Welcome back to author Diane Stringam Tolley
Diane Stringam Tolley was born and raised on the great Alberta prairies. Daughter of a ranching family of writers, she inherited her love of writing at a very early age. Trained in Journalism, she has penned countless articles and short stories. She is the author of four e-books and the recent Christmas story, Carving Angels, also by Cedar Fort. She and her husband, Grant, live in Beaumont, Alberta, and are the parents of six children and grandparents of twelve.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Definitely back into the past. I find history immensely fascinating. The people. The fashions. The customs. The pivotal events. To be able to skip into the past and witness all of these firsthand? A dream come true.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Kris Kringle’s Magic explains how Santa Claus and his wife, Rebecca, end up living at the North Pole with Elves. Who doesn’t want to know that? (Oops. Two sentences.)
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I have two WIP that I am currently laboring over and several of my finished works seemed to have more story to tell. Sequels and Series are my two catch-words right now. It’s an exciting world!
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
My mother was my biggest inspiration. She was always writing. Usually late at night during her sleepless hours. Once her numerous children left home, her goal was to write a novel. She never was able to achieve this, though she did self-publish a little book of short stories. Sadly, she became ill not long after she and Dad became empty nesters. A wasting disease that eventually took her life. I write for my Mom. And for me.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I’d have to say that school presentations (when I get to interact with the brightest and liveliest imaginations the world has to offer) are the greatest reward for becoming a writer. But I also had an experience when I was signing books at a store in Utah. A woman stopped by my table and asked me about my first novel, Carving Angels. When I started to outline the story, she started to cry. The longer I spoke, the harder she cried. Finally, she explained to me that my storyline of a handicapped person accomplishing great things through love and belief was exactly the encouragement she needed. She handed me a book to sign. I signed it and added the word, “Believe.” Then she really broke up. Through sobs, she explained that that simple word was exactly the thing she had been struggling with. It was like a message from Heaven. I was most humbled to be able to help.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I read and re-read all of The Black Stallion series. At one time, I could probably quote them. When the movie came out long after I was married, I cried when I saw the ad. Then again during the movie itself. There was just something about seeing my favourite story up there on the big screen. I know. I’m a wuss.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write. Write. And keep on writing. Every day. Every chance you get. It’s like a muscle. The more you use it, the better it gets. Then have people read what you write. Do this over and over and over. And with all of that . . . believe in yourself!
If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
I am completely enamored with the late 1800s. The beginnings of electricity. The first cars. So many, many firsts. So many discoveries. Such amazing fashions. And, if I could choose, it would probably be somewhere in Eastern Canada.
What is your favorite Quote?
Nothing so strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength. St. Francis de Sales.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I wanted to be a veterinarian, like my father. I loved animals and, if I could have had my way, would have adopted every flea-bitten and mangy stray our town had to offer. I did manage to sneak a few into the house. But they seldom received permission to stay. Sigh. Sadly, I was told by a well-meaning but totally ignorant school counselor that I didn’t have the brains to go on to Vet school. And the saddest thing about that? I believed him. So I didn’t try. The same man said virtually the same thing to my little brother. But that just served as an incentive. Little brother went on to complete a doctorate in Engineering and now teaches at a leading University. Hmmm . . . maybe I should eviscerate that counselor in some of my writing . . .
How did you know you should become an author?
I have always loved making up stories and creating worlds. When I was in grade six, my teacher, Mrs. Hainsworth told me that I was extraordinarily talented and that I should become a writer. Whether or not she was right, from that moment to this, I wanted to write.
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
My favourite authors range from SciFi, through Mystery, to Romance. In no particular order, Madeleine Brent, John Wyndham, Mercedes Lackey, John Bellaires, Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie, and Emilie Loring. Oh, and Mark Twain.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
It was pretty horrifying. In a futuristic world, where surgery has become a fine, perfect art, punishment is meted out in very specific ways. A known rapist, for example is changed, completely and perfectly into a woman. Yikes.
What was your favorite children’s book?
When I was growing up, anything by Dr. Seuss. Now? Any of the Pigeon books by Mo Willems. They are absolutely priceless. And definite Grandchildren magnets!
How do you react to a bad review?
I save it. And re-read it. Not everyone will like my writing. But most people tend to err on the side of flattery. Reading a negative review keeps my feet firmly planted on the sod of realism.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Spinning in the Middle
What’s your favorite season/weather?
Oh, that’s a no-brainer. Autumn. Crisp, fresh air. Tang of dried and drying leaves, with a hint of acrid smoke, in the breeze. Not too cold to go outside when one wishes. Sweaters and fires and hot chocolate and cozy blankets when one comes back inside. Shorter days. Longer, lamp lit evenings. Oh, I love Autumn!
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
Handsprings. And, believe me, when an old woman does handsprings, one should play close attention.
Favorite quote from a movie?
That one is really, really tough. Our family consists of movie quote-ers. It is our favourite pastime. Did you know that there is an appropriate and eminently suitable quote for any given situation? Well, there is. If I were to choose, however, I would probably have to pick, “Ye thinks this, does ye?” from Blackbeard’s Ghost. It fits anywhere . . .
Kris Kringle’s Magic
Who is the man inside the warm, red, fur-trimmed suit?
Behind the white whiskers, rosy cheeks and beaming smile?
Told from the perspective of his wife, Rebecca, Kris Kringle’s Magic is the story of the man who devoted his life to the service of the poor. The hungry. The destitute.
Who selflessly gave of his time and energy to right wrongs.
Fought for those too young or weak to fight for themselves.
A man who loved everyone.
And, by doing so, became the legend.
In a world where elves are only slaves, one boy is determined to make things right. With the elves’ help, Kris decides to begin with the children. But can a pile of gifts on Christmas Eve really change anything? This enchanting story is sure to captivate kids of all ages. An instant holiday classic you’ll want to read again and again.
1 copy of Kris Kringle’s Magic
Open to US only