I am thrilled to introduce today’s guest, fellow author and friend, Diane Burton. She is a fabulous writer, and I have had the honor of editing many of her stories, including her latest, which is awesome!
Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?
First, thanks for having me here today, Alicia. I’ve lived most of my life in Michigan, grew up in the Detroit area, now live near Lake Michigan. My husband and I have two children and five grandchildren who all live close enough to visit often. We’ve had three dogs but are dogless now. When we need a dog-fix, we visit our kids who have a total of three. I was an elementary teacher, an inventory clerk in a flute store, and a land technician for an oil and gas company. My favorite occupation—writer.
Where did you get the idea for Rescuing Mara’s Father?
My older grandchildren (ages 9 and almost-12) know I write novels, and that they can’t read them until they’re adults. Disappointing for them. That’s why I wrote Rescuing Mara’s Father, a book they can read. It’s the first time I’ve written in the children/young adult genre, and it was fun. I’m a pantser, write by the seat of my pants. When an idea hits, I just start writing. Around chapter 8, I need to stop and plot. Not an extensive plot but enough to know where the story is going. The hardest part of writing Rescuing Mara’s Father came near the end. I knew what I wanted for the climactic scene. Writing it was more difficult. I think I wrote five different scenes until I found what felt right.
Do you collect anything?
Nutcrackers. One Christmas, in the 1980s, my mother-in-law gave me one. I expressed delight. That meant I got nutcrackers for my birthday and Christmas every year after. And from her sister, too. Hubs got into it, and his idea was the more the better. I had to tell him only one a year. Please! Each year, the older grandchildren come over and, standing on the kitchen counter, put up the nutcrackers. Now Hubs says I have too many. Lol
Here are some of Diane’s nutcrackers…aren’t they so adorable? (and, to be fair to your husband, Diane, men are not likely going to have an affinity for something called a ‘nutcracker’ :))
What do you want readers to come away with after they read Rescuing Mara’s Father?
First, that they’ve enjoyed a good adventure. Underneath that, I want them to think that the feelings they’ve had are common. Other kids think/feel the same way.
What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?
Hallee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Mara; Jeremy Irvine (Mama Mia 2) as Lukus; Anthony Ursin (Chocolat) as Jako. With Hallee, it was the braids and her attitude in True Grit that made me think of Mara. Jeremy’s eyes in the picture—serious, old, like he had to grow up quickly. That’s why he’d make a good Lukus. Anthony’s attitude (and smile in the picture) makes me think of Jako.
What is your favorite quote?
“Never give up, never surrender.” (from Galaxy Quest)
Your most prized material possession? Why?
My grandmother’s ceramic nativity set. She made it for our family when I was young. It’s kind of gaudy with sequins and glitter, but she made it. And that’s what’s important.
Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?
Cruelty, especially to children. Violence begets violence. Same with cruelty.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Oh, yes! And many will stay hidden away. They were for practice. Will they ever be published? Probably not. I’ve discovered (with two books) that it’s easier to start fresh than try to edit/revise an old story.
Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
Nora Roberts. What a sweet, considerate woman.
How much of the book is realistic?
Though Rescuing Mara’s Father takes place in a “galaxy far, far away” the relationship between a parent and daughter is quite real, especially her emotional highs and lows. I tapped into what I remembered from my own teen years and my daughter’s.
Movie: The African Queen
Music: Old-time Rock & Roll
Place you’ve visited: Rocky Mountain National Park
Place you’d like to visit: Alaska
TV show from childhood: Maverick (with James Garner)
TV show from adulthood: Murdoch Mysteries & Father Brown
Food: Pepperoni pizza
Sports team: Detroit Tigers
Thank you, Diane, for sharing with us today. Now, Diane has a question for readers…
Since Rescuing Mara’s Father features an almost-fifteen year old girl, what do you remember about your teen angst?
RESCUING MARA’S FATHER
A Middle Grade Science Fiction Adventure
3 friends, a hidden starship, a quest
Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off their planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father.
“There you are!” Jako kneels next to me, his urgent voice and torchlight in my eyes wake me up.
I gasp, my heart racing. I must have fallen asleep. I was dreaming about being chased.
“I’ve been looking all over for you!” He lowers his torch and scoots back.
As I sit up, I shove my hair out of my eyes. My braid came undone while I was sleeping. Automatically, I reach up and use my fingers to comb through my long hair. Jako is breathing hard and heat rises off his small body.
“Why were you looking for me?” I ask as I rebraid my hair.
“I was afraid they got you, too.” He gasps for breath. “I didn’t see you when they took him on board, so I ran back to your house. The Dunpus brothers were laughing about how the goons hauled you away, screaming and crying. I knew they were lying. You wouldn’t cry.” His eyes grow wide. “You should’ve seen their ship, Mara. It was so cool. It was a—”
“Hold on. Took who?”
“Isn’t that why you came up here? To get away from them?”
“Them who?” I might be awake, but my mind is still muzzy. “Slow down. You aren’t making any sense.”
Jako grabs my arm. “Your father, Mara. Coalition goons arrested your father.”
About the Author:
The first time D.M. Burton saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, she was hooked on science fiction and space travel. The Star Trek movies made her want to travel to other planets. Alas, she is still Earth-bound. D.M. and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.
Join D.M. Burton’s readers’ group on Facebook.
For more info and excerpts, visit D.M.’s website: http://www.dmburton.com
She writes adult fiction as Diane Burton, where she combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Connect with Diane Burton online.
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
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