Today we meet finalist Diane Graham, author of I Am Ocilla.
Diane writes Christian Speculative novels. She was co-winner of MLP's Premise Contest and an original contributor of NAF. Her fiction is steeped in allegory.
She tends to be a rebel with a cause. Tell her she can't and she will do everything in her power to show you that with God by her side, anything is possible. She also roots for the underdog. There is nothing as beautiful as when God lifts the broken and weak to impossible heights. Her flaws can be used for His glory. How cool is that?
Diana, your excerpt certainly gripped us. Tell us more about the story it came from.
- Five hundred years ago, five kingdoms were cursed by a dark stranger when he failed in his plot to overtake the world. He vanished, slipping through a rip in time leaving behind devastation that separated the five kingdoms. Rumors spread of his return and a desperate search for the Chosen One begins. For only the Chosen One can fulfill the prophecy and free the world from the evil one’s grasp.
How important is a name? For Ocilla, it’s all she knows of her life. Trapped in a dungeon, she remembers nothing else, and in her darkest hour she believes dying is so much easier than the fight to live. But destiny will soon change everything when the search for the Chosen One brings two strangers to her cell door.
Travel with Ocilla on a fantastical journey to find herself and her true value, as she enters a world where darkness has descended, but the bright light of hope shines through for those willing to believe… a world where nothing is quite what you think it is, and fantasy is truly reality.
Set out on a quest of faith, not common sense.
That sounds very intriguing and inspiring! Where is this novel in terms of publication?
I Am Ocilla is currently submitted to one small press and Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I will go wherever HE leads me.
What steps have you taken to increase your chances of success?
Over the past six months I have learned that you can fix craft, persistence is most of the battle and editing is my friend.
That is a wonderful attitude to have! I've often wondered how many writers quit one critique or one rejection from success. Persistence may be one of the hardest traits to muster, especially if you've pounded your keyboard for decades with nothing more than a stack of rejection letters to show for it. It can be very easy to get discouraged. What do you do to keep the dream alive?
When I write I can go, do and be anything I want. The possibilities are limited only by my imagination. I Am Ocilla is a labor of love for my children. Hopefully, I am showing them that God created us to dream big.
It's amazing what our children learn by watching us, isn't it? If we demonstrate an attitude of failure of defeat, they'll adopt it as well. But if we demonstrate perseverance and determination, centered in a faith-driven, "with God's help I can" attitude, they'll be more apt to develop the same inner strength.
What's the driving message in your novel?
There are times in life when we are broken and lost. We question our very existence. We search for the meaning of it all, and ask the question the drives humanity forward. Who am I? To obtain the answer one must open their heart and mind to the simplicity and complexity of a name.
Diane, it was great to meet you! Readers, do you have any questions for Diana? Remember, you have five ways to enter the book give-away drawing:
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Be sure to come back tomorrow when we announce our next Clash Conqueror, chat with emerging author, Jessica Patch, and find out which of our lucky readers one a copy of Mary Connealy's Sharpshooter in Petticoats!