Writing has been an exciting journey, one I started early when I was in 6th grade and asked for a typewriter. I used an old black Royal manual, and found it a great release to type my feelings through poetry and short-stories. In high school, I took creative writing and continued to enjoy it. My dream to become a writer collided with reality and after graduating from business school and attending college; I worked as a secretary for several years at Michigan State University.
God has a way to bring us the desires of our hearts, and I answered an ad in the newspaper and accepted a job as a reporter. My children were young and we had just moved to a southern town. I made child-care arrangements and followed my dream. Well….some of it was dreamy. I loved doing feature stories and interviewing people, but police blotters, city council meetings and hard news didn’t do a lot to advance my creativity.
Returning to Michigan, I continued to do stringer work and ancestral history research, and writing donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations, while raising our three children. I wouldn’t trade those years of activities with the kids for anything. I enjoyed and prayed through every moment! Later they became the foundation for many of my stories…and the memories of those years will last forever.
Once you see your work in print and your by-line…it is something that forever stays with you, and like a flower that blooms year after year, those stories come out. Early in 2000 we’d made a move to South Carolina. Our children were grown and married and I started to write short stories that were released across the World Wide Web. They were fun and serious stories, and suddenly people from all over wrote to thank me, some could relate to my story and shared theirs. For several years I wrote, and many stories were picked up by magazines, books and in 2002 I decided to write a compilation of those stories and in 2004 a novel, Carolina in the Morning came out. Although I self-published and had book signings, television interviews, I loved going from our home to Charleston, SC to do research. I wasn’t part of a writing group at this time and didn’t know POV, back-story, weasel words…I knew how to tell a story because to date they’d all been short stories, and you tell a short story. In 2005, I started writing a weekly column for a Michigan-based magazine and continued to enjoy that until the bug hit me to do another novel. On a Summer Night was in the process when I joined ACFW and the Scribes. I proudly laid my chapters out for anyone to critique, and had a big awakening!! I was red-lined and my pages bled like crazy! I was insulted, embarrassed and hurt that people would say such things about my writing. I’d been published in many anthologies, books and magazines, including Japan. But, I wanted to rectify my writing problems and tried to grow tough skin (not always easy!) Thank goodness for the friends I made and those who went the extra mile to help me. I found I enjoyed critiquing others stories, and tried to be gentle with the authors, knowing how some authors came across to me!
Since then I’ve written several other books and my new book, This Side of Heaven is my favorite to date! I went through a roller coaster of emotions while dealing with what I felt God wanted portrayed in this small rural area of Georgia. Remember, we’d lived in Georgia in the late 70’s and I had many hidden feelings to share at some point. And although fiction, I found myself writing to music that brought tears that wouldn’t stop, rewriting to be sure I said what I felt God wanted portrayed, and enjoyed the romance between my lead characters, but also with an older aunt who reconnects with a former beau and an autumn romance blooms.
I think for many of us a story is something we have to write, whether for publication or self-satisfaction, but it’s in us and has to be lived out—to be seen in print. Each writer is different and we all take a different path on this journey to publication. Seek our Lord’s guidance above all things with the words you write. Regardless, your book genre—He’s the ultimate publisher and writer of your soul.
Check out Diane’s newest book, This Side of Heaven.
Darlene arrives in rural Georgia with her two preschoolers to escape an abusive marriage. In hiding, the family struggles to adjust to a secretive life among the pecan trees and gardenias. Then comes an unexpected visit from a neighbor.
Detective Brett Gafee is married to his job and his community, and heir to large pecan orchards. Expectations of a loving relationship dwindle over the years, and he sets aside all thoughts of marriage. Then he introduces himself to Darlene.
Was it fate or the Lord that brought them together?
Darlene’s secret past keeps her at bay from both Brett and her feelings. Can she be true to her heart and to Brett? When the truth comes out, will Brett pick up the pieces, or will he walk away?
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