My name is… Diane Magras (and one of the cool things about having this surname is that you can pronounce it the correct way—”MAY-gris”—or what I like to pretend is the Scottish way—”M’grass”—and I’ll nod in recognition at the first and probably beam at the second).
I am… the author of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter and its companion novel The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter (which will be out on March 5, 2019). I write middle grade fiction. While I may one day write something other than middle grade, it’s going to take me a while to get there since I’m 12 years old inside and that’s just who I am. (So maybe when I’m 100 I’ll write young adult or new adult fiction or something like that.) I’m also obsessed with Scotland and the medieval world, and castles. Pretty much everyone who knows me is aware of this.
As a kid, I was… always telling stories. I had a box filled with tiny rubber animals and I made up stories about them as I played, adventures that went on for days. I had so many of these little animals that I kept a sheet of paper on which I’d written their names and one characteristic each (“brave,” “shy,” “nasty”). I’d refer to this page when I was playing to make sure I got my characters straight. My dad also likes to tell the story of his attempts to read me The Hobbit. I never let him get very far before I interrupted him and started to rewrite the story. (In one of my versions, Gollum was the loyal and slightly weird sidekick.)
Writing is… an outlet, utterly necessary for me. I need to tell stories. I need to create characters and worlds and set conflicts into play. It’s my way of making sense of the world, and also indulging in my passions. (Such as Scotland and medieval worlds and swords and castles…) Most of all, though, it’s a place where I can address issues that bother me in the present by creating a reflection of those issues, and solving them, in the past.
Reading is… a passion, an adventure, an escape. It’s a way of learning, an experience of another world. I’m devoted to the books I love and tell everyone about them. Reading broadens perspectives and makes us all better people. Reading also taught me how to write.
Books are… essential and should be in every house and in every kid’s hands. The right book for every child is out there. This book will be a comfort during tough times, cheer its reader on during good times, and be a friend when its reader needs one. Books are powerful: They can enrich, inspire, and delight. They can make people think and act. They’re like magic.
Did you know… that medieval castle defenders in Britain (and most of the world!) didn’t really dump boiling oil on the people attacking them? Oil was too expensive. Boiling water worked just as well, and so did hot sand. Think of how hard it is to get sand out of your clothes when you’ve been to the beach. Now think of how hard it would be to get burning hot sand out of your chain mail armor… (A fun fact of medieval research.)