Diane Lunsford is embarking on her second career – and she's off to a great start.
An office manager for a construction materials company, Lunsford, 56, has been a lover of words from day one.
That love is now on paper, in the form of her first novel, “Echo Ranch,” a story about the trials and tribulations that strengthen the bond between mother and child.
“I wanted to come up with a story that showed a triangle between relationships and hope and new beginnings,” Lunsford, of Sterling, said.
“Echo Ranch” is the story of Lou and Jake Croft who agree that their rebellious daughter, Dani, needs a change of scenery and perspective. As soon as school lets out for the summer, Lou and Dani embark on a road trip out west to a working horse ranch on the Western Slope of Colorado.
As the story unfolds, the reader finds that Echo Ranch is a return to Lou's past. Lou left the ranch and its patriarch, Zack Calhoun, 20 years ago.
Lou's memories fuel her decision to take her daughter to Echo Ranch, with the hope of strengthening their relationship.
“Although Dani is an accomplished equestrian with a fierce love of horses, her teenage empire is compromised and she is not quite ready to relinquish her anger,” the book's bio reads.
Lunsford said her own children were the inspiration for her first novel.
“The inspiration was very much both of my children. Both are teenagers and both are equestrians,” Lunsford said.
And as any mother of a girl knows, the teenage years can be interesting.
“I think the teen years for a mother and a daughter are a formidable time because it's a love-hate relationship,” she said.
Lunsford says her years of travel were fundamental in making “Echo Ranch” creditable.
She has lived throughout the country from Maine to Florida and Colorado to California.
The majority of her writing experience, she says, comes from “an inherent and voracious love of reading.”
Lunsford has attended many workshops and conferences that have provided the necessary tools to assist her in staying abreast of the ever changing publishing industry, she said.
In addition to writing, Lunsford is a book reviewer – also an important tool in spawning a great writer, she says.
“... Reading is a vital element to honing and developing your craft and style,” she said.
“Echo Ranch” is a platform for many books to come, Lunsford said.
“ There's definitely merit there for a sequel,” she said.
“When something grabs at you and inspires you, you have to pay attention to it and put it down on paper.”
If you go:
Diane Lunsford will hold a book signing for “Echo Ranch” on June 7 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Loudoun Valley Vineyards, 38516 Charlestown Pike, Waterford.
A portion of the event's proceeds will be donated to the Faith and Family Foundation at Wheatland Farm.