Interview with Diane Lynn McGyver

Published 2013-10-07.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing at a very early age. I recall in elementary I owned several Camp Fire notebooks filled with little stories and plays. They were all printed in pencil. Eventually I switched to pen, cursive writing and loose leaf.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote my first story when I was so young that I don't recall it. The first story I remember writing was about finding a black wild dog in the woods. He became 'the gang's' dog and spent his time between the homes of the young members who were between the ages of eight and twelve. They named him Sam the Wild Dog. This dog was the most amazing dog ever and saved a kid from drowning.

By the way, that was based on a real story that happened to me.
Describe your desk
My desk...well, it's cluttered. It faces a wall and my kitchen table is behind me. On the wall behind my lap top is an 8x10-framed drawing coloured with pencils of a horse standing over a dwarf lying on the forest floor. I created the picture three years ago. Various necklaces hang from its side.

Also on the wall are various writing tips to remind me about conjugation verbs (particularly to lie and to lay), the who-that-which thing and words that trip me up (practice-noun; practise-verb). A map of Ath-o'Lea is off to the left for quick reference. A clay pot painted by my youngest child is to the left stuffed full of pencils, pens and markers.

Along the top of this are sticky notes of the projects I'm working on. I keep five notes there at all times. This keeps me motivated and moving forward. There's never a time when I'm left wondering what I can do next.
What do you read for pleasure?
When I have time to read, I choose stories with strong characters. Genres aren't as important as this fact. I love reading fantasy, adventure, historical, humour and romance. As long as the characters are well-constructed I usually enjoy the story.
How do you approach cover design?
The first item I consider when designing the cover is the emotion I want to convey. It should connect readers with at least one of the emotions expressed in the story by the main character. To do this, I need the right image, so the picture is very important. Manipulating the image to get that emotion can be tricky, so I make several designs before I decide on the final one.

It's important for me to have fun with the design and to make it look professional.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small community surrounded by forest. Although we were only ten minutes away by vehicle to civilization, I felt like we lived in the woods with a whole bunch of other campers. It was wonderful. It was like having the freedom to do what you wanted, act as silly as you wished and create whatever concoction you wanted without the outside world spying or telling you it can't be done.

Being this close to nature and left to my own devices gave me the freedom to create characters who shared these characteristics. They know about sleeping in the woods, mosquitoes and salamanders beneath pieces of wood. They know the smell the underbrush, the taste of ripe cranberries and the stickiness of sap. Many of my stories involve the outdoors because I love being out there.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The alarm clock. On my good days it's the story I'm working on. I 'scheme' while in bed, and at times find the perfect conclusion to a story I'm working on. Then it's a rush to get to the computer in the morning and get it down before my poor memory forgets.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on a Christmas romance called "Twistmas-The Season of Love". It takes place in my old stomping ground Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Yes, the same Cole Harbour that lays claim to Sydney Crosby lays claim to me. But don't worry; he's just another kid on the block who went to school with my nieces and nephews.

This novel is scheduled for release in late November. It was exciting to write because it was like returning home and seeing all the things I once saw on a daily basis.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
That's a loaded question. I love to do lots of things. In the summer my time is taken up with gardening, camping, hiking, fishing, visiting museums and beaches and generally hanging out with the kids. In the winter, sketching, painting, movies, making snow women and playing board games take up my time. Oh, and reading. Goats consume my time in winter, spring, summer and fall. We maintain a small herd of Toggenburgs for fresh milk and entertainment. The chickens take care of themselves.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is that I get to know characters I might not otherwise meet. They make me laugh, cry and go stark-raving mad (at times). I would never miss the many adventures I've been taken on by these characters. Sometimes it is like my dreams are coming alive in the words in front of me.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. That's it. Keep writing and your stories will get better. Keep writing and you will get published. Keep writing and you will find success in your own way. Keep writing and if you love writing you will always be doing what you love.
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Latest books by This Author

Twistmas - The Season for Love
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All Jan Cooper wants to do is make it through Christmas with her sanity intact. An irrational co-worker is determined to destroy these plans. Jan is determined to grin and bear until she learns this woman is after her job. Delanie Taylor has no time for romance. When he meets Jan’s daughter searching for the perfect gift for her mother, he unknowingly discovers the perfect gift for himself.
Castle Keepers Vignettes - Volume 02
Price: Free! Words: 7,810. Language: Canadian English. Published: March 3, 2016 by Quarter Castle Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The Castle Keeper vignettes provide a glimpse into the time between "Shadows in the Stone" and "Scattered Stones". You’ll have already met many of the characters, but some you will meet in "Scattered Stones". These vignettes are not complete stories, only 300 words of a moment. Volume 02 contains Vignettes 13 to 24.
Castle Keepers Vignettes - Volume 01
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The Castle Keeper vignettes provide a glimpse into the time between Shadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones. You’ll have already met many of the characters, but some you will meet in Scattered Stones. These vignettes are not complete stories, only 300 words of a moment. Volume 01 contains the first twelve in a series of vignettes to be written.
Nova Scotia - Life Near Water
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 32,930. Language: Canadian English. Published: March 21, 2014 by Quarter Castle Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Literary collections » Canadian
Life Near Water is a collection of short stories that transports readers to locations across Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. McGyver’s love for the sea shines in The Ocean Between Them, and her keen interest in genealogy and history plays interesting rolls in The Man Who Reads Obituaries, Dancing in the Shine and War on His Shore. Miss Tuttle's Lemon Tart and Mutated Blood Lines complete the book.
Fowl Summer Nights
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Fowl Summer Nights is about a retired Canada Post worker whose husband has passed on and she's left with an empty nest. Her children tell her to get a hobby, so she does—one that drives her neighbours crazy.
Miss Tuttle's Lemon Tarts
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Rita Krumb is a loner. Her neighbour, Sophie Tuttle, is an elderly lady who knows how to recruit. When they meet over a bag of potatoes, an unusual friendship begins, one that revolves around lemon tarts and a million dollars.
The Man Who Reads Obituaries
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(5.00 from 1 review)
Morris, Laurence Aiden—48, Dartmouth, has waited more than six months for this day. Still, he’s unsure if he is ready to make the journey to Heaven…or Hell. Something is missing, but he can’t fathom what. While he bides his time, he reads the obituaries, playing his game of Heaven or Hell. The parasite fed on the old, the young…the middle-aged. I glanced at the incomplete obituary on the bedside.
Pockets of Wildflowers
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Olivia still mourns the tragic loss of her parents. To aid in the healing, she has created a haven on her farm. John is a drifter who arrives in Scarinish with a secret and a mysterious past. When Olivia hires him as a farmhand, the passion ignites. Love blossoms, but outside forces wreak havoc on their private sanctuary, and the past rushes in. Will the truth destroy their love or set them free?
Dancing in the Shine
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,560. Language: Canadian English. Published: June 14, 2012 by Quarter Castle Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Hurricane Juan swept away Joan Halley’s parents, leaving her devastated and in charge of their affairs. The man who promised to keep her safe has become her worst nightmare. Escape or Surrender? Joan’s life has taken a turn for the worst, and now she is forced to make a choice. Can the information she discovered at the public archives help her? Only if she finds the courage to use it.
Shadows in the Stone
Price: Free! Words: 128,880. Language: Canadian English. Published: May 6, 2012 by Quarter Castle Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
(4.00 from 1 review)
The most important thing in Corporal Bronwyn Darrow’s life is rising in the ranks at Aruam Castle. His goal is to be captain of the guard one day. The last thing he needs is distractions. When a woman and a child are forced into his life, tensions escalate, and he’s caught between his drive for promotion and what his heart desires.
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