Writer Interview-Diana Sprain

D Sprain Creative Pursuit: writing historical medieval fantasy in ‘Thaelias World’; contemporary short stories based upon my fictional city of ‘San Varlin’ (focusing on dispatchers, police, fire, and ems personnel); blogging on medieval trivia & the San Jose Sharks ice hockey club. I also love to paint landscapes & seascapes in acrylic, although my best piece was done in oils.

Day Job: I am a Public Safety Dispatcher with over 24 years in the profession. I have been on a SWAT team and was a 911 Supervisor.  Today, I work for the State of Nevada, dispatching law enforcement officers for multiple agencies.

How do you balance your creative pursuits with your day-to-day commitments?         I work ten hour days, four days a week with the occasional overtime. Unlike the past, where I would bring work home, I try to keep work & home separate now. My biggest problem is shift work: being lower in seniority, I work weekends while my husband has weekends off.  His schedule is a little more flexible. We enjoy our time, whether it’s working on the house, antiquing, or just watching a movie.

My biggest breakthrough came when…My first article was accepted for publication back in 1988. It was very exciting and I was hooked. I submitted a story to a contest and when it was an honorable mention that sealed the deal. ‘On the Trail of Yesterday’s Rose’ started out as a short story. I decided Gaelynn’s life deserved more than 1000 words. She just wouldn’t leave me alone.

What’s next for you? I’m in process of doing edits on the next book in the Greycliff Chronicles, and have an outline for the third. I am writing a non-fiction book on the history of Public Safety Dispatching in America to let people know about the real unsung heroes: dispatchers. Most calls made to 911 are handled without any incident, yet the media tends to focus on the few calls with a problem. Dispatchers are the true First Responders of the Public Safety System. They keep people calm until help arrives, in some areas provide medical instructions, are part of emergency response teams to disasters, and (like I was) are on SWAT teams or major wildland fire crews.

Is there anything you’d like to add? I write every day. My husband is wonderful with his support, buying reference books when he comes across them. Know your subject and know your history. As a reader, there is nothing that irritates me know than to read a scene in which the author mixes wrong armor, weapons, or historical data for the setting. For example, plate armor was not heavy; knights didn’t need to be lifted on to their horses. Roman cavalry saddles didn’t have stirrups. Crossbows were brought back with men returning from the crusades.  It’s different when you make up your own world as I did – but even then, the day-to-day life must make sense. I created geography, religion, a calendar, holidays, and am still adding social structures. To keep up with it all, I have an ongoing timeline and spreadsheet with every person, country, city, landmark, location, animal, heraldry, royal lineage, etc and which book each is appearing in. I note birth, death, and family relations in the list. I want to keep the continuity going for the books and short stories.

If your readers can’t put themselves in the story, they won’t like the book and won’t finish it, much less recommend it to a friend or buy the next one in the series.

What is unique about your hometown? I was born in the English countryside, a small town complete with the hedgerow enclosed fields. It’s in the Cotswold’s district, a beautiful green area with historical gardens, the Cheltenham Racetrack, and picturesque manors.

What is your favorite journey? A road trip, with no real agenda, just get in the car and drive for a set amount of days until it’s time to turn around and start back home again. When our son was a child, we did this multiple times. We kept trip journals, where each of us wrote daily thoughts and noted what we did each day. Along with the photographs, it became a record of time spent together. Every now and then my husband and I will pull them out and go through the various books. Some of the trips have us in tears, just laughing at the antics.

Celebrity or historical figure you’d like to meet for lunch? I would love to meet Queen Eleanor. She was married to two Kings (Louis and Henry II) and mother to three (Henry the Young King, Richard, and John). Eleanor had tremendous influence on the men in her life. Stories of her antics and beauty still fascinate us today, yet no real description of her exists in print. What stories she could tell!

Favorite guilty pleasure? Watching reruns of ‘Emergency!’ I entered the Public Safety profession because of that show, and met the driver of the engine – Michael Stoker –when he was stationed close by to the area where I worked as an EMT.

On the Trail to Yesterday’s RoseThis is the link to my weblog: Greycliff’s Chronicles


4 thoughts on “Writer Interview-Diana Sprain

  1. Diana, your discipline will pay off in the long run! I admire those who can write historically accurate novels. You rock! I write contemporary because I can look around and say, “Oh, yeah, that exists in this time frame. I can include that.” LOL

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