Featured Friday: The Dragon Shield by Dianne Gardner | Jo Linsdell

Featured Friday: The Dragon Shield by Dianne Gardner

Featured Friday

The Dragon Shield by Dianne Gardner

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The Dragon Shield
Author: Dianne Gardner

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The Dragon Shield is packed to the rafters with incident and peril. Ian's resolve is tested like never before, the camaraderie of his supporters and their combined efforts will keep the reader engrossed.
There is a constant battle being waged between hope and despair and you are never quite sure how things will develop. By the novels end I felt that things were only just beginning for Ian and I wanted more - a mark of Gardner's skill as a storyteller. 

What can I say? This is an excellent follow-up as well as a bridge to the next installment. 

-The Independent Review danielcann.com

Author bio:
Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest, Olalla Washington. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national maga­zines and newspapers and she is an award-winning artist.

Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life.
Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s appren­tice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she shares both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing as a way to not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.


What made you want to write children’s books?

I’ve always been a lover of fantasy stories. Through the Looking Glass, The Narnia Series, and Alice and Wonderland were all favorites of mine when I was growing up. Since I have many grandchildren, I thought how fun it would be to write a story that they could love the same way I loved those classics. Since 9 of my 16 grandchildren are boys. I knew I’d have to write a series that the boys could love as equally as the girls. That’s when Ian’s Realm began. It’s a story of honor, integrity, family, and love.

What is your process for writing and illustrating? Which do you do first?
Usually I write first and then, knowing I’m going to want some illustrations for my books, I’ll paint them. But before I started writing the Ian’s Realm series I started painting the dragon. I knew I was going to write a book and had already done a little outline for it. Enough of the story was formed that I felt justified painting Stenhjaert. (I’ve mostly only painting from life i.e. models, plein air painting, still lifes though not many of those.) So doing fantasy was a really new thing for me.
Once the dragon was starting to take form I saw the story really come alive. From then on I wore a foot path from my house to my studio painting and writing all in the same day.

What do you attribute to as your success?
For me, success is measure by the smiles on people’s faces when they tell me they read my book. I’ve been getting rave reviews, I just wish more people could enjoy it --marketing is so difficult today with the millions of books that are out there!

But for actually finishing a novel, I have to give credit to my support system- one being the critique group that I meet with every other Wednesday. We read our chapters and offer each other help. From that group I’ve developed close friendships and sometimes another author friend and I will go on long walks in the woods-my favorite place for inspiration-and talk about our stories as if our characters were living next door to us. We’ve really become close enough that if I have a stumbling block with my world, my friend knows exactly how to talk me through it. And I her.

I also have to thank the SCBWI for their great conferences and workshops that they offer in our area. I learn so much at them!

What’s your next adventure?

The Ian’s Realm saga begins with a trilogy, and right now I’m working on the conclusion of those three books, Rubies and Robbers that will also be published by Hydra Publications.

There are four short stories A Tale of the Four Wizards that compliment the series, telling the myths of the Realm. If you like the series I highly recommend reading them. As one of my readers suggested they are “gems on the crown of the Realm”. There are some subtleties in the novels that you probably won’t understand until you read the shorts.

I also have two books drafted after the trilogy, both involving The Realm. The first, which will be published after Rubies and Robbers, is Cassandra’s Castle. After that will be The Diary of a Conjurer. I’ve been tossing another idea in my head as well.

Will you ever write outside the genre?

I’ve thought about it. I have an idea for a contemporary YA about a homeless man. My husband and I have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years and there are so many sad stories to tell. But it will be awhile before I venture away from fantasy.

I also am tossing the idea of a dystopia series. I have a short written in that genre and I enjoy it. But it would be a hard series to write mostly because I feel so strongly about the content. We’ll see what happens!