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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Diane McCallum writes 'Outside' the lines

  • Diane McCallum is finally ready to share a labor of love that spans more than 20 years.

    Her first novel, “Outsider,” has been published. She will have a book signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Pittsburg Hastings Store.

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  • Diane McCallum is finally ready to share a labor of love that spans more than 20 years.
    Her first novel, “Outsider,” has been published. She will have a book signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Pittsburg Hastings Store.
    “I started the book in 1990,” she said. “I just felt my way through the novel. Probably most of 20 years was spent re-writing. I finally decided I’d never stop messing with it until I published it.”
    McCallum said she has probably been writing as long as she’s been able to read.
    “My family liked to go on camping trips, and on one trip I wrote an entire little book with illustrations,” she said. “I’ve sort of dabbled in general fiction. One of my huge influences is Ray Bradbury. I met him once at a book signing in Boulder, Colo.”
    Bradbury’s influence covers a huge literary area. He wrote fantasy, science fiction, mystery, operas and poems, and was even nominated for an Academy Award for writing the screenplay for John Huston’s classic adaptation of “Moby Dick.”
    “Outsider” has a definite science fiction slant. Main character Sean Foster is a college student who dreams of becoming a teacher. That ends when he is sentenced to 20  years in prison, which must be served on a planet far from Earth. Enroute there, the prison ship is destroyed and Sean is the only survivor. Rescued by the mysterious crew of the spaceship Outsider, he and the crew agree to team up and investigate why the prison ship was destroyed.
    However, Outsider crashes near a secluded colony, and everyone onboard is taken prisoner by a sinister man whose colony hides some dark secrets.
    “A lot of writers have the whole thing figured out before they write, but I can’t do that,” McCallum said. “I’ll have a scene in mind, and trust my characters to follow them through. It’s kind of an adventure to write, because I don’t know what’s going to happen either.”
    Born in Nebraska, she made a trip around the world with the People to People program when she was a high school senior. She attended Morningside College in Iowa, where she had a radio program, served as an editor of the literary magazine and was assistant editor of the college newspaper.
    She met her future husband, Paul McCallum, at Morningside. After spending a few years in New Hampshire, they now live in Pittsburg and he is a member of the Pittsburg State University faculty.
    Still a lover of the outdoors, McCallum is a member of Sperry-Galligar Audubon and enjoys birding with friends.
    She has worked at Names and Numbers for 13 years.
    “My co-workers have been very supportive, and  many have bought books,” she said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Using CreateSpace, she wrote and formatted her book for publication. It is now available on Amazon.com.
    “When I first saw it pop up on Amazon, I did a little dance and made sounds,” McCallum said. “This is kind of a dream come true for me.”
    The book is available in paperback and on Kindle.
    “I’d love it if people would come out and see me Saturday at Hastings,” she said. “They can buy a copy of the book if they want to.”
    As a bonus, she’s had some “Outsider” bookmarks printed at PSU.
    “They really did a nice job with them,” she said.
    More books are coming.
    “I will write more novels,” McCallum said. “This story is not finished.”
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