Sunday, December 15, 2013

When I Was Just a Kid: Diann Walker Hunt

Back on July 7, 2007, I interviewed and asked Diann to participate in a different kind of blog interview where I asked questions about an author's childhood. At that time I didn't ask for childhood photos like I do now. Diann passed away this year after a long battle with cancer. She was uplifting, encouraging and well-loved by the Christian writing world. It's been a better world with Diann Hunt in it. 

July 7, 2007 
When I Was Just a Kid...Diann Hunt

Be Sweet!

When I first met Diann, we were in a college class with a bunch of "kids" learning to write fiction. She was working on romance, and I was working on children's fiction, articles and book reviews. We both had kids the same age, or near the same age as our classmates. It was quite the experience! But we had a great time.

Diann has now successfully published her fiction and found her unique voice, publishing with companies such as Thomas Nelson, Barbour, Heartsong and Steeple Hill (Harlequin.)Her fiction is targeted to women of the Baby Boomer generation. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate. (Good thing Nestle's is building a factory near here,although I hear she is partial to DeBrand's in Ft.Wayne, Indiana.)

When I asked her if she would answer some questions about her childhood for this column, she gave me really short and sweet answers. But lately, on her blog (the one she writes with authors and close friends: Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter and Kristin Billerbeck) I found out she's been holding out the best stories about her childhood and maybe she had a chocolate overload, or maybe it's because she's been couped up at home lately, but she's been spilling stuff there. So, I dug up some posts that speak about her past.

What Diann wrote in response to my prompts:

Here's one from when she found out that she has a lung infection recently:
"Turns out the boy in my first grade class was right. I do have cooties."

And then, here's one where she admits her "past:"
From Tuesday, June 12, 2007
"Some of us have a past.

For some reason a childhood memory came to me this morning. Something I’m not necessarily proud of, but it’s there just as big as you please.

See, I have—um, HAD a huge crush on Kurt Russell. While in the third grade, my “friend” came over for a visit. We talked about whatever it is that third graders talk about and then it happened. She spotted the humongous poster of Kurt Russell’s face on my bedroom wall. She started teasing me about it, which I didn’t, well, appreciate. One thing led to another and suddenly things turned ugly. Did I mention she had a banana in her hand?

The next thing I know, we’re calling each other names and she takes a hunk of banana and smears it on Kurt’s face. All at once, time stands still. My thoughts turn dark. Very dark.

In the distance, a dog barks.

Springing into action, I wail into her so fast she doesn’t know what hit her. What follows is somewhat of a blur.

Rest assured that I paid dearly. I lost my poster and had to do time. Sometimes being young and in love isn’t pretty. "

And Diann has spent a lot of time in the principal's office!!!! (the shock of it all):

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"School’s out for the summer! Okay, don’t hit me!

As you know my husband is an elementary school principal."

And she came clean about why she likes to write--you knew it--it all goes back to her childhood:

Friday, June 01, 2007
"You know, sometimes I wonder where my love for writing began. For me, I think it all started with Colorforms.

Childhood play is so much more than mere play. It’s a world of make believe. There may be fast cars, aliens or dragon-infested motes to cross, or it may be a world of fairies and princesses where knights-in-shining armor stand ready to free their damsel in distress. Who knew when I was having imaginary tea with my dolls that stories of women and friendships were beginning to take root?

One thing I love about writing? It allows me to be a kid again. To enjoy the wonder of story, a world created during my “play time.” When my husband comes home at the end of the day I say things like, 'I was in Siesta Key today. Maggie got her hair done in cornrows and then the girls buried all but her head beneath the sand.' My husband gives me that knowing grin, pulls me into a warm embrace and tingles cover me from head to toe. I think it’s because he’s holding me, but my fingers feel for the notebook and pen in my pocket, just in case a story is forming . . . . "

So, Diann tells a lot in her blog about her past. But here are a few more things that shaped her into the wonderful writer and person she is, complete with humor and chocolate!

Childhood Ambition: To be a wife, mother and to be a secretary (because they're so organized, and I'm totally not.)

Fondest Memory (then): Sunday drives in the country with my family

Proudest Moment (now or then): When our first grandchild was born

My First Job: Secretary in a real estate office

Childhood indulgence: Chocolate (big surprise, huh?) Okay, non-food? Let's see, it would have to be throwing empty cans at bats. Hey, they might come after my chocolate!

Favorite Outfit as a child: A red and white fluffy skirt and white blouse (had to buy it for a square dancing program)

Favorite Childhood Movie: In Search of the Castaways

Favorite Childhood Book: Lad, A Dog

Childhood hero: My grandma

Childhood dream trip (did you go in a RV?? RV we there yet??): The only trip we took as a family was to Montana when I was a teenager. But no RV. It was a Cadillac and hotels all the way! :-)

Check out some of Diann's books.  Her web site .

Hot Tropics & Cold Feet: Four women take a trip to Siesta Key for girl fun and come home to changed lives.

Be Sweet
A successful businesswoman heads back home to help the family during maple syrup season and discovers sticky things about her family--and herself--that she never thought possible.
Baby Boomer sisters Charlene and Jani heard it all their lives growing up: "If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." And, "Be sweet now, hear?"

It's maple syrup season in Tappery, Michigan, and Char has joined Jani in their hometown to help with the syrup harvest. Turns out after all these years, Char's still trying--unsuccessfully--to be sweet, and Jani's stuck to her own syrupy impulses. As Char's old flame tries to light up her nights and Jani's husband begins to grate on her hot-flashing nerves, the sisters rally, knowing if they can weather midlife together, victory will be sweet!

Left to Right: Kristin Billerbeck, Hannah Alexander, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, Denise Hunter

What could be better than working at a Chocolate Spa? Okay, maybe being a guest of one would be pretty cool. 
Carly Westlake spends her days at a spa (okay, so she owns the place), she’s dating a hunk, and she’s surrounded by chocolate.
She’s living the dream…or is she?
The last few years have been tough, but now Carly Westlake’s life seems picture perfect. Business at her spa is up thanks to her famous chocolate facials. And Jake Mitchell—her dreamy, teenage crush—has moved back to Spring Creek, Vermont, with his daughter in tow. Carly’s nearly floored to learn that Jake has his sights set on winning Carly’s heart.
But when long buried secrets threaten her business – and her friendship with her best friend and business-partner, Tom – Carly has to fight like crazy to keep her plans afloat. Can it be that her dream of marrying Jake Mitchell isn’t the plan God has for her life? What if God’s plan requires something totally unexpected…a bittersweet surrender that Carly must make before she can discover true love? 

Using the great and small “bad hair days” of life, the authors deliver reminders that the first step toward triumph is joy in the Lord. Whether single or married, career girl or stay-at-home mom, today”s Christian woman is faced with daily obstacles. Delight Yourself in the Lord……Even on Bad Hair Days is a devotional filled with upbeat reminders about infusing hope and joy in the Lord as the first step toward conquering life”s problems and chasing down the desires of your heart. Through 100 funny and thought-provoking devotions, the authors remind women to go back to the basics with God. And they even share a few private “bad hair confessions” along the way!

The tide of World War II washed away her happily-ever-after dreams and left heartbreak in its wake, but Julia Hilton dares to consider another
chance at love. However, the jilted teacher’s past catches up with her when battle-scarred Lukas Gable re-enters her life in 1957. Together they attempt to navigate the shifting sands of their relationship as painful
truths come to light. Will Julia ultimately discover that, though the tide washed away their once-upon-a-time love letters in the sand, she and Lukas have a love that will be forever written upon their 


Debbie Clark said...

I love it! I think that I would have creamed a friend who messed around with a poster of Kurt Russell, too! :) Diann and her books will be missed.

Southern-fried Fiction said...

I loved this. Diann was such a special person in my life, too. Funny. She affected everyone that way. :)