Diane Namm has been a storyteller her whole life and has authored 65 books and screenplays. We sat down with Diane to ask her all about her newest book for children, Latkes & Lefse.
How long have you been writing or when did you start?
I’ve been writing since I was a child, but I published my first two books in 1985. Baby’s Record Book and Baby’s Nursery Rhymes, both for Simon & Schuster.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
Answer 2: I’ve written over 65 books for children and several young adult and adult non-fiction books. My favorite is always my most recent book, which, at the moment happens to be Latkes & Lefse. But my second favorite is always Little Bear, published by Scholastic.
What books did you grow up reading?
I started reading at the age of four, and I read pretty much anything and everything I could get my hands on, including Greek, Roman and Norse myths., Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins and Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia Brown. I've read Every book written by Beverly Cleary. I've read Classic fairy tales, Aesop’s fables., Five Little Peppers. I've also read all of Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley. My mother was a middle school English teacher so whatever books she brought home for her lesson plans and whatever I could carry home from the public and school libraries was what I’d read.
What inspired the idea for your book?
A conversation with my daughter about recipes she wanted for her children’s school’s multi- cultural cookbook inspired me.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
My daughter asked me for my Hannukah latkes recipe, which she was planning to contribute to the school cookbook along with her mother-in-law’s recipe for lefse, a Norwegian Christmas pancake. I said “latkes & lefse” would make a great book title. My daughter agreed. Hence the idea for the story and the title were born. And the book contains both recipes!
How important was professional editing to your book’s development?
As a former children’s book editor (I was an editor before I was an author), I know how important it is to have a professional & knowledgeable editor for any book project. Luckily for me, an editor with with whom I had worked on multiple projects at Sterling Books, now has her own editorial agency (AlliBrydonCreative) and she agreed to edit and manage my project through print-ready deliverable files. She made an enormous difference in the quality of my book and I’m eternally grateful to her for getting the book over the finish line.
When was the last time you Googled yourself and what did you find? I almost never google myself. But my husband tells me there are hundreds of pages listing my websites, bios, social media, books, films, plays and multiple interviews. According to my grandchildren, I’m famous. But since I live mostly in my own head, the rest of it just seems surreal. Does anyone in your family read your books? When she was alive, my mother, Edith Namm, (god bless her) read everything I wrote. My husband and my daughter still do, as do a couple of my close friends. With Latkes & Lefse, my grandchildren are particularly interested in reading it, repeatedly. As are the grandchildren of my close friends.
Who has been the biggest supporter of your writing? I’d have to say I’ve been most fortunate to have had a lot of writing support. From my mother, my husband, my daughter and the editors with whom I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working, like Alli.
If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be? Three words…. Persistent. Imaginative. Hopeful.
To that end, Latkes & Lefse is available on Amazon & will appear at the all the 2023 international book fairs for booksellers and libraries. Here’s hoping it brings as much joy to those who read it as it brought me in the writing of it.
Visit DianeNamm.com for more information.