Bill Arnott’s Showcase Interviews: Diana Stevan

Hi Diana, thanks for joining our Showcase family! Let’s introduce you with a bio: author Diana Stevan has worked as a family therapist, teacher, actor, model, and CBC TV sports reporter. She’s published poetry, a short story, newspaper articles, a novelette The Blue Nightgown and three novels: A Cry from The Deep, The Rubber Fence, and Sunflowers Under Fire, which was a finalist for a 2019 Whistler Independent Book Award, and a semi-finalist for a 2019 Kindle Award, Literary Fiction category. A mother of two daughters and grandmother of three, she lives in West Vancouver and Campbell River with her husband, Robert.

Cover of Sunflowers Under Fire

Q. Tell us, Diana, what do you feel you’re best known for?

A. I’m a hugger. I like to hug. Also, I’m a doer; I don’t let the grass grow under my feet. A writer in my critique group has often said, “I don’t know how you do all that you do.” I think I’ve had such a rich and eclectic work life because I’m a curious person and like to explore whatever interests me and what I don’t know. I think the doing and the curiosity has led me down different career paths. Each one has informed me and now it’s informing my writing.

Q. And what brought you here?

A. You, Bill! Such a pleasure meeting you at the Whistler Writers Festival and reading your book Gone Viking: A Travel Saga. And now, to be a guest on your Showcase series. I’m honoured.

Q. (Cheers Diana, I feel the same!) Who’s a role model or mentor?

A. My role model or mentor is my husband. I’m sure he’d be very surprised to know that. He’s my anchor. He’s a very disciplined person who works hard at keeping his life in balance. I learn by watching him. He’s an avid reader, carver, sculptor, and novice guitar player. He’s not as scattered as I am and is the calm in my storm. And my father continues to be my mentor, even though he is long gone. He taught me the love of language, especially in poetry and the love of nature and balance as well. He’s probably the reason I fell in love with Rob. He has similar qualities. They are both men with a well-developed feminine side and men who are not afraid of showing it.

Q. Now the heavy stuff (not really). What’s your favourite book, album, movie, and food dish?

A. My favourite book is Anne of Green Gables. One of the first novels I read as a child. It made me cry and the fact that a book could move me the way this one did make me appreciate what writers can give to the world.

My favourite album is anything by Patsy Cline or Roy Orbison.

My favourite movie is Casablanca. I also like Treme, season 1.

My favourite dish is spaghetti Bolognese that I make. When Robert and I were studying art in San Miguel de Allende back in 1996 and I came down with bronchitis (laid up for months – read 12 books) and then Hepatitis A, my comfort food was spaghetti.

Q. (Ouch, that’s a long recovery, but kudos on the dozen books.) What are you working on these days?

A. I’m currently working on the sequel to Sunflowers Under Fire, another historical fiction. It’s called Lilacs in the Dustbowl and follows the Mazurets family from their village in Ukraine to Manitoba where they farm during the Great Depression. I’ve also written it as a stand-alone in case anyone wants to read only that and not the one before.

Q. (Brilliant. I loved Sunflowers Under Fire and look forward to the sequel.) What’s your advice to others?

A. My advice to others: If you want to write, write. Just keep writing. Read a lot of different authors and different genres. Find a writers’ critique group in your community or online. Study the craft. Lots of great books out there. Plus the internet is loaded with writers’ blogs on craft and marketing. The writers community is very supportive. You can find that support on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And don’t give up. Writing is talent, luck and hard work. One of my writing teachers said, “If you can talk, you can write.” We need all kinds of voices. And if you’ve already written something and you want to put it out there, get an editor. As good as your work is, a good editor can improve it.

Q. (Excellent words.) And to wind up on a silly note, here’s a Quirky Question. Make a choice: Harry Potter or Harry Belafonte?

A. Harry Potter of course, because I love the magic in that tale. The wildness of that story. The leap into the unknown, the fantasy. If you can dream it, you can create it. It speaks to going after what you want and not letting anything hold you back.

(Bill.) Great stuff. Thanks Diana, for your openness, insights, and being a fun participant.

See you all next time for more visits with amazing artists, here on the Showcase!

Bill.

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West Coast Editor/Poetry Reviewer at The Miramichi Reader -- Website

Vancouver author, poet, songwriter Bill Arnott is the national bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga (WIBA Book Awards Finalist and ABF International Book Awards Finalist). His work is published in literary journals and anthologies in Canada, the US, UK, Europe, Asia and Australia and his column Bill Arnott’s Beat is a feature at New Reader Magazine, Canadian Authors Association, The Miramichi Reader, Federation of BC Writers, and League of Canadian Poets. Bill’s been awarded for prose, poetry, songwriting and performed at hundreds of events internationally. He’s a Director on numerous Boards, Writer-in-Residence, creator of Bill’s Artist Showcase, and for his eight-year Gone Viking trek has been awarded a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society. @billarnott_aps | https://billarnottaps.wordpress.com/

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allan hudson
2 months ago

I’ve had the pleasure of reading Diana’s novels, much to my enjoyment. I too love Sunflowers Under Fire. A fine storyteller and a charming lady.

Bill Arnott
Reply to  allan hudson
2 months ago

Very cool, Allan. Agreed!

Diane Tibert
2 months ago

A lovely interview. I agree that being curious and a doer gets one into many areas others don’t tread. Curiosity never killed the cat; it broadened their horizons.

Bill Arnott
Reply to  Diane Tibert
2 months ago

Cheers Diane. Well said!

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