Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet the Contributors: Diana L. Driver

Hi – It's my pleasure to introduce Diana L. Driver, one of the contributors to The Writers’ Lens. Her stories cross the line from Young Adult adventure/suspense, to Mystery, to Romance. But today I’m focusing on what first caught my attention—her Young Adult book, Ninth Lord of the Night.

What sparked your interest in Mesoamerican archeology? I’ve always been interested in history, even as a child, and in the 1980s when the Mayanists like Linda Schele, David Stuart, and Diane and Arlen Chase began translating the Mayan glyphs, I couldn’t help but be fascinated at what they were discovering. Understand, that before the social revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s the old guard archaeologists held tight rein and were of the opinion that there was no Rosetta Stone for the Mayan glyphs. They actually destroyed careers in order not to be proven wrong. Then, the new Mayanist intellectuals appeared, translated the glyphs and now we know that the Mayan glyphs are indeed a phonetic written language.

Did you already have a book in mind before you traveled to Tikal? I did have Ninth Lord of the Night mentally mapped out before I visited Tikal. I wanted to know more than just how Tikal looked; I also wanted to know how it felt to be in this ancient city surrounded by the rain forest and all its creatures. I wanted to hear and feel the jungle and touch the limestone temples. Of course my preconceived ideas concerning both plot and characters changed radically when I returned home.  

What’s your writing style—do you work from an outline or wait to see where the characters lead you? I usually start with a “What if?” ending. For example, “What if you really could transform into another animal?” In Ninth Lord of the Night I started with that concept, but I also wanted the main theme of the book to be the importance of saving written history.

Since Ninth Lord of the Night was about another culture, I had to show the Maya through the eyes of a character who knew nothing about the Mayan people or their civilization and who could grow in knowledge along with the reader. Then, I took it a step further by inputting symbolism and making the story circular. The character viewing Zack in a vision in the prologue is the same character Zack sees in a photograph in the ending, although both have been transformed either physically or esoterically.

In Ninth Lord of the Night, Zack has to find a whistling room. Is that room patterned after an actual place?
The Central Acropolis is a very real structure with its maze of buildings, courtyards and stairways. It's a fascinating place.

Tell us about your current projects. I’m currently researching philosophic and esoteric ideas such as Rosicrucianism, and the Hermetic texts, the Northern European Traditions including Rune Casting for a fantasy novel I’m working on titled, The Amber Stone.
I also have three mystery novels and a horror novel that are all close to being finished as well as three short stories that just need additional editing.

Along with my fiction novel, Ninth Lord of the Night, and its companion nonfiction Mayan guidebook The Maya, People of the Maize, I have a short, campy mystery, The End of the Tour (originally published in L&L Dreamspell’s anthology Dead and Breakfast). Written in the style of Dame Agatha Christie, it’s available as a single on Kindle for 99 cents. I also have a sweet romantic short story and a mystery in two other L&L Dreamspell anthologies.


14 comments:

  1. Hi Diane! Great interview. I'd love to read how you pulled in the details of Tikal in your story! Off to find Ninth Lord of the Night!

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  2. Very interesting interview. Mayan culture is fascinating. I look forward to learning more about your novels.

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  3. Hi Ansha!

    Lots of research and a visit to Tikal. Some of the events in the book are my own experiences - like the tarantula in the bathroom and the fear I experienced when I walked down a jungle alone and in the dark.

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  4. Hello Jacqueline!

    Nice of you to drop by! Mayan culture is fascinating and the Mayanists are always uncovering new information. In Ninth Lord of the Night and its companion book, The Maya, People of the Maize, I was greatful for the opportunity to show my passion for this subject.

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  5. Hi Diana. What a fascinating interview. I was just about to post how much I wanted to visit Tikal when I caught that comment about the tarantula in the bathroom. Maybe I'll just live vicariously through your books!

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  6. Diana, great interview. Ninth Lord of the Night is one of my favorites! I compliment you highly on the way you do pull the reader into your words and can feel the perspiration on my face just by reading the walk through the jungle foliage. Enlightening and powerful.
    Cherri Galbiati

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  7. Cindy,

    All hotels have now been upgraded so that's not a fear any longer. But, for anyone who decides to go - plan your trip between December and March when the humidity is low. I visited in May and it almost killed me.

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  8. Cherri,

    Thank you very much. Ninth Lord of the Night was a book that was written from my passion for the subject and my furor at learning about how the Spanish had burned all the Mayan books except for 4. From that it evolved into a book about being true to onself. I really do love this book. :-)

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  9. Loretta Wheeler said:
    Hi, Diana:)
    Great interview:)...I was as intrigued by what you have in the works, as what you've already written. It all sounds like great reading. I already have your work on the Mayan's and am finally going to be able to download Ninth Lord because we just purchased a Kindle to go along with the Nook:)
    Looking forward to your upcoming releases!
    Lo

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  10. Thank you, Loretta! I hope you love your Kindle as much as your Nook!!

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  11. Hi James!

    It's always nice for another Dreamspell author to visit!

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  12. (From Jaimie R. in Seattle)

    Diana,

    You are such a prolific and talented writer. I truly enjoyed sharing Zack's adventures. You are a master wordsmith and have the imagination, and the eye,to bring just everything, into a vivid focus, for your readers. Looking forward to many many, more stories and books from you.
    Congragulations,

    Jaimie R

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  13. Thank you, Jaimie R.!!!

    High praise indeed coming from an artist and muscian who views the world through an artist's lens.

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