love ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashlyn Chase Hi Diane! 4 times president of your RWA group? Yikes. I did it once and it was enough for me. How large is your group?

Jen J. Danna – Author It must have taken a boatload of research to handle the historical details. Did you already know a lot of this information or did you have to learn it all from scratch to be able to write the manuscript?

Diane O’Key Cecy, I think the black moment very close to the end of the book–Cort’s devastation–is one of my favorites

Julie Moore Walker Hey Diane! I’m here, I’m here! Woot! Soooo, what does your average writing day look like? Page count? Word count? Regimented? Fly by the seat of your pants?

Vicki Fewell You have been such an influence on so many of your students through the years, was there anyone in particular who served as a guiding force in your writing career?

Diane O’Key Lynnette, favorite scene? Good question. I have several. Cort and Lexi’s first meet, for sure. Their first kiss. The initial confrontation between hero and villain–heroine caught in the middle. Oh, my!

Christy Newton How does an agent figure word count? Is it the count the lines method?

Cecy Robson Your novel sounds like it has a great deal of action, which I absolutely LOVE. What’s one of your favorite scenes that doesn’t involve action?

Marisa Cleveland Diane, what was the greatest challenge about writing this novel? Do you have critique partners?

Peggy Bennett โ€Ž…in answer to Vicki Fewell‘s question – “…who served as a guiding force in your writing career – – besides Peggy Pearl?” LOL

Lynnette Hallberg I’m not surprised you’re having trouble choosing one favorite scene. Cherish the Knight is full of them!

Melissa Landers I don’t have a question, Diane, but I wanted to say congrats!!!

Ashlyn Chase Oh. I like Marisa’s question.

Diane O’Key Lor, yeah, I love history–and did far too much research–though I never regret one minute I spend learning something new. Unfortunately, at least from my POV, the publisher said the modern reader doesn’t want that much info…hmmm…and I probably ended up cutting about 20 pages from the book. Managed to sneak some back in here and there, tho, in narrative and dialoge ๐Ÿ™‚

The Seymour Agency โ€ŽChristy Newton: if you find an agent/agency that you feel completely matches you in terms of career goals, then it’s best to query them with new material – at a later date, you could always revisit the first manuscript for a rewrite – and don’t forget to keep an eye on author contests involving their agents. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christy Newton Thank you, that helps!

Diane O’Key Marisa, not really. I just SAW her…talking to the hero, of course. You guys who are more movie/Hollywood savvy might be able to compare her to someone, but she’s totall unique and herself to me.

The Seymour Agency โ€ŽChristy Newton: the word count is usually however the computer computes it – ms word or some other program.

Lor Huebner Diane, love that you did manage to keep some of the history true to your own words ๐Ÿ˜‰ Congrats on the novel. It’s going on my TBR list!

Marisa Cleveland Ooooh, Diane, don’t miss Julie Moore Walker‘s question. I want to read the answer to this!

The Seymour Agency โ€ŽJulie Moore Walker: I’m interested in your questions as well…

Ashlyn Chase I agree with Lor. Readers tell me they enjoy learning things about Boston from my novels.

Christy Newton What is the lowest word count an agent wants to see?

Diane O’Key Lynn, as a newly published author, my POV’s probably a bit skewed–though thinking about it, maybe my advice would be the same. Learn the marketing end of things, research publishing avenues…but don’t write to trends–hardly original advice. One thing that’s an absolute necessity in today’s world is computer savvy, something I sadly lack. Every day’s a learning curve–too many of them uphill at the same time . LOL

Peggy Bennett When you discovered your characters, did you picture the ending? And, how difficult is it to create the ancillary characters all around them?

Amy Davis Lillard Diane, tell us are you a plotter or a panster?

Cecy Robson Diane, when my husband walks in on me throwing myself on the floor, he knows I’m writing an action scene. So I must know, do you physically act out your scenes before writing them? I can’t be the only one, can I?

Diane O’Key Christy and Marissa, word count on this one almost 90,000. My short contemporary (not yet sold) is at 57,000. The medieval I’m working on–if I ever find time to finish it…will be 90.000+

Author Jessica Lemmon Congrats, Diane! Just wanted to say hello! ๐Ÿ™‚

Patricia Campbell Diane, Tell us about your benefit for veterans book signing on August 18th.

Amanda Flower Diane, why did you choose historicals?

Diane O’Key Christy, if an agent asks to see you ms again after suggesting change, send it, for sure. If not, but you think some/all of the suggestions are good, make them and send it out to others. Word count’s all over the place. One of those things you really need to research by house, genre, and the line/market you’re shooting for.

Diane O’Key Ashlyn, actually, it’s my almost 5th time ๐Ÿ™‚ President one year just disappeared without a word after 3 months, and I agreed to finish the year. What was I thinking?! ๐Ÿ™‚

Marisa Cleveland โ€ŽCecy Robson: that is awesome! I want to watch you write one day!!!

Peggy Bennett I would love to stay longer,but my kinfolk are bellowing for roast venison, wild boar and more ale. I leave to check the hearth. (If they call me wench, they’re gonna starve!). I’ll be back later to read all the questions/comments. Congrats again – nothing but the best is coming your way.

Lynnette Hallberg Marisa and Cecy, my crit partners and I have been known to act out a few scenes, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Seymour Agency OOOPS! It’s a little past 7:30PM, so Diane O’Key, take some time to finish refreshing and reading all the comments and answering all the questions.

Diane O’Key Jen J, boatloads–not a harship as I said, loving history and having read it for pleasue (Is that weird?) most of my life. but as this book required some very specific historic details, which I hope I worked in in a creative way, I had to do a lot of research on the Conquest especially…then, of course, food, clothing, armor. I loved it!

The Seymour Agency This transcript will be available at our intern’s blog. Also available at the blog — a chance to WIN a FREE book (Diane’s of course) or a piece of jewelry! Transcript link will be posted in about an hour. Book jewelry prize is in no way connected with Facebook.

The Seymour Agency THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR STOPPING BY! We hope you had fun and had your questions answered. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jen J. Danna – Author Diane – thanks for answering. And I hear you on cutting out the research details you love. Yes, I did it too. What do you mean the readers don’t want to know about this totally unimportant little detail? I love that little detail! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lor Huebner Good to meet you, Diane. Congrats again. Fun chat everyone!

Diane O’Key Amy, I’m a pantser thru and thru–both terrifying and fascinating. See bits and pieces, have to figure out (or my characters do LOL) how to get from A to D. Peggy, this segues into your question. I generally have a pretty fair idea what my ending’s going to be. Not verbatim dialogue, but I see the scene in my head and, for a change, have some idea where I’m going ๐Ÿ™‚

Lynnette Hallberg This was great! Congrats, Di!!

Jean Harrington A fabulous historical. I’m nearly at the end–can’t wait to finish. On the other hand, I’ll be sad to have it end.

Diane O’Key Oh, and, Peggy, forgot. for me, they simply “appear” like the central characters

Diane O’Key Cecy, I’d love to see that! And here, after meeting you at our conference, I thought you were a sweet, quiet thing LOL I’m sure you’re not the only one who does this. sometimes, to be sure the action works, I’ll physically perform it, but no…sorry…as a rule it all happens in my head as I put it on the computer screen.

Diane O’Key OK, Jen, this was a set-up, wasn’t it? LOL Did Nicole put you up to this? Just kidding…These last couple years have really been a battle for me in a number of ways. Not going to bore you with it here, but before Nic took me on, I ccame within a hair of quitting. Some of that was uncontrollable circumstance, a lot of it was my own fault. What I’ve learned from my family and my kick-ass critique parnters is to ask for help when you need it–and only do what you can. In the last couple months, I’ve allowed myself to get mired down in social media. I’ve stepped back from that now, concentrate on FB and publisher’s and agency loops. The rest is overwhelming. Long answer to a short question, eh? I’ve decided to put a couple finishing touches on my short contemporary romance, call it good, and have Nic send the damn thing out LOL Enough! I’m dying to finish my WIP, another medieval. Really miss my characters and their world. Spent too much time redoing instead of writing forward. I’m setting a daily schedule for myself once this veterans booksigning is behind me–something I’ve never done–but absolutely have to! I’m a slow writer, so 4-5 pages a day is good for me. Haven’t written anything entirely new in two months. That’s gonna end!

Diane O’Key Oh, so sorry, that last was addressed to you, Julie. I really do need a new brain!!


Kaitlyn Ballenger Hi, Diane! I can’t think of a question at the moment, but I wanted to stop by and show my support! Congratulations!

Diane O’Key Vicki, thanks for the compliment. As a teacher, you always wonder if you made a difference, if your students remember you and know how much you cared for them. Question answered, I guess ๐Ÿ™‚ And you have no idea how much it means to me to hear from, get support from so many. You guys are priceless.

Diane O’Key Vicki, as to writing influence…I had marvelous English teachers most of my life, and my HS drama coach was superb. They exposed me to wonderful books, and I found many on my own. So I think reading was my greatest influence. It took me away to fabulous worlds and was an escape for me when I was young. Still is…but for different reason. Just love words! Marisa, the hardest thing for me about writing…is writing! finding the time. again, something I’m really working on. I’m also (or I was) a grammatical purist. Any of my students want to chime in here, be honest about how often you wanted to shoot me when you got your comps back for revisions? ROTFL Learning to be flexible continues to be a challenge for me, but I’m learning. Horrors! And the world hasn’t come to an end–imagine that!

Diane O’Key I have two fabulous critique partners, multi-publishedย  Lynnette Hallberg and Joyce Henderson. We’ve been together about 15 years–unheard of, right? A lot of drama ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve spent some of the worst–but mostly the best–moments of my life together. It’s not an easy road, and we don’t always agree, but that’s good: food for thought, different perspectives. What matters is that we love and respect each other and each other’s work. Without their support, no way would I be where I am now. OK, you two, I hear you yelling in the background (along with Nic) to finish the damn medieval! See what I mean?

Lynnette Hallberg Here, here! A good critique partner…or two…can be invaluable. We’ve all learned so much from each other, and it forms a bond that’s a true sisterhood!

Diane O’Key Christy, it used to be page count. Now, word programs show actual word count, and that’s what both agents and publishers go by.

Diane O’Key

Patty, my booksigning/veterans fundraiser(s) are on Sat., 8/18, from 10-2 at the Harney Point VFW in Cape Coral and on Tues., 8/21, from 11-2 at the IAVF Headquarter in Cape Coral. I’m donating raffle baskets and door prizes, all monies rai…

sed by those, plus 50% of my royalties, to the Investing in America’s Veterans Foundation. They supply local vets, young with families to our older vets, with whatever they need. You don’t have to be present to win the raffles, but you do have to be local, so we can get the basket to you if you win. Also, anyone who takes either a food or toiletry item for the vets to either event will receive an additional door prize ticket. I’m doing the event in honored memory of my former student, Capt. Daniel Eggers, Army Special Forces, who was killed in Afghanistan at the end of his third tour of duty there. Never forget.

Brian Hepler Is your book going to be available at Barnes and Noble?ย  I tried to get a copy over the weekend, and they could not even order it for me.

Diane O’Key Thanks so much for stopping by, Peggy. You’re still a hoot! Never change ๐Ÿ™‚

Diane O’Key

Risa, I kinda dodged your question re: most difficult thing about writing this book. Probably that my idea for a book often doesn’t start with the first scene–so I have to write backward, then forward. I also had to go back in and layer, n…

ot my usual style, and because it’s not, one of the reasons I’m slow. Until a scene feels just right for me, it’s hard for me to move forward. Not the best technique, I know. My characters usually talk me out of tough spots, though. While I do end up deleting some stuff, it’s not often much. Perfection was something required of me as a child…not to mention the Catholic guilt thing…but I’m doing my best to shake it ๐Ÿ™‚

Diane O’Key Jean, Thanks so much! My greatest fear was/is my readers won’t be glad they read it. Hugs!

Diane O’Key Thanks, Lor. Nice to meet you, too. Keep in touch.

Diane O’Key Cecy, no you don’t want to watch me write. It’s painful ๐Ÿ™‚

Jenny Lee Sulpizio Ahhh, I missed the chat but it looks like it was a success. Great job, Diane.

Jamie Ayres Sorry I miss this!! When I RSVP’d my brain blanked and forgot I had Open House at school tonight! Looks like there’s a lot of comments on here. You’re going through all of these a few months before I have to . . . anything I should know before it happens that I probably don’t know yet? And can you follow that convoluted thought process, lol. Can’t wait to read your book:-) CONGRATS!!

Diane O’Key Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by. I was so worried about this, and you made it fun ๐Ÿ™‚ An awesome experience! Hugs to you, Risa, for talking me through this and taking your valuable time to set it up. Hope to see some of you very soon. Hope, someday, to meet all of you. What a wonderful group!! Bye for now. Happy writing!

The LIVE chat ends here. Please visit The Seymour Agency’s Facebook page often, and don’t forget to comment forย a chance to win a copy of Diane’s book!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by!



  1. Great author chat at The Seymour Agency’s Facebook page tonight! It was fun to meet Diane! Her book sounds great and is going on my TBR list!

  2. I loved this! SO much energy and great conversation! Let’s do it again, but next time I think we should allow for a full hour. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I agree that 30 minutes seemed rushed… maybe because I kept refreshing the screen…

  4. Risa,
    Again, I can’t thank you–and everyone else who popped in :-)–enough. You made it fun, and I so appreciate your time and comments. I don’t want to win one of my own book, tho LOL

  5. Thank you very, very much to Seymour Agency, Marissa, Wild Rose Press and everyone else who made, not only the chat, but Diane’s book a reality. Little did I know, back in high school, that the lady who pushed me to unleash my creative side would be back in my life years later to entertain, inspire and awe me. Thanks again.

  6. Hi Diane! Glad you offered comments until Sunday ’cause I so wanted to chime in. Since I’ve had the privilege of “knowing” Cort and Lexi from day one, I won’t be in the running for a free book. But I say to those who are, you’re in for a real treat when you read Diane’s “you-are-there” prose. Not to mention Cort is a hunk-a burnin’ love. LOL
    Superb writer, and long overdue to see publication.

    • Joyce,
      You’re a sweetie ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for your kind–and made me smile–comments. Cort is a hunk, isn’t he? Or at least I hope so! Miss you soooo much. Love you, Diane

  7. I feel I should give each of you something for making this so much fun…for all the encouragement and positive comments…not to mention taking time from your busy schedules–but the winner (chosen by random number by my own hero-husband :-)) is..TA DA!:
    Julie Moore Walker (of The Seymour Agency, I believe ?)
    Let me know if you want a book, bookmark, or piece of jewelry, Julie.
    Again, thanks so much to all of you for participating,

    • sorry, not sure exactly what you’re asking. if you could be more specific, I’d be happy to reply…assuming I can help. as a new author, a lot of this is new to me ๐Ÿ™‚

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