Hi, I’m Diane Anton Sherrouse. Just like everything in my home, there’s a story behind the images along The Reading Road. A “village” of four immigrant grandparents, as well as my parents, fed me stories and songs in five languages. Communication was rich and colorful.
My early roots grew beneath a towering Red Oak tree, planted on the day my mother was born, in my grandparents’ back yard. It’s here, in all my memory’s glory, on these pages. It was under that canopy that I wrote my first poem about leaf shadows when I was four. Later, I stole eggs from the nest of a persistent pigeon who tried to share space with me there (and took frequent revenge). In spite of it, I grew to love all birds as well as bees and lots of curious creatures in nature. Still later, my husband, Jim, and I had a daughter, Jeannette, who hunted her first Easter eggs beneath the old oak. My blog will have stories about my own reading road, and how they got to be stories for others to read.
A detour took me away from published writing while I worked in my interior design business. This career included custom residential and commercial spaces in hotels, office buildings, restaurants, and even the conversion of a Sonic drive-in to a ‘50’s eat-in restaurant featured in a TV commercial with Frankie Avalon, their celebrity spokesperson. My two young grandsons
wreaked havoc during filming, but that’s one of many stories about their antics. When I returned to university life as an adult, environmental biology and literature classes cinched my decision to write. My design clients had provided all the “character development” I needed. The setting, detail, and plotting of various designs had prepared me for my next horizon, and
became key to my writing in any genre.
My early published work includes:
regular essay columns in The Daily Advertiser, a large Louisiana newspaper,
as well as personal essays in The Louisiana Conservationist magazine,
and others. Some of my drawings, poems, and photos have appeared in various publications.
First place in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez fiction contest
First place in a Mississippi Poetry Society contest.
The Writer’s Guild of Acadiana invited me to give children’s writing workshops and to judge writing contests.
Highlights for Children magazine editors chose one of my articles as their “Arts Feature of the Year.”
QED Seal (Quality, Excellence, Design) awarded to LEMON TREES AND BUMBLEBEES from Digital Book World at their 2014 International Conference
Field Editor for Birds and Blooms magazine
Although it has been a joy to write in several genres, my first love is writing stories which help children hear the music in words and life.
I hope you’ll share some of your stories and walk The Reading Road with me.
You can hear me pronounce my name and tell a little bit about it on www.teachingbooks.net.
Twelve Things Most People Don’t Know About Me
- My mother wanted to name me Deborah, but my paternal grandfather loved the song, “Smile for me, my Diane.” Daddy called me “Skeeter”. My grandsons now call me “D”.
- Mother did get to choose my middle name, Elaine; but I use my family surname, Anton, as my middle name when I write.
- My first pet was a Rhode Island Red hen that I named “Pinkie” when I was three. She loved to take rides in my lap while my grandfather pulled me in my red wagon. The 8mm movies look like a video from “The Little Rascals.”
- I waited in front of my grandparents’ house so that I could convince the mailman that I lived there and would need to receive all my mail in that “grand” house.
- For the first day of kindergarden, I chose my red corduroy overalls (rather than the delicate pink hand-smocked dress my grandmother made for me), red cowgirl boots, and long braids. Dad proudly escorted me, but Mother couldn’t bear to come. In later years, a passion for ballet made me re-think and embrace the “delicate pink” image.
- The family thought I would be a problem in school, because I often read a book at the very top of the playground slide and refused to come inside when the teacher insisted. My mother had to be called in order to “make me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
- I grew up in Texas, speaking four languages with my four immigrant grandparents until my teachers in school insisted that I speak only English. Some of the spicier phrases from each language are still embedded in my brain, in the voices of each grandparent.
- School did become my greatest joy, much to the relief of my family who finally escaped from what they still reference as my exhausting and unending questions.
- I love to plan meals and tables with the same themes and plotting techniques I use in stories.
- There is a story being written in my head every hour of the day. This makes household tasks move swiftly.
- My camera and I can often be found in a tree, under a bush, in the woods, along water, or anywhere that something intriguing has led me. Sometimes my adventures lead to stories that seem to write themselves.
- My family generates many ideas and constantly inspires me to share with as many people, young and young-at-heart, as I can reach. If I had one wish, it would be that all children, everywhere, could have the family love, and later, marriage, that have carried me through my life.