I have had the pleasure of interviewing writer Diane Tibert McGyver, author of the fantasy series The Castle Keepers. Diane has also written young adult fiction. Her books are descriptive with well-developed characters you care about. Read on to learn more about a writer who has worked hard for the title of published author.
Tell us something about yourself, a brief history perhaps.
I’m number ten of eleven children, so my life has always been filled with family and activity. From an early age, I became the documenter of events, the addresser of envelopes and the photographer at family gatherings. This was training for later in life when I became a writer and began submitting articles, columns and stories to editors. My first article—one about gardening—was published in 1998 by East Coast Gardener, a newspaper-like magazine published in Nova Scotia. After the magazine accepted two more articles, I had the confidence to reach for bigger goals, and soon had pieces appearing in Plant and Garden, Canadian Gardening and Saltscapes. Gardening was only one love, so when the opportunity arrived to be a genealogy columnist, I jumped at the chance. Currently, my Roots to the Past column appears in seven newspapers in Atlantic Canada. I enjoy writing nonfiction, but my writer’s heart lives in fiction.
My blog is about following your dreams. What was your biggest dream as a young girl?
I include ‘dreamer’ in my blog title. I’ve always been a big dreamer. As a young girl, I often dreamt of travelling the world and exploring interesting places. At one time, I even considered being an archaeologist. Actually, I haven’t ruled that out completely.
Has that dream come to reality or are you still working on it?
In some ways, the dream has come true, but I still have plenty of places I want to visit, things I wish to explore. I’ve climbed a mountain in the Rockies, toured throughout Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, driven across the prairies, gone deep into caves and have travelled as far south as Memphis. Dog-sledding in the north, touring castles in Scotland, hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and visiting war graves in Italy where my father served during the Second World War are on my to-do list.
What inspired you to write?
I don’t know what first inspired me to write; I started when I learnt how to spell words. It might have been the same as what inspires me to write today. I love creating characters and exploring new worlds of my imagination.
Tell us about your most recent publication and how it came to be.
“Shadows in the Stone” is a fantasy novel, the first in a four-book series. It all began when I was 17 and wrote a book with similar characters in that world. I didn’t think it was good enough even though my brother, who didn’t like to reader, kept asking me for the next chapter. I put the book away and started another with a few of the characters I liked. Again, when it was finished, I didn’t think this was the story I wanted to tell. I set aside writing for about nine years and filled my days with work and whatever else people do in their 20s. While home caring for my first child, I dug out the finished books and read them. I extracted a few of the characters and wrote “Shadows in the Stone”. After what seemed like a decade of writing, revising and editing, it was finally ready to be published. This was the story I wanted to tell.
Did you self publish or go with a traditional publisher?
I submitted the “Shadows in the Stone” manuscript to DAW Publishing, and they rejected it. Although I had received dozens of the rejections for other manuscripts, none hurt as bad as this one. After much soul-searching, wondering if the story was good enough and wondering if I wanted to be a writer, I discovered self-publishing. Not willing to let a stranger tell me my stories would never be read by others, I published my novel myself.
What did you read growing up?
While growing up, I read anything that sounded interesting. A few I remember are The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, The Sword of Shannara, Star Wars (yes, the book), Archie Comics and dozens upon dozens of westerns my older brother had bought.
What do you read now? What are you currently reading?
Again, I read what’s interesting, but prefer fantasy, historical fiction (particularly local history), adventure and romance. Books I’ve enjoyed over the past few years include “The Da Vinci Code”, “MACLEAN”, “Follow the River” and “The Wizard’s Ward”. I’m currently in between books, but I’m starting “Back From Chaos” by Yvonne Hertzberger later this week.
What is your pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is linked to my genealogy research. When I read an obituary for a woman and only find her referred to as Mrs. John MacDonald (or whatever her husband’s name was), that irks me.
If you could have lunch with anyone (alive or dead) who would that be and why?
Sitting down for lunch and conversation with Alexander McDonald, the first of my MacDonald line to arrive in Canada, would be the best. I’d ask him where he was from because finding the right McDonald family in Scotland in 1780 is near impossible. I’d ask him why he left, what it was like fighting for the English in the War of Independence and who his son William married. Her identity is still a mystery.
Thanks so much Diane for sharing a bit about yourself. I love how so many of us read the Bobbsey Twins growing up. You are living proof of how dreams can come true thorough perserverance. I am sure you will be an archaeologist one day! To learn more about Diane and her books visit her blog http://dianetibert.com/about-diane-tibert/