I am delighted to welcome Diana Anderson-Tyler to my blog.
Today we’re discussing her book Armor For Orchids.
ER You recently published a new women’s contemporary novel, Armor for Orchids. It follows the life of three young women in a small town. Please tell us something about the book?
DAT Armor for Orchids is a faith-based story told from four perspectives. At the heart of the story is a spunky, sage-like old woman named Poppy McAdams who takes the young women (her “Orchids”) under her wing to teach them invaluable life lessons. Each of the Orchids is in the midst of a tremendously trying time and learns that their chances of overcoming and winning life’s battles are infinitely greater when fought with spiritual weapons.
ER What inspired you to write Amor For Orchids?
DAT I’ve written a bit about my personal struggles in my nonfiction books but felt a strong desire to explore them through fiction. Each of the Orchids in the novel were inspired by pieces of my past, such as Marissa’s struggle with depression, Charlotte’s disillusionment, and Elise’s grief over her father’s sudden death.
ER Was it important to you that the story should carry a message of hope, inspiration and life-changing belief?
DAT I wanted the story to do more than entertain. I wanted women to feel like they were Poppy’s Orchids, too, and that they also could be strengthened by her insight and inspired by her story. It’s my hope that readers will walk away feeling uplifted and optimistic about their futures.
ER Do you have a favourite character in this book? Why?
DAT This is so tough! I think I would have to go with Poppy, though. She’s got a heart of gold but she’s no meek little church mouse. She’s strong in the ways that truly matter. It was very fun to write Poppy too, as she’s the one with whom I have the least in common, so it was quite a challenge to capture her voice and make her seem real… I hope I succeeded!
ER You’ve written other books. Do you prefer YA or do you equally like writing in other genres? What are they?
DAT I’ve written nonfiction books, but I definitely love writing fiction most! As far as fiction genres go, I’ve only written in YA Fantasy and Christian Women’s Contemporary, and must say I enjoy them equally! I love switching back and forth between the two as it prevents me from feeling burned out, and each one presents unique challenges to me that help me grow as a storyteller.
ER Where do you get your ideas?
Various places. My own life, as with Armor for Orchids, as well as simply playing the “What-If Game” with myself in which I explore intriguing premises and keep asking questions until I land on a plot and/or characters that hold my attention for longer than an afternoon.
Word to the wise: always carry a notebook or electronic device with you for recording sudden bursts of inspiration!
ER When did you first start writing?
DAT I started writing when I was four or five, pretty much as soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon! I have bins full of my early attempts at storytelling. They’re so fun to look back on and try to make sense of!
ER What are you working on now?
DAT I’m working on editing my YA Fantasy trilogy, The Petros Chronicles. The first book, Age of the Ashers, will be out later this year. I also recently started the first draft of book 2 in the Armor for Orchids series.
ER Who are you favourite authors?
DAT I have so many, but here are a few: Steven Pressfield (both his fiction and non-fiction works are incredible), Margaret George, Fannie Flagg, Barbara Kingsolver, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
ER Do you have any advice for new writers? Are there any pitfalls they should look out for?
DAT I’ve said this in other interviews, but I can’t emphasize it enough: Never give up!
This career path is not for the faint of heart. Like a freshman college class, it will try to “weed you out.” The strong will survive if they persevere and keep showing up every day to do the work, despite how they feel. (Discipline is stronger than motivation.)
Expect to be tried and tested. Expect to fail and be frustrated. Expect to be rejected by agents, criticized by readers, and questioned by friends. But always remember your “why” for writing and hold that close to your heart. Doing so will ensure you don’t let the bad times conquer you.
ER What do you do when you’re not writing?
DAT I love to read, play board games, spend time outdoors, and lift weights!
Thank you for joining me today, Diana. It’s been such a pleasure. I wish you great success for this and your future books.
Diana has been writing all her life, starting with her own versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics when she was four. She’s always been fascinated with Greek mythology and comic book superheroes, all of which inspire her fantasy novels. She’s also a gym rat who loves to pretend she’s Wonder Woman while lifting heavy weights and swinging from rings and pull-up bars. She co-owns CrossFit 925 in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Ben.
Diana currently writes entertainment and media-related articles for movieguide.org and contributes regularly to charismamag.com. When she isn’t writing or working out, she can be found playing Scrabble with her husband, watching Marvel and Pixar movies, and pinning recipes on Pinterest that she never gets around to cooking.
You can find Diana on her websites dianaandersontyler.com and dianadeadlifts.com, as well as on facebook.com/dianafit4faith, Twitter @dandersontyler, and on Instagram @dianaandersontyler and @authordianatyler.