Episode 60 – Unstoppable Prolific Author with Diane Bator
Prolific author among other things. Diane Bator has written 13 mysteries and has five more in process. In addition, she works for a theater where she lives which has given her the opportunity to begin work on her first play.
Diane is a mother of three adult children. She is extremely active in the writer’s community in Canada.
If you were to ask her about writing your own book Diane would encourage you to do it. Personally, I agree. Everyone has stories they can and possibly should tell. As an author coach, Diane puts her money where her pen is. That is, she actively encourages aspiring authors. After listening to our episode here, reach out to Diane and see where her coaching may take you as a writer.
About the Guest:
Diane Bator is a mom of three, a book coach, and the author of over a dozen mystery novels and many works-in-progress. She has also hosted the Escape With a Writer blog to promote fellow authors and is a member of Sisters in Crime Toronto, the Writers Union of Canada, and a board member of Crime Writers of Canada. When she’s not writing and coaching authors, she works for a professional theatre. No surprise she’s written her first play, which may lead to more.
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:20
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Today we get to interview Diane Bator, and gee, what can I say she’s a mom. She’s a coach. She’s written a bunch of books, 12 mysteries specifically. And she also says she has many works in progress. That sounds scary, maybe she’ll give us some clues. She also has been writing and been involved in the escape with a writer blog escape, we’ll have to explore that. But she’s been very involved in writing in a lot of different ways. And that’s really kind of exciting, and really looking forward to learning more about all of that. So Diane, welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Diane Bator 02:05
Oh, thank you, Michael. It’s so great to be here.
Michael Hingson 02:08
And before we started, we’ve been been talking about all sorts of things like one of my files disappeared. And so the aliens came and took it, obviously, and maybe Diane can write a mystery about that and solve it. But you know, we’ll go on. Well, tell me a little bit about you growing up or anything that you want people to know. Oh,
Diane Bator 02:27
Michael Hingson 02:29
How’s that for an open ended question? Huh? Right.
Diane Bator 02:31
Oh, my goodness. No, I’m, I’m, I live in Canada. So I grew up in Alberta, in the prairies. And I currently live in Southern Ontario in a small town, which actually was the inspiration for my very first book that I got published. The bookstore lady, I set in two places in town, a local coffee shop, as well as a local bookstore, which is kind of fun to go to both of them and say, Hey, your story is in here. So that was that was very cool. I have three boys who are all young men now off doing their own thing. And they’ve all been very encouraging of my writing. And when I told my one son who was doing podcast, he was so excited for me. So it’s a lot of fun.
Michael Hingson 03:21
Well, that’s pretty cool. And so you, you obviously went to school, did you go to college,
Diane Bator 03:28
I went to college, I actually took Business Business Business Administration, and I did a couple of years of university, but I just couldn’t get into what I wanted to get into. I guess I just wasn’t enjoying it as much as I hope to so I just went off and did business school and got into life and had got married had kids, that sort of thing. So
Michael Hingson 03:50
So college and university, it just wasn’t you.
Diane Bator 03:53
Well, I like I said, I got my diploma in business, but the university stuff was Yeah, I had a bit of a struggle. So
Michael Hingson 04:02
happens. Yeah. So you got your business degree as it were. And then what did you do?
Diane Bator 04:08
Um, basically, I got married, had kids. And then I started to working once we moved across the country. Basically, I started working in just was trying to find a job I really liked. And I ended up working at a karate school. So I was a receptionist at a karate school, which inspired a whole other series of books on my Gilda write mysteries. And currently I work for a live stage theater. So I run the box office at a theater and I’ve written my very first play. So we’re, I’m waiting on that we’re supposed to be workshopping it, so we’ll see what the future
Michael Hingson 04:52
brings. When you say workshopping and what does that mean.
Diane Bator 04:55
That just means they bring in some actors and they just sit around a table and read the script. At or do it virtually whatever works the best.
Michael Hingson 05:02
Right? So when you do that, and you get to hear other people reading what you wrote, does it also cause you to maybe think about, oh, I need to change this? Or does it cause you to reflect? Are you pretty satisfied by the time that happens?
Diane Bator 05:18
Usually, that’s why you workshop, the play before it ever goes to stage is that you can listen to it. I’ve been fortunate I actually did a writing conference last fall, and a couple of members of the group said, Hey, can we read a little bit of your play during the open mics section? So I got to hear a little bit of it. Actually workshopped then and went, Oh, okay, well, there’s a couple little tweaks I have to make here. So it works. So that’s I mean, that’s what workshopping is for is to actually listen to it, make sure everything works. I mean, you can read something 100 times, but until you hear it out loud, in your, your, your words coming from someone else. It’s like, oh, okay, I get that this works. This doesn’t work, that sort of thing. Yeah, I
Michael Hingson 06:05
know, as a speaker, I always enjoy input from people. But also, how do I say this, I enjoy hearing myself speak because I think that I tend to analyze probably more critically than anyone else, because I’m close to the subject. So hearing myself, and when I do these podcasts, I go back and edit them, and listen to them. I listen to every one. So I also get a chance to listen to how I deal with questions and, and deal with everyone. But I also get to hear the other people again. And it’s one of the ways that I learn a lot, not only about subjects, but I do get to learn a lot about how I’m doing and hopefully improve over time. Right. And that’s, that’s an important thing to do. I I’m a firm believer and people who have listened to this podcast before have heard me say I’m a firm believer in self appraisal and sales analytics, analytical behavior and introspection. And I think that we should all do a lot more of that than we do. So I’m glad you’re doing the the workshop that’ll that’ll be pretty interesting.
Diane Bator 07:12
Oh, absolutely. I’m looking forward to it.
Michael Hingson 07:15
Well, I want to be in the audience when you win a Tony.
Diane Bator 07:18
Yeah. Me too.
Michael Hingson 07:21
I think it would be I think it would be kind of fun. We watch the Tonys every year. I guess. Angela Lansbury is getting a lifetime award this year. And that’ll be fun. As always, like Angel and spear. Yeah. We’ve seen her and, you know, not just Murder She Wrote, but we actually saw a few plays with her on television. never got to see her live, but I bet it would be a lot of fun.
Diane Bator 07:43
Oh, a bat. She’s just so in such an interesting person, for sure.
Michael Hingson 07:48
Well, what I learned this morning is she started performing at 17. And she is 96. So go Angela.
Diane Bator 07:55
right within inspiration.
Michael Hingson 07:59
So you were in a karate school now. Where was that?
Diane Bator 08:03
Um, that was here in orange Ville where I live. Okay, it’s a goes your roof. So it’s hard, soft, you know. And they trained for a few years along with working there. Which kind of gave me the inspiration for the series and everything.
Michael Hingson 08:19
You said you moved across country. So where did you come from? Um, we
Diane Bator 08:23
lived in Edmonton, Alberta. Ah, okay. So it is kind of a cross country. It’s kind of a cross country. Yeah. It’s about 2000 miles.
Michael Hingson 08:32
So cold is cold in the winter. So you know,
Diane Bator 08:35
yeah, yeah. I’d mentioned cold is a whole lot different than, than Southern Ontario cold.
Michael Hingson 08:42
But it’s still cold. It’s still cold. It’s
Diane Bator 08:45
dry cold when your nostrils freeze shut that sort of
Michael Hingson 08:48
Yeah. Yeah. More humidity and in Ontario?
Diane Bator 08:53
Michael Hingson 08:55
We’re live on the high desert in California in Southern California. So we’re very used to the dry heat. And here, we did live in New Jersey for six years. And before that I lived in Boston several years before that. So had my own exposure to the humidity. And I was born in Chicago, but don’t remember much about the weather for the first five years when I was going to Well, growing up to be five and going to kindergarten and all that. I don’t remember the weather much. But Chicago also has its level of humidity in the summer and of course cold weather in the winter. Oh, yeah. So how did you get into writing?
Diane Bator 09:33
You know, it’s one of those things I’ve always kind of done. I’ve always written stories and that sort of thing since I was in school. And actually, I still have copies of things I wrote when I was in junior high. So though in when I was actually in the ninth grade, I wrote a poem and my teacher physically grabbed me by the arm and took me down to the school newspaper and said, Okay, you need to publish this. So that’d be became my first published piece. So it was a really good that particular teacher, Mr. Coleman was fantastic and very encouraging and, and really opened my eyes to different genres as well as whatever, you know, silly things I was doing on my own thought, ah,
Michael Hingson 10:19
is the newspaper try to grab you to be a writer for them?
Diane Bator 10:23
I ended up being a writer for the newspaper. Yeah.
Michael Hingson 10:26
There you go horoscopes? Did you? How did you do that? How did that work?
Diane Bator 10:33
Wing in a prayer. Sometimes, you know, people going through things and kind of make a little thing directed at them, but not really. So yeah. And it was funny how many people would come over and go, Oh, my gosh, that was so true. I don’t know how you knew that. Like?
Michael Hingson 10:53
Did you do? Or do you do any kind of research to look at whatever’s going on with the stars and so on on a particular day to help with the process? Or do you just make it up as you went along? Oh,
Diane Bator 11:04
not back then I was only, like, 1415. So yeah, it was just make it up as you go.
Michael Hingson 11:11
Hey, whatever works. That’s it. But it it made it into the newspaper and help with copies. And so the editor must have been a little bit happy.
Diane Bator 11:20
Oh, yeah. And she had fun doing it.
Michael Hingson 11:23
Did you do any other writing for the paper? Besides the horse cup? Did you write any other poems or articles or anything?
Diane Bator 11:30
Oh, my gosh, that’s such a long time ago. Um, yeah, I know, I wrote little bits here and there, just depending on what we needed to, if we needed space fillers, or whatever the case, so
Michael Hingson 11:40
I didn’t write much. I did a little bit of writing in a couple of English courses. But I went into radio as opposed to the newspaper, the new university, the new you at UC Irvine. We had a couple of radio people who were pretty talented. And one was especially a writer, he actually went to work at some point for the Philadelphia Inquirer and just retired not too long ago from doing that. But I remember some of the articles that that he wrote, and he had a lot of fun doing. And he also had a lot of fun doing radio, so we got to to work together. I was the Program Director of the station at the time. And John and a friend of his Matt had a show on Sunday night right after my show. So there’s a lot of fun, they did a lot of creative things. And yeah, like writing, radio, and writing are creative. And you can do some some things. The only thing I kind of miss from radio that I never did was really created something from the beginning, there are some science fiction things I would have loved to have seen, actually turned into radio broadcasts or radio series and still have not done anything with that. But it’d be kind of fun, because I can see some of the some of the things would be great. Well, so you got into writing, which was great. How did you get from writing of one sort or another into the whole idea of fiction? And mystery specifically?
Diane Bator 13:10
You know, I always kind of wrote fiction stuff. I’ve never really been big on the nonfiction, I’ll read it, but I don’t really write it. It was my gosh, but 2010 and I stumbled across. It was a contest, it was called murdering, Inc. and it was put on by a small publisher here in Ontario. And the premise was you take one of those old murder mystery party games. And they would give you all the characters, all the clues, everything, you had to work it into a story, you had to write it into 10 chapters, and each chapter was in the point of view of a different character, and kind of going, Okay, well, if I can do this, I can do anything because this is crazy. But I did it. And I also won the contest, which was my very first novella that was published. And it was just really a great lesson in making your characters voices and everything. It was a lot of fun. And it was, what was really cool is the very first copy that came off the press, the publisher, put it in an envelope, which it’s still in the envelope to this day, it says on their first book, and it’s still on my shelf as my first book in the envelope on touch. So that was very cool. But doing that I kind of sat there and let you know, I kind of like writing this mystery stuff. And that’s how I started on the path down the mystery genre.
Michael Hingson 14:39
So if all of your books been separate books, or do you have a series
Diane Bator 14:44
actually have four series. One of them the Khan lady, which has just come out in March is the final book in my wildblue mystery series. And that’s the one I started to write when I moved to Ontario and kind of That loosely on the small town where I live now,
Michael Hingson 15:03
can you have three other series?
Diane Bator 15:04
I do. Sorry, I have a dry spot. dry throat. Yeah, I have my karate series. So Gilda right mysteries is based on a karate school. Glitter Bay mysteries is in a small town in Oregon with two young ladies who run a small vintage boutique. And my fourth series is sugar with mysteries which is set in a small Ontario town. And Audra and her friend merrily run a craft store, and it’s cozy mystery. They get into all kinds of trouble.
Michael Hingson 15:39
I’ve heard the term cozy mystery referred, while referring to a lot of different kinds of mystery books. What are cozy mysteries,
Diane Bator 15:47
cozy mysteries are set and smells when we were talking about Angela Lansbury. Right. Murder She Wrote, she wrote a sick, classic, cozy mystery sweat in this small town normally, or a small town character who has a reason to solve these mysteries. There’s usually not a lot of swearing, blood, guts, Gore, that sort of thing. It’s just quaint, small town. You know, just a nice, light friendly read.
Michael Hingson 16:16
For me, I like those kinds of mysteries more than most anything else I really although we we read some James Patterson and stuff like that. I like puzzles. And I like mysteries that really present puzzles. That’s one of the reasons I think I’ve always been a fan of the Rex Stout, and now Robert Goldsboro follow on Nero Wolfe, because Rex Stout always wrote puzzles. And if you really read them, you you may not be able to figure them out. And usually, I had a pretty hard time I worked hard at figuring them out. I was more successful figuring out Mary Higgins Clark, but Rex Stout I had significant problems with but by the time we’ll solve the cases, yeah, that was pretty obvious. Why didn’t I pick up on that? Which was of course, the whole point.
Diane Bator 17:07
Yeah, I know. That’s for me. That’s always been a big thing. I love puzzles. I love just the mystery of it all. And just trying to put things together. And, you know, I love throwing up the red herrings because I don’t like it when somebody beta reads a book and goes, Oh, I knew that from page three. Yeah, like, well, that’s not fun.
Michael Hingson 17:28
Yeah, that doesn’t help the mystery. The mystery process at all? No, no, my favorite one of my favorite television shows it was only on for three years. Start Georgia part. It was called Banacek Banacek. Assurance investigation. I love Banacek I’ve got to go find them somewhere because I’d like to watch those shows again, but he always was involved with puzzles. Yeah,
Diane Bator 17:51
yeah. We got a channel called cozy TV and I found Banacek on there a couple of times and Murder She Wrote all those great
Michael Hingson 18:00
ones. Well, yeah, a Hallmark Channel down here. He has Murder She Wrote most every night. And of course, obviously that’s worth watching and, and a number of murder. She wrote stories have been in books on Donald Bane and others have written murder. She wrote books. So they are fun, man. Again, it is puzzles, which is great. Until you see Angela Lansbury. And something like Sweeney Todd. But that’s another story.
Diane Bator 18:25
Actually, one of one of my Facebook friends just started writing the murder. She wrote series, Terry Morin. She’s just taken over for the last two, I think she’s done to one or two now. Just trying to remember but
Michael Hingson 18:40
look her up and see if we can find any of any of hers because that would that would be fun to be able to to get them and have access to them. But Murder She Wrote is is a fun series by any standard. So they’re, they’re fun to have.
Diane Bator 19:00
I was enjoyed, like one of my first real cozies I started reading was the Kathy series.
Michael Hingson 19:07
Yes, yeah. Lily in Jackson Browne. Um, we have read all of those. I’ve taught my wife along the way to listen to books, she, she also has a disability. She’s in a wheelchair, but she sees and likes to read. But since we don’t find a lot on television, usually worth watching. And obviously, if you’re watching television, it’s kind of hard to do a lot of stuff if you’re really focusing on the screen. So I read audio books anyway. But I’ve taught her to be able to listen to an audio book as well. So we pipe audio books around the house. And so we’ve done a whole bunch of the cat who books that way. And the ones that she didn’t read that way she has read in paper form, but also we’ve we’ve put them out there so she gets access to them anyway. Now she’s really into what we bought With our JD Robb Oh, yeah. Which is a little bit more in the violence side, but still always a great puzzle. So, Karen, well, we’re both on number 22 in the series. And so we’ve got a ways to go, Well, how do you come up with the plots? How do you create a plot and create an idea for a mystery?
Diane Bator 20:23
You know, it sounds silly. So well, sometimes, they just kind of come, you just kind of get an idea out of the blue. And sometimes it’s things you see in the newspaper or on television, even something else spark of thought that goes a completely different direction. Just things you see things you hear, like just about anywhere,
Michael Hingson 20:45
so something, something piques your interest, and then your brain just starts to work and you create a story around it.
Diane Bator 20:54
Yeah, pretty much.
Michael Hingson 20:56
It’s, it’s fun to be creative, isn’t it?
Diane Bator 20:59
It really is. And you can take things, you know, like you said, even if you see something on television, and it’s just like a little blip of a thing that you just go, that’s pretty neat. I could make this different and do a different spin on it. And that’s, that’s the part that I love doing.
Michael Hingson 21:18
Have you ever looked at real life events of one sort or another and turn them into some sort of a mystery and use that as the springboard for it, or even just taking something that happened in life, that was a mystery that maybe got solved and thought about writing a book about it? It’s kind
Diane Bator 21:35
of funny, my publisher, they’ve decided to do a Canadian historical mystery series. So they have one writer from each province, and you have to come up with kind of a local mystery that you write about, and it has to be historical. And as soon as she mentioned that, to me, I started kind of Googling and going local mysteries, I don’t really know too much. The story that came up out of all the weirdest things in the world. There’s a local rumor, and it’s only a rumor. Nobody’s ever substantiated it, that Jesse James buried gold, about 20 miles from here. So I’m like, oh, you know what I can take that. It’s sort of has a weird basis in truth, but not really. And I can just take it and run and make it a totally fun, historical mystery.
Michael Hingson 22:30
Well, do we know that Jesse James was ever up in Canada,
Diane Bator 22:34
there is rumors, and that’s pretty much all it is, is a rumor, because the story goes that somebody from his gang was related to somebody that lives in a town nearby. So they had reason to come up and hide out in the area. And they, you know, the guest is, oh, he buried all this money from this last for one of these heists. Right. And, and it’s like, it’s not completely true, but it’s not completely false either. So there’s just no proof. Yeah. So when possible, but yeah, yeah. That’s what makes it fun, though. That’s it. That’s what I figured.
Michael Hingson 23:13
So your books have been published more traditionally, as opposed to doing self publishing? Yeah, I
Diane Bator 23:19
actually, big long story. But I ended up with this wonderful little together a little bit. They’re not exactly a small publisher. They’re a little bit bigger than that. But they’re out of Alberta. And they’ve been fantastic. I’ve been with them for my gosh, but 10 years now 11 years, and 13 books in and we’re still going and they still ask me to write stuff. And they pick dates and say, Okay, can I send you this one for this time? And they’re like, Sure. So it’s, it’s been really good, a great learning experience for sure.
Michael Hingson 23:57
If any of the books made it to audio, or they just all been print,
Diane Bator 24:02
right now, they’re all just in print. Audio, they don’t do audio there. Because it’s just too much for them right now. But I’ve been looking into it. I just have to know sometimes money can be kind of a little bit of an issue, but
Michael Hingson 24:20
I don’t know how it works. But what about something like Audible? They have audible originals. So they take they’ve taken books from other people or had work specifically created for them and they’ve converted into audio. Have you explored that?
Diane Bator 24:32
I have not? No, I definitely will though.
Michael Hingson 24:36
It seems like that might be an interesting way. If you’ve had success as a writer and you obviously have and you’ve had success with publishing books, then maybe it would be something that audible would be interested in doing. It’d be a little bit of a different process for you, but it would probably be kind of fun and they think their own people to do it.
Diane Bator 24:57
Now that sounds like a great plan to check I do when
Michael Hingson 25:01
we did thunder dog, and it was published in 2011, Thomas Nelson Publishers had arranged for Oasis audio to record the book. So I don’t know how any of that happened and what the arrangements were. But the book did get recorded, and then was also sent to Audible. And so it was done. So I don’t know all the ins and outs of it. Some people have also explored just using computer generated voices to, to if you will play or read out loud a book and the problem was computer generated voices are still not totally human sounding. So it isn’t as natural.
Diane Bator 25:41
Yeah, I have a couple of friends that they listen to their books with the computer generated, and
Michael Hingson 25:47
oh, I can do it. But it isn’t the same. And it’s not something you have to concentrate more on. So it is still where an issue where human reading is better. Maybe someday it will get to be better than it is to be able to have a computer generated system, but not yet. Yeah. So it’s a process. Well, so you’ve done 13 books today. They’ve all been mysteries. Yeah. So with that in mind, how many books do you have coming up? Or projects do you have going on right now?
Diane Bator 26:24
Right now? I’m probably oh my gosh, I’ve got one book for this year, for sure. Two more for next year. And then probably two more for the year after that. So probably about five than that. That’s the only things from my publisher that doesn’t include any little side projects or anything like that.
Michael Hingson 26:46
Have you started on all five to one degree or another? If they’re
Diane Bator 26:51
not, I don’t really plot them out. But I do have like little blurbs about what I’m going to write about. So everything is kind of got blurbs, at least the one for this fall, I’m just finishing the rough draft to get into editing. So a new series or? No, it’s actually Book Two of my sugar wood series.
Michael Hingson 27:16
Yeah, so all of your series are like three or four books long, and then you end the series.
Diane Bator 27:23
Um, it depends my first series, The Wild Blue mysteries, the con ladies book five. And that was, that was the final book in this series. But it still kind of leaves me a loophole to come back later if I want. And continue on. But for the most part, I aiming for about three, but we’ll see how the series goes.
Michael Hingson 27:48
I interviewed someone a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about writing series, he’s not a great fan of series, because he says he likes to see things in and wants to stay alive long enough to see the end of a series. And I can appreciate that. But we mentioned JD Robb A while ago, the the other side of the fact that she’s written now what 353 or 54, in the in depth series. They’re still all standalone. That is you can read any of them without reading the ones before or after. Although if you start from the beginning, the beginning you can see an evolution in the process. And so, you know, I went when you write a series, is it really probably best and most important to start at the beginning and go through the series? Or can each of the books be read by themselves without too much of a problem?
Diane Bator 28:43
I think in particular for wildblue mysteries, I think they can all be read as a standalone until the end. And I know somebody said well, the last one’s great, but now I want to go back and read the rest. So I don’t know if that meant that they didn’t quite get something or they just wanted to go read the rest of the books. But for the most part there, you can read them as a standalone.
Michael Hingson 29:08
We started reading the Joe Pickett CJ box series. Have you ever read those? I have not. CJ box is the author. The protagonist is a game warden in Wyoming. And when we discovered it, we we started reading book 18 and fairly close to the beginning. We got very intrigued but they made a reference to something that happened in the previous book. We could have gone on and read it but we just decided to stop and because we were intrigued and we really liked the portrayal of the character is weeping. My wife and I. We went back and started at the beginning. So it was like over a year before we got back up to book 18 And what happened in the previous book was relevant and interesting. It wasn’t necessary for the reading of book 18. But it sure made it a lot more fun to go back to the beginning. And so we we did and, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Well, I’m anxious to to have the opportunity to read some of yours, maybe I’ll have to figure out a way to download them. Or maybe they’ll get converted to audio at some point. But if we, we get a chance, I’ll have to go hunt them down some way and be able to read them. Are they available? Are they available as ebooks anywhere?
Diane Bator 30:32
They are? Yeah, they’re all over anywhere. You can buy ebooks, so
Michael Hingson 30:36
Okay, so we can, can go find them. And that’s pretty important. How sales been obviously enough to please your publisher, but if you had any that people classified as bestsellers,
Diane Bator 30:48
I wish not really at this point. I mean, it’s a lot of it is the marketing as well. And it’s hard to juggle, raising kids working full time doing the marketing, doing the writing, and it’s. So I’ve hired a PR guy lately, just to see if that will kind of help give a boost. And Mickey’s been really great. So we’ll just see how that goes. Has he?
Michael Hingson 31:15
has he gotten you some good PR?
Diane Bator 31:17
Oh, excellent stuff. It’s been a very busy couple of months, that’s for sure.
Michael Hingson 31:22
Yeah, I’ve met Mickey. And we actually started working with him. I think we talked about that, and so anxious to see how that how all that goes because we did thunder dog, but that was published through Thomas Nelson. And we couldn’t get running with Roselle to be picked up by a publisher. It was written more for youth, although more adults by then than youth. But in the time that we had when it was written, no one seemed to want to pick it up. So we self published it. And so we’re looking forward to Mickey helping to make that one more visible. We just started writing our third book, which is going to be talking about controlling fear and continuing not the story, but to teach lessons of things I learned that helped me survive on September 11. But doing it from the standpoint of the fact that I’ve used a guide dogs, and so we’re going to have a very strong animal involvement in terms of how animals help enhance what we do, and a faith involvement as well. So that one, however, has been picked up. And we’ve signed the contract and we’re riding away on it.
Diane Bator 32:34
Oh, congratulations. That’s exciting. So that
Michael Hingson 32:37
will be a lot of fun. And I hope it will help people learn that they don’t need to let fear overwhelm them. And by not doing something that just allows you to be completely as I would call it blinded by fear. You can make more intelligent and substantial relat well reasonable decisions in your life, rather than just doing it out of fear. Yeah. So we’re hoping that that goes, well. Well, what do you think the best thing is about being a writer,
Diane Bator 33:06
I get to make up all kinds of stuff and do all kinds of stuff in my head. I think it’s really awesome to be able to sit down and make up like whole worlds whole towns, whole, all kinds of people and to be inspired by people and things around.
Michael Hingson 33:23
So as you’re making things up here, you’re obviously using your own experiences to create the towns and the scenes and so on. Oh, absolutely. Do other people give you ideas for scenes Do you? Do you let anybody look at your writing and they come along and they say things like, you might want to consider adding this in or adding this scene in or making it appear differently than maybe you originally started? Not normally.
Diane Bator 33:48
Usually nobody sees it until at least the rough draft is written. I get lots of people going, I have an idea for a book you should write. So I have a few of those kicking around. And I actually have a friend of mine. He’s been wanting to write a book his whole life. And he’s 65 now. And he doesn’t he doesn’t consider himself a writer. But he makes the line and gives it to me for every chapter so that I can do the writing part of it. So one day, we’ll get it done.
Michael Hingson 34:25
Collaboration. Yep. There’s nothing wrong with with doing that. So what does your family think of you being a writer and having all these things that you create and so on?
Diane Bator 34:37
My kids love it. They think it’s very cool. My youngest when he was I think I can’t remember if it was kindergarten at grade one. He needed to pack a shoe box for school. And he’s got this shoe box and he’s got all these things in it. So I’m like, Well, what did you bring in your shoe box? I’m curious and one of the Things was my very first book my novella. And so why do you have my book in there? And he says, Well, I know from this that if you can write a book, I can do anything. So I just say it was always like, Oh, he got me right in the heart. So, so that just was always cool. And one of his brothers, my middle son always tells me well, when your books are made into a movie, we’re going to take the limousine down to the premiere, like, okay, fine, there you go. Right. So they’re very encouraging. Well, we’re
Michael Hingson 35:33
looking toward the day, the thunder dog will be a movie, we’ve got some people who are working on it. And we’re making progress, nothing that we can talk about yet. But it should be a movie, in my opinion, and a lot of other people have said the same thing. And if it if it is, hopefully, it will be able to keep the same kind of motif and theme of the book, and that it will help teach people about blindness, and it will help people maybe learn some lessons about September 11. But also, it’s important that it be entertaining. So it’ll be kind of fun. No, that’s so cool. My, my agent for writing thunder dog is still advocating to this day that he wants Brad Pitt to play him not that he had a big part in any of it. I said, Well, that seems fair to me, you know. But, but we’ll see. Yes, any
Diane Bator 36:25
input on the script, he’ll have a bigger role.
Michael Hingson 36:30
We haven’t given him that. But it will be kind of fun to just see how it goes. How old are your kids?
Diane Bator 36:38
Oh my gosh, my youngest just turned 21. It makes me feel really old. 2123 and 25.
Michael Hingson 36:49
Yeah. Well, so now what is your husband think of all of this?
Diane Bator 36:54
I’m actually divorced. So divorce, so he doesn’t think about it. He didn’t think a whole lot of it. So it kind of contributed No
Michael Hingson 37:03
Diane Bator 37:04
Michael Hingson 37:05
but you got? Yeah, go ahead.
Diane Bator 37:07
No, I was gonna say when somebody tells you writing is not a career, then that’s yeah, it doesn’t work out. So well.
Michael Hingson 37:15
Gee, what did he do for a living?
Diane Bator 37:18
Um, I’m not sure what he’s doing. Now. He was not a plant manager. But he works for big plant. Well, operations and stuff. Very logical thinker.
Michael Hingson 37:31
Well, that’s fine. But even managers have to write budgets and other things. So what a thing to say to you. Yeah. Ready comes in all forms. And people, and people have made writing a great success. I know Suzy Florrie who I worked with on thunder dog does a lot of writing. And then the book we’re writing now Carrie Wyatt, Kent and I are working on the carries a friend of Susie, Susie is in a Ph. D. program. So didn’t have time. But Carrie and I are working on this. And we’re we’re very excited about the directions that this book is going to go. But clearly, she also has made a career out of it. And needless to say, there have been a number of people who make careers out of writing. Of course, it’s a career of course, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Yeah, I just told them never say that to Stephen King. Uh, yeah. Yeah. Partly because you never know where you might end up in a book, or, or in real life. You know, you could be the next person in pet cemetery, but you know, right. And he continues to be sick and look at his kids.
Diane Bator 38:40
Go, yeah, yeah, it’s amazing.
Michael Hingson 38:44
And going back to mysteries, not with too much more graphics, but Clive Cussler, and the directed series and so on. Yeah, he’s had a little success at making making books a good career. And he did. And, of course, he’s passed away, but the family is continuing it.
Diane Bator 39:00
Yeah, I was fortunate to get to have a video chat with Robin Purcell, who was riding with him as well. So ah, yeah, that was very interesting.
Michael Hingson 39:10
Then there’s always the Louis L’Amour family. And of course, talk about, you know, everybody can scoff about westerns and so on. But he made a an incredible career out of it. And they’re continuing that process. And I’ve never got to meet any of those people. But I think it’d be a lot of fun.
Diane Bator 39:29
Very neat. It would be really great discussion, that’s for sure.
Michael Hingson 39:33
I think it would well, if you ever get a chance to to know any of them and, and get a chance to refer them to us to talk on the podcast. We’d love to do it. I think it would be a lot of fun. Well, so if you had something that you wanted to advise people who are interested in writing to do or, or thoughts that you would have for people about being a writer, what would you say to
Diane Bator 40:00
do it anyways, you know, just write what you love to write, find an editor, somebody who actually knows how to edit a book, not just, you know, the guy next door who likes to read, and just do it, give it your best shot, you got nothing to lose.
Michael Hingson 40:20
Good editors are hard to find. But also good editors really understand what it means to help you shape the book, rather than trying to write it the way they want it written. Yeah,
Diane Bator 40:33
there’s nothing worse than having somebody edit your book and take your voice out of it. And it’s just, it’s very frustrating. And I know I’ve worked with a few different writers as well. And in a very intentional to leave in things that are them. Things that are obviously very wrong, we can we can have to tweak that, because that doesn’t work. But things that are very much them and how they’re, how they would speak and how they would write, those things have to stay.
Michael Hingson 41:06
So when you’re, when you’re working with people, you’ve you’ve, you’ve done some things you we talked about your blog, writing the blog piece, and so on. And you’ve been a writing coach, tell me more about that, if you would,
Diane Bator 41:18
I that was something I started through COVID. So I’ve only worked with a handful of people. But I was working with people before then. And doing the same thing, just doing the edits and helping to make sure that book flowed and worked. And the story made sense. I was just doing one for somebody not too long ago, he’s actually doing rewrites right now. And the very first read of his very first chapter, I sent it back to him. And he said, This reads like a textbook, or a movies scripts, like it’s a very point for more than an actual story flow. So he’s reworking right now. But we’ll see what ends up happening.
Michael Hingson 42:00
I wish we could get textbook writers to make their books less boring. I think even even the most calm, well convoluted or incredible textbook could have stories in it. You know, a lot of people when I was getting my master’s degree in physics, a lot of people talked all about the math and physics. And they talked about the philosophy. But the books, did all the math and never really discussed in in a more engaging way the philosophies of physics or these authors who were very famous physicists didn’t tell stories in them. And I submit that they would get a lot more engagement from people, if they really talk not just about the math part of it, not just about the physics itself, but the philosophy and tell stories of how they got where they did and engage people to be more interested, especially at the undergraduate level, I would think,
Diane Bator 43:03
Oh, yeah, I agree with that. Just make it more relatable and more. Yeah, I think that’s great.
Michael Hingson 43:10
How do you get how do you get people to do that? It’s a challenge. So tell me about the blog, what kind of things have happened with your blog, and what that’s doing for folks.
Diane Bator 43:22
I started escape with the writer in September 2018. Because I’d had a blog forever, and I was awful at keeping it up and writing stuff on it. So I thought, You know what I’m gonna share. And I started sharing other people’s works on my blog. I still, you know, once every so often I take a day, and this is my stuff. But I work with Mickey, I’ve got a bunch of his writers who I post their stuff on it, and the people that I find that I post personally, I always send them questions to answer and we make it really personable and fun. And you get to know more about the person, the writer, as a person, as opposed to just here’s my book. Yeah. So I think that’s, that’s the part I have a lot of fun with.
Michael Hingson 44:15
Well, it makes it more engaging and more relevant all the way around, because it’s, it’s great to read books and so on, but it is nice to know more about the writer, the people who are writing the books and getting more engaged with them, and then makes you more interested and fascinated in what they write. No, absolutely. So you’ve had some success with the with the blog.
Diane Bator 44:39
It’s still going. I started with two days a week and now I’m at three days a week and I could probably do four if I want to. But it’s takes up a lot of time. So three is just right for now. Yeah, I
Michael Hingson 44:54
haven’t had the discipline to keep my blog up like I need to and that’s one of the things that I have to Want to work toward Chris being involved with accessibe and helping to make internet websites more accessible? Takes a lot of time. And the podcast is probably the things that keeps me the most busy right now. But even that engagement, we need to be out there doing more writing stuff. So it’s one of the efforts that’s gotta happen over time. Yep, exactly. But it is all fun to do when it is fun to interact with people. What do you think that social media has done in terms of affecting the writing industry affecting what you do and so on, not just your blog. But in general,
Diane Bator 45:40
there’s lots of good and bad for sure. I mean, in the good side, you can get connected with writers all over the world. So I’ve been fortunate because of that, that I’ve had writers literally from just about every country can think of that had been on my blog that I’ve gotten to know in a different way than just, you know, liking their posts. And then other ways, you get people that are just downright nasty, and they know everything and tell other writers, you know, give up what you just posted as awful. Or there’s a typo in the meme, you shared that somebody, you know, 80 people removed for you and had posted, right? So it’s just you have to, there’s lots of good, but sometimes you just have to take the bad with it.
Michael Hingson 46:26
Yeah. And you kind of wonder about some of the people who just do that sort of stuff. I wonder if they would do it face to face, you know, and that’s the problem with social media is that you’re not really making the same level of connections. Yeah, that’s very true. And we lose and have lost so much of the art of conversation, because that happens. And it’s so unfortunate that we don’t connect like we used to. And I realized that the other side of that is that we live in a world where there is so much technology that gives us the opportunity to connect and so on. But we don’t really connect if we don’t take full advantage of that. And when we just get in social media, and we don’t have conversations and other things like that, then we’re really missing a lot of what’s available to us.
Diane Bator 47:18
Oh, absolutely. That was one thing that I know. Canada In particular, we had a lot of lockdowns, especially in Ontario. So there was a lot of things we could not get to do. But joining some of these groups, like I part of Sisters in Crime and crime writers of Canada and that sort of thing, and being able to sit in on some of these really great webinars, and even just a meeting where people are chit chatting back and forth, which was really great, because you get to meet different people and learn different things. And, you know, people, we have a writing group that literally has writers from Vancouver, all the way over to Halifax, so from west to east, and everybody in between, which is really neat, because we never would have met otherwise. And you can have those kinds of conversations,
Michael Hingson 48:11
all sorts of different writing styles. So not just mystery, and not just fiction.
Diane Bator 48:16
No, it’s the one particular group was with the writers union of Canada, and everybody’s very mixed genres. You know, we help each other out, we give each other support and it’s just just a really nice group to hang out with.
Michael Hingson 48:31
Do you ever associate with any of the writers groups or whatever? Through writers in Canada? Do you associate with any of the groups in the US?
Diane Bator 48:40
Absolutely. Sisters in Crime has been really great because they have groups all over the place and I’ve been able to sit in on different webinars and different meetings. Oh my gosh, Grand Canyon has a great group Arizona together group I was with I can’t even remember where they were New Jersey, I want to say something like that.
Michael Hingson 49:04
There’s a lot of crime to talk about back there. But there’s a lot of
Diane Bator 49:07
crime everywhere. It’s been really great to get all these other perspectives and and just some great ideas. Well, that
Michael Hingson 49:18
is, you know, really cool. And that’s of course, the whole point by connecting with other people. You do get other ideas, don’t you? So now you have to create a a book or a series involving all the Sisters in Crime and but you can have a lot of fun or that
Diane Bator 49:35
actually, I’ve had some kind of a similar idea to that. But yeah,
Michael Hingson 49:40
how about brothers in crime?
Diane Bator 49:43
Maybe you know,
Michael Hingson 49:44
equality after after
Diane Bator 49:46
course. Well, Sisters in Crime also has brothers in there. So it’s not just sisters out there.
Michael Hingson 49:54
There you go. Have you thought of writing any other genres like you know, science fiction or, or, or other kinds of fiction types of things.
Diane Bator 50:04
Actually, this, the book that I’m collaborating on with my friend is fantasy. So he’s a huge fantasy buff. And he’s, like I said, he’s making all the notes and making all the little fine tune details. And I just have to sit down and write the story. I also have a YA fantasy that I’ve been working on, when I have nothing else to do. And that will come out one day as well. And I also wrote my first stage place. So that’s when they, you know, we’ll end up doing the workshop with and then we’ll see what happens. So like, what can you tell us
Michael Hingson 50:39
about the play?
Diane Bator 50:40
It is a ghost story.
Michael Hingson 50:43
Now we’re getting there, right?
Diane Bator 50:45
Because I work in the theater. It’s a very old book. The building was built in 1875. And, yes, we have our ghosts. I haven’t seen any of them. But every now and then you something will happen. They get let go. Okay.
Michael Hingson 51:01
Of course, down here in California, in San Diego, there’s the Del Coronado hotel. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the del, but they have ghosts, there is a one room where a woman has died. And she she haunts that room. And a number of people have said that they have seen her. She’s not a mean ghost. Now they’ve stayed in the room. And they’ve seen her in the halls. But people have said they’ve seen her in the room. So everybody wants to stay in that room, of course. But the Dell apparently has several ghosts, and nobody is near as I read. Recall, her understand, seems to be a bad ghost, which is good. Yeah. And it’s, it’s a lot more fun. But well, I’m looking forward to hearing more about the ghost story when it’s done. So you don’t have to come up and do a book with a blind character. And I’ll be glad to help you with that. But we haven’t seen that many that are that are really portraying blind people very well, in in a lot of things with disabilities in general. There have been various books of one sort or another. And of course, there have been plays in movies and television shows. But a lot of the time the actors aren’t people with disabilities, which really leaves out dimensions that we would add to it. Dakota, of course, won the Oscar this year for Best Picture. And I think part of what made it successful was that they were really dealing with people who were deaf, which is important.
Diane Bator 52:24
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, we should
Michael Hingson 52:27
should talk about doing a book with blank character
Diane Bator 52:30
works for me characters.
Michael Hingson 52:31
There you go. Well,
Diane Bator 52:33
we can do that’s great. For sure.
Michael Hingson 52:34
Well, any last thoughts that you have? We’ve been doing this for a while, are there any last thoughts that you’d like to bring up about anything we discussed or advice you want to give to people?
Diane Bator 52:45
Just as I say, you know, if you if anybody out there you’re looking to write a book, do a little research, find out anything you need to know any questions you have. Find people who have written books, ask questions, contrary to what you may hear on social media. And my favorite saying is there are no stupid questions I’ve already asked them. So ask the questions, look for people to help support you and write the book.
Michael Hingson 53:15
I am a firm believer, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. Or I think that when people ask what you regard as stupid questions, sometimes you do wonder how much they observed. For example, I once spoke to a book club, they said, we read your book, we read Thunderdome, we’d really like you to come in and talk with us. And we happen to actually be in Novato, California, where I was living at the time. And all these people said, we read it, we really want to talk with you about the book. I go and we start talking and I open the floor to questions. And the first question that someone asked is, why were you in the World Trade Center? Now, we spent a lot of time talking about that in the book, which makes you really wonder what they were thinking and maybe they were just trying to be engaging. But to ask that question. Is is still what have you been observing? And how much did you absorb of what you read? There are so many other ways to have asked that and gotten more content into it. But then I took the question and said, well, the vision issue isn’t what I was doing in the World Trade Center on that day, but how I got there, so I you know, you can you can deal with that. But still, I’m amazed sometimes at what people observe and don’t observe. Yeah. Which goes back to your comment about negativity on social media a lot of the time, but we we we cope. Oh, absolutely. Well, if people want to learn more about what you’re doing, if they want to learn about the blog and possibly start reading it, if they want to find your books and so on. Can you tell us all about that? How do they do that?
easiest place to find it Everything is my website. And it’s Diane Bater.ca. Links. Yeah, D I A N E B A T O R are all one word, dot a, you’re saying you have links. I have links to all kinds of fun things that needs a little bit of updating the blog, the escape with the writer blog, I’ve got some fun little videos that I do up, we go up on to Lake Huron, and I take a bunch of little 22nd videos, which just kind of peace and quiet and calm. All of my books, there’s links to buy sites for all of my books. I’ve got, oh, my goodness, books that I’m helping other people with, or have helped other people with. You name it stuff about book coaching.
Well, great. Well, I hope people will go to Dianebetor.ca. And check it all out. And we’ll engage with you, I assume that there’s a way to contact you on the website. Yeah, definitely. Cool. So I hope people will do that. This has definitely been fun and informative. And I think that it’s always exciting to to meet people who are creative and write and are able to express themselves and engage other people. So I really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today. And giving us a lot of your time and information.
Diane Bator 56:31
Oh, thank you. I appreciate being on cares. I loved reading about your story and finding out what you do. So this has really been fascinating for me as well.
Well, it’s definitely figuring out ways to work together, I’d love to explore that. That sounds terrific. And for all of you listening, reach out to Diane and Dianebator.ca and engage her. And also we’d like you to engage us so please feel free to email me if you’ve got thoughts or comments about this or any of our episodes. You can reach us at Michaelhi, M I C H A E L H I accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. So MichaelhI at accessibe.com. Or you can go to our podcast page, which is www dot Michael hingson.com M I C H A E L H I N G S O N.com/podcast. And we’d love to hear your thoughts. I hope that you will give us a five star rating after listening to this episode. And when this goes up, Diane, we will definitely make sure that you know about it and you can share it everywhere you’d like to share it as well.
Diane Bator 57:45
Absolutely. I’ll put the link on my website as well. So well thank you
Michael Hingson 57:49
all for listening. And we hope that you enjoyed this and that she’ll be back next time and Diane once more. Thanks very much for being with us.
Diane Bator 57:56
Thank you as well Michael, really appreciate it.
Michael Hingson 58:02
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.