The Short Bio
Diane Telgen enjoyed reading so much as a child that she would read anything and everything, even the encyclopedia! That’s probably why she grew up and started writing reference books about history and literature. Now she writes both fiction and nonfiction for young readers. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Diane is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
The Long Bio
My life as a writer began with my life as a reader. It began at age three, when my reading specialist mom taught me to how to make words out of letters. It occupied a little girl full of questions, and from then on I devoured books. I turned to the family set of World Book encyclopedias when nothing else was available, but preferred fairy tales, fantasies, and myths. My dad, a chemical analyst, shared his fascination with science and especially space: the Apollo landings, Star Trek, and, when I was old enough, writers from the Golden Age of science fiction.
A chance moment in my beloved elementary school library set my future course: I found a cool-looking Andre Norton novel with ringed planets and spaceships on the cover. On the title page, the librarian had penciled in the author’s birth name: Norton, Alice Mary. Wait. You mean GIRLS can write about SPACESHIPS?!?! After this revelation I started listing “writer” instead of “nurse” or “doctor” in the space for “future plans” in my school scrapbook.
I dabbled in writing during my school years, being too busy with music and academics and reading for my own stories. I kept a diary—what teen girl didn’t back then?—and it was full of VERY DEEP THOUGHTS indeed. After majoring in English and Spanish at the University of Michigan I found a job at Gale Research in Detroit. I was hired onto the Contemporary Authors staff and spent my workdays reading and writing about authors, from best-sellers to academics. As a bonus, I sometimes received correspondence from favorite authors, including Lloyd Alexander and Arthur C. Clarke.
I turned freelance when my husband accepted a job transfer and we moved with our young son to London, England. After four years in the UK, we returned to Michigan and I branched out from writing short biographical profiles into writing longer histories. These included two historical reference books, Defining Moments: Brown v. Board of Education and Defining Moments: The Gilded Age.
I write because I am hopelessly, endlessly, forever fascinated with story. I can’t get enough stories, whether through novels or nonfiction or TV or film or magazine articles, and firmly believe that story is one of the things that defines us as human. Whether nonfiction or fiction, whether for kids or adults, my own writing gives me more ways to explore story and share my enthusiasm for stories with the world.
Bonus Material: Random Real-Life Facts about Diane
- I love crafting: knit, crochet, quilting—playing with color, no drawing talent needed.
- Despite being an absolute klutz growing up, I took up tae kwon do in my thirties, became a black belt, won a national championship, and became a 4th-degree master.
- I love felines, and because my husband stops me from becoming a
crazy cat ladyferocious feline fanatic, I volunteer at animal shelters instead.
- There is no #4. If you’re a rabid Monty Python fan like me, you’ll understand.
- I’ve played in community bands and flute orchestras and own a piccolo, C flute, alto flute and bass flute.
- My husband and I love to travel. We’ve been as far north as Finnish Lapland, and as far south as Antarctica—but I’ll always consider Michigan home. Now I live in Chicago, so it’s only a Great Lake away!