Okay, maybe not all that way, but I know she’s out there writing her “stories from the heartland.”
Welcome, Diana, and give us the back-cover copy for your book, From a Distance.
He wants independence. She longs for safety. Will they find a way to be together for good?
Shanna Becket’s first assignment makes a stop at her hometown bringing her dangerously close to meeting her abusive stepfather. What she didn’t count on is the distraction of a handsome stranger.
Perfect set up for my curiosity, Diana. It’s great to chat with you again since our collaboration days on a couple of historical novella collections. Yea, research, right? What surprised you the most during your research for writing From a Distance?
When I did my research, I discovered that the orphan trains were called that because the orphans were on it, but there weren’t special trains just for them.
What challenged you the most as you wrote this book?
The research, so much of it was sad. Many children were used as if they were indentured servants and, once they reached adulthood, were tossed off farms or out of homes. Brothers and sisters were pulled apart and had no way to contact each other.
Considering such painful situations, can you choose one scene in this book that qualifies as your favorite?
The very last scene because it shows how much my heroine changed from the beginning.
Do have a theme that seems to make its way to the top of your writing again and again?
Forgiveness and trust run rampant through my work—I may have my own issues and God is making me think about them through my writing.
God certainly leads us in an up-close-and-personal perspective of the issues we deal with, and I suspect that is what draws many readers to books with a Christian world view.
Considering a different kind of view, many writers have an ideal place for traveling into their story worlds. However, most of the time, we make do with what we have. What do you imagine as a perfect writing spot? Is it anything like your author reality?
A screened-in porch overlooking a lake—it’s a dream. The weather would be ideal too.
My actual space is nice. I share an office with my husband, but he let me design it. I have white cabinets—great for hiding stuff. I have no idea what I have in them. My desk is white too. My husband made it fit the length of the room and we have the printer dividing our sides. I also use a Varidesk (standing desk) that moves up and down to help protect my body from sitting in one position for too long.
The standing desk sounds like an ideal luxury, and a great way to promote health. Are there any other tidbits you can share about the writer’s life, particularly something that you wish non-writers knew?
That the process is hard. It takes a long time to come up with the characters and story. That what the reader reads is only a small part of the work. As much as math and I don’t get along, it’s a lot like that, in that you can hand in your answers to math problems two ways: showing the work or just the answer. The finished book is like showing the answer; no one else sees the work.
Authors are often dreamers. Have you any unfulfilled dreams?
Yes. I want to have all of my family and grandchildren on a weekend getaway. It’s a dream because everyone is so busy working, and getting everyone to get the same time off is almost impossible. Maybe someday.
Ah, togetherness. A true blessing, at least most of the time. Do you have any pets that insist on unending togetherness with you, either inspiring or hindering your writing?
I have one cat, he is not helpful, not at all. I love him, but he always wants attention when I’m writing. He will stand on my keyboard and block my monitor until I pet him.
Insistent, to say the least!
Building upon the past, do you have any special memories where libraries are concerned?
The bookmobile! My mom and I would walk two miles to get there. It was magical to me. The welcoming smell of paper and ink when you walked in the door. All those books with their bright colored spines beckoned. I wanted to take them all home.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy bike riding with my husband on the trails. We have quite a few in my state, and my favorites are the ones that used to be used for the railroad lines.
What an interesting connection for you to be able to travel those routes. Perhaps there were orphans traveling those very lines.
With the completion and release of From a Distance, what’s coming up next for you?
It’s a work-in-progress right now. I’m working on expanding a series book which follows A Time to Dance (contemporary) titled A Time to Bake. It’s making me hungry all the time because the heroine makes cupcakes. I’m also working on the second book (historical) which follows A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee.
Thank you, Diana, for sharing a bit of your writing life with us.
May all that you read be uplifting.