Where I am
Tamarack Farm, Bessemer, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was raised a mile from where I live now. My parents farmed the forty acres we live on now. I was raised on a dairy and beef farm and have had a horse since I was nine. My one interest has always been horses. Other girls did girl things as a teenager. I rode and read everything I could about horses. There was always more to learn, and I still think that way. I am married and have five grown children and five grandchildren, plus one on the way.
Besides writing about horses, I also am a trainer, instructor, judge, exhibitor, and lecturer. My stories are fiction, but they are based on our experiences with our horses. They are very realistic.
When did you first realize you liked to write?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a child, but it was 15 years ago when I started writing my books.
How has your love of horses influenced your writing?
That’s what I write about. My books are about our experiences in the horse world set in a fictional story.
Tell us about your What Cowgirls Do! series.
It came about when my daughters complained about not having any good teenage books about horses to read. I realized our experiences would make a good story. I decided to write one for them. One book led to another, and 15 years later I’m still coming up with ideas.
You are involved in every step of your book series from the idea to cover design to marketing, is it difficult to manage your time between them all?
Yes. I would rather write or design covers than print books, but it has to be done. Until I can find a printer who can do small quantities at a reasonable price, I will keep on doing it all myself. Or until a big publisher buys my books and I don’t have to worry about the publishing of them.
Marketing is the biggest hassle. It’s not easy getting word of your books out there. Networking helps.
How many books are in the series as of now?
What the Cowgirls Do! has thirteen books right now.
Who are your main literary influences?
The Trixie Belden Series from when I was a kid. I loved reading series where your favorite characters were back in each book. Guess it shows, when I write a series. I like to read Kathleen Eagle. Her characters have such a good sense of humor and she writes a good story. I hope my characters have good humor too. My family gives me all kinds ideas for humor. We are a humorous bunch. I like authors who write good stories with realistic characters and plots. And I like characters in a book to talk like they do in real life. I try to do that.
What is your favorite book ever?
I like too many to have a favorite. Cammie’s Choice & Copper’s Chance, two books written by Jane McIlvaine McClary back when I was a kid, are two I really like. I bought used copies of both of them for my granddaughters to read when they get old enough.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Several of the horses in the stories are patterned after horses we or my clients own.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone to write?
Not really. I write early in the morning after my husband leaves for work. My mind is the freshest then and ideas come the easiest.
I write from the seat of my pants. I jot down ideas as I get them, but I don’t write from an outline. I’ve started writing most of my stories with a vague idea and let the story develop as I typed. Several times the characters have taken me off in a different direction than I had planned.
Those books are really fun to write. I don’t know the ending until I write it.
What effect do you think the Internet has had on writing in general?
It makes it so much easier for the writer to find information he might need. Also print-on-demand books have opened a whole new way to market your books. This is good for new writers who don’t have agents and/or publishers knocking down their doors—which is most of us.
Has it had an effect on yours?
I hope so. I hope it helps me get word of my books out there to the horse book reading public.
Is there one book of the series that will always be your favorite?
Book 6, Shattered Dreams, has been my favorite since I wrote it. The main male character is so much like my husband. I like several of the other books almost as much, but every time I reread Book 6, I remember why it’s my favorite.
What else are you passionate about?
My family and horses. I’m a tried and true horseman. It’s been my main focus since I got my first horse at nine years old. It’s never been anything but horses for me.
Any new books in the works?
Yes. I’ve got the basic idea for Book 14. I’ll start writing it this fall.
More to Come
Thanks to Diane for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her book website periodically to keep an eye out for her next book.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.