Are we on?

Following are my notes for the pre-selected questions Mary Eileen Williams asked on the June 26, 2017, Feisty Side of Fifty Blogtalk Radio interview. The actual interview can be accessed online here.   (Miraculously I didn’t drone “ummmm” for fifteen minutes or say the word “absolutely” five million times!)

MEW: “Windows to the Soul” book description:  An extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary man, Gabriel Hart—a grieving young father and widower—and the untold ways hope, loyalty and forgiveness are tested to the limit. How did the idea come?  

DB: First of all THANK YOU, Mary Eileen, for having me on your show! The idea came many years ago as I walked through my neighborhood. A male voice (a muse?) cried, “She’s dead.” I pulled my jacket collar up around my neck because I was the only person on the street. The story was “told to me,” silently. I rushed home to write it down as best I could. The struggling songwriter that I was had no idea what to do with the story of a young couple, their little girl and a prisoner. But I felt an obligation to the characters, so I set out to hone the craft of writing a novel.

MEW: We’re told, “Write what you know.” How does that apply to your writing?

HotAirBalloon

DB: My husband and I owned a hot air balloon business for several years, so yes that definitely informed me when I was writing one particular scene. And that scene appearing early on in the book, I believe, helped give the book credibility. Knowing terms and details about flying a balloon and a passenger’s experience on their first flight, and expressing both in a way that puts the reader in the balloon as both the pilot and passenger, gives the reader confidence that the writer is qualified to share a story.

Other aspects of the story I can personally relate to such as struggling with forgiveness, loss of loved ones … maybe not in the same way as the protagonist, but still my heart has been broken — as have most of us — in such a way in the past I remember I had no idea how I could or why I should ever crawl out of bed.

MEW: Your book explores the human condition — birth, death, love, loss and forgiveness. How difficult was it to delve into these deepest of themes?

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Dad Days

Dad missed not having a boy. No, he never said so in so many words. But because my parents’ first born, Charles Robert Richert, Jr., whose tiny gravesite is at St. Peter’s Church in Lanesville, Indiana, was never mentioned by my dad in front of my sister or me, spoke volumes about the depth of loss he must have felt.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Dad loved Sandy and me with all his heart. In fact, I defy you to find a better Dad! 

And he had a devoted nephew he was close to, and then sons-in-law, and his first grandchild was a boy, followed by two girls, and then another grandson. Dad always felt blessed when it came to his children and grandchildren. But I think there was always a little sadness around the edges of his heart. 

dad w train copy

For the first time ever on a Father’s Day, I’m imagining my dad and my brother celebrating, hanging out, playing with a train set or a round of golf, or casting a couple fishing lines into Blue River.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope you guys are having the time of your lives!! 


“Windows to the Soul,” a novel by Diana Black from Vabella Publishing:  An extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary man, Gabriel Hart–a grieving young father and widower–and the untold ways hope, loyalty and forgiveness are tested to the limit.  Get your copy today! Amazon and Barnes&Noble


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About The BLOG and The BOOK

#WindowsToTheSoul    #DianaBlack

Hmmm. I can’t remember …

did I throw the loose deck of cards at my sister or did she throw them at me?!

It was, after all, more than half a century ago.

My sister and I’ve laughed about it a million times over the years. All 52 playing cards Sandy&meReadingstayed intact until they hit my face…or was it her face? Anyway, it was hysterical!

What I do remember is that I was being a big pain in the butt to my big sister. I did that a lot when we were kids… like the time I sneaked around the corner of the house and into the backseat of her date’s car while he called for her at the front door. (Don’t know why they didn’t want me go to the drive-in with them.)

Yep, that’s how some little sisters are. And some big sisters, like Sandy Richert Walts, are irreplaceable female influences.

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When “some day” becomes …

today.

How does a momma bird do it? Regurgitate (gotta love that word!) her own nourishment into her hatchling’s begging mouth and then cast her baby from the safety of the nest — out into the big scary world … to possibly crash-land right into the ground and/or be devoured by a hungry coyote? Ack!

Well, it’s a miracle any of us ever let go of anything we hold precious, especially if we’ve vested a considerable amount of time, effort and emotion. Things like people, sweatshirts … books (maybe titled “Windows to the Soul” we’ve spent 30 years wWTTS_CoverWPriting).

Like the big warm cotton hug we depend on from that limp, cozy sweatshirt, a budding book can feel pretty comfy on rainy Saturday mornings, accompanied by a mug of steaming coffee and emerging ideas that we’re sure will take the work to the next level.

Intellectually we understand some day we’ll move on … giving our beloved sweatshirt to the thrift store and, if we’re lucky, sending someone our precious manuscript to critique. Oh, but when that day comes, we feel so vulnerable! 

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That moment when …

you see yourself through another’s eyes.

Echo Montgomery Garrettauthor of My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change, generously agreed to read my manuscript, Windows to the Soul, and offeredEchoGarrett the following quote.

“A haunting tale. Diana Black has spun a tightly woven, suspenseful story with unforgettable characters whose actions cause us to do our own soul-searching about the afterlife, love, promises we make, grief and—one of the highest callings of all—forgiveness.”

WTTS_CoverWPI’d done all that? I was just thrilled to have taken my story from two words (“She’s dead!”) to 15,000 to 27K and finally to over 50,000 — enough for a novel!

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