It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to my friend, Inspirational Author Diane Yates. Please enjoy her great interview.
Ozarks Maven Author Spotlight Interview With Diane Yates
For those readers who are unfamiliar with you, please tell us a little about yourself.
I am the mother of three grown children, and eight grandchildren. I am the wife of an amazing, loving husband who is my #1 fan. He and I spend six months in Missouri and six months in Florida, only thirty minutes away from Disney World where our annual season passes support Mickey! We love taking the grandchildren when they visit.
What kinds of writing do you enjoy?
There is nothing like a good book on a rainy afternoon or with a cup of hot cocoa in front of the fire. The books most likely to be in my in my hands are romantic fiction, whether it be suspense, historical, or sweet, but the occasional biographies and mainstream fiction can be quite satisfying as well.
What do you enjoy most about the writing process?
I love the creative process of writing; getting into my characters heads and experiencing what they’re feeling, seeing, and doing. My computer is like a transporter. I sit down, start writing, and find myself “beamed” into the story. Later, I’ll return to my world with several hours missing.
When did you start writing?
In the second grade, I wrote a story about my brother and even drew a picture of him flexing his bicep. Out of six siblings, Larry was the closest but still eight years older than me. In the sixth grade, I wrote skits, and the neighborhood kids loved to play the parts. My junior high school didn’t have a creative writing club, so I started one.
To what or whom do your attribute your love of reading and writing stories?
My eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Wortham, made literature fun as we acted out many of the classics we read. She gave us an assignment to write a skit, and mine was chosen to perform before a school-wide audience. From that time on, she expected me to be a writer. For years, whenever I would see her, she would ask if I’d written that first book yet, but I didn’t complete my full-length novel until 1993. Sadly, when I tried to locate her with the exciting news, she had passed away from cancer.
How have your past experiences impacted your writing?
Since two of my books are biography/memoir, they are totally about past experiences. It made character writing and plotting easier as I only needed to portray their actual personalities and nuances into the factual events. As I write fiction, I weave my personal experiences into my stories, such as the emergency surgery at birth in Melissa’s Fate is exactly what happened to my daughter, and many of the events in Christmas on the High Seas were similar to those on my own cruise.
What are some jobs that you have held?
I semi-retired from practice management of a medical clinic in Columbia, Missouri. Prior to moving to Missouri, I owned a medical billing and consulting company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. But the jobs that are nearest and dearest to me are those which didn’t render pay, such as being a mother, grandmother, daughter to aging parents, and sister to terminally ill siblings. I cherish my time as a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, and teaching/speaking whenever an opportunity presents itself.
Does your past employment experience ever make its way into your books?
Absolutely! I think the most important instance of this is in Impossible Fate. After years of separation, Fate has reunited David and Aliyah in college. When a very Jewish Aliyah goes to church with David, her first time in a Christian church, the pastor’s sermon includes an interaction between the pastor and his brother. It is the true story of my own interaction with my brother as he lay dying in the hospital. I can’t read it without tearing up.
What inspires you?
The strangest things inspire me! It could be a news story, a random thought while staring at the sky, a recent pondering while studying scripture, a statement made by a stranger and my mind starts thinking, what if… In each case, I look for the lesson or message behind the story.
What made you decide to write about the subjects or themes of your books?
When I first started writing, I just wanted to create stories, characters, and situations without any real thought to anything else. As I matured, I realized writing comes with responsibility. I wanted to write stories that encourage and inspire the reader in positive ways. Concerning the responsibility of writing, E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web, said it best. “A writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.”
Have you met any interesting people while researching your books?
Yes. Immediately, Aharon Levarko comes to mind. My husband and I went to Israel in the fall of 2019 and Aharon was our Messianic Jewish tour guide from New Zealand! When he started talking, we were taken aback with his Kiwi accent, but the depth of knowledge that proceeded out of his mouth educated and amazed us. When I started writing Impossible Fate, I didn’t know that Aliyah Zimmerman would be Jewish or that her father would move her family to Israel to separate her from a budding romance with David, but this trip to Israel was the catalyst that made it happen. How thrilled I was when Aharon agreed to be a character in the book and to offer his expert input.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
I’m going to give two answers to this question. First, editing the finished the manuscript is more than difficult. I find myself making rookie mistakes and I’m just too close to my work to edit it sufficiently. I definitely need a professional editor. Second, if authors only had to write what a wonderful world it would be, but we don’t. We also need to maintain a website, email list, and a presence on social media platforms. Now, I love interacting with readers. Book signings are great, but trying to keep current with postings while balancing my time writing is almost impossible!
Who are some of your favorite authors and why do you enjoy their work?
Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, Lavyrle Spencer, Janette Oke, and Catherine Marshall wrote some of my favorite books, but at a younger age there was an author I enjoyed like no other. I waited impatiently for her next release to show up at my library. Jane Aiken Hodge wrote smart, creative, strong, fictional heroines that appeared in actual historical events with suspenseful plot twists and endearing heroes. Hodge was from the UK, and I find as I run my work through Grammarly, I often have the British spelling or use of a word. Her work definitely made an impact on me.
What writing advice did you find most useful when you were honing your craft?
I’m a storyteller. I know my story and often forget that my reader doesn’t see, hear, taste, feel, or smell what is happening in a scene. It’s important to put the reader in the action.
Do you have any new work just released or coming out soon? If so, would you please tell us a little about it?
Christmas on the High Seas, my novella, released this past holiday season. We had all been quarantined, with the cruise ships docked, leaving us all longing for a trip to paradise while falling in love, with a few obstacles to overcome. Halley was going on a cruise with Candace, her sister’s best friend, but when she boarded the ship and opened her door, all hopes of a merry cruise evaporates. Candace had sold her ticket to Devon, the man Halley never wanted to see again, despite his tanned, muscular torso. This bully from high school had made her life miserable. Now, she must share the same room, eat at the same dining table, and enjoy the same on-shore excursions with her enemy. Join the Christmas cruise where enmity meets forgiveness and hate falls for love.
Can you tell us a little about your current project?
The first book of the Fate Series, Melissa’s Fate, released in November 2019, with the sequel, Impossible Fate following in May 2020. I am now working on the final book, Love’s Fate. All three tell the story of the Drake Family. In Melissa’s Fate, Phil Drake is shocked when Beth reappears with startling news. He vows to never forgive her, but he’ll do anything to save the little girl he didn’t know about. In Impossible Fate, Phil’s son, David falls in love with Aliyah at an early age. The only problem, Aliyah is Jewish and David is Christian. Her parents forbid even their friendship. In middle school, her family moves to Israel and the two lose all contact until college. Can David bridge the gap of their faith or is theirs an impossible love? In Love’s Fate, the test of time will reveal the strength of true love throughout the Drake Family and more. This final book is set in Connecticut, New York, and Israel and promises in-depth characters and emotional struggles, yet with romance and enduring love.
Check out her website at http://www.dianeyates.com for her schedule and contact information and her blog at www.dianesponderings.blog. You can also visit her author page https://www.amazon.com/Diane-Yates/e/B00FH1IDH4/ and BookBub page https://www.bookbub.com/profile/diane-yates-3a88289e-c079-4a79-8720-165bcdd74235.
I am an Amazon Associate. As such, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made through my affiliate links.
Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.