Monday, March 30, 2009

Mystery Eyes -- Unmasked!

You may have seen these eyes somewhere.... maybe on kc dyer's blog?

Well, these eyes belong to the final author I'll be interviewing as a part of the launch celebration for my new book A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW.

But I think we need to see more, don't you?

Here's what he looked like at the last Surrey International Writers' Conference. Cool mask, eh?

But we still can't really see him. Let me give you a hint or two. He tells an ABSOLUTELY fine story. He is an inveterate swashbuckler -- both on the page and for real. And lately, it's not just the swordplay, but the Impaling that has interested him.

Got it yet? Let's see if you're right...

It's CC Humphreys! Or Chris Humphreys. Actually, it's both of him, depending on whether he is writing for young adults or for grown-ups. But everyone loves his stories, so let's meet him in person, shall we?

Darby: Hi Chris! Thanks for joining me today for this interview. A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. I know you have kind of a cool story about your own beginnings. Where were you born?

CCH: Toronto. But I grew up in London UK.

DC: Okay -- so that's why you have an English accent, then. So where do you live now?

CCH: Vancouver, BC.

DC: Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were growing up in London?

CCH: In the Second World War, my mother was a spy in the Norwegian resistance. She had to escape when her cell was busted and ended up cycling over the border into Sweden.

DC: Wow! What a cool mum you have! But if she's anything like my mother, she might be able to ride a bike, but she's hopeless on a skateboard. Can you ride a skateboard?

CCH: Alas, no!

DC: Well, I've heard some rumours about other talents you have. Besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

CCH: I was a fencer at school and became an actor so I could leap around with bladed weaponry. I’ve killed with axes, swords and slingshots! But my main skill is that I can hang eleven spoons on my face.

DC: It's hard to know where to start with that response. The bladed weaponry is tres cool. The spoons? THAT I'd have to see to believe. Now my special talent appears to be time travel. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

CCH: Globe Theatre, 1601. Opening night of ‘Hamlet’.

DC: Ha! Once an actor, always an.... Anyone special you’d like to meet these days?

CCH: Bruce Springsteen. Love his songs and he’s a total storyteller.

DC: Hey, I like his music, too. I listen to him on my iPod when I am skateboarding and eating red licorice. What’s your favourite treat?

CCH: Humbugs (Boiled sweets – mints) They are on my desk as an essential writing tool.

DC: Speaking of writing, can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

CCH:I have just written my first almost full fantasy novel about a girl and a unicorn.

DC: Wow! That sounds a little different than your last novel Vlad: The Last Confession! If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?


DC: Okay -- great! Thanks for joining me today, Chris. Next time, remember to bring those eleven spoons!

If you'd like to win a copy of CC Humphrey's latest book, leave your name in the comment section below. And how about answering this question: Vampire...or Unicorn?

We'll do the draw this Friday, April 4th -- after 8 pm, of course.

And stay tuned to the blog -- I've got a new series of interviews planned to begin very soon.

And don't forget -- kc dyer will be with a couple of her author friends in Surrey this weekend launching my new story...more details tomorrow!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Maurice Purr-sents....


The Winners!

Good old Maurice. I love to see his face -- it always means good news for someone!

Today we have four winners from new categories and one winner from an older draw who hasn't gotten in touch. Let's start there, shall we?

The winner of the exciting new novel by Micol Osterman is Nora. Now, kc dyer has sent you an email to the address you listed, Nora, but if you didn't get it, please email her back at and she will make sure you get your book!

This week's winners (at last!) are:

Sleepless Storyteller wins a copy of Jill Murray's new novel.
Llehn wins a copy of a Patricia Smiley novel.
katayoun is the lucky winner of a signed book by Anita Daher.
And the Word Gardner wins a copy of a Diana Gabaldon title.

The special prize winner this week of a copy of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW and a copy of MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK is Tracy.

Maurice sends a whisker rub of congratulations to you all! Please send an email to with your mailing address and the books will be winging their way to you as soon as possible.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow to read the interview with my final mystery author of Launch Celebration Month -- and to read about exciting plans for my next interviewing odyssey!


*photo displayed with thanks, subject to creative commons agreement, shot by SkyWideDesign and displayed on Flickr.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beneath the Butterfly...

Well, after reading all the comments left here and on kc dyer's blog, I have to say no one really bought the whole butterfly mask. Or perhaps the general flamboyance of the author wearing it simply shines through?

Either way, let's see if we can find an unmasked picture, just to make things perfectly clear...

Hooray -- it IS Diana Gabaldon! I'm so glad you can be with us today, Diana.

Darby Christopher: A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Your family is from the US. Where were you born?

Diana Gabaldon: I was born in Williams, Arizona. My family actually _lived_ in Flagstaff, Arizona (thirty miles away), but the family doctor was having a feud with the local hospital, who wouldn't let him practice there, so he practiced out of the Williams hospital instead. Ergo, when my mother went into labor on January 11--traditionally the coldest day of the year--my very young parents were obliged to drive thirty miles over ice-covered roads to Williams.

My father said the car went off the road twice, and he pushed it back out of strength born of sheer terror. I was born at one minute past 6 PM, and he thereupon went out and had ham and eggs for dinner--having forgotten completely in the stress of the day that it was Friday (this being back in the day when Catholics always abstained from meat on Fridays).

Having heard this story a number of times in my youth, therefore, I'm never likely to forget either the date of my birth, the day of the week, or the time.

Darby C: That sounds like you had quite an adventurous entry into the world, and a good family story, too! Where do you live now?

Diana G: I actually live in three places at once (I mean, why limit yourself?). Our main place is in Scottsdale, Arizona, but some years ago, I inherited my old family house in Flagstaff, and still keep it as a place to escape to--whether to write, or simply to get out of the summer heat.

And last year, my husband and I bought a place in Santa Fe, where we go for a week or so every month. You just buy enough toothbrushes so that you always have one, no matter where you are.

Darby C: You live in some very warm locations. Lots of summer sun means skateboard time to me. Can you ride a skateboard?

Diana G: Heck, no. I'm terminally uncoordinated; I can't even play badminton. ("_Anybody_ can play badminton!", my unbelieving sister-in-law said, when she invited me to play with her. Ha.)

Darby C: Okay, then, besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you'd like to share?

Diana G: At the age of eight, I learned to fold paper hats out of newspaper.

Darby C: Hmm. With all the newspapers dropping like flies, I hope that is not a dying art! My own special talent seems to be one for walking through windows and getting myself into trouble and I know the characters in your books know a little something about time travel, too, don't they? If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

Diana G: Well, I think I'd leave the window propped open behind me....but I wouldn't mind seeing the Battle of Thermopylae, provided I didn't have to be _in_ it.

Darby C: Ha! That's a good idea. Anyone special you'd like to meet these days?

Diana G: I meet special people all the time. Some of them are a trifle more 'special' than others, but that's what pepper-spray is for.

Darby C: Okay -- I'll try not to get too close! So, when Gramps throws a little spare change my way, I'm personally pretty fond of red licorice. What's your favourite treat?

Diana G: Right this minute, chocolate toffee almonds and chocolate-dipped fruit, because I have a small bag of each.

Darby C: Wow -- you know how to do treats up right! Can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

Diana G: Yeah, where do you want me to stop? I'm in the final stages of writing the seventh novel in the monster OUTLANDER "saga" (that's not really the right word, but I can't think of a better one)--AN ECHO IN THE BONE.
I do nothing but sit at my keyboard and make faces (at least this is what my family claims I do when writing).

Darby C: I've seen other writers who do that very thing, so I believe you! If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

Diana G: Website is at, and the blogs can be found at , or

Thanks so much for sharing your time with us today, Diana -- specially when your new book is just about finished!

Now, if you'd like to win a copy of one of Diana Gabaldon's books, just leave your name in the comments and you'll be entered into the draw to win. How about if you tell us what YOUR hidden talent is? We have an amazing bunch of readers here at Darby Speaks -- let's compile a talent list!

The draw for this and the other interview books of this week will take place this Friday, March 27 after 8 pm. Tell all your friends!


Book Launch Celebration Small Print Explanation:
Darby Christopher is the main character in kc dyer's new novel A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW. To celebrate the launch of this new book, Darby will be interviewing blogging authors on her own blog here. Every day, Darby and her guest will give away a book to celebrate! To win a book, just leave a comment, either on leftwriter or on the corresponding post on Darby's Blog. Book draws will be made every Friday night throughout the month of March. There is no limit to the number of books to be won, so comment often!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Teaser Today....with a little taunt thrown in

This mysteriously masked woman will be our featured interview guest tomorrow.

Care to guess her identity?

I see that kc dyer put up a clue in her latest post.

But since you are here, I will share just one more little hint to help you with her identity.

This author has more than seventeen MILLION copies of her books in print.

Yep. You read that right.


And if you'd like to own a signed copy of one of those books, leave your guess as to the name of the woman behind the mask along with your name in the comments section.

The interview will appear tomorrow!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Mystery Guest -- Naked Mystery Author Revealed!

I'm very excited about this interview today -- we will be meeting a TRUE mystery author -- one who writes mysteries!

But right now it's her identity that is still pretty mysterious. Those glasses are pretty wild -- and that's not the only thing, apparently. If you take a look over at kcdyer's blog, you'll see that this author has a reputation...

for being naked!

Let's unmask her and find out more, okay?

It's Patricia Smiley! Welcome, Patricia -- thanks for joining me today.

Darby Christopher: A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. I know your background is American. Where were you born?

Patricia Smiley: I was born in Washington State, which borders the Canadian Province of British Columbia, in a town called Yakima, named after the Yakama Indian nation.

The city is one of the premier apple-growing areas of the world, but has recently also gained recognition for its wine. My childhood home was just outside the city limits and seems quite rural to me now. I have fond memories of wandering through the nearby apple orchards and hop fields, often stopping to sail paper boats in the irrigation ditches. Many years later, I moved to Seattle. My friends and I took frequent trips to Vancouver, a city that was oh-so cosmopolitan and exciting.

DC: I've heard that said of Vancouver, though I'm a Toronto girl, myself. Where do you live now?

PS: I live in West Los Angeles, California in the neighborhood time forgot. The streets there have no curbs or sidewalks, so it feels like a small-town oasis in the middle of a megalopolis of 3.8 million people. Most people don’t think about L.A. in provincial terms, but I’ve met many neighbors by just strolling the streets with my dog and stopping to say howdy.

DC: That sounds really nice! Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid?

PS: Once upon a time in yon years of yore, there was a five-year-old girl named Patty who loved cars—the smell of the leather, the rumble of the engine, and the creaking of the doors as they opened and closed.

One afternoon as she played in her front yard, an overwhelming desire to take a road trip overtook her. She crawled inside the family car, cranked the steering wheel to-and-fro, and made loud “vroom-vrooom” engine sounds. When she arrived at her destination, she tried but failed to open the car door. Having learned to make the best of a bad situation, she fell asleep.

Meanwhile back at the house, her parents organized a search party. Sometime later, they found her still conked out in the driver’s seat. The moral of this story? Take no road trips until you are strong enough to get out of the car.

DC: That sounds like a good moral! How about a different kind of 4-wheel vehicle -- can you ride a skateboard?

PS: I never mastered the art of skateboarding because speeding downhill without brakes is dangerous. I prefer skiing. Skis don’t come with brakes, either, but at least you can go splat into a soft snow bank rather than on a hard sidewalk.

DC: I kind of agree with that, actually. Besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

PS: No secret skills but I believe in experiencing life at all levels and will try almost anything except sky-diving. Jumping out of an airplane with a sack of flimsy cloth on my back? I think not.

DC: You have got that right! But what about if you had a chance to walk through a window into the past? Where would you go?

PS: I would go back far enough to see my beloved Westies Dottie and PJ and Tigger-boo the Wonder cat, before they speed back to heaven with the angels. I miss them terribly and would love to hug them one more time.

DC: I have seen the picture of a Westie on your website. They are so cute! Speaking of your website, can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

PS: I’m writing a police procedural based on my experiences working with the Los Angeles Police Department. Also, you can find me posting every Monday at The Naked Truth about Literature and Life (, a blog I share with Jacqueline Winspear, Paul Levine, James O. Born, Ridley Pearson, James Grippando, and Cornelia Read.

DC: Hmmm. I'd heard something about nakedness. I'm glad it's just about writing! So, when Gramps throws a little spare change my way, I’m personally pretty fond of red licorice. What’s your favourite treat?

PS: My fourth novel, COOL CACHE, takes place in a chocolate shop so, of course, I had to do some research. The result? I’m now addicted to anything chocolate, especially the brownies in a book called The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg. Yum! But the truth is, if I have spare change I’d much rather spend it on ruby red lip gloss.

DC: Those brownies sound delicious! If I want to learn more about you or your books (or brownies!) on-line, where can I go check you out?

PS: You can find out more on my Web site or if you are game for adventure, just Google Patricia Smiley and see what comes up.

DC: Thanks so much for talking to me today, Patty. I'm going to go Google you right now!

And if you'd like to win a copy of one of Patrica Smiley's very cool mystery books, be sure to leave your name in the comments. Why not give YOUR favourite type of chocolate treat?

We'll do a draw for Patty's book this Friday, March 27th. This will be the final draw of our celebration month for A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW -- but not the end of my interviews or our special draws. More on THOSE mysterious changes, soon.

In the meantime, leave your Patty Smiley chocolate-love comments below!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Mystery Guest -- Revealed!

Here we are again (after a brief weekend pause) to enter into our final week of celebrations for the launch of my story A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW.

Sharing our celebration today is this mysterious horsewoman, author, mother, teacher and editor. (Whew!)

Let's unmask (and in the case of the horse, unmoustache) them both, shall we?

It's Anita Daher! Anita is the author of a whole pile of books for kids and teens -- her most recent middle grade adventure story is called POACHERS IN THE PINGOS, and just last week her young adult novel SPIDER'S SONG was nominated for a Manitoba Book Prize.

Darby Christopher: Welcome, Anita! A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?

Anita Daher: I was born in Summerside, PEI, but left there when I was five years old, and continued moving. Seventeen times thus far. I consider myself pretty lucky to have lived in some pretty amazing places growing up—Baker Lake, NU, Churchill, MB, Moose Jaw, SK.

It was tough “reinventing” myself with every move, but this probably helped make me the writer I am today…scattered, confused about where I am at any given moment, and constantly shifting personalities. Oh…did I say that out loud? Kidding!

DC: Summerside! My new story takes place very nearby, in Charlottetown, PEI. So where do you live now?

AD: Winnipeg, Manitoba. My husband was born and raised here, and early in our marriage would go on and on about how Winnipeg produces the best in Canada—best chocolate, best sausage, best artists, best speed-skaters, best politicians, best media moguls, best TV game show hosts…it went on and on and drove me crazy! Now that I’ve lived here five years I see his point.

DC: Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid? Can you tell me one?

AD: Sure! One of the things that happens when you move around as much as we did, is you talk a lot about where you came from. There are many interesting stories, but the one that has intrigued and confounded me most is the mystery of my mom’s family name.

The story goes that many years ago during times of conscription, two brothers from Ireland were away attending school, and one day while walking down the road in Liverpool, minding their own beeswax, they were scooped up and forced to join the British Navy. They didn’t want to be there, and after docking in Nova Scotia in 1819 they jumped ship. So that they wouldn’t be easily tracked (and no doubt executed for desertion) they took the name of their oldest brother—who was still in Ireland—as their family name: Job. Over time the name morphed to “Jobe” and for my cousins, “Jobes” (mistake on the birth certificate). The original family name has been lost, though my mom’s aunt remembered hearing the name when she was a child.

Beyond family story I have a record of Nova Scotia pioneer families called Cape North and Vicinity by Rev. D. MacDonald published in 1933. In it he writes: “Donald Job Shipped on a brig in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the spring of 1819, bound for Quebec, but calling at Sydney, C.B. (Cape Breton), on the way, he deserted, and hired for a year with James A Wilkie.” The accounting carries on with an accounting of Donald’s spouse, children, and his children’s children. It is an amazing record to have.

DC: That is a very cool mystery! In my new story, I got a taste of what it was like to immigrate to Canada from Ireland. It was NO FUN at all. But to bring us back to the present, can you ride a skateboard?

AD: I am famously uncoordinated, so no. My characters can, though!

DC: AND the characters in your story TWO FOOT PUNCH can do Parkour, too. So I guess that makes up for it. Besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

AD: Well, I am very good a baking, and not terrible at playing my guitar when no one is around to listen. My music talent is like the magic carriage that turns back into a pumpkin after midnight, except it is after midnight as soon as anyone enters a room I am playing in. I am an excellent horse groomer (the owner of the stable where my daughter and I board horses keeps offering me a job), and I’m learning to be a much better rider.

DC: I have to admit, I am a city girl, so horses make me a little nervous. But when I was in Charlottetown, I had a chance to take a peek into the past. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

AD: Europe, early 20th century: Ezra Pound, DH Lawrence, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway…oh yeah!

DC: Anyone special you’d like to meet?

AD: I would like to sit down at a café table with James Joyce and D H Lawrence. They might not have cared for each other, but I’ll bet they could still have an interesting and stimulating conversation. I’d also like to meet Johnny Depp. Can you help me out with that, Darby?

DC: to tell you the truth, not one of the pirates I met on board The Elizabeth looked anything like Johnny Depp. Sorry about that, Anita! Can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

AD: Oh gosh, which one? I will launch the 3rd in my JCR series on April 29, am finishing a northern teen thriller, and am researching a next teen book. This last I am very excited about, as in the name of thorough research I will be helping to herd and work with free-range horses in northern BC this summer! It doesn’t get much better than that!

The next JCR book is called ON THE TRAIL OF THE BUSHMAN. JCRS Tommy, Jaz and Colly are all back, and while narrowly avoiding disaster at a summer camp south of Whitehorse, Yukon, they end up in the mountains on the trail of a bushman…who might actually be trailing them. But, is it a bushman, or is it the terrifying Windigo?

DC: WHOA! Now that sounds exciting! I'm going to have to meet Tommy, Jaz and Colly one day. So, when Gramps throws a little spare change my way, I’m personally pretty fond of red licorice. What’s your favourite treat?

AD: Mmmm…nothing beats jellybeans. I LOVE jellybeans!

DC: If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

AD: Actually, I’m pretty much all over the Internet. You can find out a whole lot if you just Google my name…but don’t go believing those rumours about me and Johnny Depp. They aren’t true! Well, not all of them…

DC: Okay, if you say so. I'm going to go look you both up, just in case. Thanks for being here, Anita!

And if you'd like to win a copy of one of Anita's very cool books, why not leave your name in the comment section below. How about letting me know which scares you the most -- skateboarding or horseback riding! Special bonus points for those who have tried parkour and want to tell me about it.

Back tomorrow with our Tuesday Mystery Author. See you then!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Apologies...and Congratulations!


Before Maurice gets to his job of picking the winners with a twitch of his calico tail, I want to apologize to Jill Murray and all my readers for the typesetting snafu of this morning's post.

The spacing has now been de-wonked and all is back to normal.

Thanks for your patience.

And this week's winners!

Lucky winners please send kc dyer your address at and signed books will be winging their way to you soon...

James McCann's book goes to H
Vicki Pettersson's novel goes to Pissenlit (*special accolades for your handle, too...)
Micol Ostow's lucky winner is Nora
Robert J Sawyer's jumping jetpacker is A Novel Woman.
Shelley Hrdlitschka's book goes to kayla
Diane Haynes novel goes to MJ

And the grand prize winner of a copy of MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK and a copy of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is .... Erika Lynn!

Heartiest of congratulations to all!

Now, tomorrow's blog post may come a little late as the scribe has to work all day at a CWC camp -- but it will be up, so never fear. Check back to see our mystery guest then.


*photo displayed with thanks, subject to creative commons agreement, shot by SkyWideDesign and displayed on Flickr.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friday Mystery Author ...Revealed!

This poor thing -- she's looking really broken up.

Any idea who this blogging author could be? She hails from the East and does a lot to keep young adults authors connected in Canada. And if you want to learn all there is to know about on!

But first, this skater girl needs to lift the veil on our guest:

Hey! It's Jill Murray! Welcome, Jill.

Darby Christopher: My new story, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?

Jill Murray: I was born in Toronto. My parents were Maritimers. My family on my mother's side has been in Canada for a few hundred years. I suppose they would have arrived by boat.

DC: Hey -- same as mine! You can read a bit of my family's story in my new book. So where do you live now?

JM: I live in Montreal now. The city is a part of me.

DC: Cool. I've heard it's an awesome city. Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were growing up in Toronto?

JM: My great grandmother on my mother's side was Acadian, and as legend has it, they had a rule in their house that at the dinner table, you spoke in French, or you didn't speak at all.
Consequently, dinners were silent. And if the story is true, that's how my family personally helped crush its own little parcel of Acadian culture. I guess that's a little depressing, but its the first thing that came to me.

DC: My friend Gabe is Acadian. His story shows up in my next book. So, you may not know this, but as a Toronto girl, it is my greatest ambition to skate down Yonge Street. Can you ride a skateboard?

JM: No! I cannot! I've always been a rollerblades girl, and thus I am the scorned enemy of skateboarders. You can't win 'em all.

DC: Hey -- it takes talent to ride those rollerblades. Besides writing books and rollerblading, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

JM: Baking and web code. On days when I take brownies to work and then write on my lunch hour, my life is pretty much complete.

DC: Any girl who codes is a geek after my own heart. Now my particular talent seems to lie in walking through windows. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

JM: Since you've got me thinking about my skates: to just after I turned fifteen, but just before I took a rubber speed bump on my rollerblades and was rewarded with a face full of pavement, a knocked out tooth, a root canal, a false tooth, surgery, and stitches. We get to make different decisions when we go back, right?
Otherwise... yesterday or the day before yesterday, so I can extend my vacation.

DC: You've got to talk to kc dyer about the whole knocking-out-of-teeth thing. I think you two have something in common! Other than her, anyone special you’d like to meet?

JM: I would like to meet an amazing landlord who wants to rent me a gorgeous one or two bedroom apartment in a great neighborhood in Montreal, for not too much money.

DC: Can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

BREAK ON THROUGH is the world's first and only b-girl novel. A b-girl is a breakdancer, and my book follows Nadine from downtown Toronto to the outer-outer suburbs, where she has to remake her life and her breakdance crew from scratch at a time when the whole world seems to be against her.

Nadine is the kind of girl who would ride a skateboard. She can also spin on her head and intimidate you using only her posture and a well-pointed glare.

DC: She sounds like my kinda girl. I hope to get to meet her one day soon. If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

JM: I'm at Break on through is at I also host a Canadian YA and middle-grade book community blog at

Well, thanks a lot for talking to me today, Jill! And if you'd like to win a signed copy of Jill's book, leave a comment below. Which do you prefer -- skateboard or rollerblades? And hey -- no bias to be shown to the winner -- judging will be blind, I promise!


Mystery Author...Archer... Revealed!

The celebration of the launch of the novel A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW continues today, and I am very excited to introduce this author.

I'm not sure how she feels about skateboards, but her main character does a mean high kick and has some pretty impressive other skills, too, so it would not surprise me.

This New York Times bestselling author has three novels published and the highly anticipated fourth will be coming out this summer. Before she wrote these amazing books, she spent ten years as a showgirl in Las Vegas, so she really knows the city whereof she writes.

These days she's more of a 'message board' person than a blogger, but you can find it all on her website HERE.

Let's see what she looks like behind the archer, shall we?

It's Vicki Pettersson!

Darby Christopher: Thanks so much for joining me today, Vicki! My new book, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, is all about how different people came to live in Canada. I know you are American. Where were you born?

Vicki Pettersson: I was born in Las Vegas and have yet to escape its gaudy, capitalistic clutches.

DC: What a cool place to grow up. Not literally of course... So, growing up on the glitzy streets of Las Vegas, did you learn to ride a skateboard?

VP: No. Not a skateboard, boogie board, horse … and barely a bike. I seem to be at my best while getting around by my own volition. Even that’s dodgy.

DC: That's okay. Your main character, Joanna Archer, is pretty quick on her feet! So, besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

VP: No, and thank you for making me ruminate on exactly how talent-less I am! I can’t even bend my tongue into a four-leafed clover…and I just tried. I got nuttin’.

DC: A four-leafed clover is so yesterday, Vicki! Okay, so let's get down to some time travel talk. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

VP: I think I’d go back and talk to myself as a teen. The ‘me’ who has learned all the life lessons would school the ‘me’ who hasn’t been there yet on how to get where I want to go, but faster.

Who to avoid, what opportunities to lunge at, but circumventing all the drama of the ambiguous and unknown. Of course, then I’d probably make such rashly different choices that my experiences would quickly outstrip any knowledge I have claim to, sending me down another ambiguous path altogether. So that’s a fun exercise too. Not.

DC: Yeah, I always wonder about that 'going back and irrevocably changing the future' issue. Personally, I try not to think about it too much. So is there anyone special you’d like to meet?

VP: I think it would be fun to meet “famous” people before they’re famous. While they’re still raw and forming. Wouldn’t to be cool to just run into Barack Obama at a cafe and chat about some possible future political aspirations? I’ve an insatiable desire to figure out what makes people tick — not what they do, but why they do it - so that’s my kind of voyeurism.

DC: You're right -- that would be SO cool. And sometimes it's hard to remember that every famous person was a kid once, making mistakes and falling down. But back to the present. Can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

VP: CITY OF SOULS, the fourth book in my Signs of the Zodiac series comes out in July. My protagonist, Joanna, doesn’t just enter a new fray in the battle between Shadow and Light, but a new world entirely, one hidden from mortal sight. I hadn’t done this kind of worldbuilding since starting the series, and it was exciting to see where my imagination led. I hope readers think so as well.

DC: Oh, man -- that sounds so cool. I can't wait to read it! So, after a long day of writing, what's your favourite treat to have? Mine is red licorice.

VP: I’ll tell you when you’re of legal drinking age.

DC: Okay, okay, I've heard that before. If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

VP: My website is the best place to indulge in All Things Zodiac:

If you want to talk with me and other readers about the series, though, I hang out on my message board quite a bit. The link can also be found on my site. Thanks for asking!

DC: It's been great talking to you, Vicki. Thanks for coming along to join the fun. And enjoy your own book launch in a couple of months!

If you'd like to win a copy of one of Vicki Pettersson's books, leave your name in the comment section. What is YOUR sign of the Zodiac?

We'll do the draw for one of Vicki's books this Friday, March 20th after 8 pm. Get your name in soon!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wicked Wednesday Writer -- Revealed!

You may have spotted this mysteriously disguised writer over on kcdyer's blog. Let's just have a look at her, shall we?


Mortar board. Shiny achievement plaque.

I'm thinking we might be dealing with an academic here. Perhaps even ...some kind of a Golden Girl? Aside from her academic aspirations, I can tell you that in all likelihood you have read something by this author before, as she is hugely prolific, high energy and a lot of fun. She claims her biggest fan is a french bulldog named Bridget Jones.

Figured it out yet?

Let's unmask her and find out!

It's Micol Ostow! Micol is the author of more than 40 books, and her brand new series of Bradford novels just released in January.

Darby Christopher: It's great to meet you, Micol. A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. You live in the US, but have a pretty interesting background yourself. Where were you born?

Micol Ostow: I was born in exotic Long Island, New York! And we moved to New Jersey when I was about a year old. So probably the "interesting" part that you're getting at is how my mother is Puerto Rican, and my father is Jewish/Eastern European. So I was raised a conservative Jew (my mother converted and we were pretty observant while I was growing up), but with a little Latina "flair." And--it must be said--a serious "Ramos family booty."

DC: That's not too far south of where my grandparents live on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Where do you live now?

MO: These days I live in NYC, in the West Village, home to many a literary heavyweight. I love my neighborhood because it's got so much personality and history...but it's a lot to live up to!

DC: That sounds like a cool neighbourhood. Do you remember any special stories about your family or your neighbourhood from when you were a kid?

MO: Apparently I was staying with my grandparents in Riverdale, NY, while my mother was in labor with my brother. When my father called to tell me that I had a baby brother, I asked if I could live with my grandparents instead of going home.

So, yeah--brother Dave and I, off to a rocky start. Good thing that's all changed! (We have a book coming out together this summer, SO PUNK ROCK (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother. So we've managed to work through the sibling rivalry drama).

DC: Ha. Luckily I have never had that problem. I fill the time other kids have to spend dealing with their sibs riding my skateboard around. Can you ride a skateboard?

MO: Never tried!

DC: Hmmm. I think that's something you need to remedy. So, besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

MO: It's been a few years, so I'm probably rusty, but I can tap dance! Also, I ran the NYC Marathon back in 2003. Although these days, I'm more likely to run for the phone when it rings than in a race.

DC: You know, I'm beginning to think tap-dancing must be a part of the writing process! Maybe it helps you come up with good story ideas. That marathon must have been wild! Speaking of wild, if you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

MO: Too many choices! I think I would have liked to be a settler on one of the early Zionist kibbutzes, to get a sense of what the real feeling of community and purpose was in founding the state of Israel. I would have liked to see Kurt Cobain perform. I would have liked to attend a writers' retreat with Virginia Woolf.

DC: Whoa -- I think you would have put your window to a lot of good use with all those choices. Is there anyone special you’d like to meet?

MO: I would love to talk to Barbara Kingsolver about the process of writing "The Poisonwood Bible." What a feat--an exercise in point of view and an epic saga. One of my favorite books of all times.

DC: Sounds like a good book -- great creepy title, for sure. Can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

MO: My very latest release is "GoldenGirl," the first book in the new Bradford Novels series. It's mean-girl lit in the same vein as many of the (amazing) privileged, private-school students books out there, but what sets Bradford apart is its staggering online universe.

We've got character blogs online that offer alternate points of view of events that took place in the book, as well as online-only story arcs and scandalous reveals. We've also got Facebook profiles, student networking pages, and real-time Twitter updates from all of our characters. Come visit us at:

DC: I've had a look around your site and it is astonishing. But it is also a whole lot of fun to go peeking around that universe. I really enjoyed it. So, when you have been working hard and need a little treat, what’s your favourite? I'm into red licorice, myself.

MO: Ooh, you're a girl after my own heart. Red Vines all the way!

DC: Yeah! Fist bump! So, other than the Bradford Novels site, if I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

MO: I'm at Hope to see you there!

DC: You will see me, no doubt. I've got to check up on how the Golden Girl is doing! Thanks so much for joining me today, Micol.

If you'd like to win a copy of Micol's latest book, leave your name in the comment section. How about this -- pop over HERE and check out the Bradford Novels site. Then come back and leave a comment as to your Favourite Thing about the site. Is it the blogs? The real-time tweets? What appeals to you most?

We'll do the draw for Micol's book this Friday, March 20th after 8 pm. Get all your friends to enter...this is a great chance to win!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St.Paddy's Day Mystery Guest -- Revealed!

Faith and happy to see you here today!

Actually, I hate the whole 'fake Irish' element of St. Patrick's Day. Some of my family come from Sligo, and their story emerges in the pages of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, the new novel (starring Moi, the startling and skilled skateboarder Darby Christopher).

However, I didn't even know my name was Irish until I heard the story from my Nan, and I didn't know how bad things were on the coffin ships coming from Ireland to the new world that would be Canada, until I had a walk through a window of my own.

If you'd like to learn more, a quick peek in the pages of the novel will tell you some of what there was to be known. I hope you get a chance to read it!

But for today, we are going to decide the identity of our mystery guest -- another individual of Irish descent, if I'm not mistaken. Can you tell who he is from the picture above? Look at that pot of gold, too -- right at the end of the rainbow.

Let's cut all the Irish for today, though, and unmask him.

It's James McCann! And the pot of gold was hiding his second novel, PYRE.

Darby Christopher: Welcome, James! Now, as I mentioned, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?

James McCann: I'm afraid there was no travel in this part of my tale, either in place or time. I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and lived in the same house in which my mother had been raised.

What I can tell you about this place, is how it shaped me into the person I became. Where I grew up, the neighbourhood was very multicultural and economically diverse. The great thing about it, was that we all got along regardless of our ethnic or economic backgrounds. I carried that with me into adulthood, and am still always very surprised when I encounter people who are not
accepting of people based on the colour of their skin or their net worth.

DC: Yeah, that's a good thing about where I grew up in Toronto, too, though I know it's not always like that. Where do you live now?

JM: I live in the Lower Mainland in British Columbia. I moved here for the weather, and also for a change in scenery. Every time I look out my window I feel as though I am seeing a giant postcard!

DC: Ha. Prince Edward Island is like that, too -- pretty as a postcard. I visited there with my weird grandparents, and had a lot of my adventures there. Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid?

JM: While I can't recall anything in detail, I do remember my grandfather telling me stories about his childhood when I was a preteen. My grandmother would always scold him for "boring" me with his tales, but truthfully I found them fascinating. It's hard to really picture how fast the world has changed due to technology, until you hear someone tell you about the things they never had when they were your age. I guess you could say that it was my own version of 'time travel'.

DC: Yeah, grandparents can be like that. In PEI I would go out and 'board to get away when mine started to tell too many stories. Can you ride a skateboard?

JM: I did have a very unfortunate incident with a skateboard after the movie, "Back To The Future" came out. I'm not really ready to talk about it yet...

DC: Heh heh. I would have liked to have seen that. So, besides writing books and swooshing on skateboards, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

JM: I was most recently a spy in a special writing camp where we studied detective novels. Discovered that I have a great talent for wearing trenchcoats and fedoras...

DC: I've seen pictures of you dressed like a spy! If you could walk through a window in time, is there anyone special you’d like to meet?

JM: C.S. Lewis. There is no author that has had as big an influence on my life as he did. In reading about the way he treated others, I saw the kind of person I wanted to become. He was more than just a great writer and philosopher, he was also very spiritual and kind-hearted.

DC: Oh, I love his books. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, in particular, though I really didn't like the way that series ended. So, James, when Gramps throws a little spare change my way, I’m personally pretty fond of red licorice. What’s your favourite treat?

JM: My favourite treat is the Coffee Crisp bar. Chocolaty goodness...

DC: Maybe we could dye one green in honour of the day for you. If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go to look at spy pictures and check you out?


DC: Right. And I know there is a link to your blog, there, too. More spy pix to be found there! Thanks so much for sharing this interview with me today, James.

And if YOU"d like to win one of James McCann's amazing books, leave your comment below. Tell us what edible foodstuff YOU would dye green in honour of today. Green hamburgers? Erg. How about Green Eggs and Ham? Whatever you choose, leave your comment and your name will be eligible for a book draw to take place this Friday, April 20th after 8 pm.

How about a green bagel to start the day?


Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Mystery Guest -- Revealed!


That's a little hard on the eyes, isn't it? But there is a particular reason I pixellated this person. Can you guess?

Well, this author has won every science fiction award out there -- Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Aurora, Galaxy and way too many more to mention. He is known as the dean of Canadian Science Fiction. He can be seen on his own show on tv, and right now they are filming a televisionpilot for another one of his books, FLASH FORWARD in Los Angeles, California.

Have you figured out who he is yet? Let's unmask him, shall we?

It's Robert J. Sawyer! Did you know that Robert J. Sawyer is one of only seven people in history -- and the only Canadian -- to win all three of the science-fiction field's top awards for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award, which he won for Hominids, the Nebula Award, which he won for The Terminal Experiment, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, which he won for Mindscan?

Darby Christopher: Wow -- I am so happy to meet you, Rob. If anyone understands about the stress of walking through windows to the past (or the future) it's you. My new book is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?

Robert J. Sawyer: I was born in Ottawa -- but to an American mother; a graduate student who was only temporarily resident in Canada at the time. So I started out as a dual US-Canadian citizen.

DC: Where do you live now?

RJS: Right in downtown Mississauga, a city of 750,000 adjacent to Toronto.

DC: Hey, I'm from Toronto! Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid?

RJS: My parents met at the University of Chicago, where they were both studying economics. My mom was from Berkeley, California, and my father from Toronto. They made a deal when they got married: if my father could find a good job in Canada, they'd live there; if my mother could find a good one in the United States, they'd live there -- whoever found the better job would determine where the family lived. Well, it was my dad who got the good job, in Ottawa, and that's why I'm a Canadian today.

DC: Ha! So, growing up in Canada, did you learn to ride a skateboard?

RJS: Nope. I can't rollerskate either.

DC: Well, that's okay. You can probably ride a mean jet-pack, with all the science fiction you write! Besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you'd like to share?

RJS: I am, they say, a good public speaker, and I have a sideline of giving talks at business and government conferences, and am currently hosting and narrating the TV series Supernatural Investigator on Vision TV.

DC: It's so cool that you investigate supernatural stuff! I've had a few supernatural experiences myself. This window-walking thing, for instance. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?

RJS: Back at least 65 million years to the age of the dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs, and right until my last year of high school though I was going to devote my career to studying them.

DC: Oh, me, too! Stegosaurus is my favourite. I love those back plates! Is there anyone special you'd like to meet today?

RJS: Stephen Hawking -- the brilliant physicist. He's inspiring both as a genius and as a person who has dealt with physical disabilities most of us couldn't even imagine.

DC: So, when my Gramps throws a little spare change my way, I'm personally pretty fond of red licorice. What's your favourite treat?

RJS: Pepperoni pizza. I wouldn't eat it for every meal, if I could, but I would have it every day!

DC: Hmm. Now I'm getting hungry... How about if you tell me a bit about your latest project?

RJS: I'm writing a trilogy of novels about a 15-year-old blind girl who has an operation to restore her sight -- and, in the process, discovers she can see a being that lives in the background of the World Wide Web. The first volume, Wake, comes out in April.

DC: Now THAT is a book I cannot wait to read! If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

RJS: I've got a huge web page HERE at and both Wikipedia and The Canadian Encyclopedia have good entries about me.

DC: Wow -- there is a LOT of information there about you! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. And I promise I'll practice my jet-pack work if you get some work in on a skateboard!

If you'd like to win a copy of one of Robert J. Sawyer's story anthologies, leave your name in the comment section. Maybe you can let us know whether you'd rather ride a skateboard or a jetpack? (Or maybe just stay safely on the ground...)

Maurice the cat and I will do the draw on Friday, March 20th for Rob's book. Get your name in soon, and stay tuned for another interview tomorrow to celebrate the launch this month of my story, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Secret Author -- Revealed!

Just who is this author, obscured by sun signs? If you've read any books including DISCONNECTED, DANCING NAKED and KAT'S FALL, you may have come across her before.

Let's have a clearer look, okay?

That's better! And as she's holding a copy of DANCING NAKED -- let me introduce Shelley Hrdlitschka!

Darby Christopher: Welcome, Shelley! Thanks for joining me for this interview today. My story A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to Canada. Where were you born?

Shelley Hrdlitschka: I was born in Vancouver, and still live in Vancouver! My family claims we have been in Canada for generations, yet sometimes I wonder if maybe some of my distant (and not so distant) relatives are actually aliens, outerspace-type aliens. They can be pretty strange at times....

DC: Hey I can relate to the whole extra-terrestrial element! Hmm. I wonder if aliens ride skateboards. Can you?

SH: I cannot ride a skateboard. I tried rollerblades once, but only once. I am not the most coordinated person I know. Yoga is a good fit for me as it doesn't require wheels so I can't get going too fast.

DC: Yoga sounds quite a bit safer, I have to admit. So beyond wheel-less yoga, do you have any secret or special talents you'd care to share?

SH: My special (and secret) talent ~ tap-dancing! Shh!

DC: You must chat with author Diane Haynes sometime. You two have more in common than just being authors! So if you could tap-dance through a window back in time, would you do it?

SH: I don't think I would ever go through a special window into the past. I'd be way too afraid that I'd never get back! I really really like my creature comforts, like running water, electricity, even public transit. I'm not very adventuresome. I prefer my adventures to be in my imagination.

DC: You know, there's a lot to be said for that. You can't over-rate twenty-first century toilets, either! I'm also pretty fond of modern candy. Red licorice is my favourite. Yours?

SH: My favourite treat is dark chocolate. Creamy, melt-in-your mouth chocolate. Yummm. (I think I'll go get some now.)

DC: Oh -- wow. I think you're right, it feels like the PERFECT time to eat chocolate! I'd really like to read more about you and your books. Where can I find you online?

SH: My soon-to-be updated website can be found at

DC: Thanks, Shelley! I look forward to seeing the updates on your website. And thanks for talking to me today!

Now, if you'd like a chance to win Shelley's wonderful book SUN SIGNS, leave your name in the comments. Do you share Shelley's worry over time-travel? Where would YOU go, if you could walk through a window? Maurice and I will do the draw for the winner next Friday, March 20th.

And I'll see you tomorrow with another mystery author interview!



Here's Maurice* the cat, jumped down off his favourite warm spot on the windowsill, to help share the names of this week's winners.

As you may remember, I am celebrating the launch of my new book A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW by interviewing as many blogging authors as I can get to speak with me. If you'd like to share in the celebration from afar, you can click on the title and buy the book. Or better still, you can win a free book by adding your comments to each blog post. At the end of each week in March we are making a big without further ado -- let's get to it!

And the winners are:

A signed novel by Nikki Tate goes to Diana Dang.

A signed copy of Lois Peterson's Meeting Miss 604 (and a bag of wine gums) goes to Kathy C.

A signed copy of The Young City by James Bow goes to MJ.

A signed copy of The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs goes to Paradox.

A signed copy of The Kids Book of Canada's Railways by Deborah Hodge goes to Steph Su.

A signed copy of Acadian Star by Hélène Boudreau goes to kayla.

A signed copy of Daughter of War by Marsha Skrypuch goes to H.

And the grand prize of a copy of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW and a copy of MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK goes to nhertel85.

Winners, please send an email with your name and snail mail address to kc dyer at telus dot net, and (as my executive assistant) she will send all the books to their respective winners.

Thanks to everyone for playing along...and don't stop now! The celebration continues with more authors and give-aways ....every day for the rest of the month. Stop in tomorrow and see who is on tap.


*photo displayed with thanks, subject to creative commons agreement, shot by SkyWideDesign and displayed on Flickr.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Prize Draw Day -- No Triskaidekaphobia here....

Hey -- happy Friday the thirteenth! Any Triskaidekaphobics out there?

Well, there is no fearing the 13th around here, because tonight I'm going to draw for book winners from the following interviews: Nikki Tate, James Bow, Kate Coombs, Lois Peterson, Deborah Hodge, Helene Becker and Marsha Skrypuch, plus a very special draw for signed launch-week copies of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW and MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK. It's prize draw day!

To win, all you need to do is leave a comment either in Darby's interview posts or in kc dyer's leftwriter posts for the dates of March 6th-12th -- and you could be a winner! Get your comments in by 6 pm this evening, and the winners will be announced some time after 8 pm PDT.


About this woman hiding behind a bear in the picture above. A bear, and a couple of owls and a whole passel of fish, to be exact. [Is a passel an exact measurement? Just how many in a passel, anyway?]

Why is she obscured behind these wild creatures? Is she a wild woman from the forests of BC herself? These are the questions she will face, as she undergoes the celebrated Darby interview.

But first -- the unveiling....

Hmm. Well, from the label on the picture, I'd say we have author Diane Haynes with us. And I have to say she doesn't much look like the wild woman of anything -- she's got a pretty civilized face, now that she's stepped out from behind that bear. Let's see what she has to say for herself.

Darby Christopher: Welcome, Diane! My new book, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?

Diane Haynes: Edmonton, Alberta. I lived there until I was all of a year old, so the only moments I 'remember' are the ones that appear in family photos.

Darby C: Hmmm. That does sound pretty civilized. Where do you live now?

Diane H: I live in a heritage building (1925!) in Queens Park, New Westminster -- the original capital city of British Columbia.

Darby C: Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were growing up in Edmonton that you can you tell me?

Diane H: My dad is a great storyteller, and there was always some special quality to his stories that made them memorable.

He often told the story of going swimming in the ocean for the first time as a young boy. He was playing around in the shallows, diving for shells and doing handstands and the like, and didn't notice that the tide was coming in. It had gotten quite deep, and when he did his next handstand, the water around him exerted so much pressure that he got stuck -- his legs in the air and his head upside-down under water. He wasn't old enough or experienced enough to know to just pull his hands up off the sand and go into a tuck. The water was like something solid holding him in place ... and he began to run out of air. Finally, when he felt his lungs were about to burst, he released the last of his air in a cloud of bubbles, and was about to take in a huge gulp of seawater ... when strong hands gripped his ankles and hauled him up and out of the water. His dad had been sitting on the beach watching his sons play in the waves, and realized little Donny had been under the water for far too long. He saved his life.

A few years later, my dad was left alone with his father one evening, and his father had a heart attack. My dad, only 14 years old, didn't know what to do, and ran to a neighbour's house to get help. When he and the neighbour returned, his dad had died. He wasn't able to save his father the way his father had saved him.

I didn't see the parallel between these two family stories until I put together a workshop last summer, and started thinking about why my books are all about rescue. When I looked back into my own family history, I realized that the theme of rescue and life-saving runs through it, obvious as a bright orange lifesaver ring.

Darby C: Holy crow, Diane. That is an amazing story about your dad. But very sad about your grandpa. And it's amazing how your family influences your subjects as a writer, isn't it? As for me, no one in my family except me rides a skateboard. I am unique in that respect. How about you -- can you ride a skateboard?

Diane H: Absolutely not. My ankles wobble as much as a skateboard does. Bad combination. Roller skates, however ...

Darby C: Roller skates are pretty cool, too. So besides writing books and rollerskating, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?

Diane H: I can tap dance. Quite well. I learned how in order to get a part in a Broadway-style production of 42nd Street.

Darby C: REALLY? I had no idea! I wonder if that will ever come up in one of your books. In my story, my special opportunity comes when I step through a stone window-sill. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?
Diane H: For one, I would go to Israel and spend some time with the historical Jesus and his apostles (a lot of them were women). This would preferably be before things got ugly with Rome.

I would also go back to the literal and figurative crossroads where I gave up on my dream of becoming a professional dancer. I might also go back to my life in my late teens and twenties when I was struggling greatly, and let myself know what my life would be like a few years down the road. Especially that I'd accomplished my dream of getting published. And of being well loved. :)

Darby C: Wow -- I think you'd need a window like mine, to give you lots of opportunities. Anyone else special you’d like to meet?

Diane H: Karen Kain. She was the closest thing Canada had to a superstar in the 70s and early 80s, and she's probably the only person I've ever considered a hero. She was a prima ballerina with the National Ballet of Canada, and is currently presiding over the Canada Council.

Darby C: You are not the first person I have heard say that. Karen Kain is a popular choice. She is well-loved in this country! Diane, can you tell me a bit about your latest project?

Diane H: GAIA WILD is the third novel in Jane Ray's Wildlife Rescue Series, which I describe as "Nancy Drew meets Jane Goodall" -- mystery and adventure (and romance!) all in the context of rescuing animals. Like the other two, this one is set in Vancouver, and focuses on an elephant that's been loaned from the local zoo to a movie production.

The story opens with Jane recognizing the elephant (named Gaia) from a long time ago, realizing her trumpeting is actually an alarm call, and deciding with her two best friends to get after-school jobs on the movie set in order to investigate what might be going on. "Gaia" is also the Greek name for the Goddess of the Earth, and so beneath that main story runs the theme of wildness -- what it means to be a wild animal (including a wild HUMAN animal) on this planet of ours that we have cared for so poorly. And there are some pretty wild scenes in the book!

Darby C: It sounds excellent. So when you get a chance to take a break and have a treat, what's your favourite? I’m personally pretty fond of red licorice, myself.

Diane H: Dubble Bubble or FunDip, hello!

Darby C: Ah -- an author after my own heart. Diane, if I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?

Diane H: I blog (rather irregularly) at

Darby C: Thanks for speaking with me today, Diane. It's great to know a little more about the woman behind the wildlife!

If you'd like to win a signed copy of GAIA WILD, leave your name in the comments either here or on kc dyer's blog for today's post. The draw for this book will take place NEXT Friday, March 20th, in order to give everyone a chance to get their names in.

If you'd like to participate in the draw that takes place tonight, make sure to comment on one of the posts in this blog or kc dyer's blog from March 6th-12th. All the comments will be put into a hat and Maurice the cat and I will draw the winners after 8 pm tonight.

See you back here then!