Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, an accomplished author with a background in education and psychology, writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her book, A Time to Dance, was a 2001 Eppie finalist. In 2009, she was voted ‘favorite new author’ for Heartsong Presents.

Along with her husband, Ed, she raised three sons in a blended family. After they not only survived but eventually learned to thrive, Diana decided to use her experience to help others navigate “pureed parenthood.”

It’s with the same sense of humor and purpose that Diana sets out on a new—and unexpected—path to public speaking.

What sparked your writing journey?

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Rombleman, read something I wrote to the class and said it was excellent. She opened the window but it took several years to fly through it.

How does your faith play into your writing?

Without my faith I have no writing, even if it’s a nonfiction article about pet sitting. Most of the time my faith is expressed in some manner through my characters, if not, it’s behind the scenes asking God for the right words to put on paper.

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

I’ve been on many detours, all of them hard, but losing my husband at the age of thirty-two knocked me into God’s arms. I’ve been a Christian forever, but during those days following John’s death I felt like I could almost touch God. I wish I could have held onto that feeling but my humanness got in the way.

So back to the question, the positive after that devastating experience was getting remarried to Ed. He is such a blessing to me.

Let’s talk about We’re Not Blended, We’re Pureed: A Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families (Concordia House Publishing). Please tell us about it.

Ed and I thought blending our families would be easy since his spouse had also died. Piece of cake, get married, raise the kids, one big happy family right? That fantasy exploded in our faces rather quickly. The kids (three boys) who couldn’t wait to see each other turned into siblings overnight and wanted to battle it out at every turn.

You handle a tough subject with humor. Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?

I wrote the book with my co-author Marty Lintvedt, who is a certified Christian counselor with a lot of letters after her name, in hopes of helping other blended families avoid mistakes Ed and I made. If the readers take away one thing from this book I pray it is the realization they are not alone. Their family is much like the one across the pew who aren’t blended.

God often uses our writing to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?

I wish you could hear me laughing. I thought I could write this book and it would help a few people. I’m not an extrovert—not even close. So my shock has been how God has put me in front of radio mikes, videotaping and coming up a workshop! I know this is God’s doing because I’m not searching out opportunities to stand in front of anyone. I’m learning that God does equip me with the tools/gifts I need in these situations. I empathize with Moses—not that what I’m doing is that huge—it just feels like it to me.

You also write fiction. Your latest release is A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee (Barbour, May 2012). Please tell us about it!

I loved writing this book! Researching life right after the Civil War and reading about small towns and the women fascinated me. In A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee two sisters are left behind to take care of the farm, their father is planning to send for them as soon as he is settled. Meanwhile, he’s left them to fend off maurders trying to take the farm away from them. Heaven, the older sister has been able to chase them away by shooting over their heads, until Travis Logan rides up the drive and is tall enough the bullet hits him.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Pasta wins every time. Mac and cheese, oh how I love it. It has to be gluten free though. It took a while to find one that really satisfied me. Now I make Amy’s gluten free–deluxe, I think it’s called. It comes with the sauce already mixed. Thanks, now I’m hungry! I’m not sure why I associate it with comfort except that I had it often as a child. Maybe that’s it, a hard day of learning the times table was often soothed with mac and cheese.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

Oh no! I tried piano, clarinet—not good! I love to sing, love music. So many times the words to a song grab me and I’ll feature the musician if I can. Right now I’m loving 33 miles. I should do a blog post on them.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

One with many parts! Some George Winston mixed with Christian rock and country.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

I wish I were the mysterious woman behind dark glasses, she intrigues me, but I think I’m the little girl trying to walk in high heels.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

Right now I have two cats, Oliver and Wendell. They both were strays and made themselves at home. I love dogs, right now I don’t have any because I don’t think I’m ready yet. I had a terrier mix—she looked like a Norfolk terrier—that I loved. She would listen to me read my writing and always approve, followed me everywhere, and was always available for a hug. I miss her.

Thanks, Diana! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

Thank you so much for having me.

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For more information about Diana, visit her website at www.dianabrandmeyer.com and her blog at www.pencildancer.com.

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