As the youngest in the family, growing up on a farm in Findlay, Ohio, Diane often acted out characters from her own stories in the backyard. She met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married three years later. While raising their six children in southwestern Ohio, Diane started writing nonfiction. Later, she decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction. Diane has published through a variety of houses, but recently decided to try Indie Publishing. She writes fun and inspiring stories filled with memorable characters. Diane gives thanks “to God daily for all her wonderful blessings.”
“Ms. Craver has a knack for pulling at your heartstrings with her endearing characters.”
Hello, Diane. Please tell us about your novel, A Joyful Break.
: “After her mother’s untimely death, a twenty-year-old Amish woman has a difficult decision to make: Make a break from the Amish church and her boyfriend…or live in the English world permanently.”
Rachel Hershberger wants to get away from her Amish home in Fields Corner, Ohio. For a year she’s been trying to fill her mother’s shoes by taking care of her father and siblings. She quit her job at the bakery so she could have more time to clean and cook at home. Before her mother died, Rachel was positive she wanted to marry Samuel Weaver, but now she can’t think about wedding plans. She blames her father for her mother’s death. If they had installed a phone in their barn or a shanty, her mother might have received medical help in time to save her life. Her mother’s death has made Rachel question if she should be baptized and join the church. She wonders if non-Amish women live longer and have less stress. Maybe her forty-four-year old mother would still be alive had she left the Amish lifestyle like her sister Carrie did.
When her Aunt Carrie invites her to go to the beach, Rachel decides the time away will help her to decide whether to join the Amish church or to live in the English world. She is conflicted because she loves Samuel and her family. Instead of a relaxing time away, disturbing events happen while Rachel’s in Florida. A photographer snaps troublesome pictures of Rachel because of her famous senator uncle, and a handsome and charming college student falls in love with Rachel.
Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
My inspiration for writing this book came from my sweet late mother, Laoma Oberly Wilson. She lived a long Christian life and enjoyed being a wife, mother and grandmother. Her grandfather was a Mennonite minister, and she shared many stories about him. Also the Amish community in A Joyful Break is fictional, but exists close to Wheat Ridge which is an actual Amish community in the southern part of Ohio where I live.
What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?
Before I started writing my Amish novel, I did extensive research to portray this wonderful faith as accurately as possible. However, there are differences between the various groups and subgroups of Amish communities. This is because the Amish have no central church government; each has its own governing authority. Every local church maintains an individual set of rules, adhering to its own Ordnung.
What does your family think about your writing?
My husband and children are very supportive of my writing. My hubby is a nonreader so I was impressed when he read four of my print books. He doesn’t want to read from my Kindle. My daughters have proofread my manuscripts and given me constructive feedback about what I’ve written.
That’s awesome. Real family support! Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
When my daughter Christina was in San Diego on a conference, she booked a flight for me to join her. We ate lasagna at an outside restaurant and enjoyed walking on the beach. I thought I was the smart one keeping my shoes and socks on. Apparently a bug bit my big toe while it was trapped in my shoe. I ended up with cellulitis, which is an infection of the skin. Another daughter, Emily, thought I meant I had cellulite when I called home about my illness. LOL. My toe, foot, and leg were swollen and turned a nasty purple color. I was hospitalized in San Diego overnight and discharged. When I arrived home, I needed to be admitted and was in the hospital for five days. Pretty serious stuff. But my favorite vacation will always be to go to the beach. I love the ocean so it was especially fun to write about Rachel’s impression when she first steps foot on Cocoa Beach in my novel.
Man, I didn’t realize that an insect bite could do so much damage. I’m glad that you recovered. I’ll remember to take off my shoes when I go to the beach next. I live among the Rocky Mountains, but I go to the California beach once a year when I’m on tour. Thanks for being a guest on my blog.