California beach town. Her family then moved to the High Sierra Mountains just before she started first grade. "I have a vivid memory of our little town of Big Creek. I had never seen snow, and during our winter there, at one point seven feet of snow covered the ground. I remember walking to school in a snow 'tunnel' that seemed to me like I'd stepped into a magic fairyland.
"Those magic years of childhood are still with me and even today influence my writing. In the pristine wilderness of the High Sierra, I learned that solitude could create a special place in my heart for dreaming dreams and telling stories. Though I had some great adventures with my two best buddies (who remain my closest friends today!), climbing trees, sitting on boulders by a creek, making up plays, and getting into mischief, I also learned a love for reading." When Diane was eleven she won a prize for reading 100 books in one school year, and her first experience with publishing was in seventh grade when she became editor of The Timberline, her school newspaper. "It was a big deal at the time, but with only eight kids in the entire seventh grade, we all took turns!"
When Diane was sixteen her parents said yes to her pleas to spend the summer bicycling through Europe with her high school art class. "It changed my life. Independence was mine. The exhilaration and joy of pushing myself to the limits, cycling 30-plus miles a day was mine! Sketching ancient castles along the Rhine River and haystacks in the Alps. Scribbling in my journal every night. Thoughts on paper . . . emotions, stories, joys, teenage heartaches and dreams. The unexpected world of expressing myself in writing opened up to me. I'll always have a heart filled with gratitude for my parents allowing me to spread my wings and fly."
Diane left the small mountain village for big city life as soon as she graduated from high school. "I headed back to Southern California where I attended college and later married to settle in a suburb of Los Angeles. "When my two daughters were young, I began writing articles for magazines -- and also had the opportunity to illustrate several books on child psychology." (Pen and ink drawings had also become a passion during her bicycle trip to Europe.)
"But my dream, always, was to write a novel. In my wildest imagination I never dreamed I would write more than one.
"My foray into fiction came in the late 1980's when I decided to put 'feet' to my dreams and actually begin work on a novel. I joined a writers group led by a published mystery writer, Carolyn Coker, who helped me learn to believe in myself, in my writing, and most of all, in my dream.
"Some might call if a fluke when I met Lisa Bergren just as she was starting a new Palisades division of Multnomah Books -- but I call it a God thing. She invited me to submit some ideas with a few sample chapters and within a few weeks I had a three-book contract. I wrote my first five books under a pen name, Amanda MacLean."
Diane, now writing under her own name, has penned fourteen novels, five novellas, and several nonfiction gift books for women.
Diane's daughters are out of the nest, and she's now the proud grandmother of her first granddaughter. "There's no greater joy than spending time with my sweet little Mia. One smile from this little girl puts all of life, career, deadline worries -- every bit of it! -- into perspective.
"Both of my daughters have caught the writing bug. Melinda, my older daughter, traveled the world while on staff with cruise ships, from bare-bones adventure ships to five star/five diamond upscale lines,and is now planning to go into travel writing. She is my number one resource when it comes to the details of ships and cruising."
Diane's younger daughter Amy is co-authoring a children's picture book with Diane. "Think little giraffe, granny giraffe, giraffe sleep-overs, and every kind of grinning, gangly, giraffe kind-of-fun you can imagine and you'll catch a bit of the spirit of this book!"
One of Diane's favorite reasons to travel is for research on an upcoming book. Last summer, after cruising the Mediterranean with hubby Tom -- resident historian, number one critique partner, and chef extraordinaire - Diane began writing book two in the Harriet MacIver Mystery series, Those Sacred Bones, which is set in Spain, France, and Italy. The novel will publish in the fall of 2007. Diane is also delighted to announce her involvement in a brand new mystery series with Guideposts Books. "I am thrilled to be in on the ground floor with this project, and can't wait to get started on the first book -- a small-town mystery with a delightful sleuth! But more about that in the weeks to come!"
She uses first-hand knowledge in her books when writing about her characters. Case in point: Harriet MacIver flies a small plane in The Butterfly Farm. Diane drew upon her knowledge of flying from her own flying lessons and solo flight years ago.