Diane started writing for a local newspaper, covering hard news and feature stories including a column, “Yankee Viewpoints” in the late 70’s. She’s written ancestral history, donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations and had a four year running weekly column for a Michigan based magazine. She is the author of Beach Walks, Carolina in the Morning, On a Summer Night, Stories from a Porch Swing, Winter Wonderland and Texting Mr. Right. Diane is also the author of over three-hundred short stories. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for almost forty-four years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals.
Welcome back to my blog, Diane. Please tell us about This Side of Heaven.
The story takes place in rural Georgia with a single mother who has relocated from a large northern city, under the protection of an underground group of people who help victims of abuse. Darlene has two preschoolers and a small home among the gardenias and pecan trees. A neighbor and also a handsome detective, heir to large pecan orchards stops by with a small puppy for the children. Unaware of Darlene’s situation, they slowly fall in love. He thinks she’s still grieving for her deceased husband, and she’s afraid to let anyone know where she is.
Where did you get your inspiration for this story?
The story and plot are fiction, but we lived in rural Georgia for just under four years in the late 70s. It was quite a time of adjustment for me, from the capital city of Michigan. Steve’s mother was from the area, and we got to know many people, made some nice friends and built our first home among the pecan trees. It’s taken me a long time to write this story, to be able to release some of the feelings from the past, then to write, and finally allow the story to take wings.
Did you do any research for this book?
Oh yes! There’s a lot of suspense, and part of the storyline deals with how easy it is to make meth and sell drugs today, as well as a number of things legally related. I had a good source in Atlanta who’s a captain in the police force, and able to answer many of my questions. And although we had pecan trees, things have changed, and today there are a lot in harvesting techniques. The story is fiction but the life style and characters are true and what exists in some of the rural areas.
Please tell us about one of the main characters in this story and what you like about him or her.
Brett is a bachelor when he meets Darlene and falls in love with her. In the story he’s a dedicated detective who is exceptionally good with his skills in this field. He also falls in love with Darlene’s two children, Maddie and Mark, and takes time to be the father they so desperately need. His concern for Darlene is very protective, and when problems arise for her, and adjustments, he has a loving way of speaking with her, bringing the Lord into their talk. Brett’s a Christian and his actions throughout the book show readers he can do his job as a detective, a father, husband and maintain those values, despite his position and wealth.
Thank you very much for this wonderful interview. Your book sounds very intriguing.