. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi John, thanks for having me! The Pacific Northwest is my home. After living in the dry desert of Arizona for over 23 years, I tired of always praying for rain, so I decided to come and get it on my own. Gray skies and deep forests give way to the most glorious summers you could ever imagine. Not to mention the abundance of berries, clams, oysters, salmon, fruits of all kinds, to me the Puget Sound area of Washington is the richest place in the world.
I have seven children, all grown. Sixteen grandchildren that need stories written, and so they are my inspiration.
. Who or what inspires you?
Lot’s of things inspire me. Events that I experienced, historical figures, things I’m passionate about. Current events. What big industry is doing to our food supply is what inspired my new release Altered.
. Who’s you favorite author?
. Do you have a favorite time or place to write?
Mornings and evening and whenever it’s quiet. I have to take the opportunity whenever I can!
. Do you have a favorite food or drink while you write?
I’m a chocolate lover. I drink coffee sometimes if I write in the morning.
.What do you do to relax?
I love to listen to music. I’m also an artist so closing myself in my studio, turning up the music and painting is my favorite time to relax.
. As writers, we all have to deal with writer’s block, what do you do when that happens?
I have a friend that I call and we go for long walks in the woods and talk about our stories and the problems we’re facing with them. Often times our conversation leads to the resolution.
. If you could ask one question of any writer, who would it be and what would you ask?
I think I’d ask Rowlings if there was any hope for my books? *laughs!
Now that we’ve got the easy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about your book.
. Would you like to share something from you latest project with us?
I’d love to. Here is the story line
And this is an excerpt from the second chapter, after Abree is taken away from her family.
It only took a few minutes before the bus shimmied away from the little desert town of Sunrise. Onto the freeway they flew; a gust of exhaust stinking up the cabin as the driver shifted gears and picked up speed, merging into traffic. Sunrise soon vanished into green and gold of desert.Screams came from the back seats.
Frankie James shook his younger brother violently.“Shut up, Reggie!” the older brother yelled. “You’ll get us all in trouble.”
Someone should have stopped them, but there were no teachers aboard. Abree sneered at the guard who rode silently by the exit clinging to his rifle; he stood stiff as a plastic soldier with his back to the commotion. He didn’t seem to care if the kids killed each other.
“Get your hands off of me,” Frank’s brother insisted. “I hate them. I hate all of them and I’m not going with them.”
Frankie’s jeer rang in Abree’s ears. She wished he hadn’t laughed. She felt just like Reggie did and wanted to scream just as loud.
“What are you going to do then, freak?” The boy sitting across from Abree chimed at the two. Brian Gallard the hall monitor. Sixth grade. No one messed with the hall monitors. They were training to be policemen.
“Reggie’s brave,” Abree whispered under her breath, but Brian heard her and swung around sharply to meet her eyes. “And honest,” she added. She didn’t care what Brian thought of her comments. “We should all be like that.”
“It’s stupid to fight the system.” Brian barked back. “You won’t win. None of us will. You’d best shut up and do whatever these soldiers tell you to.”
She squinted at him, his eyes wide and direct, as though her life depended on his wisdom. “I don’t have to listen to them. Or to you,” she said, her breath chilling as it hissed through her teeth.
“Yeah? Then what are you doing on this bus?”
She turned with a huff and studied the finger smudges on the window. “Don’t talk to me,” she mumbled, ignoring Brian’s chuckle. Her fingers touched the bandana around her neck as she thought of her brother, her mom and home.
. What genre is it?
We’ve got it marked as Teen Thriller. It’s a middlegrade/young adult dystopia novel. Adults are enjoying it too.
. Where do you draw your artistic inspiration from?
Life and its beauty and the human condition.
. Of all your characters, who is your favorite?
My very favorite character in this book is Ivana. She’s got guts! I enjoyed writing her.
. What authors have had the strongest influence on you as a writer.
C.S. Lewis with his simplicity of getting thoughts across. C.S. Forester with his fantastically flawed main character Hornblower, Tolkein with his amazing world building.
. Do you use an outline or do you let the story emerge as it goes along
I use an outline. I follow the steps of John Truby’s Anatomy of Story.
. Are you traditionally or self-published?
I’m published with both Master Koda Select Publishing and PDMI Publishing LLC, both small presses.
. What made you pick that route?
After sending manuscripts to agents I realized I didn’t want to wait that long to see if my work would be approved. I also didn’t want to go it alone. A small press seemed to be the best route.
. What has been your biggest challenge?
Getting the word out about my stories. I want the world to read them. It’s hard. There are so many books and sadly, so much bureaucracy. Like anything else we need to really work hard and marketing.
. What has been your greatest reward?
When my readers come back to me and say they love my book!
. If you had one professional wish, what would it be?
I’d love to get on a NYTimes Best Seller’s List!
That wasn’t so bad was it? But before we go, do you have any last words of wisdom to offer those reading this?
Just that I hope you enjoy my book!
If you join the launch party on Facebook, there will be some prizes and fun and the link to Altered will be made available of April 15
You can see more of Dianne’s work on her website http://gardnersart.com
My other books can be found through Author Central http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FCZ32MG