Many of my blog readers will know that Diana Milne died recently, and although we all knew that her health was not at its best, her death came very much as a surprise. Among her many talents, I best knew her as co-admin of The Review blog, where her sense of humour and incisive mind are hugely missed. Others will know her in different capacities – family member, friend, business person – and will, no doubt, be remembering her in their own ways. But as well as that interaction, I wil also remember her as someone who enjoyed and commented with appreciation on my flower pictures, which are scattered around this post.
I’ve decided to pick out a few extracts from the “Diana talks to…” interview which she did with me back in January 2017…
D: If you had free choice over the font your book is printed in, what font/fonts would you choose?
R: I’m a rebel here and an enthusiast of epublishing – so I’d want my readers to pick their own font at will rather than feel they had to put up with my choice. Just for fun, I tried seeing what my books look like with the fairly recent dyslexic font available in many Kindles – I couldn’t read it all the time but it was a useful exercise seeing what it was like.
D: Imagine that you could get hold of any original source document. What would it be?
R: The founding statement of principles of the first colony on the asteroid Ceres, at the point it transitioned from being just a commercial mining settlement into a real human community.
D: Have any of your characters ever shocked you and gone off on their own adventure leaving you scratching your head??? If so how did you cope with that!?
R: A minor character from Far from the Spaceports has developed something of an interesting life of her own – and will continue to do so in #3 (provisionally called The Authentication Key). I just went with the flow, presuming that my subconscious knew all about this.
D: How much research do you do and do you ever go on research trips?
R: For historical fiction, yes, lots, and yes I have (some of the Greek islands, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel). For science fiction, I’d certainly be up for a trip to the asteroid belt – or even Mars – if anybody offered it. Sadly, the opportunity has not yet presented itself. For the emerging fantasy books, I guess the research is more into internal space rather than external.
D: Have you ever totally hated or fallen in love with one of your characters?
R: Never hated them – I wouldn’t bother to write about them if I hated them. But there are definitely people that I would get seriously fed up with if I had to work with them. But love some of them, oh yes.
D: What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?
R: Mostly good science fiction or good fantasy. I have got a bit chary of some historical fiction as there is a trend for high body counts and the like. But when I find a book I like then it doesn’t really matter what genre it is. As a rule, I prefer novella or novel length books to short stories.
D: What drink would you recommend drinking whilst reading your latest book?
R: Russian Caravan tea. [Note from Diana… Russian Caravan is a blend of oolong, keemun, and lapsang souchong teas, all produced from Camellia sinensis the Chinese tea plant] Or maybe a really nice Jasmine green tea. Or just possibly a local ale if something stronger takes your fancy.
And we must not forget her staple question…
D: Marmite? Love it or hate it?