A big welcome for Dianne Gardner today on the Red Carpet. I am very pleased to have Dianne here, not only is she a great writer of YA stories she is a very talented artist as well – well worth a look. Today she has kindly agreed to be interviewed.
Red Carpet day
THE Dragon’S Shield
I have been venturing back into the world of YA just recently after nearly a 60 year gap! to see how teenage books have changed since I was one. I have been impressed by the good ones, and The Dragon Shield is one of the good ones. Exciting enough for the age group, with a great mixture of traditional type fantasy and modern technology.
I found I could still relate to a growing teenager’s anxieties – the problems may be modern but the feelings remain the same. I think Dianne Gardner manages very well to convey these mixed and emotional states of mind as a child steps over that threshold into adulthood. She handles that aspect and combines with the story – what we would have called a ripping yarn when I was young:) very adroitly.
A satisfying read for this old lady and I can imagine it being more than satisfying for the YA reader.
So now back to the author herself, this week she has agreed to be interviewed so we can find out more about her and The Dragon’s Shield.
It is so nice to welcome you here today on the Red Carpet, Dianne. I hope your tour has been going well?
I read a review from your grandson the other day and found myself agreeing with him when he said he was telepathically screaming at the book asking . . . I had done the same at the end of the book ‘what was going to happen?’ – I was telepathically screaming at you:) I guess you have written a good part two of a series if a teenager and an old lady both want to know what happened:) I understand the third in the series is almost done and dusted, so hopefully we wont have to wait too long to find out.
Dianne: Thank you for having me! I’m glad you enjoyed the book! And now, Rubies and Robbers is being edited by the publisher even as we speak.
Alberta: You have raised a large family and so I guess you have a lot of insight into a child/young adult life and culture.
Q: Do you have any problem keeping up with their rapidly changing lifestyles?
Dianne: Fortunately, being grandmother, all I have to do is enjoy their rapidly changing lifestyles. My job is completed having to keep up with them!
People passing through their teenage years today aren’t much different than we were, or our parents were. Everything is more high-tech on the outside, but what’s inside is very human and very real and not any different from when I was growing up. Kids today have the same insecurities and awkwardness we experienced in our adolescence.
Alberta: There is a difference of a few years between the first and this book. Ian is a little older, wiser but with some way to go yet. It is a large step from young teen to adult man. A coming of age journey. Q: Do you think it is more difficult now, than when you were young, to make that journey?
Dianne: It could be. The years between 15 and 18 are so very awkward. I remember feeling like a child half the time while everyone around me was expecting me to act like an adult. Then when I tried to, that didn’t work either because I was too young, lacking wisdom and experience to make an adult decision. I remember just wanting those years to pass.
Alberta: I have been reading some of your experiences and how you have managed to meld them into your writing. For you this seems to have been essential to the storytelling. Q: Do you think the storytelling would have been so successful without a personal first hand experience or could it have been researched from book/internet?
Dianne: I don’t think research through books and media can ever replace personal experience. You can know the facts, but how can you know the taste? The smells, the emotions involved with the event and the environment surrounding it? You can say the journey on horseback was long and tiring. But from book or Internet research do you know how riding in the saddle felt? Can you taste the sand that is grinding into your teeth on that hot dusty trail? Or feel the burning in your eyes? Can you feel your feet hurt as they’re pinched from pointed boots? Good writers could probably get close to the real thing, but I think the best writers try to go and live it first. Then they have something to bring to the table.
Alberta: One of the aspects I enjoyed was the use of technology in this tale of fantasy. The contrast between it and the world Ian went to. Q: How difficult was that to meld together?
Dianne: I had help. When it came to the technical part, I went to a young man who knows a lot about programming and just what a hacker would need to do to get into a portal, and how to avoid it. It was great working with him. I think my own computer is better protected now!
Alberta: Do you know how much time you spend on writing, including editing and day dreaming each day?
Dianne: Well, each day is different of course. Right now I’m on a hiatus from writing anything new because I have so much rewriting to do. I like to spend at least four hours a day on the project I have going. Marketing has taken me away from those hours, but I hope to be back on track soon. When I was writing the drafts to Ian’s Realm conditions were so that I could spend six hours a day easy. Rubies and Robbers was drafted during NaNoWriMo. It was written in 27 days.
Alberta: I was always told if one wants anything doing always ask a busy person:) You seem to be a very busy person, so Q: What are greatest pleasures and means of relaxation not counting family, writing and painting?
Dianne: Walking. We have some beautiful places to walk here in the Pacific Northwest. You’ve seen some of them in the story! The woods especially is the greatest place to unwind, relax, get inspired, and work the knots out so to speak.
Alberta: Because I am a nosy old woman:) Q: Who are your favourite authors, the genre you usually read?
Dianne: My favorite authors are C.S. Lewis, C.S. Forester, Lewis Caroll, Mark Twain, and Tolkien. As you can see, I love the classics. For contemporary authors I love Gary Schmidt and Matt de la Pena. Give me a book that will make me laugh and cry both, and I’ll be happy!
Q: And your favourite type of music, musicians/singers? Do you listen to music when writing?
Dianne: I listen to music when I’m thinking about my stories but not usually when I’m writing. I love Il Divo, classical violin and classical/Spanish guitar. Anything moody. I also love haunting Celtic music like the song that Lexa Rose sang for The Dragon Shield Trailer, which by the way she wrote with the lyrics in the book. We hope to make an album this summer with all the songs in Ian’s Realm.
Alberta:Thank you very much for popping in and talking to us:)
She’s been a painter all her life having started at the age of 12 under her mother’s supervision. Her first private art lesson was with a sculptress in California. Excelling in art in school and on to college, her portfolio includes portraits, inspirational works, and plein air landscapes. She was the portrait painter for the Washington Renaissance Fantasy Fair for several years painting 20 minute oil paintings during the fair. She has just recently started illustrating books, beginning this endeavor with a 9′ triptych of Stenhjaert the Dragon, the antagonist in Ian’s Realm
Dianne is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. Besides the Ian’s Realm Saga (Deception Peak, The Dragon Shield, and Rubies and Robbers which will be released in 2013) she boasts authorship to four short stories titled A Tale of the Four Wizards Series which interweaves with the Saga. She writes for middle grade and young adults targeting boys and adventure loving girls, but adults are some of her most zealous fans of all Her writing definitely falls under the ‘family friendly’ category!
If you want to be involved in the series, help with the music recording or own one of Dianne’s unique paintings -Dianne and Ian’s Realm are involved in a kickstart project, details can be found here