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Silly poems lead to literary gold

When she was a child in rural west Lincoln, Diane Thompson didn’t have much time for books.
Now in her 40s, she is an award-winning children’s author who hopes her work teaches children the value of reading.
“I think when parents start reading to them very early that instills in them the importance and the beauty in storytelling,” she said.
While she wasn’t a big reader or writer as a child, Thompson did love music and art and she remembers vividly her mother reading to her.
“The stories that she read, she always did in character,” said Thompson. “She did the voices and things like that, which always made it fun.”
Thompson’s mother continued to encourage her as an adult by sending silly poems in the mail.
Thompson returned these letters with silly poems of her own.
“Poetry was what I really enjoyed early,” she said.
The poetic communication was never published, but it lasted until her mother’s unexpected death in 1992.
“It took the wind out of my sails and I quit writing altogether,” she said.
She didn’t start up again until five years later; even then, publication was the last thing on her mind.
“It was just something that I really did to wind down from the day or to have something to do,” she said.
When she learned her husband also harbored a secret love of writing, the two joined a local writer’s group. It was there that Thompson’s first published work was born.
The group created a book of children’s poems entitled, “The Thing in the Tub.” It went on to win the Eppie Award, a prestigious children’s literature prize.
Thompson then contributed to “Port Nowhere,” the group’s science-fiction anthology.
She went out on her own with “Oliver’s Castle,” a collection of four short stories that was published in May by Mystic Toad Press.
“Each of the stories teaches a little moral lesson, a subtle lesson,” she said.
In the title story, Oliver is a cat who lives in a humble home. He considers his caretaker a queen.
When he goes out into the world, he meets Princess, a sultry white cat who lives in a grandiose mansion.
“She has everything,” said Thompson. “But it’s obvious to Oliver that her caretaker does not love her in the same way.”
Oliver returns home happy with what he has.
The other stories teach similar, simple lessons.
In “Bogey, Snitch and Al,” a young dog learns not to run with a bad crowd.
“Ardy’s Christmas Lesson” is about an aardvark learning the gift of giving.
“Simon and the Fly” focuses on the unlikely friendship between a frog named Simon and a fly named Kirby.
These stories are only a small selection of what Thompson has cooking.
She carries paper with her all the time, just in case inspiration strikes.
She’s also decided to break out of the children’s literature genre and create a genre of her own: inspirational suspense.
She and her husband are currently at work on a manuscript.
by Sarah Grano

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