Interview With Author Diane Namm

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hi, Folks! I’m Diane Namm and I’ve written over 65 books that have been published by traditional publishers. Latkes & Lefse is the first book I’ve ever self-published, and I’m really loving the freedom it’s afforded me. One of my traditional-publishing editors, Alli Brydon, served as the editor. Maria Hecher contributed so much as the illustrator. And the book has been very well received!

If you want to see more about the books I’ve written, please type in my name on Amazon, where they’re all listed and most are still available. If you want to see the films I’ve written and directed, please type in my name on

My author’s website is

My film production website is

My theater company website is

Latkes & Lefse has its own website where you can order directly.

Also, I can be found on Linked In and Facebook.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

My daughter and grandchildren were the inspiration for Latkes & Lefse. My daughter asked me for my latkes recipe and told me she asked her mother-in-law for her lefse recipe and I thought Latkes & Lefse would be a great book title. So I made up a story to go with the title. The rest is Latkes & Lefse history! (Recipes for both are included in the book.)

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I’m often inspired by the experiences of the children in my family circle, and also by the social issues that affect children, universally. For example, the notion that multi-religious households are often asked to pick just one food or holiday to represent their family celebrations seemed like an arbitrary restriction. So when I was looking for a story to tell to fit with the title Latkes & Lefse, this seemed like a good way to address that issue. To be clear, it’s a fictional story – but it’s not an out of the ordinary experience.

# How do you deal with creative block?

I’ve been told that procrastination (which is creative block by any other name) is actually an emotional disorder. I’m not sure I buy that. Sometimes I have something to write. Sometimes I don’t. It’s just that simple. Luckily for me, I don’t often have to write on a deadline anymore, so I write when I have something to say. When I don’t have anything to write, I read. Which, for me, is always inspiring.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

I’m not sure there are “mistakes” per se. Writers have to write what they want to write about. The mistake might be thinking that the first draft of something is so perfect it doesn’t need revision or editing. Everything I’ve ever written has endured the editing and revision process from professionals who know what they’re doing. I know I’m not objective about my writing – and I know it’s important to both maintain your vision of the story being told, while listening to people knowledgeable about the art of storytelling. That’s why I was so grateful that Alli Brydon agreed to edit Latkes & Lefse. It’s a better book for her input.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

Titles are really personal and subjective. I don’t have any insight into how someone should choose a title for their story. For me, it’s always, does it capture the essence of the story I’m trying to tell? If so, then I keep it. If not, then I keep on working on the story until the title becomes clear to me. For picture book covers, I always enlist the aid of the illustrator. Their visual sense and artistry is an additional layer of input that is important in selecting the right illustration for the cover. I think Maria Hecher, the illustrator for Latkes & Lefse did a wonderful job, and with Alli’s input, the cover just came together organically.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Thankfully, I don’t get a lot of bad reviews and negative feedback – and when I do get the occasional negative remark, I try to put it in perspective, and if it seems like a valid criticism, I’ll keep it in mind for the next writing project. But a writer should expect both positive and negative feedback. Everyone has an opinion. But not everyone’s opinion should influence the writer.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

Since I used to a children’s book editor myself, I had to transition from thinking like an editor to thinking like a writer – and THEN back to thinking like an editor when I’m reviewing a draft of one of my stories. After all these years, I think I’m better at being a bit more objective in subsequent drafts. However, at the end of the day, I still think it’s best to have my work reviewed by a knowledgeable editor, because she’ll always find something, or think of something, that I haven’t.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

The best thing I encountered while working on Latkes & Lefse was working with the illustrator, Maria Hecher. Her design and illustrating abilities truly tapped into the very pictures I saw in my mind when I was writing the story. I always love working with illustrators, but Maria made it all a seamless and painless experience.

The most surprising thing was how easy Book Baby made the self-publishing process. As I mentioned, this was my first experience with self-publishing, and the quality of their work and the ease of working with them as a printer was truly terrific. If they hadn’t made it so simple to use their system, I don’t think I would have been willing to try self-publishing. But now that I have, I’m a believer. And I have another book in the works for later this year!

I don’t have any worst experiences – thank goodness!

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I think if I don’t enjoy the story I’m telling, how can I expect anyone else to? So, I definitely have to be personally satisfied with both subject and craft – which I believe leads to keeping my readers interested and happy.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

I’ve written lots of stories for a variety of media: books, stage and film. Each media has its own ebb and flow, aka structural requirements – and a writer has to be sensitive to the emotions she generates at certain points of a story. I do occasionally use my own emotional involvement in a story as a barometer for whether or not the story is doing its job.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

I don’t really have any creativity tricks. When I’m teaching or mentoring young writers, I’ll provide a prompt that gets them going. For myself, I’ll read the news to see if there’s something in it that sparks something in me. I read a great book or watch a great film or engaging TV series when I’m not writing something myself – just to keep myself thinking about story and story universes. I also read and re-read The Art of Dramatic Writing, by Lajos Egri. He’s like ground zero for me when I’m writing.

# What are your plans for future books?

Well, now that I know how awesome it is to self-publish, I’m planning another book that will be coming out later this year. Once again, I’m working with a professional editor–Simone Kaplan, an amazing art director Semadar Megged, and a really talented young illustrator Laura Jager, on a book that’s at once personal and universal: on experiencing loss. I’m really looking forward to publishing this one.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I really love crime fiction. Since my first early reading days (when I devoured Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey Twins), I’ve been obsessed with the problem-solving aspects of murder mysteries.

Ironically, my first editorial publishing job in NY, after college, was at Grosset & Dunlap – the publishers for those series – and I got to meet the writers and work with the editor. So, that cemented my love for those series permanently.

I’ve recently rediscovered the joy of hula-hooping. When it’s too cold for me to swim, I now use a weighted hula hoop for as long as I can do it without losing the orbit. It amuses my grandchildren to no end that their Nana hula hoops. 🙂


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