Writer and biographer, Diane Diekman, opens the door on the life of one of country music’s legendary performers, and we get to go beyond the page to get a glimpse of how it all came to be.
We’d like to thank Diane for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.
AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?
Diane: My first publication credit was a commentary on sexual harassment in the military. As a U.S. Navy commander, I felt senior enough to have a voice and the experience to speak for other women. I mailed my unsolicited opinion to The Navy Times and it crossed in the mail with the latest issue, which carried a headline about sexual harassment. I knew my submission was timely! It was published as “Learning sex’s painful lessons in the military” on February 6, 1995.
AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.
Diane: TWENTIETH CENTURY DRIFTER: THE LIFE OF MARTY ROBBINS is the first biography of the legendary country music artist, a man who could jump into a race car and compete in NASCAR races. He scored sixteen number one hits and two Grammy awards. Yet even with fame and fortune, Marty Robbins always yearned for more. He saw himself as a drifter, a man searching for security and inner peace. I tried to provide a portrait of this well-loved, restless entertainer, a private man who kept those who loved him at a distance. The biography, with 320 pages and 25 photographs, has just been released by the University of Illinois Press.
AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?
Diane: Everything I write (including speeches) I submit to the Internet Writing Workshop online critique group for comment. My writing is much improved by the suggestions received from other members. During research trips, my greatest assistant has been my sister, Lorraine “Kayo” Paver. Every person I’ve interviewed and everyone who provides me with documents and electronic media contributes to my success.
AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?
Diane: My most productive time is in the morning, from when I make coffee and turn on the computer until my lunchtime run or whatever on my calendar takes me away from writing. I concentrate best during that period.
AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?
Diane: Write it down. Your thoughts must get from your head onto paper (or the computer) before you can do anything with them. You must work to improve your skills. We never get past the point of learning from others. I highly recommend joining a critique group, either online or one that meets regularly. I’ve participated in both, and the sharing of advice is invaluable to me. Reading books on writing, as well as subscribing to magazines such as Writer’s Digest, will broaden your knowledge and keep you up to date on the writing industry.
Diane Diekman can be found on the web at dianediekman.com and with this convenient link, TWENTIETH CENTURY DRIFTER: THE LIFE OF MARTY ROBBINS and her other books are available at the click of a few buttons.