April 26, 2011

Made It Moment: Lesley Diehl

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:44 am

Dumpster Dying

Please welcome Lesley Diehl to the blog. We’ve had a couple of Moments involving the way children connect to our feelings of success. But I guarantee that no one’s ever seen one like Lesley’s before. Read on!

Lesley Diehl

I guess I don’t believe in “made it” moments, at least not the kind that come like a bolt of lighting and feel much like the “Eureka” moment experienced by that old Greek philosopher guy. “Made it moments” are softer, more subtle, warmer, fuller, and can bring tears and laughter. Mine came a few weeks ago. I had planned a book party to introduce my second book, one that is set in rural Florida and features a protagonist retired from preschool teaching. I’d advertised the event in the library where it was to be held, and in the local newspaper.

When the afternoon arrived, I was at the event early—chewing my nails and worrying whether I had an engaging and exciting enough program to hold the attention of the probably ten or so people I expected to attend. Imagine my surprise when over thirty people filled the room.

No, no. That’s not the moment.

About to begin my program, I was tapped on the arm by a small girl, about ten years old, with brown hair and a face full of freckles. She held in her hand two pieces of paper, one a social security card, the other a birth certificate. “Hi,” she said, “My name is the same as your protagonist and I can prove it.” She handed me the two documents and sure enough, she had the name of “Emily Rhodes” the very same as my fifty-five year old protagonist.

She was all smiles. Her glee at bearing the same name as someone she saw as famous, a character in print, was catching. I couldn’t help grinning at her delight. I briefly looked at the documents, but she was insistent I give them more than a cursory glance. I did. Her mother said they had read the press release in the newspaper and her daughter was insistent they attend the event. They could not stay for the program, but she bought two books, one for her and one for her best friend. Better than the sales, she gave me a huge hug and acted as if I had done something very special just for her.

Actually she had done something very special–and just for me. It was my “made it moment,” one I will never forget nor will I take her joy and enthusiasm for granted.

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. Back north, she devotes her afternoons to writing and, when the sun sets, relaxing on the bank of her trout stream, sipping tea or a local microbrew. In her words, “I come to the “Big Lake” to write, hang out in cowboy bars, and immerse myself in the Florida that used to be. No beaches, no bikinis, no sand. Just cows, horses, and gators.”


  1. What a great story, Lesley, that definitely must have made your day! Congratulations on the new book. Thanks for posting, Jenny!

    Comment by Stacy Juba — April 26, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  2. Oh, Lesley, what a heart-warming story. I have a fan in Canada, with the last name of McKee, who found my books when she googled her cat’s name – Marmalade – and came up with the name of the librarian’s cat in my Biscuit McKee mystery series. Her email to me about her discovery, and about how much she liked my books, was one of those “moments” for me. But I think your story is a LOT BETTER than mine!

    Comment by Fran Stewart — April 26, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  3. Love that story! I hope she gave you her autograph. :)

    Comment by Judy — April 26, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  4. How awesome! My husband shares a name with a protag, too, except we put an “E” on the end of Thorne. Fun stuff!!

    Comment by Savvy — April 26, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  5. What a charming story! And what a nice life, to alternate between sunsets on trout streams and cowboy bars and gators!

    Comment by Sara — April 26, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  6. I just love this story, and kids are so great, so irrepressible. I’ll have to check out your book. I taught preschool years ago before I went back to school, and became a psychotherapist. You could say one grew out of the other. I will seek out your book. Thanks for the posting, Jenny.

    Comment by Lil Gluckstern — April 27, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  7. Thanks everyone for sharing this moment with me and thanks to Jenny for posting my story.

    Comment by Lesley Diehl — April 27, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  8. Leslie, what a story! I can only imagine being that little girl and having my name immortalized in a book. Perhaps you’ve created the next mystery author.
    So pleased to have you with Oak Tree Press. Discovering your novel and others like you makes my job as acquisitions so exciting.

    Comment by Sunny Frazier — May 17, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  9. Lesley, That story was so touching that it makes anything I can say pale in comparison. That would be a Made It Moment for me, too. Wonderful!

    Comment by Marja McGraw — May 17, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

  10. Great story Leslie. Library events can be the best and worst. Treasure that moment and bring it out when the numbers aren’t so great or better yet, I hope the numbers only keep growing!

    Comment by W.S, Gager — May 17, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

  11. Lovely story, Lesley. I’m running going to use one of my virtural blog visitor’s names in my next novel. I hope it turns out as well. :)

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — May 18, 2011 @ 1:50 am

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