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October 14, 2013

Dianne Harman: A Writer's Journey

One of the wonderful things about getting a bit older is finally having the time to do what you want. I’d always wanted to write – in fact when I was around ten I wrote a book about a little girl who goes to China. China? Where did that come from? Who knows?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading, usually several books at once. If it wasn’t a book, it was whatever was in front of me. I was an English Literature major in college. My first semester was not a spectacular success, because I had discovered Ayn Rand during final time. Not a good idea. The final exam studies languished while I became thoroughly engrossed in her books. It was a bit difficult to explain that to my parents!

I kept reading and always harbored a secret desire to write, but like so many, I was of the opinion that you had to attend numerous writing conferences, join writing groups, and have a lot to say about something that would really interesting to a lot of people. I didn’t think I did, so the secret desire stayed secret for many years. About two years ago my husband read an article in The Week magazine about a book that Stephen King had written, On Writing, and suggested I read it. It was a pivotal moment for me. Stephen said I didn’t need to do all of things I thought I needed to do. In the words of Nike – Just Do It! Now what to write?

Blue Coyote Motel was born in Palm Spring, California a couple of weeks later. We were at a small boutique hotel which had recently been renovated. Our son was the best man in the upcoming wedding. The wedding party had taken over the hotel and it was 106 degrees outside. To this day I will never know what prompted me to turn to my husband and say, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone piped a feel-good drug into the air-conditioner and everyone felt wonderful all the time?” He looked at me and said, “There’s your book.” At dinner that night a large Irish priest sat at the table next to us wearing a huge cross. He became a character. At the wedding dinner I was seated next to a couple from Brazil who owned gold mines. They became characters. The other three – a Native American pediatrician, a wealthy widow, and a down-and-out salesman – soon followed. We had lunch at a restaurant named “The Blue Coyote” restaurant. That seemed to be a natural as well.

My husband backed in the door of politics due to a vacancy on our City Council, then went on to become a California State Assemblyman and Senator. During those years we had a home in Sacramento where we entertained Governors, Congressmen, lobbyists and politicians of all persuasions. One night at a reception I met a very prejudiced politician. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. I happened to be seated next to him at a dinner the following evening and had to listen to the same bigoted diatribe. The next morning my satirical California political novel, Tea Party Teddy, was born. The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent!

Buy Coyote in Provence at Amazon

The sequel to Blue Coyote Motel, Coyote in Provence, is on Amazon in print and will be on Kindle shortly. I’m in the process of editing book three in the Coyote series and the sequel to Teddy. I’m also writing a suspense about baby boomers at a spa where a facial becomes a nightmare – or at least that’s what I had in mind when I started, but I’ve found characters have minds of their own and my main job is to listen to them tell me what’s going to happen.

In between writing and editing books – I watch just-hatched hummingbirds, cocoons turning into monarch butterflies, play with my 90 pound boxer, and make cookies for the grandchildren. It’s a good life!

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