|is this not the coolest?!|
Got something special today. In conjunction with First Rule Publicity, I Smell Sheep is kicking off Dianne Lynn Gardner's book tour for her debut Young Adult Fantasy novel Deception Peak. Not only is she an author, but she is an artist. She created some beautiful work to include in her novel. I love it when an author includes illustrations and have always wondered about the process. So I asked Dianne which came first? The story or the art.
Which came first? The art or the story?
I've been an oil painter ever since I was small. My mom painted in oils and taught me how, and it’s been my passion ever since. But I also wrote when I was young too, pouring my soul out in poetry and random musings. Scribbles adorned the pages, a little calligraphy here, more bleeding heart words, more scribbles. Everything seemed to make it to the paper simultaneously. And in a sense it still does though I can’t paint with oils on my computer screen, nor can I type on my canvas. But the process of writing a novel is both a visual and a written journey for me.
And what came first in the Realm?
Well, I knew I wanted to paint a dragon. That desire has been a driving force in the creation of the Trilogy. And as I painted the dragon, I knew I had to create a character that was challenged by it. Hence, Ian.
I realized I knew people who fit the description of my characters and with a few model release forms in hand; I painted portraits of Abbi, Ian and Alex.
Portraits are my forte in my world of art. I love them. I love all the little nuances that make someone who they are.
The same thing is true when developing a character in a book, too. For example, Ian in Deception Peak is a fifteen-year-old boy, too shy to step out and be himself, but rather content to walk in his father’s shadow, Ian has a tendency to hide behind his thick bangs and peer out at the world from under his cover. But in this portrait, after his father disappears, though he’s still innocent and somewhat frightened, he’s beginning to not only conjure strength from within, but there’s a touch of anger brewing. That resentment. I believe is portrayed in this painting—not in any stereotype way. That wouldn't be human. But the slight narrowing of his eyes, his stance, looking over his shoulder as if questioning his capabilities—those are subtle signs of Ian’s character.
I’ve painted many portraits for some pretty important people, like J.R.R. Tolkein’s great grandson Royd Tolkein. His agent bought two portraits for a birthday present for him—and Bruce Hopkins who played Gamblin in Lord of the Rings who helped auction his portrait at RingCon a few years back. (As much as he wanted it he didn't want the hassle of taking it back to New Zealand with him). The portraits opened another door, people wanting to be ‘in my book’.
Children and young adults love the idea of being a star in a book as much as they love their portrait being painted. Even though the thrill is for a specific few, still having people pose for my paintings seems to make it easy for readers to identify with the characters. That’s important to me, especially because of my themes. I hope my YA fantasies are an encouragement to kids. I want them to know life isn't perfect, but you can still overcome the hard things that are thrown at you. Not because you are a super hero—on the contrary, because you’re human.
Teenage Ian Wilson follows his father through a portal into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life.
But separation from his father puts Ian in peril as he’s abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers and forced to find his courage.
As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search for his father, Ian meets the true peacekeepers of the Realm and learns of a greater purpose for his being in there.
(This is the first novel of the Ian’s Realm Saga)
About the Author:Dianne Lynne Gardner is both an author and illustrator. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers and she is an award winning artist.
Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life.
Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she draws both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing seeking not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.
this trailer shows a lot of the illustrations including the dragon