Dianne Durante, Ed.S. – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Everyday Symbols for Joyful Living. I explore 7 ordinary symbols (penny, crayon, elastic band, chocolate kiss, pencil, seashell and candle) that remind us of everything that we need to have a happy, healthy life.

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born and raised in Chicago and moved to the New York/ New Jersey area after college. There I was a teacher/ guidance counselor for 20 years and I realized that I wanted to start my own practice. In 1990 I moved to Naples, FL and began my own Marriage & Family Therapy practice. I has been doing motivational speaking since arriving in Florida and, I believe, my hallmark is my ability to improvise with groups and to motivate them towards positive change.

I have traveled extensively to experience many different cultures and I always look for connections and similarities in human nature from place to place.

What inspired you to write this book?

When my daughter was in 7th grade I was invited to motivate 350 students at her school. I looked for a simple way to engage the students while passing on a message to them. With this age group I knew that it was very important to make the material interesting, interactive and easy to remember. I became aware that there was a universal nature to these symbols that allowed most people to relate to or identify with them. Over the years I found ways to modify this original lecture to many different groups, all of whom had a great reaction to it.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide to self-publish?

The first time I self published under the direction of my friend who publishes hospice newsletters. At that time it made the most sense to self- publish, since I had the guidance of a friend in the business. I also wasn’t sure how my lecture would translate into a book so it was a bit of a risk, but I was willing to try. After realizing that the information was still pertinent and worked well in print we made some content and cosmetic updates. As a result, in 2009, she published the illustrated second edition based on the success of the original version.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Just doing it! Being disciplined enough and taking the time to write after a busy day or week at work.

How do you do research for your books?

Being a therapist, my research is done by keeping current with trends and working in the field. Working with many people in practice is my biggest asset, since it allows me to keep aware of the experiences that individuals have each day.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I’ve come to realize, no matter what year it is or what the current political climate is, there are certain basic building blocks of a happy life. Gathering feedback from clients, family, friends and people in my community is the best that there is for finding those answers.

What are you reading now?

Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life by Keri Smith and The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

Everything form self- help to mystery to humor. My reading selections and favorite authors change based on my mood.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

My daughter and I are working on Everyday Symbols for Surviving Grief. We will use simple symbols to help people navigate the murky waters of recent loss.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

I’ve come to realize, no matter what year it is or what the current political climate is, there are certain basic building blocks of a happy life. Gathering feedback from clients, family, friends and people in my community is the best that there is for finding those answers.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I lecture and present programs in my community as well as at state and national conferences. I seek out opportunities to do keynote speaking or adaptations of my program in different settings. I work with the PR firm PRPR, which has helped me get my articles published in a number of trade publications and journals.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

They can visit my website (www.DianneDurante.com) or call me at 800-545-5801.