First, answers to the two questions I hear most often:
For readers of Swept Up:
No, I have never been kidnapped by an angry janitor while on a school field trip. But I have spent a lot of time wondering what would happen if I had been. In real life, I like school janitors and am not afraid of them at all.
For readers of No Ordinary Lizard:
Yes, I have owned a lot of pets - more than any reasonable person ever would. I've had dogs, cats, hamsters, an African gray parrot, a pot-bellied pig, fish, Hermit crabs and, of course, the leopard gecko lizard who inspired this story. At times there have been more animals living in my house than people. But very few of them caused as much trouble as Benson.
Now, let me share my passion:
When I'm not working on my next book (or taking care of my pets or running away from school janitors): I assist and encourage young writers at allwritewithme.com. This site is an online writing community where kids can post their original stories and provide their opinions and advice to other young writers. I've included creative writing tips, techniques, story prompts, activities, and group projects. The site has gained recommendation from Teachers First, Teachers And Families, Marjan Glavac (the Busy Educator), Carla Beard (the Web English Teacher), and Home School Buyers Co-op.
Teachers and parents can connect with me and other users of the All Write with Me website at facebook.com/allwritewithme.
Diane is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her short stories and articles have been published in children’s magazines, writers’ newsletters and online.
Where to find Diane Owens online
Where to buy in print
No Ordinary Lizard
Ruth Patterson's secret pet is smart enough to write her messages. But he's a lot of work. To keep her secret, she must take the blame for everything he does. To keep him safe, she'll have to solve the mystery of a glowing rock, decipher a Hawaiian legend, and unravel a string of lies - all before the lizard's dangerous enemy catches up with them.
One angry janitor with an unbelievable plan. 73 sixth-graders locked inside. An artificial town that’s becoming uncomfortably real. A popular girl who knows how to escape. Too bad no one feels like listening.