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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Author Interview--Diane Huff Pitts

Anne: Our interview today is with Diane Huff Pitts. She grew up in Selma, Alabama–the crossroads of southern living and the Civil Rights Movement–then moved to Mobile, Alabama. Both locales shape her writing.

A lifelong learner, Diane reads constantly. She picked up a few degrees along the way: nursing and physical therapy from the University of South Alabama and a doctorate from Des Moines University. Although no longer teaching at South Alabama, she is a certified clinical instructor for doctoral students in an outpatient physical therapy setting.

Diane and her husband Darrell live in a close-knit community outside of Mobile. Their lives are enriched by three sons, a (new!) daughter-in-law, and two rescued dogs. She is active in the teaching and music ministry of a local church and sings with a multicultural womens’ chorus from Mobile.

Wow--what a list of accomplishments. And now add to that being an author! So, Diane, what inspired The Summer's Dance, Volume two of the Summer in Sweetland series?

Diane: As a physical therapist, I am acquainted with assisted living facilities (ALF). Fiction is a wonderful vehicle to dispel myths about the ALF and the vigorous people who live there. For me, this project was a means to educate the public. In the ALF, not everyone uses a walker or needs a driver. ALFs have full time activity directors because those seniors are busy! They host proms, go shopping, sponsor charities.

Anne: With all the other things you are involved in, why do you also take time to write?

Diane: I’ve been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Writing is my vehicle to encourage and esteem others. I hope to do my part as a Christ follower to bring positive values, truth, and faith into the marketplace of ideas. Having a strong medical background, I enjoy bringing that thread to writing. On a more personal note, some of my loved ones are ninety plus years old, and as they age fiction with humor and suspense helps me cope with that change.

Anne: Do you have a "real job" or balance responsibilities in addition to writing?

Diane: I am a doctor of physical therapy, and I care for people “by day.” Several months ago I concluded a seven-year stint as part-time faculty in the graduate school of physical therapy. Students enrich my life. I’m also caregiver to my parents and have a family of my own. Time management is a must!

Anne: What is your favorite part of The Summer's Dance?

Diane: Fiction writing is new for me. As an avid reader, I love getting to know characters. In The Summer’s Dance, I created characters that live and breathe. I didn’t want the story to end. It’s so much more that a simple dance. It’s their dance with life, their dance with danger...Who knows? Virginia, Bernie, and Geri may show up again in another story! And what about the man in the black Armani suit? (I enjoyed adding that twist to The Summer’s Dance.)

Anne: Is there a part of the writing process you find really unpleasant?

Diane: I’m a perfectionist, and I labor over word choice and scene development. It takes me longer than most to craft a story. As a lifelong learner, I am always trying to improve---a good trait unless one becomes stymied.

Anne: What do you want people to "take away" from The Summer's Dance?

Diane: The aging process is difficult but not insurmountable. Entire families are affected when seniors are no longer at the helm of the family. But life is not over. It is never too late to find hope through Christ for life’s difficulties and beyond the grave. Secondly, those who do evil will not proper. The road of arrogance has many pitfalls.

Anne: As one who may be going through the ALF process in the not-too-distant future, I can add an emphatic "Amen!" to that. Now, last question: Would you like to tell us about your next writing adventure?

Diane: I’m working on several Scottish stories with a romantic bent. Fiction is a new endeavor for me, but I’m enjoying the challenge.

Anne: Wow, you are so amazing! I'm really looking forward to your next writings, and I do hope you'll let me be an influencer on all your works! Thanks so much for being here today, Diane. God bless you and your ventures with our precious Lord!
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