Diane Magras (pronounced MAY-gris) is an award-winning author whom The New York Times called a “master storyteller.” Her work has been a selection or nominee for numerous distinctions, including the Kids’ IndieNext List, ALSC Children’s Notable List, Junior Library Guild, Maine Student Book Award, and many more. Her debut, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. An unabashed fan of libraries, history, and the perfect cup of tea, Diane lives in Maine with her husband and son. She uses the pronouns she/her.
Diane Magras is an award-winning author whom The New York Times called a “master storyteller.” Her work has been a selection and nominee for numerous distinctions, including the Kids’ IndieNext List, ALSC Children’s Notable List, Junior Library Guild, Maine Student Book Award, and many more. Her debut, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and won the Maine Library Association’s Lupine Award. An unabashed fan of libraries (where she wrote her first novel as a teenager), history (especially from cultures or people who’ve rarely had their story told), and the perfect cup of tea, Diane lives in Maine with her husband and son and uses the pronouns she/her.
A Bit More
My name is Diane Magras (my pronouns are she/her) and I write middle grade novels from a corner space overlooking the woods. I wrote my first novel in my middle school library during study hall and took notes on it at my public library downtown. My first two published books are the award-winning New York Times Editors’ Choice The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, and its companion novel: The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter. Secret of the Shadow Beasts, which introduces a brand-new world to my readers, is my third book. All three books are full of adventures with castles and swords making appearances. And forests. And secrets. And questions about which stories tell the truth.
I love studying history and the stories you don’t often hear—especially from cultures that rarely have their side of the story told, and the people (women and children in particular) whose voices have never been prominent. “Truth” is an interesting concept in history. It’s sometimes challenging to hear, though if we’re brave, humble, and unafraid to to learn, we’ll get closer and closer to understanding.
I find inspiration in research, which I do through books and sometimes on the ground. I grew up on Mount Desert Island in Maine surrounded by a dramatic natural landscape—think granite ledges by the sea, towering cliffs, and silent forests—which is one of the reasons that natural worlds always feature in my writing.
I love to write. I sketch ideas in notebooks, then write a very brief outline, figure out the storyline for each of my major characters, and write the first draft. I use the outline as a guide but depart from it when I need to. (Yes, my characters tell me what to do, so the story often changes.) But I always have a handful of key scenes that stay, enough to make a skeleton. I then write a full and very detailed outline, which helps with my revision process. With it and with readers’ notes, I revise and rewrite; my novels generally go through three to five full drafts. Writing from scratch is great fun, but revision and polishing is a true pleasure. (It didn’t always feel that way!)
For over a decade, I’ve lived in the woods in southern Maine with the sea a short drive away. I’m married to a writer and book critic Michael Magras and we have a high schooler who is also a very avid reader as our son (he’s also been an important editor for me; he’s been a reader and advisor for all my books). It’s a very bookish household!
For more about me and my work, here are some interviews, articles I’ve written, reviews, and lists!
Review (The Mad Wolf’s Daughter): The Historical Novel Society
Starred Review (The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter audiobook): Sound Commentary
Review (The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter): Portland Press Herald
Review (The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter): LitPick
Interview: Brunswick Times Record
Brightly: “Unexpected Paths: Encouraging Middle Grade Readers to Look Beyond the Obvious”
School Library Journal: “Hearing Their Voices: Supporting Female Empowerment in Middle Grade Fiction for Tweens and Teens”
Review (The Hunt for The Mad Wolf’s Daughter): Kirkus
Review (The Mad Wolf’s Daughter): The New York Times
Portland Press Herald: Book Review
MG at Heart Writers’ Toolbox: Using Imagined Conversations to Draw Character Relationships
Review: The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
MG Book Village: “My Audience”
Nerdy Book Club: “Bridging Sides and Understanding Villains”
BookPage: “Finding the Real Hero: Dismantling Gender Roles in the Middle Grade Adventure”
Interview: Brunswick Times Record: “A Hero’s Journey”
Pop! Goes the Reader: “Feminizing the Classic Adventure”
Interview: Beth McMullen’s Blog
The Loud Library: “The Power of Book Covers”
MG Book Village: “My Audience”
Galley Talk: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter (PW)
12 Extra-Exciting Action-Adventure Books with Girls at the Center