I was born in Gorton, and grew up in Longsight, Manchester into what was to become a large family of seven brothers and five sisters.
As a child my playground was Belle Vue, one of the largest amusement parks in Europe, in its day. There are many stories I could tell about those days, some incredibly funny, and others that I'm really not too proud to tell - but if pushed and cajoled, I would! However, it was all just harmless fun at the end of the day, and maybe one day I will put pen to paper and tell those tales, for I have always been known as a great storyteller.
I can't boast a University or College education, simply because I rarely ever went to school. The reasons for my incredibly poor attendance are too personal to discuss here. However, what I did achieve during my years hiding under a bed at home when I should have been at school - it was inconceivable for my father to become aware of the fact that his daughter was a prolific truant, believe me - was my love of the written word, and that's where I found my passion - I read book after book after book. I am proud to say that I have had a great career to date, not because I have excellent credentials through my schooling but simply because I am a LOVER OF BOOKS, of the written word, and the school of life!
It was as a very young girl that I developed my voracious passion for books, and I read all the classics: Dickens, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope and, of course, my favourite of all the classic writers, Thomas Hardy. As a teenager, Stephen King and James Herbert were amongst my favourite authors, and then I got a taste for the political thriller - Daniel Silva’s “Moscow Rules” sparking my love for that genre - 'Moscow Rules' was a truly fantastic read in its day and I'm sure that it still is.
However, one book I will always remember as being the ultimate classic - in my very humble opinion - is ' The Lancashire Witches' written by William Harrison Ainsworth - I read this book when I was in my early twenties and have promised to re-visit it some time soon. I'm sure that I will read it in a different light, given what life has thrown at me during the wonderful, if sometimes incredibly sad times in my life, and those wonderful and unforgettable days of my youth. Today, I’m a huge, huge fan of John Grisham’s.
For my first novel, Rings of Smoke, I drew on real life experiences, particularly in respect of the protagonist Erin Fallon. With stalkers, a runaway mother and abduction, I had the bones for what I believed was a good story. It took almost four years to write, as I had a full time job.
I published the book on Amazon in order to test the market. Although I thought I had something sellable, I needed to know what total strangers thought about it and I have to say that the feedback has been very encouraging. Enough at least to spur me into writing the sequel, which many of those who reviewed Rings of Smoke said they were looking forward to reading.
My ultimate goal is to work full-time as a writer, as I believe that I have many more stories to tell.
Name: Diane O'Toole
Lives in: Manchester, United Kingdom
Company: My own . . . and I quite enjoy it!
Unique traits: My dreams of course. How could they belong to anyone else? My resilience and zest for life - no matter what's thrown at me!