Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel.com and Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest, travel author and writer, Diane Stresing.Diane is an expert on hiking within sixty miles of Cleveland, Ohio, and recently launched is her guidebook, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Cleveland.Diane's articles have appeared in BookPage, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Parent, Child Care Business, Christian Science Monitor, Computer Buyer's Guide & Handbook, Heartland USA, Home Cooking, LAPTOP, on Space.com, and in a variety of custom and trade publications.
Since 1992, she has served as a correspondent for the Record Publishing Company group of newspapers.Good day Diane and thank you for participating in our interview.Thanks for asking me, Norm!.
Norm:.Diane, why did you want to write about hiking within sixty miles of Cleveland?.Diane:.I love being outdoors, and I love exploring my own neck of the woods. Traveling far and wide is exciting, but you can also have great experiences right around your home.
That's why this book is helpful, I think. You can pick it up and find the perfect hike whether you have an hour or an afternoon to spend on the trail.Norm:.Could you describe to our readers six outings you would suggest to couples seeking romantic and unique hikes?.Diane:.
Six, hmmm? Well.Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga National Valley Park comes to mind first, because it's so impressive (70 feet of whoosh!) but it's also pretty well known. A UNIQUE and romantic trip there would be a winter picnic in the coldest of cold weather (pack a REALLY hot thermos of cocoa!) When the falls freeze which doesn't happen every winter, it has to be REALLY cold for a long time now THAT IS a memorable scene. Plus, when it's that cold, you'll have the falls viewing area (almost) to yourself, making it more romantic.
A lesser-known spot is Babb Run Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary, on the south end of the valley. Owned by the City of Cuyahoga Falls, it's very quiet, beautiful, and romantic.Since I think solitude is conducive to romance, I'd suggest picking a beach in the late fall or early winter both Huntington Beach (west of Cleveland) and Mentor Lagoon Nature Preserve (east) come to mind. At both properties, you can walk from the woods to the shores of Lake Erie a striking contrast, and one that almost guarantees you'll be alone--in the off season, at least.Very active types would enjoy a good hike at Nelson's Ledges (you'll definitely need some hand-holding on the red trail it's a tough one!).And of course, strolling through Little Italy, stopping for lunch or sweets before wandering around Lakeview Cemetery would be a very romantic way to spend an afternoon.
Norm:.As a follow up to the last question, many couples choose to marry in parks or similar venues, could you describe a few of these venues that you know of where couples tie the knot in the Cleveland area?.Diane:.Again, Brandywine Falls is top-of-mind for both wedding and bridal party photos. You can count the limos there on Saturdays from mid-spring through fall. Fewer couples choose Squire's Castle at North Chagrin Reservation, but it is a good park for a wedding and for pictures, and it has several very nice, large picnic areas with accessible parking, good for guests.
Norm:.What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book? How did you overcome these challenges?.Diane:.Developing the list of hike locations was the greatest challenge.
I wanted very much to offer a selection of hikes that hadn't been covered in previous guides to Northeast Ohio; at the same time, I felt it wouldn't be much of a guide without best-known old standbys like Brandywine Falls and Nelson's Ledges.I also wanted to balance the book with various terrains and scenery for hikers, and I wanted to include hikes for people who don't think of themselves as hikers. You know, a lot of people say, I love to walk but I don't hike, and I think that's a little short-sighted. Just walking around the perimeter of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a three-mile trek! (Plus, where else in Cleveland can you see Zebras??) So, I included it in the book, along with some of the old standbys and, happily, there were a few new parks being dedicated while I was writing the book, so I included those, too.
Norm:.When did your passion for writing begin? What kept you going?.Diane:.Easy. It all started in fifth grade when my teacher, Mr. Schmidt, announced that we'd begin each day by writing for 15 minutes.
That felt like FOREVER to me, because I hated to write. As the days went by, I hated it less&then I began to like it&then it became my favorite part of the day. (Thanks, Mr. Schmidt, wherever you are!).Norm:.Who are your favorite authors, and why do they inspire you?.
Diane:.I read an eclectic assortment. I love science and technology subjects, both in nonfiction and in fiction form Michael Creighton is one of my favorites; my three favorites by him are Airframe, Prey, and Timeline. I couldn't put them down because his research was so accurate and the stories were so gripping.Authors that really hooked me on reading as a child were good storytellers Ursula LeGuin, for one and I also loved a mystery.
Nancy Drew was one of my heroes (technically, she's a heroine, I know). I was also nuts about horses, so I read everything that Marguerite Henry wrote. She told a good story, and there was always a good horse involved, which kept me engrossed.In the past few years, I've also developed a real affinity for young adult literature. In general, the genre appeals to me because it seems more immediate, more real than fiction for grown ups. Inside Ned's Head is a prime example and as a bonus, it had me laughing out loud.
Norm:.Besides writing for magazines and authoring a guidebook, what other writing gigs have you found profitable or rewarding?.Diane:.I have several clients for whom I write Marketing/PR copy for both print and online publication and I enjoy that because I feel like I'm offering the clients customers a solution. I also enjoy writing for custom publishers, because the approach is more problem/solution oriented vs. traditional journalism.
In general, I think all writing assignments are rewarding because I learn so much in the process. You have to learn about a subject to write about it.Norm:.
Can you tell us how you found representation for your book?.Diane:.It was a terrific stroke of luck! I sent a book proposal to Menasha Ridge Press, and the acquisitions editor at the time (Bud Zehmer) declined it almost immediately.
But, he said he liked my style∧ mentioned that he needed an author in Cleveland who likes to hike. That was me! And even better, everyone at Menasha Ridge Press is very, very friendly, accessible, and good at what they do. Working with them has been a great pleasure.
Norm:.What's your advice to achieve success as a writer?.Diane:.Keep reading, writing, and submitting. Every day. And for heaven's sake, stay on top of the markets!.
Norm:.What is next for Diane Stresing?.Diane:.Ummm&I've got 12 deadlines staring me down from my bulletin board right now. They're a mix, from features for my local paper to client newsletters to a marketing plan. Later this year, I'll have a poem published in LADYBUG and a quiz published in Highlights for Children.
I'm very excited about that; I love the idea that kids will laugh or learn from something I wrote. When I hit a slow period, I usually take a day off and bike or hike. Although I SHOULD sit down and polish the middle grade novel I've written so I can submit it∧ finish the YA novel I'm writing∧ ∧&if I ever run out of things to do, I guess I'll clean the house. J.
Thanks Diane and good luck with all of your future endeavours..Norm Goldman is the editor of the travel site http://www.sketchandtravel.com and the book reviewing site, http://www.
bookpleasures.com.Norm is also a travel writer and he and his artist wife, Lily Azerad-Goldman meld words with art focusing on romantic destinations.
Norm's book reviewing site, http://www.bookpleasures.com comprises over 25 international reviewers who come from all walks of life and review all genre.
By: Norm Goldman