Diane T. Ashley is a best-selling writer with a dream to support herself by writing compelling fiction. She worked for thirty years for the Mississippi Legislature, in halls filled with history, politics and the movers and shakers of her home state. She found working with politicians to be easy, challenging and fulfilling. She worked with future governors, statewide elected officials, and congressmen. In the early years of her tenure, she watched the now famous John Grisham writing his first novel in the House chamber with pad and pen.
Her first published work came in 2008, a novella in the collection titled A Connecticut Christmas. It made the CBA and ECPA best-sellers lists and was a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Book of the Year contest in 2009. In quick succession she and her friend/mentor Aaron McCarver completed six historical novels for Heartsong Presents; three set in Tennessee and three in Mississippi. They went on to write another trilogy, Song of the River, which follows the lives and fortunes of three sisters as they ply the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. Each of these trilogies was compiled into a collection under the series names. In 2011 Diane’s second Christmas novella also hit the best-sellers lists and in 2012 she won the ACFW Carol Award. Her dream was coming true. But then—only two months after receiving the Carol Award—her husband died of a massive heart attack.
She met Gene Ashley in 1999 and after several years of falling deeper and deeper in love they married in 2002. Gene brought a new dimension into her life, his gentle spirit softening her own personality, teaching her about generosity and selflessness. One of the most difficult times in her life was his death and its aftermath. Everything changed, from her self-confidence to her plans for the future. She was alone. She and her co-author also parted ways and she found herself wondering if she could write a book on her own. Wondering if she even wanted to attempt it.
In 2014 she sold her home in central Mississippi and moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to be near lifelong friends. Slowly, with a lot of help from God, family and supportive friends, Diane recovered and found within herself a desire to write again. But the “magic” was gone. Her publisher rejected several proposals. Opportunities disappeared as the publishing world contracted. She continued going to conferences and meeting with her writing friends but inside she wondered if she would ever write for publication again.
Diane doesn’t yet know the answer to that question but she does know that trying to write has drawn her closer to God and His Word—a better dream than any number of novels. And yet she still has the desire to write stories, compelling stories. Stories about purpose and loss and love and danger. Stories about people who were born to be more. Stories about someone just like you.