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Interview with MaryAnn Diorio

Attempting to list MaryAnn Diorio’s talents and accomplishments in the space allotted here would be like trying to fit all of Texas into the land area occupied by Rhode Island. She’s a novelist who also writes non-fiction, a poet, speaker, life coach, artist and musician…see what I mean? Trying to figure out where to start is a mind-boggling decision. That said, it’s certainly an honor to try!

MaryAnn, I mentioned above that you’re “a novelist who also writes non-fiction.” In actuality, unless I missed something in your website bookstore, A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING is your first published work of fiction, while you have an impressive line-up of non-fiction works. What made you decide to delve into the world of fictional prose, and what did you find was the biggest “difference” in the two writing styles?
After many years of writing non-fiction, I began sensing Holy Spirit’s nudging to write fiction. I had always loved fiction but never thought that my writing talents lay in that area. But the nudging increased, and I obeyed it. I began by writing several short stories for both children and adults. As these stories were published, my confidence increased and my calling to write fiction was confirmed.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Without question, prayer has been most significant to my publication journey.

You are obviously a busy woman—my grandmother would have said you “bounce around like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs.”  How do you keep all those varying responsibilities from becoming TOO MUCH? How hard is it to concentrate on writing with so much else going on?
I have the ability to focus totally on the task at hand while blocking out everything else. So while I’m writing, I’m not thinking of anything else. I also set time limits for myself that keep me working because I know I’m facing a self-imposed deadline.

And how do your faith and spiritual life affect your storytelling?
I trust that they infuse it totally. My desire is to write compelling stories that are transformational in nature. To do this, I need to drink from Christ’s well of living water continually. I believe my writing must be nourished by my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that only through that personal relationship can my writing bear fruit.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
That moment occurred recently after a woman read my latest work, A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING. In this book, I show that unforgiveness enslaves while forgiveness sets free. A reader told me that after she read my book, she made a list of all the people she needed to forgive.

You’ve been a guest on a number of radio and television talk shows. I happen to know this is an area of publicity that intimidates a lot of authors. What single piece of advice would you offer to help them relax and enjoy the experience?
I imagine myself sitting at my kitchen table, having a cup of coffee with the interviewer. I don’t think about the listeners. I focus only on one person—the interviewer--and I talk to her as I would to my best friend.

Ad now a two-part question: 1) In one sentence, describe the term “Life Coach.” 2) I realize the process of life coaching varies according the individual being coached. But is there any one piece of advice you find yourself giving every client?
1) A Life Coach is a person who helps others get from where they are to where they want to be.
2) When I coach, I picture myself holding Holy Spirit’s hand with my right hand and the client’s hand with my left. If I were to give one piece of advice to every client, I would say, “Be willing to change.”

Finish this question: If I could change anything at all about my life today, it would be. . .
. . . to go back in time and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord much earlier than I did. .

Any parting words?
I would like to encourage my fellow writers in their writing journey by reminding them that this writing life is not about us. It is all about Jesus Christ. When we adopt that perspective, we experience great joy as we work alongside our King in helping to build His family.

Thanks for sharing with us, MaryAnn—it’s been a pleasure visiting with you!
Thank you so very much for inviting me. It has been a joy!

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