About the Book
Book: Finding True North
Author: Dianne Beck
Genre: YA Fiction
Release Date: January 31, 2023
Finding True North
North Carolina Simon hates her name. As a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in the 1970s, she has a lot of challenges. People not only make fun of her name, but also scoff at her eccentric family. Dad’s a hoarder, Mom’s an unpredictable artist, and her older sister lives with an autism diagnosis. After a humiliating middle school event shatters her confidence as a singer, North determines to break free from the stigma surrounding her family.
As she starts high school, North tells people to call her Carol. Armed with a new name, she updates her hair and clothes, befriends a popular boy in hopes of joining his band, distances herself from her two longtime friends, and avoids being seen with her adoring and dependent sister. Everything seems to be going according to plan until her sister suddenly disappears.
Carol is forced to face the fact that fitting in and being popular have come at a cost, and that the sister she might lose could have the answer to what she’s been looking for all along.
Finding True North is a prequel to Sticks and Stones, but each can be read as stand-alone novels.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Dianne Beck spent much of her career teaching students ranging from Kindergarten through adult before achieving her dream of publishing her first novel, Sticks and Stones. She hopes young people and adults can find faith and strength in her stories. When not writing or reading a good book, she savors every moment possible with family and friends, and loves a good steaming cup of coffee or tea. Visit her author website at diannebeck.com.
More from Dianne
One of the things I love most about being an author of Christian fiction is showing readers how God is working in the lives of my characters, just like he’s working in each of our lives. While I hope readers see how my main characters are wrestling with and growing in faith, my side characters actually play a huge role. In both my novels I have a supporting character who is unique and often viewed as quirky or weak to the world around them. By showing how God loves, guides, and equips these characters, I hope to encourage anyone who has ever felt weak or out of place, which I think all of us have at some point. I also hope it reminds readers that God is often found in unexpected people and places.
In Finding True North, I spent a significant amount of time developing the character of Aria, who is main character North’s older sister. Aria is autistic, and during the 1970s, the time this book was set, autism wasn’t well understood. Because of this, many people don’t give Aria much of a chance, and miss out on all the depth and beauty she has to offer.
My inspiration for Aria came from two Bible verses: 1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV), which says, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,” along with “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV). Aria may be the kind of character who would be looked down on by many in the world, but she is used powerfully by God. One of the ways she does is with her extreme joy and bold love of the Lord. These characteristics are what ultimately impact and shape North as the story moves forward.
If you enjoy Finding True North, check out my first novel, Sticks and Stones, and stay tuned for the Sticks and Stones sequel, currently in the works!
Interview with Dianne
How do you select the names of your characters?
I usually choose names that are meaningful to me in some way, either because I’ve known someone with the name or because the meaning of the name fits my character’s description or traits in some way.
For this novel, I spent a significant amount of time thinking about my main character North’s name because of her struggle to know her worth. By giving her a name she was insecure about, that symbolically represented the rest of her story and who she truly is, I hoped to emphasize my story’s message even more.
The secondary character, Aria, who plays a significant role in North’s life, also has special meaning in her name. Aria means “song” or “melody” in Italian, as well as meaning “air.” I thought this was perfect because Aria loves North’s singing and encourages her dream to be a singer. Because of this and so many other reasons shown in her character, Aria is also a breath of fresh air to those who get to know her.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I have SO many favorites, but my top two would probably be The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I also had a book gifted to me by my grandmother, titled Every Child’s Story Book which contained classic short stories and poems. I loved that book, read it over and over, and still have it in my bookshelf. Opening it brings me many fond childhood memories of my grandmother and of the joy I found in reading.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I would be less afraid to pursue my writing dreams, and persist in finding the time to write even when life was busy. I always knew I wanted to write, and to be a published author, but when I went to college I felt like I also needed to be practical. That led me to major in public relations and marketing, finding a job first in that arena, writing news copy and public relations materials for a hospital. While I was writing, I missed being creative, and also felt a little unfulfilled. That’s when I pursued teaching, which I loved, but it did leave me with little time to write, especially once I had my own children. I finally realized that I actually had to make the time in my schedule to write if I was ever going to make my dream a reality, even if it was for only a little bit each day or week. Once I was consistent, I not only felt better because I was doing something I loved, but I also was able to finish my first novel, Sticks and Stones.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
I always have a character in mind first, and then build events based on who that character is, and what I think might be challenging for that character. My characters are sometimes a mix of people I’ve known, and sometimes simply people I create based on observations of others or things I hear in the news, etc.
What do you like to do when not writing?
I love reading, especially my Bible and spending time in God’s word, in addition to other books, fiction or nonfiction. I love exercising in the mornings, getting outside when I can, and love my morning coffee while reading my Bible and journaling. Most of all, I love spending time with my family and friends, doing pretty much anything at all with them. I’m very grateful for each and every one of them.
Thank you for letting us get to know you better!
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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 17
Cover Lover Book Review, September 18
Artistic Nobody, September 19
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 19
lakesidelivingsite, September 20
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 21
The Book Club Network, September 22
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 23
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24
Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, September 25
For Him and My Family, September 26
Girls in white dresses, September 27
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 28 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, September 28
To celebrate her tour, Dianne is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.