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Imagining and Envisioning: An Interview with Diane Lowman, author of The Undiscovered Country

Diane Lowman

Diane is an award-winning essayist, memoirist, and poet. She served as Westport, CT’s inaugural Poet Laureate from 2019-2022. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine, Brain, Child and Brevity Blog, and she writes a regular column, Everything’s an Essay. Her first memoir, Nothing But Blue, was published in 2018, and her latest, The Undiscovered Country: Seeing Myself Through Shakespeare’s Eyes, was published in September 2023.

Diane received her MA in Shakespeare Studies from the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute in 2017. She has explored other forms of literary expression in more than 2,500 haiku and in essays on and reviews of Shakespeare’s plays in various academic publications.

Diane teaches writing, Shakespeare, and yoga, and divides her time between her hometown of Westport, CT, and her home away from home in Stratford Upon Avon, England.

You can buy The Undiscovered Country here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Both! I had “Senior Year, A Broad” firmly planted in my mind even before I started writing. But I felt that ultimately didn’t reflect the essence of the memoir. And it felt important to include Shakespeare in the title. He’d be happy!

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Like a dream had come true. Perhaps it’s not as dramatic or monumental as gestating and birthing a baby (I’ve done that twice), but the process is similar. So after all the “shitty” first, second, etc…drafts. The editing and rewriting. The imagining and envisioning. It’s quite amazing to receive that first ARC in the mail, and even more so to see others hold it in their hands!

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

My Greek grandfather was a poet who’d learned English in his own and went only through elementary school. He was a very well-read man and used to write poems to his children and grandchildren all the time. Middlebury professors like John Bertolini who taught me and pushed me to write better. And my son Dustin, who edited the first draft of this book and is a far better writer than I. And all the authors I love: Shakespeare, Beckett, Joyce, Didion…too many to name.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do!

I have an MBA and a PhD in Holistic Nutrition. I’m a yoga and meditation instructor.

And I worked on a German container ship for a summer at the age of 19, sailing from NY to Australia and New Zealand and back (read about it in my first memoir: Nothing But Blue).

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Knowing that my children will know this part of my story and paying homage to my second home.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

All the music and songs that Shakespeare included in his plays. Pretty obscure, but appropriate!

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope this book speaks to readers of every demographic, because the message—as completely cliche as it sounds—is to dream the impossible dream. Or as Nike says, Just Do It.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

Promoting this book! And always: I post a daily haiku with a photo I’ve taken on social media. And I write essays for my blog: Everything’s an Essay on Substack.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

Phenomenal! Author-centric. Supportive. Encouraging. Every single person that I worked with along the way was truly an expert in their field and made me feel like I was in very good, caring hands.

I’d tell other writers to do due diligence about all the publishing options, but to really think about what they want from and for their book. And then to call Atmosphere.

You can buy The Undiscovered Country here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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