Interview with MaryAnn Diorio

brave girl

Today, on the Brave Blog I’m interviewing award-winning author MaryAnn Diorio. Her novel In Black and White deals with racial prejudice in 1959. It First Place in Historical Fiction in the 2020 Christian Indie Awards. Today’s interview focuses more on MaryAnn’s writing process than this particular book, but I thought our Brave readers would like to know about it. Welcome, MaryAnn! Let’s jump in.

Sarah: How would you define bravery? What is it? Where does it come from?
MaryAnn: Bravery is doing the right thing when no one is watching. Bravery is not the absence of fear. It
is doing the right thing when facing fear. Bravery is a virtue, also called courage. Bravery
originates in God and is implemented by the knowledge that He has not given us a spirit of
fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1: 7).

Sarah: When no one is watching and facing fear. I love that definition. What was the last book you read that you felt was brave?
MaryAnn: Words by Ginny Yttrup

Sarah: Thanks for the recommendation. What’s your favorite genre to read?
MaryAnn: Women’s Fiction

Sarah: Why do you write in the genre you do? Did you always want to write in that genre?
MaryAnn: I write in three genres: women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and middle-grade fiction.
My favorite genre is women’s fiction. I write women’s fiction because it best enables me to
tackle serious life issues that women face and that are not addressed often enough in fiction,
or that are addressed tangentially rather than head-on. While I also write romantic suspense, I
find that when I make the romance a secondary issue, I can focus on the real issue that is
actually affecting the romance and every other aspect of the character’s life.
I write middle-grade fiction because children today are growing up in a culture of declining
virtue. I want children to know that they can still be brave and stand against evil through the
power of Jesus Christ.

Sarah: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
MaryAnn: God called me to write for Him when I was 30 years old. Through a series of circumstances that could only have been God, He clearly confirmed His call upon my life. At the time, I was pursuing a career as a university professor of Romance languages. Although I was an avid reader as a child and had fleetingly considered a career in journalism, I had never considered becoming a writer. But God had other plans for me! And they were far better than my own!

Sarah: Isn’t that always the case? He’s so good like that. Now, what is your brainstorming process like? Where do your ideas come from?
MaryAnn: My ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. I write out of my own family history. I write
out of my own personal experiences as a woman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a
teacher. I write out of my learning experiences in women’s ministry for over 40 years. I write
out of news stories I read about and conversations I overhear in public places. I write out of
my experience as a life coach, a behavioral consultant, a Biblical counselor, and a licensed
minister. Ideas are everywhere. I simply do my best to tune into them. When one idea
resonates with me and won’t leave me alone, I know that God is speaking and directing me to
write a story.

Sarah: Do you enjoy drafting or editing better? Why?
MaryAnn: Definitely drafting. To me, there is nothing like the joy that comes from creating a story with
God. I love the anticipation of discovery and the actual discovery of plot twists and turns.
Sensing the Holy Spirit hovering over me as I write is an unmatchable blessing.

Sarah: When do you write, and where?
MaryAnn: I write five or six days a week, from 9:00am until 1:00pm. When I am on deadline, I may write
a little longer. I approach my writing as a job. In other words, I get dressed for work in the
morning, even to the point of putting on makeup. Then I report to my office by 9:00am. I take
my writing very seriously. I owe God, my “employer,” my integrity, my commitment, and my
discipline. I have the highest respect for His call upon my life to write for Him.

Sarah: What is your author tagline? Why did you choose it?
MaryAnn: Healing, Hope, and Happily-Ever-After
I chose this tagline because so many people in the world are hurting today. Many are sick
physically, and even more are sick emotionally and psychologically. As an encourager in the
Body of Christ, I want to bring hope to my readers and to share the truth that with Jesus,
there is truly a Happily-Ever-After.

Sarah: Do you prefer paperback, eBook, or audiobook? Why?
MaryAnn: Paperback. In fact, I actually prefer hardcover. I love the feel and the smell of a book in my
hands. I love the ability to go back and forth among the pages in a way that I can easily find favorite passages that I have underlined or highlighted. While I read eBooks and listen to audiobooks, to me there is nothing like a real book in my hands.

Sarah: Do you listen to music while you write? Do you need complete silence? Or something else?
MaryAnn: I listen to Baroque music because I once read that Baroque music taps that part of the brain
where the greatest creativity occurs.

Sarah: Who is your biggest cheerleader?
MaryAnn: My husband of 54 years. He is also my first editor.

Sarah: What is the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to write their first book?
MaryAnn: Write it!

Sarah: Haha. Simple, yet profound. How has the Lord shown Himself faithful in your life?
MaryAnn: It would take several books to recount how the Lord has shown Himself faithful in my life.
Suffice it for me to say that the fact that I am able to answer this questions today proves His
faithfulness to me.

Sarah: What are you working on now?
MaryAnn: I am currently working on Book 2 in my children’s middle-grade fiction series. It is titled Dixie
Randolph and the Mystery of Willow Creek. It is about a 12-year-old girl who discovers a
secret plot to kill her father, a computer analyst involved in top-level national security, and
risks her life to save his.

Thanks for joining us on the Brave Blog, MaryAnn! Many blessings on your writing.

    MaryAnn is giving away an eBook copy of the winner’s choice of one of the
    following two books, both of which deal with bravery:
    Dixie Randolph and the Secret of Seabury Beach
    The Rabbi and Mrs. Goldstein (her latest novel in The Wives of Old Cape May Series)

    MaryAnn Diorio writes award-winning fiction from a quaint, small town in New Jersey where neighbors still stop to chat while walking their dogs, families and friends still gather on wide, wrap-around porches, and the charming downtown still finds kids licking lollipops and old married folks holding hands. A Jersey girl at heart, MaryAnn is a big fan of Jersey diners, Jersey tomatoes, and the Jersey shore. You can learn more about her and her writing at

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