I’m delighted to welcome a fellow lifetime writer, Diane Barnes! We have similar backgrounds but let’s let her tell you all about it.
Diane Barnes is the author of More Than (October 29 2019), Waiting for Ethan (2015), and Mixed Signals (2016). She is also a marketing and corporate communication writer in the health care industry. When she’s not writing, she’s at the gym, running or playing tennis, trying to burn off the ridiculous amounts of chocolate and ice cream she eats. She and her husband Steven live in Massachusetts and dream of moving to Turks and Caicos – at least for the winter months. She hopes you enjoy reading her books as much as she enjoyed writing them.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Diane: I was born a writer. Seriously, I’ve been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil. My first novel, WAITING FOR ETHAN, was published in 2015 so I guess that’s when I “officially” became a writer.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Diane: Forever, really, I don’t remember a time I haven’t been working on improving my writing skills. I graduated with a degree in journalism so all through college I focused on writing. I started taking fiction writing classes over twenty years ago and still take them today.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Diane: I love Elizabeth Berg, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few writing workshops that she has taught. That’s not to say that my writing is similar to hers though, but I aspire to write characters as relatable.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Diane: One day in second grade when I returned from recess, there were large paper footprints trailing from the door, on and under desks, and out the window. We had to write a story about what happened, and I have been writing ever since.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Diane: The first fiction classes I took were for short story writing, but really my first published pieces were news and feature articles for a newspaper and then a magazine.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Diane: Everything! It’s one of the rare things I do when I’m not thinking about anything else other than what I’m doing. I love creating something out of nothing, and I love being able to control everything that happens.
Betty. How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Diane: By writing and reading a lot. I read a lot of craft books as well as fiction, and I listen to a bunch of books on my commute as well. Also, I regularly attend classes, workshops, and conferences.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Diane: How to be patient! Things take a really long time.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Diane: Every great book I read inspires me. Elizabeth Berg’s writing and teaching of writing are inspirational, and Jodi Picoult’s brilliant stories are inspiring.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Diane: Awhile after I moved, I attended an exercise boot camp class in my new town and met so many wonderful, supportive women who became friends. The class was something I really enjoyed. When I started the book, all I knew was the character would attend boot camp. The story took off from there.
“You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”
Peggy Moriarty is stunned by her doctor’s words. She knows she’s let herself go a bit, but she thinks the young, skinny physician is exaggerating. Her husband’s death fourteen years ago left her to raise their twins, Grace and Greg, alone. But now that they’re teenagers, doing their own things, her only hobby is watching Messages from Beyond, a show about a medium who connects the grieving with their deceased loved ones.
When the twins leave for college, they give Peggy a gift certificate for an exercise class. At first, Peggy is insulted. But once the sting wears off, she realizes if she gets in shape, she might gain the confidence she needs to go on her favorite TV show and talk to her husband one last time.
With help from her new friends at the gym and Carmen Tavarez, the mother of Grace’s boyfriend, Peggy begins to emerge from her prolonged grief and spread her wings. She may soon discover that her sum is more than a mother, a widow, and her body.
This is the day I start my diet, Peggy thinks when she wakes up. It’s what she tells herself every morning, but today she means it.
Yesterday, her new physician, Dr. Richardson, pointed at her medical chart. “You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”
Obese! At most, she needs to lose thirty to forty pounds. That does not make her obese. Obese is her old next-door neighbor, Lannie Fitzgerald, who had to have her clothes specially made and drove around the supermarket in one of those motorized carts. Peggy is a long way from that.
Her former physician, Dr. Sheridan, never would have told Peggy she was overweight. She was kind, always asking about Peggy’s twins during the exam. Skinny doctor Dr. Richardson, in contrast, made no small talk and didn’t even address Peggy by her first name, making her feel old—and fat. Frankly, Peggy is stunned that Dr. Sheridan handed over her practice to such a rude, impersonal young thing. Peggy doesn’t want a doctor who’s insensitive and prone to exaggeration.
Maybe she should find a new doctor. Yes, that is exactly what she will do today
Thanks for sharing your inspiration and experience, Diane. I wish you well with your writing career.
Happy reading, everyone!
P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!
Visit http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.