Interview with Novelist Dianne Lynn Gardner (Altered)

With a passion for teens, Dianne Lynn Gardner dives into their world with her young adult fantasy novels. She is both a best selling author and an award winning illustrator who lives in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Mother of seven and grandmother of 16, Dianne wants to make sure that the teens she knows have wholesome and healthy books that ignite imaginations, strengthen friendships, spur courage and applaud honor. Though she targets her stories for young adults, her books are enjoyed by all ages.

Dianne’s Ian’s Realm Saga is filled with magic and is an ongoing series with seven books in the works and one book in preproduction as a TV series. Her dystopia novel Altered has hit the best sellers chart and her underwater romance, Pouraka is sure to spark interest.

You can keep up to date with Dianne’s work by following her website at

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Interview with Dianne Lynn Gardner:

Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels?

Dianne Lynn Gardner: Altered is a dystopia story that happens not too far in the future. I wanted to show a definite transition between the current world, and the future and the reaction of people when life as they know it changes drastically and tragically.

The story takes place in a little city in America near the Mexican border where a family has just learned that the government, now controlled by the Privitol, (once a company, now a governmental entity) is taking all the elementary school children and sending them to ‘boarding schools’. Abree (12) is separated from her mother and brother and is chosen as an ‘advanced’ child who will be going to a special school. She finds out later that her education will be given underground. She learns the science of genetically modifying seed. The crux of this modification is that the government creates food that will control the populace. There are foods that make people complacent, foods that makes people grow large and strong and they become the army and Enforcers, food that enhance intelligence etc and the Privitol decides who gets what – hence they maintain complete control. The inhumane manipulation of people alarms the young folk and Abree, with her friends, strive to save her mother, her brother (who is working from the outside for the same cause) and the rest of humanity.

The story interweaves with Hopi legend. I spent many years near the Hopi reservation in Arizona and found their legends inspiring. In this story it’s a little Hopi boy who hangs on to the tradition of his people that holds the key to survival.

MT: Why should people buy your novels?

DLG: My novels are action packed, and the characters are real. They make unusual circumstances real, touch base with current affairs and are thought provoking.

MT: How would you describe your novels in just two words?

DLG: Adventure fantasy

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

DLG: Ever After

MT: Was being a novel writer something you’ve always dreamed of doing?

DLG: Yes. I used to write a lot of poetry when I was younger. Having seven children put the pen away for awhile but now that my children are grown I am able to fill that dream of writing novels.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel? Have you read a novel more than once?

DLG: I’ve read C.S. Lewis’ series over several times. I read Black Beauty many many times when I was younger.

MT: What motivates you to write?

DLG: The story itself motivates me. I have recently been immersed in writing historical fantasy novels. The bits of history they are inspired from have filled me with compassion, close to tears even, and that motivates me to somehow create a better world, even if its a fantastical one, for the people who suffered in those events.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

DLG: I would love to have dinner with Michael Hauge. I would love to talk to him in person about story telling and to show him one of my books and see what he thought.

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

DLG: Nature. I am a tree hugger. I love to be in the woods, by the sea, in the desert and you’ll see that most all of my books have vivid descriptions of the environment. I also am an oil painter, and I love music.

MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

DLG: Study. Read, learn. Never think you know it all because we never do. Write and rewrite. Rewriting is the most fun I think because that’s when you get to really explore your characters, their environment, and the storyline.



Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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