An Interview with Madison Diaz, Romance Novelist Extraordinaire 

Meet Madison Diaz, a passionate writer who found her calling in crafting captivating romance novels. From early days of scribbling stories in elementary school to navigating the intricacies of indie publishing, Madison’s journey is one of resilience and determination. Through challenges and triumphs, she discovered her unique voice in the romance genre, drawing inspiration from her own experiences and a desire to create relatable, grounded characters. In this insightful interview, Madison shares her thoughts on balancing storytelling with healthy relationships, overcoming self-doubt, and her aspirations for the future of Madison Diaz Writes.

Can you share a bit about your journey as a writer and how you discovered your passion for writing romance novels?

The first time I got the itch for writing was in elementary school. I have memories of calling my friends on the phone in third grade to read them the little bits of fiction I’d written when I was bored. I liked writing song lyrics, too, and singing in my room. One of my biggest inspirations as I grew was Sarah Dessen and her coming-of-age stories. I enjoyed reading about realistic characters going through these big moments of growth in their lives, and I wanted to capture that on page. I’m also such a romantic at heart, and I usually have these daydreams about fantastical moments in romance fiction, and I wanted to recreate that. 

What challenges or struggles have you faced along the way, and how have they shaped you as a writer?

Getting into indie publishing in 2016 was a very different beast than it is today. I found authors on KU who wrote well, and I idolized them. I stopped looking at huge traditional publishing success stories and started valuing stories about romance authors who had taken control of their careers and made a path for themselves. Many of these authors had some privileges I didn’t, which was hard to accept, but opening my eyes to that fact helped me realize I needed to form my own path, too. I needed to write amazing books and have professional covers. I needed to look like a team, even though I was one person. To stand out and make it, I needed to look like I’d had it all together. 

Most could assume this would lead to burnout, and they are right. Sometimes those privileges really make a big difference when you’re struggling to make ends meet. I was diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses, and holding a job while writing had been impossible. Since the economy was struggling, it was also difficult to just find work in general, especially jobs that paid the bills. During this time, I took a long hiatus from publishing, and I got my MFA in creative writing. Throughout that journey, I honed my craft and landed a job in the publishing industry as a freelance writer before transitioning into a full-time ghostwriter. My day job is writing romance novels for clients, and then I work on my passion projects on the side.

Could you discuss a specific moment or experience that has been particularly inspirational or impactful in your writing career?

For a while, school and socializing as a teen really took me away from writing. I hardly had a notebook or access to a computer, so I stopped writing. My family also wasn’t very supportive since they believed there wouldn’t be any money in my passion. I decided to study psychology in college instead, but I wasn’t doing well, and my mental health suffered. At 21, I realized I didn’t feel my life meant anything if I wasn’t writing. I wanted to be a writer, but I hadn’t told people in fear they’d mock me or tell me it couldn’t be a reality. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) told me that if I wanted to achieve that goal, I needed to make dedicated time and forget what the non-believers said. I needed to believe in myself first and show the world I could do this. I released my first indie book within a year. 

How do you balance crafting stories with healthy relationships while also incorporating enough conflict to engage your readers?

External conflict is my way of creating conflict and while still having characters who treat each other with kindness. The “alphahole” and virginal heroine used to rule the genre, but readers have started wanting more than the same few tropes. People want cinnamon roll characters and sweet stories. Some people see “no third act breakup” in marketing and run to one-click, because they know it’ll be a safe place for them to enjoy a romantic story without worrying the characters might hurt, abandon, or betray each other. In these situations, what becomes important are other major parts of our lives that can impact a relationship. Our families, friends, and work can often cause friction in real-life relationships. What I like to do is put these characters in situations where their relationship is challenged not only by their internal issues but also by external factors they might need to solve to overcome. That’s where the story lies. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the response I’ve received from readers shows there’s a desire for it, especially as a palette cleanser between darker stories.

What lessons have you learned about yourself and your writing style throughout your journey?

One of the hardest lessons that took me the longest was to trust myself and my process. I’ve improved overtime based on the feedback I’ve received over the years, but some feedback just didn’t feel good or right. It takes a while to untangle those feelings, but ultimately, sometimes people really don’t see or understand the vision. It’s difficult because feedback is what helps us continue to improve as writers, but receiving the wrong feedback at the wrong time can be detrimental to the process and your self-esteem. I’ve had to learn how to take constructive criticism, sift through it to see if it’s valid or applicable, and then genuinely fit it into my writing. 

Can you share any tips or advice for aspiring writers who are looking to write romance novels or enter the publishing industry?

My best advice is to not give up. Everyone has a starting point, and writing is a craft. It’s not a natural ability one can either do or not do. It’s something that takes dedication and lots of throwing ideas, stories, or WIPs away. That’s completely fine as you’re shifting into the writer you want to be. There’s no quick or easy fix for this. You have to try and try and try until you create something you’re proud of. Releasing anything less can be devastating if someone comes back and says they don’t like it. Having the confidence to know something is of good value will go a long way, because you put in the time, effort, dedication, and expertise into crafting that story. Whether people personally like it or not, you know for a fact it’s valuable.

What motivates you to continue writing, especially during times of self-doubt or creative blocks?

My biggest motivation is my love for the romance genre. Romance has received criticism by society for creating unrealistic expectations for relationships. Most readers would agree that’s not true since nobody is expecting to stumble upon a dragon who flies them around the city. I think what most people are criticising is that they long for something more from their romantic relationships, and seeing the main characters in these books be given the world by their partners can trigger them when they believe they’ll never personally have or experience that. I’ve thought about this a lot when developing my craft, and I’ve decided writing grounded characters with true problems who deal with real-life situations would be a way to model healthy relationship standards. I love reading the over-the-top stories about characters who go above and beyond for their love, but I also think it’s important for people to stand their ground and establish boundaries, too. Relationships will always meet roadblocks, and it’s important to deal with them in healthy ways. I want someone to read my books and think, “Wow, I think I could actually find a love like this,” or “Wow, this made me feel the way I felt when I met my partner, so I love this!”

How has living in Central Texas influenced your writing, if at all?

I like basing my stories around Central Texas because I know the area well. Earlier in my career, I was anxious about writing stories in other places in the United States because I was worried I might get things wrong and people would rage at me. But I’m less worried now. Many of my fears as a younger writer about “not knowing” things went away over time. I don’t know if it’s just life experience or if I’ve done enough research in different places to know, but I’m less afraid. I still don’t write about any other countries because I haven’t done much international traveling, so maybe I can tackle that later in my career.

What are your goals and aspirations for Madison Diaz Writes in the coming years?

My goals are to eventually stop ghostwriting so I can focus on the novels I publish under my name. There’s a desire inside of me to also write over-the-top novellas that are super spicy, so I’m considering this under another pen name. I won’t hide it’s me, but it should make it easier for my readers to know what they’re getting when they pick up one of my books. I’ve also collaborated with others in the industry to develop Celestial Literary, which is a one-stop shop for new and seasoned authors to finish their manuscripts. We’re partnering with different editors, illustrators, social media experts, and more to give writers options once they’ve completed their manuscripts and are ready to move onto the next level. Right now, we provide a workshop that goes over plotting, outlining, and character development. Over the next few years, I plan to continue growing in these areas to where I can confidently rely on myself for financial stability.

Lastly, can you describe the role of social media in connecting with your readers and building your author brand?

Social media can be tough. My biggest goal is connecting with as many people as I can. I try to engage in conversation and have a mutual connection with other writers and readers in the industry. I’m developing a rapport with those who are interested in my novels, and hopefully that’ll continue to grow into something more.

Links: http://linktr.ee/madisondiazwrites and http://linktr.ee/headwritersincharge

by Harness Editor

Harness believes that freedom of expression equals female empowerment. The truth? We’re a badass authentic community of fierce women, and we exist to help your voice be heard. Harness is here to be your safe haven. A place to shed the competition, the insecurities. This is a place to rise by lifting others. This is who we are.


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