Diane started her writing at an early age, but it wasn’t until her husband’s work took them to a small southern town that she wrote her first column, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper. She was also a columnist for a weekly magazine for four years. Diane is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her novels include On a Summer Night Stories from a Porch Swing, Texting Mr. Right, and her Christmas novella Winter Wonderland. Diane and her hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-two years, and are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals.
Welcome to my blog, Diane. I really love your book cover. Please tell us about this Christmas story.
Winter Wonderland is what my home state of Michigan is called. I’ve wanted to capture a story about Detroit in the early years, when the well-known J. L. Hudson Department Store was so popular. It was fun to research, as I wasn’t in Detroit in 1951, but in the sixties and early seventies I’d go with my mother, and then Steve, and we made some trips to shop at the huge department store. The malls started up in the late 60’s and in 1998 the well-known store was demolished. After WWII people came from all over to get factory jobs in Detroit, and my story follows one family from Florida with their twenty-year old daughter Ruth. She has had secretarial experience and secures a job in Hudson’s Department Store. A stranger she meets on her first day going for an interview becomes someone very special. Faith is a big part of my writing, and I share about a special outreach in this book, which is part of my husband’s grandparent’s ministry near Detroit.
Where did you get your inspiration for this book and do you include real life situations?
This story is fiction, however the information and research is true about Detroit. Many of my short-stories are true, but my novellas and novels are mostly fiction. Many things about them may stem from something in the past. Not necessarily mine, but having lived in a certain area. For instance, On a Summer Night starts out in the mid 60’s with two girls who go to Florida for their graduation gift; I’d gone to college in Florida, and knew about my subject. The area and the characters are fiction. I stay away from real people and don’t pattern anyone after anybody I know. I use fictional towns, but mention larger cities in the state.
What kind of research did you have to do?
A lot about J. L. Hudson’s…the time period, 1951 and what songs were popular; both in country music and top hits. Research about Ford Motor Company and when Borden’s changed from milk wagons to trucks! All kinds of little things had to be checked out to make sure information is accurate.
Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.
I used the name Ruth in memory of a sweet older woman who became very close to me. And is probably the model of what many of us wish our lives to be as Christian women.
I enjoyed creating Ruth in my book; her character is very kind and loving toward her family, and younger siblings. She works hard at her profession in 1951, as a secretary in a large city department store. Not being used to the ways of a city she enters J. L. Hudson’s using a revolving door and meets Mr. Green Eyes, who happens to share that section at the same time. Ruth is from a small town in Florida and her father comes to seek employment with Ford Motor Company.
Thanks, Diane, for this wonderful interview. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Because I have a back injury I don’t go out a lot. That’s been hard because I’ve always been active, but I also believe the Lord gave me this opportunity to develop my craft and write. I turn to Him daily and in all areas, and believe He leads me in my writing as well as my entire life. I don’t drink coffee or soda pop, but I am a chocoholic. J We have three grown children. Two are over seas, our son is in the mission field in Russia and our daughter and hubby, along with three grand-gals, are in China for two more years on a work assignment. Our oldest son is in South Carolina and still too far away. We are truly empty nesters and look forward to their visits each year.
Thank you, Linda, for your kindness and taking the time to chat.
You’re welcome, Diane. I hope all my followers will check out your books, especially this Christmas story.