Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dianne Blacklock has the secret ingredient for success...plus a book giveaway

Introduction by Kathryn Hamilton

**Giveaway is now closed**

Give a big warm welcome to Dianne Blacklock as she joins us here at CLC all the way from the land down under to promote her eighth novel “The Secret Ingredient.” This charming and modest author is one of eight children and has four children of her own. She has a penchant for house cleaning when she’s not busy creating fabulous stories with memorable characters. Dianne has been described as “the best of Marian Keyes, stir in some Cathy Kelly, add a pinch of Bridget Jones.” With comparisons like those, it’s no secret why Dianne has enjoyed the success she has. We look forward to number nine!

Make sure to check her out on Facebook and Twitter, as well as her website and blog.

Thanks to Macmillan Australia, we have FIVE copies of "The Secret Ingredient" for some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

Do you base characters on yourself?
Not intentionally, but I don’t think you can help putting some of yourself into your characters. People who know me and read my books tell me who I’m most like, and sometimes it’s flattering, depending on the character! Weirdly though, in a case of life imitating art, recently I had to sell up the family home and move closer to the city, in similar circumstances to the character Sam in my second novel, “Wife for Hire” – and I’ve ended up in the same suburb as she did!

What was most challenging about writing "The Secret Ingredient?"
"The Secret Ingredient" is my eighth book, and I’d have to say the challenge is to keep coming up with fresh ideas and original characters. It doesn’t get easier, in fact the opposite – I’m really anxious about repeating myself. Having sons and brothers, I’ve always tried to make my male characters more rounded and sympathetic, and so it occurred to me that I had never written a stereotypical cheating husband, the type who trades in his wife for a newer model. But I needed a unique twist, so the story centres on Andie, whose husband Ross left his wife and kids for her ten years before, and now it looks like he’s set to do the same thing to her. A major challenge was keeping Andie sympathetic, I knew a lot of readers would blame her for wrecking the first marriage, and would be most unforgiving of that, no matter what the circumstances. So I forged an unlikely bond between Andie and Ross’s first wife, which I think helped to reveal a range of perspectives, and show that few things in life are ever black and white.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
This happened only the other day. A woman emailed that she had just re-read “Wife for Hire”, and she wanted to share with me the impact it had had on her life. The first time she read it, her husband had just told her he was leaving her for another woman, which is how the book opens. The character Sam then goes on to become a ‘wife for hire’, her job is to organise and coordinate other people’s lives, just like a wife! This woman was inspired to do the same, and nearly ten years later, she has put her two kids through college, and traveled and had a pretty great life!

In one sentence, what was road to publishing like?
Actually, it was embarrassingly smooth – my first manuscript was picked up off the slush pile and I was mentored and nurtured through the process by one of the best publishers in Australia. I was very, very lucky (sorry, that was two sentences!).

What is your longest friendship?
I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old with a girl also named Diane, (though she has only one ‘n’!) and we remain extremely close to this day. That’s over forty years! (I’m not saying how far over.)

What is the last movie you saw in a theater? Would you recommend it?
The Avengers. Having sons has made me a huge fan of superhero movies. I loved Robert Downey Jr as Ironman, but Mark Ruffalo is the best Hulk ever. I would highly recommend it.

Are you a cat or dog person?
Dog – I’m afraid I’m allergic to cats.

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Please read my books! That’s a bit forward, so seriously … please read my books! Feedback from readers is more important to me than anything, it’s the reason I keep writing. Whenever I wonder if I’ll be able to write another book, I don’t worry about letting down my publisher, or anyone else, only about disappointing my readers. Although I’ve had a couple of books published in the US, I’m hoping with the rise of ebooks that I can break into more overseas markets, and maybe hear from readers all around the world!

Special thanks to Dianne for visiting with us and to Macmillan Australia for sharing "The Secret Ingredient" with our readers!

How to win "The Secret Ingredient":
Please tell us your favorite ingredient for cooking. (One entry per person.) Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win.

Giveaway ends August 26th at midnight EST.


rubynreba said...

My favorite ingredient is adding just a touch of salt!

Kelly said...

My favorite ingredient is fresh Rosemary from the garden.


Unknown said...


I tweeted, like and follow.


Stephanie said...

My favorite ingredient to use is ginger.

gfc follower


EFC Chrissy said...

My favorite ingredient for cooking is garlic. I love to smell it sauteeing in the pan.


Jessica said...

Chocolate is my favorite ingredient for cooking! I can't cook dessert without it! This is making me want to bake!

-Jessica M

Catherine said...

Cinnamon is my favorite ingredient in salty or sugary dishes. I love it.
I follow by e-mail.
Thanks for opening thIs giveaway internationally
cyrano123 (at) live (dot) fr

Nova said...

My favorite ingredient is fresh zuchinni. I can mix it into bread, cakes, brownies, muffins or use it in a main dish or as a side dish.
I follow CLC on facebook and by email.

Krystal Lynn said...

Garlic and onion powder. I hate onions but love their flavor.

miss_kris_11 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I've just started to use lavender in recipes and tea. The flavor is very different but very good as well.

Anne B. said...

My favorite ingredient is the fresh basil that I'm growing.


Sherry said...

My favourite ingredient would have to be garlic.

scylla 777 at g mail dot com

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

My favorite ingredient is cajun seasoning or a little feta sprinkled over the top of dish like sauteed veggies or pasta. Yum!

I'm a follower through GFC, Twitter and FB.

missamberljohnson at gmail dot com

susieqlaw said...


sendsusanmail AT gmail DOT com

Na said...

My favorite ingredient is herbs , all kinds.


Bonnie K. said...

Only one? Ah shucks. Well, the number one favorite would have to be garlic.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Sheena said...


I follow the website and am a member on the facebook page.

Thank you for a great giveaway. I've read a couple of Dianne Blacklock's books and they were both really good!


karenk said...

i love cinnamon :)

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story.

i'm a follower, too

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Bridget O'Neill said...

For cooking, basil. For baking, it's a toss up between vanilla and butter :)


Literary Chanteuse said...

I don't have an ingredient but a technique. Marinate overnight. Always gives so much flavor.


bn100 said...


I follow the blog.


Tiffany Drew said...

I have to say oregano, I love the smell :)


Twisty J said...

What a beautiful cover! My favorite ingredient is probably cilantro. I love how it can perk up nearly every dish without being overwhelming. thanks for the feature!


Linda Kish said...

I'd have to say garlic (repeating so many others)

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Aline Tobing said...

My favorite ingredient is salt. No salt? No taste! :D


Izz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Izz said...

I like my food spicy :D

pinglecoon at gmail dot com

Cyndee said...

My go to ingredient in Smoked Black Pepper. Its good on meats,vegetables and any time of salads.Use to your taste. I follow every way except GFC and Twitter.Liked and Shared FB too.
Cyndee Thomas

Lucie Simone said...

My favorite ingredient is nutmeg. Just a pinch enhances the other flavors in the dish.

Lalucie AT sbcglobal DOT net

Dolly said...

Can you live without salt? Do I have to count it? I suppose freshly ground black pepper; or garlic; or the chives that live on my counter. What a hard question!!

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

StereoQueenBee said...

I don't cook that much since my bf is a chef but I know since he is Portuguese and my Dad loves it, we use a lot of paprika!


Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

I love cinnamon! And olive oil

aliasgirl at libero dot it

Anita Yancey said...

My favorite ingredient is onions, I like them in almost everything.


Cresta McGowan said...

Cumin - I love to add cumin to things. It gives a smoky flavor. For sweets - almond extract. It's just that little something in the back of a dish that makes people smile.


Nicole said...

My all time favorite ingredient would have to be Cajun seasoning. I put it on all most everything I cook!!


Amanda said...

My favorite ingredient has to be love because whatever I make, so long as it's done with love it'll be fine.


Poof...books! said...

Lately paprika has been close. Especially on corn on the cob, delish. It sounds like a good read and with so many down under I look forward to getting to know her.

Sarah P said...

Garlic. No question.