Dianne Ochiltree has been writing stories and poems since she was a kid growing up in Ohio.
Her family’s small home was filled with books, books, books. As a grownup, her life is still filled with books, books, books.
- As a Children’s Author, Dianne has had numerous books published for young readers, from toddlers to teens. She encourages children to fall in love with reading books, along with developing creative writing skills, through her visits to schools and libraries.
- As a Writing Coach and Freelance Editor, Dianne helps your manuscript shine! Professional critiques, creative writing advice, and submission pointers are just a few of the ways that Dianne has assisted her clients reach their creative writing goals.
- As a Workshop Presenter, Dianne offers 20-plus years in the publishing industry as an award-winning children’s author, book reviewer, and freelance editor. Her workshops help budding writers polish their poetry and prose prior to editorial submission, and help newly-published authors learn how to promote their books effectively in the competitive children’s market.
Dianne and her husband, Jim, currently live in sunny Sarasota, Florida, with their pets: a Maine coon cat called Bob, and Sally, a chocolate Labrador Retriever, who not only entertains her owners, but also accompanies Dianne on visits to schools and nursing homes as a certified therapy dog.
FAQ with Dianne
Q: Tell us about your childhood and why you became a children’s author.
A: I think I was born to be one! Because as long as I can remember, I’ve been listening to the stories my family loved to tell, reading all sorts of books, drawing pictures and writing, writing, writing. My first books were written on the backs of old reports, illustrated in crayon, and stapled together by my mom. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, baby brother and pets listened to my stories and poems with a lot of enthusiasm…and patience. I loved the sight and sound of words. I write for kids because I want to share that love.
Q: Please describe your writing process.
A: I write something every day: a journal entry, a stanza of a poem, paragraphs of a story…whatever I can fit into the time I have for writing each day. My first drafts are written very ‘big’ so that I have a lot of images, action and language to choose from as I revise. My writing process involves a lot of revision. Most of my picture books have been through a dozen revisions before they were ready to submit to a publisher.
Q: What are the unique challenges of writing for children?
A: The biggest challenge in writing for young readers is to see the world from their point of view. I start by deciding how old my target reader is for each story. What about my topic would be of most interest to a child that age? What language is appropriate? And so on. Although I may draw on my own childhood memories to spark a story, I need to make sure the experiences and emotions are going to resonate with today’s kids. As with all writing, the great challenge is to come to familiar experiences in a fresh way, using vivid, specific language to describe it.