This week's 21 Things You Might Not Know About Me features Diane Dryden of Shell Lake, Wis.

  1. I was born in Evanston, Illinois even though we lived in Des Plaines. (Why does everyone have such a problem pronouncing Des Plaines? Along with pronouncing the S at the end of the state's name?)
  2. I have only one older sister and we grew up in an era where, once you left your house in the morning, you could spend all day in the neighborhood doing whatever you wanted without checking in with your mom and never feeling unsafe. It's what gave us all of our self-confidence.
  3. We lived right next door to our Swedish Grandma and Grandpa who had afternoon coffee every day. It was a wonderful time to connect and to listen to stories told by two generations of family members and assorted ethnic neighbors. There was no subject that wasn't discussed at length, including religion and politics. (My great aunt on the Swedish side was very much against voting for presidential candidate Barry Goldwater because for some reason she thought he was in the Italian mob. And didn't mind sharing her feelings.)
  4. My mother was English, my father Swedish, so as an adult my conundrum lay in the decision to have coffee or tea at four o'clock. Did I salute my mother's side which had been in the US since 1645 and fought in the Civil War, or my Swedish side, my sister and I being only the second generation to be born in the US?
  5. I've worn glasses since I was six years old and have worn every style there ever was.
  6. My husband was originally my cousin. No, it's not what you think. My uncle married a woman with four boys; one was Terry.
  7. I hated being an Army wife. Mrs. Westmorland once pushed me down the long meat counter at the PX in El Paso. Texas instead of going around me with her cart. Wives were treated like dirt unless your husband was "someone."
  8. Even though I worked in the optical field in Chicago for six years, managing one store and troubleshooting four others, my heart was always in the housewife field.
  9. I love baking and gloomy days. I love baking on sunny days.
  10. I love cooking and entertaining.
  11. I love to sew. I still sew.
  12. I love to iron. Strange, I agree.
  13. I love to garden. Both flowers and veg and fruits.
  14. I owned a restaurant for four years and a catering business in Shell Lake for eleven years and made over 300 wedding cakes.
  15. I came to the art of writing late, but it's now my favorite thing to do, okay, it's turned into a passion.
  16. I've written for newspapers, magazines and DrydenWire.com and have three published novels under my belt with the third one just out. I have an article coming out this winter in Our Wisconsin.
  17. Everyone advises that when it comes to writing a book to “write what you know, “ so all of my books are set in Chicago where I spent most of my time.
  18. Every one of my books feature homeless people and how they find their way back to civilization. (I have no idea why.) They're also about families, and struggles, and romance, old and young, and the Chicago Cubs and the first Mayor Daily. Each book ending with a twist.                                                           
  19. I believe everyone has a story to tell and I like helping people discover theirs. The people I interview are often surprised to find out they have a great story and how interesting their life really is.
  20. It doesn't take too long for anyone who meets me to realize that I am an unabashed card-carrying, Bible thumping, “Praise God” Christian and think everyone should know how much God loves them and how invigorating it is to serve Him.
  21. A statement that blows me away every time I read it is, “If trading everything for God, you've lost nothing in the bargain.”

You can visit Diane's website at www.dianedryden.com or her facebook page at facebook.com/authordianedryden.


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