We’re so excited to be apart of the blog tour for Love’s Forbidden Flower and the author, Diane Rinella, has kindly and awesomely answered some questions for us about both herself and her fantastic book!

The heart cares not what society forbids.

Lily nurtures a secret love for a flawless man—the one who is her soul mate. Donovan is gorgeous, charismatic, and delights in all of Lily’s talents and quirks. Their innate knowledge of each other is almost telepathic. Together they interlock like fine threads creating luxurious silk.

But society dictates this picture-perfect adoration is the ghastliest of all possibilities.

As Lily embarks on a quest for the romance the heavens intended, her suitor turns reluctant. Desperate to uncover why Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hiding decayed from a tender-hearted gentleman into a ferociously self-serving, cocky bastard, Lily is prepared for battle when it comes to the salvation of her soul mate. However, Donovan traps Lily in a mental game of chess, leaving her to question his sanity. When Lily’s revelations about Donovan’s destructive alter ego lead to an inconceivable truth, can she help Donovan survive fate’s cruel joke?

Impassioned, witty, and deeply moving, Love’s Forbidden Flower is filled with stunning controversies that will forever haunt your heart.

How did the storyline for your book first come to surface? Do you remember what you were doing?

I remember every detail. I watched The Buttercup Chain, a 60’s counter culture film. The two main characters are cousins, via identical twins, who were raised as bother and sister. A small part of the story is based on their obvious romantic connection. The woman is accepting of her emotions while the man is conflicted. Both the book and the film taunted you with the situation but never gave you enough of it to make the storyline satisfying. Upon doing research I discovered that there are so many biases toward the subject that I could not find a single book that really tackled it. Yet the more I dug, the more common I found the real life situation to be. There are definitely stories to be told, and I wanted to do so while making the reader forget about the relation and just see the unfairness of societies biases. Love’s Forbidden Flower is a dark human rights piece disguised as a witty romance novel.

What were the biggest changes in the book from when you first wrote it to when you finished it? Were there scenes, characters or situations you wish you would of left in?

Lily had some funny moments that were based on events I experienced in pastry school. I wish there had been room for them, but they were really just filler.

I had a very distinct end in mind, but as the story progressed and I found compassion for the situation, I knew that changes were required. Without them, a good number of readers would never understand everything I needed to convey. Thus the book got a new ending and a second story.

Love’s Forbidden Flower delves into some very delicate issues. Did you do a lot of research and what effect do you want your words to have on your readers?

I did do some research, but honestly, not much, and that was intentional. The statistics used in the book are true, and I have read several stories of real couples that are in Lily and Donovan’s situation. However, the story is about soul mates in love, and that is universal. I did not want to apply anyone’s specific story to that.

I hope people will walk away seeing the world through new eyes. I’m not trying to sell anyone on anything. However, far too often we look at situations as black or white, and we do that because we are told to. If readers question their beliefs, regardless of if they change, I’ve done something extraordinary. There are amazing stories out there, including that of a German couple where the man has served jail time for their relationship, yet they refuse to part. How strong is a love where the people involved are locked up for it, only to be released from jail and return to the same situation, knowing they will wind up behind bars again?

The premise of soulmates was a theme that underscored your entire story, would it be safe to assume that you believe soulmates exist?

I firmly believe in it. At a young age I was told that we travel in groups and that we find each other time and time again. Every once in awhile we will meet someone and it seems as if we have known each other for years—it’s because we have. 

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Other than from myself, my toughest criticism came from my beta readers who are college literature students. Harsh! They totally whipped me into shape though. As for complements, I’ve had several people contact me to say they see the world differently now, that they hold more compassion. Somehow my words changed their outlook on the world for the better. The smile those readers have put on my face will stay with me long after I’m buried.

Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book and why?

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton has always been a favorite. I love how I can get into Ponyboy’s head. (Or does he get into mine?) I love the story line of Second Sight by David Williams, where a woman is haunted by her past life and gets drawn back into it. I also own a totally battered set of Jacqueline Susann novels. Valley of the Dolls is the most brilliant rubbish I’ve ever read.

Can you tell us anything about book #2, Time’s Forbidden Flower?

The book was never intended to be a series. (I’ve no idea who listed it as one on Goodreads. I am flattered that someone took the time to add the book and the description.) I am actually not a big fan of book series, but I do like fictional universes. While Love’s Forbidden Flower can be viewed as a standalone book, there is so much more to tell. You can’t have two soul mates and end their story when they are 20. Lily and Donovan made life-altering decisions that will result in life-long consequences. Time’s Forbidden Flower will be released in late 2013. As for anything beyond that, I am opening the doors for possible, future stand-alone books that are related, but Time’s Forbidden Flower will close everything. I can’t say that I will do anything related, but I am giving myself an option.

About the author: Diane Rinella

Enjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in Diane’s 150-year old Victorian home augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun’s crowning hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake designer, software project  manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock n’ roll journalist/fan girl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence her idiosyncratic writing.

She is currently completing the sequel to Love’s Forbidden Flower.

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