Sunday, November 11, 2012

Author Interview w/Dianne Gardner - YA Fantasy

 Diane Gardner
YA Fantasy Fiction

     Come into my humble yurt deep in the eastern forest near the aspen grove. Choose for yourself the wooden bench or any one of the sheepskin fleece we have on the ground and cuddle up by the fire with a cup of wild herb tea.  It’s a joy to have you!

Reader’s Haven: Dianne, this is such a cozy place to hold an interview with you. Thank you. Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.

Dianne:  I was born in the east (Ohio) and raised in the west (California) but spent most of my young adult life in the deserts of Arizona where I lived on 80 acres surrounded by BLM land, raising horses sheep, chickens and a cow. Later I moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Washington. Here I am watching enjoying most of my children and grandchildren (some of them live in California and Arizona) in a beautiful landscape of forests, shoreline, valley and mountains.

Reader’s Haven
: (Deanna) I'm from the Pacific NW also! I live in the Lewis-Clark Valley! (Louise) Oh, I lived in Portland ,OR for 6 years. You've not seen a lush green forest unless you have visited the northwest. What made you want to become a writer?

Dianne:  I have so much to say. I’ve been a professional artist and up until recently sought to express myself by oil paintings alone. Remembering that I used to write poetry when I was very young, and how wonderful and satisfying it was, I decided to try my hand at a novel. I also wanted to write stories for my grandsons. So little work is out there for boys. I’ve always been a lover of fantasy and desired to write the kind of fantasy that I love reading. I have a wild imagination.

Reader’s Haven: (Louise) I'm glad to hear that you're able to use so many of your talents in your books. Please share a bit about Deception Peak without giving away any spoilers.

Dianne:  The first book of a trilogy, Deception Peak is a young adult adventure fantasy about a teenager, Ian Wilson, who follows his father through a portal that magically appears on their computer screen. They travel into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life. 
     But when the two are separated, Ian is abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers and is forced to find his courage. As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search to find his father, Ian meets the true peacekeepers of the Realm. It's then that he learns there is a greater purpose for being there.
     The next installment The Dragon Shield will be available early 2013.

Reader’s Haven:
What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Dianne:  I like real people in my books—people who make mistakes and have to learn from them in order to achieve their goals, people who don’t always make the right decisions--People who have just as many flaws as they have strengths, maybe even more sometimes. That’s what makes a character believable, and likable if not loveable. Even though my stories are fantasies, they have a human component to them. And because my books are for young adults, I don’t want to give a false impression about life. I want kids to know that making a mistake is common. I want them to know that being afraid or weak in some circumstances is perfectly normal. And then I want them to see that those flaws can be compensated for, that those poor choices can be reversed. I want them to see forgiveness as well as victory.

Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Dianne:  On days that I am able to write all day (that is when no other pressing life event is happening) Here is what I do.  Early morning (6:09 – that’s what time my husband leaves for work. I’d get up with him but he doesn’t want me to turn the lights on and I can’t see in the dark) I put a pot of water on for tea (lemon ginger usually), boot up the computer, check my email and then try really hard to by-pass Facebook and begin writing. I write. I usually write until about 10 am. Then I shower, clean, eat some breakfast and write again. Sometime around noon I take a walk, have lunch and perhaps spend some time in the studio. (I am illustrating my books, doing my cover art and once a week I teach oil painting).

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Dianne:  The trilogy is a three-book story arc so it has one theme. The books of the trilogy are Deception Peak, The Dragon Shield and Rubies and Robbers.
    Then I have four short stories that will be published soon that tell the legends of the fantasy world, (the Realm. I guess their theme is different.
The other books that will be published next year The Diary of a Conjurer and Cassandra’s Castle have somewhat of a different theme although they both take place in the Realm and have some of the same characters.

Reader’s Haven:  How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Dianne:  You know, it so depends on the story. For instance, I finished the first draft of Rubies and Robbers (the third book in the trilogy coming out next year) in one month for NaNoWriMo. I haven’t started the edits on that book yet, though. I think I was able to write it so quickly because the book resolved so many of the issues that were introduced in the first two, making it fairly simple to write. But recently it’s already taken me more than a month to write The Tale of the Four Wizards, four short stories that tell the legend of the Realm. And that isn’t a third the length.

Reader’s Haven:
 Do you have to be alone to write?

Dianne:  Yes. Absolutely. My husband tries to sit with me and when he does, the best I can do is edit.

Reader’s Haven:
(Deanna) I escape to my home office. Readers are always curious on this subject; how do you go about naming characters?

Dianne:  In my series I have several different cultures in the Realm. In Deception Peak, two of those cultures are based on Danish dress and appearance, so I researched Danish names. Later I have a story that will be released next year titled Cassandra’s Castle, and in that story the culture is taken from the Portuguese way of life. In fact, there’s a bit of historical fantasy to that book.

Reader’s Haven:  Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Dianne:  I wrote my characters first, and then I started seeing people who looked like them. Being a portrait artist, I hired models to pose for my characters’ portraits and since most of them were young people they were thrilled that they were going to be in my book. Now I have a long line of models eagerly waiting to be some of my characters.

Reader’s Haven:
 How do you pick locations for your stories?

Dianne:  I choose the Pacific Northwest for most of the location in my stories because I know, and love the country so well and because it’s such an inspiration to me. I go for long walks in the forest when I need to think about my work and it’s almost as though the trees and wildlife talk to me. Really.

Reader’s Haven:  What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Dianne:  I’m working on four short stories that are titled The Tale of the Four Wizards 1. Silvio which comes out in November and may already be released by the time of this interview. Meneka,  Kaempie, and  Reuben.
     These stories are very magical stories that introduce the myths and legends of the Realm.
     They will all be published one a month until February when book II of The Ian’s Realm Saga will be published.  That book is titled The Dragon Shield.
     From there, look for book 3, Rubies and Robbers, The Diary of a Conjurer and Cassandra’s Castle, all YA novels of The Realm. And who knows, I may spout out some more shorts in between those as well and there’s another Realm story cooking for book 6

Reader’s Haven:  Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Dianne:  I keep everyone updated on everything (book signings, releases, work in progress) on my blog I wanted to tell you a little about my blog because I think the work in progress stories I have are pretty unique and fun. I work with re-enactors often times both for my artwork and my books. Recently I visited one family, who by the way are modeling for my illustrations, and they just happened to have a yurt that they set up for me. Yurts are the homes that you’ll find in the northern lands of the Meneks and Kaemperns in Deception Peak. I posted the step-by-step process of building a yurt on my Dragon Shield page.
     I also was fortunate to take a Discovery Trip on the Hawaiian Chieftain,  (a tall ship that sails these northwest waters) with my granddaughter’s class. Not only did I get some gorgeous photos, but I also soaked up scads of information I’ll be using for Rubies and Robbers (pirates and tall ships in that book). I have a Work in Progress page up for that as well on my blog.
     If you scroll through some of the blog’s backstory, you’ll also find the making of my 9’ dragon painting, a triptych oil painting where each panel has elements of the book covers for the trilogy.
     Click here for more of my illustrations.
Deception Peak Paperback (with illustrations) can be purchased here 

Deception Peak Kindle can be purchased here
And also these books can be purchased at Hydra Publications

Twitter @Dianne Gardner

     Readers, thank you so much for stopping in to meet Dianne. Please visit and share her website with your readers friends and don't forget to grab your copy of her books! Dianne, thank you so much for inviting us to the yurt!


  1. Thank you very much for having me! I enjoyed our time together! Make sure you shut that yurt door and snuff out the light before you leave. You wouldn't want to leave any traces that we were here..dragons you know.

  2. Hi Dianne, it's so cozy inside the yurt. Reminds me of an igloo although made of wood. Your trilogy and short stories sound wonderful. I have become a huge fan of YA fantasy and look forward to reading your books. ~Louise