Hey there word nerds!
Welcome to another episode of DIY MFA Radio. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with author Diane Saxton.
As a journalist, Diane has written for Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Holiday Magazine and Greenwich Review and she has covered everything from torture victims to physics, animal rights activists, exotic travel, and movie producers. She has a passion and gift for storytelling, plus a curiosity to understand why people behave the way they do, and she brings all these elements to her debut novel, Peregrine Island, which we’ll be discussing today.
In this episode Diane Saxton and I discuss:
- Building a story from a theme and a few core characters.
- The contrast between the male and female characters in the story.
- How sometimes writers don’t realize they’re making artful choices until after they’ve made them.
- The long and winding path that brought her to finding the perfect home for her book with She Writes Press.
- How writers can use their craft to honor the lives of those no longer with us.
- Finding your writing rhythm, even if it’s totally different from what works for other writers.
Plus, Diane’s #1 tip for writers.
About the Author
Diane Saxton was a journalist with Vanity Fair UK, Holiday Magazine, and Greenwich Review, and covered everything from torture victims to psychics, animal rights activists, exotic travel, and movie producers. A new chapter opened up for her after interviewing Amnesty International US founder Hannah Grunwald. Alarmed that the stories of incredible and influential lives such as Grunwald’s could be lost as the Greatest Generation passes, Saxton began capturing their histories and compiled them into a 1,000 page biographical collection, which became the inspiration for her next book. She brings the same gift for storytelling with illuminating subtext to her debut novel, Peregrine Island. Saxton divides her time between New York City and the Berkshires, where she lives with her husband, dogs and horses.
Have you ever wondered what the impetus was to start a certain painting? Why the artist chose to immortalize a particular subject? What if you suddenly discovered that the painting in question, your painting, was valuable?
In Peregrine Island, the Peregrine family’s lives are turned upside-down one summer when so-called “art experts” appear on the doorstep of their Connecticut island home to appraise a favorite heirloom painting. When incriminating papers—and other paintings—are discovered behind the painting in question, the appraisal turns into a full-fledged investigation. Flattered at first by the art museum’s unanticipated interest, the family members quickly change their attitudes with the arrival of detectives on their terrace and the illusory but repeated appearance of a stranger reported to be concealed in a cove.
The now-antagonistic family—grandmother, mother, and child—consequently begin to suspect one another, as well as the shady newcomers in their midst. As the summer progresses and the investigation reveals facts about the Peregrines’ past that even they didn’t know, they learn that people are not always who they appear to be—themselves not excluded—and art is often a reflection of their own lives. More important, in uncovering the secret of the painting they come to realize that the love each unconsciously sought has been right in front of them all along.
Though Peregrine Island is driven by a mystery, it is as much characterized by its ever-present sense of spiritualism, accentuated by the symbolism of the Sound, the soul of relationships, and the wisdom of the very young and the very old.
If you want to read Peregrine Island we hope you’ll consider purchasing it through this Amazon Affiliate link, where DIY MFA gets a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
(Right-click to download.)
If you liked this episode…
Head over to iTunes, leave a review, and subscribe so you’ll be first to know when new episodes are available. Also, if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please share!
Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!