Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View With Dia Calhoun

Today we have with us Dia Calhoun.

Dia Calhoun grew up in Seattle, Washington, where she studied ballet for many years. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mills College with a double major in English and Book Arts. Calhoun returned to Seattle to build a successful career as a freelance lettering and logo artist. Her most visible work is the logo for “Alaska” on the side of Alaska Airlines’ aircraft. She also taught typography and lettering at the Cornish College of the Arts.

Now a full time writer, Calhoun makes frequent school visits to share her work with kids. In her spare time she sings Italian arias, fly-fishes, gardens, and eats lots of chocolate. She lives with her husband, two cats, and two ghost cats in Tacoma, Washington.


How did you decide to become an author?

I had a dynamite second grade teacher who loved poetry. She helped awaken the love of language in me. We wrote reams of stories and poems in her class. And I read stories voraciously, just gulped them down. Later, I majored in English at Mills College, where I took several creative writing classes. After college I became a freelance graphic artist. A few years later, once my business was established, I began writing every morning for an hour before work. It took me five years to write my first novel, FIREGOLD.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

For ten years I studied quite seriously to be a ballet dancer. When I turned seventeen, I had to choose between college and dancing. This was an agonizing decision (and later it was the inspiration for my fantasy novel, ARIA OF THE SEA.) I chose college.

What is your greatest influence?

My books are influenced by my inner struggles. I write about my own dilemmas in a fictionalized way. For example, THE PHOENIX DANCE was inspired by my bipolar illness. AVIELLE OF RHIA (winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature) was inspired by my psychological reactions to September 11th . WHITE MIDNIGHT by my love of land and desire to own my own land someday.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite book?

My favorite books are the ones I loved to read over and over as a child. The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher. BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeld. A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeline L’Engle. THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula Le Guin. LORD OF THE RINGS by Tolkien. As an adult I found Robin McKinley’s THE BLUE SWORD, a book I reread once a year.

Are you working on something right now?

I just finished a new fantasy novel in four voices. It is my first book in first person, and I loved the challenge of trying to write four different, distinct voices. Currently I’m working on a middle grace fantasy series.

Have your ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

Not at all. I’ve refrained from writing one particular novel because I’m afraid of how I would react to it, to all the feelings the writing would dredge up. Some day!

Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

I’m tying to give back to my fans by promoting literacy among teen girls. I am one of the four readergirlz divas (with Lorie Ann Grover, Justina Chen Headley, and Mitali Perkins). Readergirlz is an online book community which inspires girls to read, reflect, and reach out. You can learn more at

Thank you so much for this interview! For more about me visit my web page at

Thank you, Dia!

Quote of the Day:

Thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else.
-- J.K. Rowling,
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Liviania said...

Thanks for this interview - I love Dia Calhoun's books.