Interview with E.C. Diskin, Author of Broken Grace

19 Oct 2015

We got the chance to chat with E.C. Diskin about her new book, BROKEN GRACE. Read our interview below, and to enter to win a SIGNED copy of the new E.C. Diskin book.

Tell us a little bit about your new release, Broken Grace.

Broken Grace is my second novel, but my first mystery. Unlike my first novel (The Green Line) which was a legal thriller, I wanted to craft a story that kept readers guessing from start to finish. I also wanted to set it in southwest Michigan, where I’ve spent a lot of time. It’s beautiful, rural, and quiet, but when you look out at the vast landscape, it’s easy to imagine mayhem! Broken Grace is about a twenty year old girl who survives a near fatal car crash but has to deal with two terrifying and disturbing new realities: one, the man she was living with has been murdered (around the time of the accident) and two: she can’t remember anything.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Keep an open mind when it comes to what you might want to do with your life and take any opportunities that arise. I may have started writing professionally at a much younger age or I may have ended up being an architect(!) had I given myself permission to think about other ways to fulfull my creative energy. I was a dancer as a kid and didn’t give other career paths much thought. When dancing didn’t pan out, I was pretty lost for a while, trying to figure out what to do with my life. Lucky for me, it all worked out, but it certainly took a long time.

What’s the last book you read?

I’ll tell you the last two because they were so different: A Curious Mind, by Brian Grazer and To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I saw an interview with Grazer and thought the subject matter and his life story sounded intriguing. The book did not disappoint. It was a great world view on making our lives richer through curiousity. And I read Mockingbird because as the news swirled around Harper Lee’s next title getting released, I was reminded that I’d never read it! It felt embarrassing and ridiculous that it somehow was never required of me as a student, and I needed to finally remedy that. And because it was one of my husband’s favorite books, he had me read it aloud much of the time–so it was really fun for us both.
I’m currently reading a few books right now, depending on the mood. I’m reading a biography called The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna. It was in my dad’s library and I’ve never studied Wilde so I thought it would be interesting. I also recently started reading The Martian by Andy Weir. My interest in this is really based on admiration and excitement for an indie author as I’m now seeing promos for the movie that’s coming soon. I published my first book as an indie too, so I know the odds against finding an audience for your work, much less ending up a bestseller. We’ve both been lucky in this regard, though his book obviously reached the stratosphere and that’s fun to see happen. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m fascinated.

Say you’re the host of a talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Oh geez. Tom Bergeron. He’s the host of “Dancing with the Stars” and I’m ridiculously in love with that show. My husband says I just stare at the screen with a goofy grin on my face. So I’d probably say to Tom, “Can I please come on your show?” It is my most outrageous fantasy (much to my husband’s dismay).

What’s rocking your world this month?

Well, even though it’s an exciting time around my house because of my new book release, this month is really about my kids. September is particularly hectic and exciting for the kids–with back to school, auditions, try outs, new jobs, and a birthday. So this is really the month that I’m just trying to get all of our lives organized as we settle into the school year. If this were October, my response might be related to a work-in-progress, but this month–it’s definitely about the family.

Do you listen to anything while you write? If so, what’s your audio of choice?

I usually listen to mellow music, if I have any on at all. If I get too invested in the lyrics or the beat, it’s just too distracting. So I’ll listen to Simon and Garfunkel, John Denver…, other musicians that bring me back to those childhood roadtrips when my dad controlled the music. It puts me in a great, relaxed mood.

Who are your literary heroes?

I think it would be disingenuous of me to rattle off the names of some of the greats as my idols or heros because I am influenced by new (or contemporary) writers all the time. So my answer would probably change depending on the year it is and what I’ve just finished. I’m always learning from others and impressed with writers for different reasons. Some are impressive for the way they craft a sentence, but I’m often entralled by writers because of the fascinating stories they’ve created (like Andy Weir’s The Martian or Crichton’s Jurassic Park, for example), or the characters they’ve created (like Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha or Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone), or the way they’ve told a story (like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild).

What’s your favorite quote from Broken Grace?

That’s a tough one. One of the first lines I wrote was what became the start of Chapter Two. “The walls of her sterile room matched the blank canvas of her mind.” I always liked that line. But I really enjoyed writing what became the opening chapter, visualizing the accident that led to Grace’s injuries and ending that scene with “And then it was as if she just floated away.” It just sat well with me. Sometimes you re-write sentences over and over, but I just liked those two from the get-go.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Never stop learning. Never stop trying new things. Never reject ideas or suggestions because you don’t know how. Figure it out. I’m a big believer that we’re all capable of far more than we think and there’s really no better feeling than mastering something new.


E.C. Diskin is the author of the new book Broken Grace

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