Tuesday, November 03, 2015

SURRENDER TO LOVE - MaryAnn Diorio - One Free Book


Welcome, MaryAnn. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Whenever an author writes, some of herself goes into her characters. How much is difficult to assess. Some of my characters deal with struggles I have personally experienced; others deal with struggles I have never experienced. But, while I may never have experienced a particular situation my character is going through, I have experienced the emotion associated with that experience. We all know what terror feels like, even though we may never have been threatened at gunpoint.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? 
I don't know if you would call this "quirky," but it was typical of my writer's mind that so often gets distracted. My husband and I were entertaining relatives from Italy. We wanted to take them across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Because of the number of people, we drove in two cars. My husband drove ahead of me, and I followed. Just as I approached the bridge, I noticed that my gas gauge registered empty. Because of all the exciting chatter catching up with my Italian family, I had neglected to check the gas gauge. So, here we were, with 17 miles to go before leaving the bridge, and no gas stations along the way! I immediately began to pray. We made it within a mile of the exit when my car started huffing and puffing. With no shoulder on the bridge, I pulled over to the right as far as I could, at which point my car came to a complete stop. My husband, of course, kept going. It was during the era before cell phones. As I thought quickly about what to do, a police car immediately pulled up beside me. I explained my problem to the officer, and he called on his radio for help. Within two minutes, another patrol car pulled up with a gallon of gasoline. My Italian relatives were amazed! "What efficiency!" they exclaimed. "Had this happened in Italy, we would have had to wait at least a couple of hours for help." Needless to say, I was very proud of my country. Oh, by the way, my husband finally realized he could no longer locate me in his rearview mirror. I found him waiting with the rest of the family at the end of the bridge. :)

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I first sensed God's call to write when I was 30 years old. One day, I began to have a strong desire to write. The desire kept increasing. I went to the Lord and said, "Lord, if this desire is of You, please increase it. If not, please take it away because it is getting unbearable." The Lord increased the desire and then confirmed it by allowing one of my poems to be published in the prestigious magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. I had no idea what I was doing in submitting my poem to a slick magazine that was so difficult to crack (as I later learned). So when the poem was accepted, I knew without doubt that it was God's way of confirming His call on my life to write.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read widely in multiple genres. I read contemporary fiction, the classics of literature, books on theology, philosophy, quantum physics, the end times, children's books, politics and culture, etc. I also read books and articles on writing fiction. I am always reading and devouring books and articles. I think it is very important for a writer of fiction to understand the culture in which her stories are set. To me, culture means not only historical setting but the mindset prevalent in that historical setting. By far, however, my favorite book to read is the Bible. I     spend a good deal of time reading God's Word. It is different from every other book in that it is alive.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I practice the presence of God by continually communing with Jesus within me throughout the day. He keeps me in perfect peace as I fix my eyes on Him. My guiding verse is Isaiah 26:3 ISV: "You will keep perfectly peaceful the one whose mind remains focused on you . . . ." Also, my cell phone alarm is set to alert me to pray for fifteen minutes at 9am, noon, and 3pm each day. When the phone alarm sounds, I usually stop what I am doing and spend time with the Lord in prayer.

How do you choose your characters’ names?       
I keep a name notebook. Whenever I hear a name I like, I jot it down for possible use in a future story. I also consult baby name books. I check the origins of names to determine if they will fit my character. Often a trait I wish to express in my character can be enhanced by my choice of a name that signifies that trait. For example, the name "Leon" comes from the root word for "lion." If my character is proud, as a lion is proud, then I may give him the name "Leon."

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
As I was studying for my PhD, the Lord presented me with my Isaac test. I tell of this in the Author's Note at the beginning of Surrender to Love. In short, I was three months away from completing my doctoral degree after having spent nearly seven years taking courses and writing my dissertation. Holy Spirit told me to give up the degree. At first, I wondered if I were going crazy from too much studying. My professors thought the same thing. :) But I gave up the degree in obedience to the Lord. Several months later, God told me to resume and complete the degree. He said, "You have proven to Me that you love Me more than your PhD. You have surrendered your life to Me. Now the PhD will not keep you from Me. It will be My instrument to lead others to Me."

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Since I am not an animal, I have difficulty answering this question. But if you wish to know what is my favorite animal, I would without hesitation say the dog. Dogs are loyal and sensitive to man. No wonder dogs have been called "man's best friend." :)

What is your favorite food?
I love vegetables of all kinds, especially green vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Sometimes I add Italian bread crumbs for extra flavor. :)

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest problem was understanding that I did not need large blocks of time to write a book. I needed to take advantage of the small snippets of time that were available to me, especially while I raised my children. So I started to write in five and ten-minute segments. I even wrote while waiting for a red light to change. I must admit I had some help since the person behind me always let me know when the light turned green. :)

Tell us about the featured book.
Surrender to Love began as part of an anthology whose theme was surrendering to God's will. Due to some unforeseeable circumstances, the anthology never materialized, so I published the story on my own. The main character is a young widow and life coach who has difficulty dealing with grief after her husband's untimely death. She refuses to let go of the past and enter into the destiny God has prepared for her. Ironically, she who is so skilled at coaching others into their destiny has trouble heeding her own advice. This irony was deliberate on my part and shows that even though we can help others, sometimes we cannot help ourselves. I wanted to show in this story that we are all interdependent in the Body of Christ. Also, as we yield to God's plan for us, we find the fulfillment we have been looking for, often in the very place we never thought we would find it.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez screamed, stumbled, and stifled a sob with her fist. "No!" It's not true!" She gasped for air as the tragic news sucked the life out of her. "You're talking about the wrong person. It can't be my husband. Roberto is at work."
           
Trembling, she grabbed the edge of the kitchen counter to keep from falling. This couldn't be happening to her. Surely it was all a dream. A bad dream. She would awaken soon to discover all was well.
           
The police officer lowered his head then lifted it again. Compassion filled his glistening eyes. "Ma'am. I'm sorry. So very sorry." He reached into his belt pouch. "We found this in your husband's shirt pocket."
           
Teresa's stomach clenched. She immediately recognized the blue identification badge that Roberto carried to his job five days a week as chief mural artist for the city of New York. He'd been so proud of his current project—an outdoor mural for the north wall of the Drug Rehabilitation Building in Harlem. An attempt to revitalize the neighborhood where he volunteered in his spare time to minister to street gangs. He'd been thrilled to get the assignment.
           
Dizziness coiled itself around her brain, strangling her thinking. Her body shook with cold tremors as her mind spun deliriously.
           
She could still hear her husband's voice lingering in her ear from their parting conversation that morning. "I love you, Tessa Babe." Her chest clenched. He always ...

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I am always happy to hear from readers. They can reach me via the following venues:


Thank you, MaryAnn, for sharing this book with us. I know my readers are as eager to read it as I am.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
SURRENDER TO LOVE

25 comments:

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you, Lena, for featuring me today. It is an honor to be here. Many blessings to you and your readers.


MaryAnn

Jennifer Hibdon said...

This book intrigues me. I must read it! Thanx for the giveaway!!!!
j4hibdon (ata0 yahoo (dot) com

Mary Preston said...

An emotional beginning. I'm hooked.

Mary P

QLD AUSTRALIA

Edward Arrington said...

This is a new author to me but she sounds interesting. I would enjoy reading her book.
Edward A in VA

Kim Amundsen said...

Nice interview. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom. North Platte Nebraska

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you for commenting, Edward. I deeply appreciate your taking the time to do so.


Blessings to you!

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you, Jennifer. It’s nice to hear from you. :)


Blessings,

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

I’m big on emotion, Mary. So glad you were hooked! :) Thank you very much for your comment.


Blessings,

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

I appreciate your posting, Kim. Thank you very much!


Blessings to you!

MaryAnn

Karen Hadley said...

I haven't read any of your books and this sounds like a great read!
Thank You!

sm said...


Another book about a widow, of which I am one! Recently became one earlier this year. Love to win and read your book as I continue to surrender to God's will in my life. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Melanie Backus said...

Thank you for this giveaway!

Melanie Backus, TX

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

My heartfelt condolences to you, SM. You are in my prayers as our Lord reveals Himself to you in a precious way. Be expectant :)


Blessings,

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you for commenting, Melanie. Blessings!


MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you, Karen. I trust you will be blessed by reading my story.


Warm regards,

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you for entering the giveaway, Sharon! :)


Blessings,

MaryAnn

Connie said...

Such a sad first page. I would love to read the rest of Teresa's story.
Connie from KY
cps1950 (at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...


Thank you Lena for the interview with MaryAnn. Interesting sounding book. You are new to me but I would like to win your book. Thanks to the both of you for that chance. GOD bless you. Maxie(TX) > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Brenda said...

The first page makes me want to read the rest of the story. Thanks to both of you for the opportunity!
grandmama_brenda(at)yahoo(dot)com

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you for your comment, Connie. I hope you get to read the rest of Teresa’s story.


Blessings,

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Hi, Brenda,

Thank you for commenting. I’m glad the first page makes you want to read the rest of the story. That means I did my job. :)


Many Blessings!

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Dear Anonymous,

I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. Many blessings to you!


MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Congratulations to Connie on winning a copy of my book, Surrender to Love. I trust it will bless you.

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway. A special thank you to wonderful Lena for inviting me to visit such special readers. 😀