Happy Friday CAN Members!

Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger

This is Catherine Finger bringing you an interview with today’s featured author: Dr. MaryAnn Diorio.  In addition to to being an award-winning author, speaker, leader, coach, and beloved family matriarch, MaryAnn finds time to graciously leads our CAN reviewers—a great service to our authors. Thank you for joining us today, MaryAnn!

Catherine: What are your passions?

MaryAnn: Worshipping God, loving my family, sharing the Gospel, writing fiction. painting—especially in oils.

Catherine: Where do you volunteer your spare time giving you a more rounded life?

MaryAnn: I spend my spare time discipling women and ministering to my six adopted grandchildren.

Catherine: How do you use this experience in your writing?
MaryAnn: Ministering to women has made me more aware of the many challenges women face in an increasingly stressful world. I draw on these challenges as I create the heroines of my stories.

Catherine: What humorous thing would your readers want to know about you or your writing life?
MaryAnn: The first sale I made was to The Saturday Evening Post for a humorous poem about an argument between my then small children. This sale was humorous in that I am not a funny person by nature, and I had no clue what I was doing when I submitted to this major magazine. I was like the bumblebee who does not know that, aerodynamically, it cannot fly but flies anyway. The Lord used this sale to confirm His call on my life to write for Him.

Catherine: Do you have a funny story relating to your writing or an event?
MaryAnn: Yes. My husband and I met through a newspaper article I’d submitted (at my mother’s request) to my local paper about my earning my Master’s degree. My husband will tell you that my article was really a want-ad for a husband. We just celebrated our 50thwedding anniversary.

Catherine: Did you find a fascinating fact/story while doing research for your book?
MaryAnn: Yes. While researching my latest novel, In Black and White, I was quite surprised and chagrined to discover that the seven suburban communities named “Levittown” and built during the late 1940s and 1950s were racially segregated communities, as stipulated in their sales agreements. This sad fact gave me a backdrop for a portion of my story

Catherine: What are you currently working on and what attracted you to this project?

MaryAnn: I am currently working on two projects. The first is a compilation of the poems I have written over the last 40 years. The book will be called Poems for All Seasons, as the poetry deals not only with every chronological season of life, but also with the spiritual seasons of our lives.

The second project is a historical novel titled The Urchin of Naples and based on a story my late mother told me when I was a child. My mother was born and raised in Naples, and I have visited the city several times.

Catherine: What’s one thing you want our readers to hear from you today?
MaryAnn: I would like our readers to know that Jesus loves them just as they are and just where they are, and that He is the answer to their every need.

   

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author who writes riveting fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest novel, IN BLACK AND WHITE, a love story about racism, released in November 2019.

MaryAnn has also written THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES trilogy, a page-turning, family saga revolving around the life of Maria Landro, a woman torn between two worlds, and who must choose between them. MaryAnn’s books for children include five picture books: WHO IS JESUS?, TOBY TOO SMALL, CANDLE LOVE, THE DANDELION PATCH, and POEMS FOR WEE ONES and one chapter book: DO ANGELS RIDE PONIES?

MaryAnn lives in New Jersey with her husband Dom. They’ve been married 50 years and are the blessed parents of two wonderful daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn loves to paint, play the piano, and make up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn at maryanndiorio.com.

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Paisley Abbey in Glasgow, Scotland
Paisley Abbey in Glasgow, Scotland

Paisley Abbey in Glasgow, Scotland.

Recently my family and I were able to travel around historic Scotland researching our ancestral ties to this beautiful country. One of the amazing places we visited was Paisley Abbey where our ancestors, the Lords Cathcart I & II, were interred. We searched and searched all over the huge church for their tombs. But we needed to know some crucial information.

Traveling Historic Scotland can flip your assumptions 180 degrees.

The interior view of Paisley Abbey's new altar area

The interior view of Paisley Abbey’s new altar area.

Paisley Abbey was built over time in the 12th century. Major benefactors included the Cathcart family. Over the centuries, major benefactors and important people in society were very often buried nearest the altar inside churches. The less important a person in society, the farther from the altar. knowing this, we searched every brick and tomb. We searched all the carvings and stones.

The volunteer guide pointed out Cathcart Aisle and a small alcove behind the choir. We found more recent (1800s) Cathcarts that would be very distant cousins. But no sign of the lords’ gravesites.

 

Then, our guide mentioned that the  huge cathedral had a different design than its original. 

The historic altar had been destroyed as the Paisley Abbey, several times from war and a huge architectural mistake when one of the roof rebuilds crashed down from poor workmanship. Over time, the altar was moved as the abbey was expanded and rebuilt.

But one wall, the Old Wall, still exists.

Cathcart Memorials at Paisley Abbey in the Old Wall

Cathcart Memorials at Paisley Abbey in the Old Wall.

The guide pointed out the difference in the height and narrowness as potentially guards against Viking raids versus the new walls with windows at a more normal height. Then he mentioned the original wall, hidden mostly behind a long line of screens that told the story of the abbey. He pointed out where the original altar likely stood. People commonly interred in the thick walls of historic Scotland’s cathedrals over the centuries.

We’d been searching in the wrong place the entire time because we didn’t know the altar moved!

The ancient Cathcart tomb is a large stone carved in Latin, pretty high up below very narrow windows on the original monastery wall. We all admired the beautiful stained glass, more recently placed, but still gorgeous in the ancient church. Then…

We found them! A long brass plaque beneath the carved words, different centuries and yet the root of our Cathcart roots. Just one branch on our family tree. But I am so happy to have found them and a little more information to share with future generations.

All that time scouring every nook and cranny in the choir, altar, walls, and floor. Often we chase all around the answer, not realizing it’s the wrong spot because of an assumption based on the way things look right now. What a great example those few hours gave me! When I’m methodically searching and not finding, I learned from historic Scotland to ask God to point me in the right direction regardless of my assumptions.

Angela Breidenbach and her daughter pay their respects to ancestors at Paisley Abbey

Angela Breidenbach and her daughter pay their respects to ancestors at Paisley Abbey.

 

Author and genealogist, Angela Breidenbach

Author and genealogist, Angela Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach uses the research from her travels in her historical novels.

She’s a genealogist and the president of the Christian Authors Network.

You can find her at AngelaBreidenbach.com and on social media with @AngBreidenbach including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.

Try one of Angela’s historical novels that include genealogical research like:

 The Captive Brides Collection telling the story of Scottish immigrants who endured indenture to come to the Colonies as the American Revolution is birthed.

Captive Brides Historical Romance Collection

Captive Brides Romance Collection featuring CAN author Angela Breidenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeanne Dennis

Jeanne Dennis, host of Heritage of Truth TV

Heritage of Truth Internet TV, Produced and Hosted by CAN member Jeanne Dennis

Click on the title links below to watch the interviews with Christian Authors Network members. You can also learn more about each member by clicking on their name.

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