Q&A Interview with Diane Gardner

Today’s Q&A Interview is with Author Diane Gardner!

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Why did you start writing and when did you decide to go professional?
Writing was a huge comfort to me when I was a teenager. I was somewhat of an awkward child, taller than most of the kids in my class, heck, taller than most of the kids in my school. Back in those days bullying was just something you took for granted. Everyone got teased, or bullied. That’s not to say it didn’t hurt. Being the introvert that I was, I bottled up my feelings of inferiority, brought them home, and wrote them out in abstract poetic form. For me it was a great release. I’m not sure anyone else could decipher what my poems said, much less what they were about. But I knew, and they helped me through a very trying time of my life.
I continued writing poetry during different stages of my life. I don’t have half of what I wrote anymore. Once I started painting and pursuing a career with my artwork I wrote less and less. It wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that I decided I wanted to write a novel. The first one was a fantasy about a little boy in a world of talking animals. Unfortunately I never did really find a plot for that book so it’s hidden away somewhere in the closet.
I’ve done some professional writing with a newspaper and worked closely with an editor helping her with some projects. When she invited me to the National League of America Pen Women’s meeting I felt the pull to be a professional writer. I think it might have been an inner dream of mine, I love getting lost in other worlds! I was then invited to a critique group and met some local authors. That’s when the I caught the bug. From there is was about attending writer’s workshops, critique groups and big conferences like SCBWI and PNCW that I decided to pursue what I love. My story came from my fulfilling the desire to one day paint a dragon!
Do you write in more than one genre? Which ones and which do you like the best?
I’ve only written for young people, although my most zealous fan is a 90 year old lady. I think a good fantasy story an appeal to all ages if its written well. That’s what I try to do. I have in mind to write a dystopia series when the Realm comes to a conclusion.
Do you read other author’s books when you’re writing? If so, do you read the same genre or something different?
I’ve read a few books while writing. Now that I’m an author and have met so many other authors it’s almost impossible not to be reading four or five books at once plus writing my own. The books I read are almost all fantasy although I’m the only fantasy writer in my critique group. And I have a pull towards books such as Gary Schmidt’s Wednesday Wars, or Matt de la Pena We Were Here. I love the books that make me both cry and laugh.
What is the most difficult part of the entire writing process for you? Queries, pitches, editing..etc.
I have to admit, pitches and queries were. I’m so fortunate to be with a publisher that wants everything I write, for the most part, that I don’t have to worry about those anymore. So for me, the most difficult part of writing is those few days just before publication when I just can’t stand to wait for the world to read my book!
Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest, Olalla Washington. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national maga­zines and newspapers and she is an award-winning artist.
Twitter @DianneGardner
Author Central on Amazon
The Dragon Shield on Amazon

Teaser Tuesday with Diane Gardner

Today’s Teaser Tuesday is from The Dragon Shield by Diane Gardner.

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“What do you know about your sister’s shield?” Ian shut down the computer.
“What do you mean?”
“She says it’s magic. What do you know about that?”
“You mean the shield she just made, her dragon shield? I don’t know. She says she got the idea from her friends.” Brad shrugged.
“School friends?” Ian spoke softly, hoping to sound casual, but his inquiry was anything but random.
“Nah,” Brad laughed. “I don’t think so. I think they’re imaginary. She’s kind of mental.”
“Imaginary?” Ian asked. “How’s that?”
“Well, I don’t know. Maybe they’re really there. Sometimes I hear voices outside, like a bunch of girls out in her fort, but I never see anyone except Elisa. I can never figure it out,” he shook his head. “Unless she’s a ventriloquist of some sort. You know kids these days. I know she talks to herself.”
Ian didn’t say anything but it struck a harmonious chord in the symphony of his thoughts. Elisa does know the Kaempern children. They taught her how to make a magical shield just like theirs.  Perhaps they wanted a spare shield here for safekeeping because of the war.
With a shove of his knees, the desk chair rolled back slightly as Ian rose and walked to the kitchen to refill his coffee cup.
“Why?” Brad asked.
Ian cringed; he probably shouldn’t have said anything.  The boy was too inquisitive.
“Why do you want to know about her shield? Do youthink it’s magic?”
Ian laughed quietly, “I have no way of knowing something like that.”
Brad’s eyes lit up. “You believe in magic though, don’t you? You just admitted it. Heck, I bet you more than believe in magic. You practice it, don’t you? Going into another world, and all.” He jumped up. “Wow. Do you think her magic shield has something to do with the Realm?”
How could Ian deny what was playing over again and again in his mind? He shrugged his shoulders.
“If I get it for you, will you take me in?” Brad asked. He jumped up and raced to Ian’s side.
Ian scowled. The boy’s face glowed.
I shouldn’t have said anything.
 “Absolutely not, and don’t even think about taking your sister’s shield. No,” he replied quickly. “And I wouldn’t take you in regardless. It’s a wicked world in there. It’s no place for a boy your age.” Ian warned.
“Abbi said you went in at my age.”
Abbi told him that? What’s she trying to do, anyway?  I’m going to talk to her about divulging so much information about the Realm to these kids. This is not good!
 “Maybe I did–but it was the wrong thing to do, and I’ve regretted it ever since. I should never have gone in. Never. I’m not going to let you make the same mistakes I made.”
“Well, I’m probably more mature than you were, no offense. Mom says I’m grown up for my age.”
Ian raised an eyebrow. Maybe a little more arrogant than most kids your age. Mature? Not so much. Excitable? Absolutely. Can you control your temper? Highly doubt it. What would you do if you came face to face with that kid’s dagger? Disastrous.
 “I can fight, I’m good. I would be your right hand man.”
“No.” Ian gently touched the kid’s chest with his finger, “Get any such notion out of your mind. I’m not taking you into the Realm.”

Dianne Lynn Gardner
Young Adult Fantasy-Adventure Fiction
Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest, Olalla Washington. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers and she is an award-winning artist.
Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life.

Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she shares both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing as a way to not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.
Twitter @DianneGardner
Author Central on Amazon
The Dragon Shield on Amazon