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!



  1. Great interview, Diane! I would love to see you tap dance!

  2. I'd love a copy of GAIA WILD.

  3. Tap dancing... such an awesome skill, but it looks almost impossible!

  4. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.