How Historical Travel Becomes Story Ideas for This Writer
Writer Spotlight: An Interview with Diane Tatum
As a publication on Medium, we have grown to over 80 writers in a half year. We are excited to see what God is doing to get His Word out there.
Through this interview series, we want to share with you a little snapshot into the lives of our writers.
When did you join Koinonia? What attracted you to this publication?
Janis Cox and Kimberley Payne are members of the John 3:16 Marketing Network with me. They recruited me to join in February 2019. I was unsure at first, but I realized Medium was another platform and outlet for words God suggested I write. What better way to bring God alive for others than to share the lessons He brings to me?
How long have you been writing and how did you come to it?
I started writing in 5th/6th grade. It was my goal to be a writer, but I was pragmatic enough to realize I’d need a ‘real’ job to provide home and necessities. I earned a BS-Business Admin in Accounting as a result but started our family after college. I went back to school in 1994 and graduated in 1997 with an MAT-Language Arts and a certification to teach middle school language arts. I began to free-lance write during that time.
I taught for 11 years to help my boys have a debt-free education.
Who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?
My mom who took us to the library every week and instilled the love of books and story in us. And my dad who signed me up and paid for a monthly book club not long after I started reading.
Mr. VanZant, my 6th grade teacher who encouraged me to write my short stories.
Daphne DuMaurier-I started with Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel and read everything she wrote. My mom would check the grocery book section and bring home any book I hadn’t read by her yet. And I read all the ones the library had.
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
Sometimes watching the news gives me a way to see events through God’s eyes. My husband and I enjoy ‘historical travel’. Often something I’ve learned in another country will crop up in connection to a thought or a news item and become a story/article idea.
What do you like most / least about writing?
I love when the story writes itself and I’m surprised by the turn the story takes! Sometimes my characters say things I never expected. In my recent book Kudzu Sculptures, I realized at the end that I needed accomplices. I didn’t need to rewrite because I found I had provided the accomplices without realizing it!
How do you balance professional time with personal time?
During the summer, I try to schedule one task (usually housework or an errand) outside of writing. I also have a husband, greyhound, and Jack Russell terrier who require my attention.
During the school year, I work as an adjunct professor for our community college teaching from 7–8:15 a.m. M-Th. I get home at 8:30 so that’s when I sit to write. Then I have the afternoons for personal time.
What publications/writers are you currently following?
I enjoy reading Jodi Picoult and Anne Tyler.
What are some of your favorite things? What makes you unique?
I taught middle school for 11 years! Yes, really! And I have worked with youth for 38 years! And I have written Sunday School material for youth.
We have rescued a greyhound in February. We also have an 18-year-old Jack Russell.
How is your faith reflected in your writing?
I like to believe that my writing reflects living a Christian life in the real world. What choices do Christians consider? What choices do they make? Who are their friends?
What are some things you learned from your own writing? From others?
I discovered recently when writing my first murder mystery, Kudzu Sculptures, that all the clues I needed to resolve my mystery were in what I had already written! I had plotted for one character to be the murderer, but at the end I realized the murderer needed help. Who was the accomplice and why? I didn’t have to rewrite any of the original story to add a chapter about finding the accomplices!
What is your ultimate writing goal?
My overarching goal is the glory of God. That sounds somewhat too holy, but overall I want to show the difference God makes in real-life through my fiction writing.
Currently I am living my goal: writing novels under contract for a publisher! Guess it’s time for a new goal. How about “making a living while writing”?
What advice do you have for a newbie on Medium?
Be careful about enthusiasm trumping caution over use of forbidden pictures!
Write what God gives you to write.
Never stop learning!
Where else can we find you on the Internet? Do you have a website, blog, Pinterest board etc?
Thanks, Diane Tatum for sharing a little bit of yourself with us today!
Stay tuned as we will be continuing our writer spotlight series with interviews of each of our other writers on Koinonia.
We are grateful for the fantastic writers we have and invite you to follow each of them: Mary Hood, Salau Shinamide Samuel, Sue-ellen Howe, Noemi McElearney, Mukkove Johnson, Marye Sierra Moir, Ida Adams, Karen Toews, Jack Heimbigner, Connie Mae Inglis, Barbara Radisavljevic, Bett Harris, Terry Palmer, Dr. Kevin Osborne, Callie Quinones, Steph Beth Nickel, Writing River, Kristen Power, Helen Olivier, M.M. O’Keefe, Violet Escalera, Ruth Ann Holloway-Adams, Gloria Lynn, Marcia Laycock, Jessica Archuleta, Phyllis Romero, Diane Tatum, Andrew Garofalo, Donnell King, Dihanne Moore, Susan Elizabeth Henson, Ron Mahler, Wordsmith Haven, Jim Wolstenholm, Ally Holland, Jacqueline Fazal, Glen Mitchell, Aletia Xerri, Corinne Mordaunt, Tracy Gerhardt-Cooper, Ed Elliott, tiala kichu, Carole Tansley, Mary Gallagher, Lin Cochran Burgin, Trip Kimball, Nancy Varner, Brandon Abbott, Valentine Nnebe, Linda Fode, Paul Phillips, Gordon Mc Farland, Linda Jo Martin, Colin Pearce, Mishael Witty, Christina Ward 🌻, Cynthia Johnson, DMin, Debby Curreen, Carol Harrison, Diane Stephenson, Amanda Balkema, Amanda Dzimianski, John Thomas, Mukti Masih, Leona J. Atkinson, Corey Howse, Gregory Alan, Jeff Titterington, Samita Mistry 🇨🇦😊, Ryan Fan, Connie Gibson, Darren T.A., Pamela J. Nikodem, MS, Jocelyn Soriano, Linda Todd, Bill DuBay Jr. ⚡️, Thomas E. McDaniels, Paul Gallagher, Lindy Pegler, AllisonMCosta, Janis Cox and Kimberley Payne.
This story is published in Koinonia — stories by Christians to encourage, entertain, and empower you in your faith, food, fitness, family, and fun.