Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Ben Girod is Hershey Sensenig! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)

This week please welcome MaryAnn Diorio in the spotlight! To win a copy of her book A Christmas Homecoming, leave a comment on this post! 

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

Hi, Everyone! It’s great to be here. I’ve been writing for a long time but only recently began writing long fiction. I’m married with two awesome grown daughters and a wonderful son-in-law. I work from home as a freelance writer and life coach.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I write Women’s Fiction and Middle-Grade Fiction. My women’s fiction deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. My children’s fiction is entertaining and fun while focusing on the building of character.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I came to a point in my life when I felt an increasing desire to write. I prayed and asked God to remove the desire if it were not of Him and to increase the desire if it were. The desire increased dramatically, so I began to write.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

I started out writing for magazines. Soon after I started writing, a poem of mine was published in The Saturday Evening Post. As a novice, I had no clue how difficult it was to get published in this magazine. I took the acceptance as a confirmation from our Lord that I was to write for Him.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I write between four and six hours a day. I pray before I write and while I write. I usually work at home, but I frequently will go to a local Starbuck’s or to the library when I need to get out a bit.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

My biggest help has been writers’ conferences and critique groups. I also read voraciously. I read fiction, non-fiction, and books on writing. I read journals and magazines and cereal boxes. ☺

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)

When one is called by God to write, the writing life is a joy. This does not mean there will be no struggles. I’ve faced many of them as a writer. But knowing for Whom I write makes it all worthwhile. I don’t know that I had a preconceived notion about what the writer’s life would be. I just plunged in and realized it is hard work with great rewards and deep satisfaction. I like to describe the writing profession as having homework for the rest of your life. ☺

What are your biggest distractions?

My biggest distractions are people. I love people, so I have to guard my writing time so as not to get caught up in people when I should be writing.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

One of the best moments in my career occurred when I received my first acceptance letter. One of my worst moments occurred when a published reneged on a signed contract.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

Least like: the long periods of isolation

Most like: the joy of creating

What is the role and importance of an agent?

An agent knows what editors need what manuscripts. An agent can save a writer much precious time. An agent also can help a writer build her writing career.

What advice would you give to new writers?

If God has called you to write, never give up. Pray, believe, and trust that God will order your steps according to His will, not yours.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

When Sonia Pettit’s teenage daughter suddenly disappears for seven long years, Sonia faces losing her mind, her husband, and her son as she struggles to forgive her wayward daughter and trust God for her ret urn.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I’m currently working on a full-length women’s fiction entitled CAPTIVE NO MORE and a middle-grade novel entitled DIXIE RANDOLPH AND THE KIDNAPPING AT SEABURY LAKE. I have several ideas brewing for more novels for both adults and children.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING will be available from Harbourlight Books in December. My non-fiction book, YOU WERE MADE FOR GREATNESS, is available at Amazon.com. You may find a complete listing of my books on my website at www.maryanndiorio.com/bookstore.

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

You are most welcome, Suzanne. Thank you for inviting me. ☺

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