Diane Gaston's Printer-Friendly Biography

Diane Gaston writes Regency Historical Romance for Harlequin Enterprises, both for Harlequin Historical in North America, and Mills & Boon Historical in the UK. Because Harlequin has a worldwide publishing program, Diane’s books have also been released in other countries, including Italy, France, Germany, Australia.

Diane’s books have achieved high critical acclaim. In 2006, her third book won the romance industry’s most coveted award, Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Regency Romance.

Diane was always a romantic, even as a little girl. As a child, she learned all the words to popular love songs. When she played, her dolls acted out tragic love affairs with the current TV or movie heartthrob. She thought everyone in the world made up romantic stories in their heads to get to sleep at night.

The third daughter of a U.S. army colonel, Diane moved often as a child, including one year in Japan. She has most often lived in the greater Washington, D.C. area, where she now resides. The life of an “army brat” bred strong values of duty and honor and discipline, but it also meant many moves, many new houses, but also new friends. Until new friends could be made, reading books passed the time.

It was always the romance in books that Diane liked best. She read Nancy Drew more to see what Nancy and Ned were up to than caring how the mystery was solved. She will never forgive Louisa May Alcott for not letting Jo wind up with Laurie in Little Women. The happy ending of Jane Eyre was more to her liking than the tragic one of Wuthering Heights.

Diane attended Ohio University and majored in English literature. There she again read Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, and also DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, bringing her closer to the romance fiction she soon learned to love. Susan Howatch’s Cashelmara and Penmarric were early favorites, but when Diane discovered Georgette Heyer and then a whole genre of Regency romance, she felt like she’d found the world where she truly belonged.

As a first career Diane chose to help others craft their own happy endings. Diane became a mental health social worker/therapist, and earned both a Master’s in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She worked in a county mental health system, providing outpatient psychotherapy first for children and their parents and later for older adults in the county’s specialized Senior Adult Mental Health program. She also married and raised a son and daughter, now grown and on their own.

Even with her love of books and her degree in English, Diane never seriously considered becoming a writer even though she always thought writing romance novels would be a dream job. In 1995, her busy life settled down enough for Diane to become a bit bored, and on a whim she decided to write down one of those stories in her head, a romance, of course. Diane never considered writing anything but Romance.

Diane wrote three contemporary manuscripts before turning to the Regency Historical Romance that she loved to read. She earned that dream job with her fourth manuscript when she received a phone call from Mills & Boon, the UK branch of Harlequin Enterprises. The Mills & Boon editor who judged Diane’s manuscript in the 2003 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest wanted to buy it. That manuscript became Diane’s first book, The Mysterious Miss M. It also won the Golden Heart for Best Long Historical.

Soon afterward Diane put her mental health career behind her and became a full-time writer of Regency Historical Romance, writing primarily for Harlequin, but also briefly for Warner Forever as Diane Perkins. Her books have gone on to win other prestigious romance awards besides the RITA and Golden Heart, such as the National Readers Choice Awards and the Orange Rose.

Diane considers the friendships she’s made through her romance writing to be the real bonus to her dream job. Through her writing she has made friends all over the US and the world. She is in almost daily contact with these friends, including friends from as far away as Australia.

When not writing, Diane enjoys emailing with her friends and traveling to the UK for research. But no more moving. She’s lived in the same house for over 20 years now, shared with her husband and three very ordinary house cats.