As a youngster Diane was steeped in the oral tradition. Her early childhood years in Louisiana were spent on her grandparent’s porch with the family and neighbors swapping stories, lies, and tales. After moving to California as an adolescent, Diane has fond memories of the annual trek back to Louisiana with her family, where she recalls fishing in the bayou, making hoecake bread, singing, and storytelling. Her raconteur father would invariably lead the way with family news and history. As she grew older, Diane played the piano and sang in church choirs, performed in various stage productions, and became proficient in American Sign Language, all of which contributed to a completely unforeseen career in storytelling.
The seed for this career was planted in 1980, after Diane and her husband Tom adopted their second child. Four-year-old Joey was a boy who had been raised in a series of foster homes in front of a TV set. Diane soon realized that the nightly reading of stories that was eagerly anticipated by her daughter Cicely was absolutely of no interest to Joey. Committed to breaking him from TV and increasing his readiness for school, Diane started to story read/tell in the style for which she is so well known today, i.e., dynamic characterization with animation, expression, and interaction. Some time later her church was giving a Christmas party for foster and homeless kids and Diane was program committee chair. She told some Christmas stories and lo and behold, a career was born. She started to receive requests to tell at parties, schools, and libraries. Eventually she had to choose between her office job of seventeen years and the ever-increasing requests to tell stories. She decided that the opportunity to make a living at something that one loves and finds so rewarding was definitely worth the risk. Happily she has never looked back.
Diane has wowed audiences across the globe from Graz, Austria, to Auckland, New Zealand. She has toured and performed internationally many times over, including Holland, France, Bermuda, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Diane has visited almost every state in the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, to perform at major festivals, theaters, conferences, universities, schools, libraries, senior centers, detention facilities, churches—you name it. Providing workshops for other tellers, ministers, and teachers, as well as serving as keynote speaker/storyteller at professional conferences and conventions has become a rewarding part of her work. Diane continues to focus on schools and libraries as much as possible however, because she believes this is where the tradition of storytelling is to be nurtured and the lessons of the stories most need to be heard. In fact, she was honored to be featured in Language of Literature, McDougal Littell’s latest textbook series for middle school grades.