Today it is my great pleasure to welcome writer friend and Canadian author Diane M. Robinson who has said about herself, Ever since I was a child, I named things. Trees, cars, houses, clouds and of course, all the family pets. Every thing deserves a proper name in my view. My ladder even has a name: Harold H.Handover. Indeed, you will find, as I have, Diane is an incredible person, as well as an incredible author of children's books.
For example, the incredible person I have come to know has studied at Institute of Children's Literature and teaches acrylics, watercolor, and clay sculpture as the St. Paul Visual Arts Center. She also serves on committee for the Friends for World Development, volunteering to help coordinate sustainable programs in Indore, India regarding schools, tea plantations, weaving/sewing centers, milk co-ops, and community meeting halls. She has also volunteered for Kindness in Action to provide dental care for the poor in outlying areas in Honduras and Guatemala. Indeed, a very special person, who happens to be an incredible author as well.
'Incredible' came to mind when I learned that Diane as an author has earned, and is the recipient of the 2012 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (literary arts); the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Award; the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Award; the 2013 Sharp Write Book Award; the 2104 Readers' Favorite International Book Award; the 2015 Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval; and, the 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award in the genre of fantasy/adventure children’s chapter books. Books one and two in The Pen Pieyu Adventures series have won 6 international book awards and one provincial award. What makes Diane Robinson an incredible author, is that she is a multi-award-winning children's author, writing Instructor and tutor at Creative Writing Institute.
Before diving into the interview, I thought to complete this introduction, only after listening to Diane read in her own words.
DMR: Over the last several months, Longstride Castle had become quite accustomed to having the only Princess Knight, well, the only knight actually, in the lands of Pen Pieyu. The king and queen held many parties in Petra's honor, and royals and peasants alike acknowledged the Princess Knight's kindness and bravery and brought what gifts they could to the castle, although the gift bearing seemed to have slowed of late. Petra was not concerned with the parties or gifts as much as she was eager to practice all her knight skills : jousting, fencing, javelin throwing, steed grooming and maintenance, running, armour polishing, and, of course, onion-throwing to hit the mark. She also kept up with her Highland dance lessons, just because she liked it. Longstride Castle had also become quite accustomed to having a dragon in the kitchen since Snarls had become master barbecue connoisseur. The royal rule book said nothing about a dragon in the kitchen, only that the master barbecue connoisseur must provide a very hot fire available for barbecues at a moment's notice. The castle parties flourished as Snarls roasted to perfection his specialties: skewed onion-turnip pom-poms, onion-broccoli no-where-to-be-seen, and, of course, onion omelette ta-da.'
GMB: And with thoughts of castles and royals, and Diane's incredible presence, both here and in the writing community, I ask her now, to share with us something about her presence … a little about herself.
DMR: I live in a small town in central Alberta, on an acreage with horses and dogs, and tons of gardening projects to keep me busy in the summer. Winter weekends are my writing time. During the week, I work at a busy dental office, teach art lessons after work, and I am a part-time writing instructor at the Creative Writing Institute. Yes, I need more hours in a day.
GMB: And you have received wonderful reader reviews as well...
DMR: Yes ... and for example, Grady Harp, Hall of Fame, Top 100 Reviewer, said about Sir Princess Petra’s Talent:
Canadian author Diane Mae Robinson freely states `My mission in life is to inspire children to believe in the magic within themselves, to become heroes, and to accomplish great things' and to that end she is proceeding with her series of richly detailed imaginative fantasies focusing on a young princess who feels the need to be a knight. Though young and new to the field of publishing the author has already been awarded honors and medals.
Diane keeps the book short (a true plus for young readers) and makes her dialogue full of contemporary humor with just the right touch of lightness. In other words, Diane has mastered this genre. Or as other have said, her books are `amazingly fresh, charmingly funny, and embrace timeless values kindness, understanding, and respect'. Highly recommended.
GMB: Wonderful, Diane ... and what would you consider the greatest inspiration you have experienced to date?
DMR: I have several great inspirations that have happened to me as a writer.
GMB: Where and/or how do you find or, does inspiration find you?
DMR: It’s kind of a joint effort. When I’m mentally and creatively ready to start a new book, I just have to wander off into my forest. Then it’s like characters jump out at me from the trees. I know, it sounds strange, but when my imagination runs free I see different character images emerge in the tree barks. As I see these same images over and over throughout the months, think about the emerging characters and make notes, the characters start to come to life. When I have a good idea of the characters, the story starts to write as if dictated from the character’s point of view. When I explain this jumping-out-of-tree-bark-character idea to kids at my school author visits, they get it. Hmmm, this could only mean I have a childlike mind. Somehow, I’m okay with that.
GMB: What is your favorite genre to write … to read?
DMR: I only write children’s chapter books in fantasy/adventure. Well, then there’s my grammar book coming out, but in a fun way it is a fantasy/adventure as all the characters of my fantasy series are giving the grammar lessons.
My favorite books are the classics: Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenin, The Scarlett Letter, Jane Eyre, and Great Expectations, to name a few. To me, these writers had a classy flair for writing. I also like adult fantasy, adventure novels, and of course, children’s books.
GMB: What aspect of a story appears first when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot, or the title?
DMR: Definitely the characters. I work for months with my characters, getting to know them inside out, writing notes, and drawing images. Once I know the completeness of them, the story just starts to flow, as if the characters are in control, telling me the story themselves.
GMB: Has your own life influenced your novels? How have your novels influenced your life?
DMR: Petra Longstride, a nine-year old princess knight, is the main character of my series, The Pen Pieyu Adventures. She is feisty, adventurous, rebellious, but kind hearted and non-judgmental. People who know me think that Petra is me, especially the rebellious part. Okay, maybe.
GMB: Who is your favorite character that you have created? Moreover, why is this character a favorite?
DMR: One would think that Petra would be my favorite. She is very cool, but her dragon sidekick, Snarls, seems to steal people’s hearts. He’s a scaredy-cat, lippy dragon, who is also the royal chef and barbeque connoisseur at the palace. He’s also Petra’s royal steed. Together they go on adventures where Petra takes the lead, but Snarls’ antics are hilarious. He’s the nuttiest dragon I know, and his dragon fire is defective, which leads to all kinds of comical situations. He’s a real show stealer, unpredictable, and a wannabe main character. He’s been a pain in my side since I tree-bark met him. Oops, better be careful, he can read now too.
GMB: Tell us about your newest release or a project you are working on.
DMR: The 3rd book in The Pen Pieyu Adventures series will be released within a couple months.
I’m working on three other projects. My grammar book, Grammar for Kids and Dragons, will be the next book up for publication in 2016. I’m going to start writing book four in The Pen Pieyu Adventure this winter. I’m also co-writing a children’s picture book series with a local writer—this project will take some time to get into place.
GMB: If I were a publisher, I believe my first question would be, “Why were you chosen to write this story?” How would you respond to the inquisitive publisher?
DMR: Like I have a choice, living with an irrational dragon in my forest.
GMB: If you could be anyone in the world, space, and designated realm or dimension, who would it be … why?
DMR: I would be Billbo Baggins from Lord of the Rings. His adventure was incredible, heart- wrenching, and a true test of character. He accomplished the hardest and most amazing feats to save the shire and other realms. Billbo is the epitome of the word ‘noble’ and that is an honorable way to go down in history.
GMB: Diane thank you for a wonderful interview ... I really appreciate you taking the time to visit with us today. Is there anything you would like to leave us with ... about you, about your wonderful body of work?
One of my favorite quotes is "Be in the world what you want the world to be."
GMB: That is so super Diane ... what a great thought to leave us with ... Thank you for visiting. It has been my privilege to host you here in the Anything But a Tired Barn ... a great pleasure to share your world ... a world that you want to be in. I hope you will visit again soon.
Now, for everyone who will now agree with me that Diane is in deed a Special Person and Incredible Author, please continue to visit Diane, and support her writing efforts by continuing to join her in her special and incredible world. To do so, please reply on these links and continue to visit and engage and engage and engage...
Thanks again Diane,
Cheers and Be Well...
Website Link: http://www.dragonsbook.com
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Diane-Mae-Robinson/e/B007DKO8SK
Publisher Link: Book One Tate Website http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61346-264-5
Book Two Tate Website: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625106827
Amazon Author Page for G. Mitchell Baker
G. Mitchell Baker, Author