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Member Spotlight: Diane Wolff

author Diane Wolff and an image of her book The Khan's Mistake

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? A story makes sense of the world. It is an archetypal pattern. It is a beautiful puzzle to solve. In my case, I explain Asia to Americans and to the world. I am the medium between two worlds. I think as Americans, we need to understand Asia, so that the Pacific is also a “pond.” Because America has been a presence in the Pacific since WWII, people across Asia are more familiar with America than America is with them. Many across Asia learn English in school. Americans need to know culture, geography and history more.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I have three methods: meditation, swimming and gardening. Meditation opens the channels to the unconscious. Swimming releases endorphins. Gardening connects to the earth.

What is your favorite time to write? Early morning is best for the gateways to the unconscious are fresh from the dream state.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Go through to the end. Don’t get sidetracked. If you come across an edit that needs to be made or a point that needs amplification or a character that needs development, make a note, come back to it, but plunge ahead. Cross the Gobi and get to the end. Then go back and make the edits on the next pass through. Otherwise, you will never get to the end.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? My work on the Mongol Empire depends heavily on research, and many of the books are rare or out of print, especially the great Victorian scholars. Even specialized Asian libraries may not have the books, so in previous times this meant travel to libraries or inter-library loan. The internet has made rare books available, especially the research sites that include rare journals and the ability to search them as an independent scholar.

Diane Wolff’s The Khan’s Mistake: The Fight for the Throne is out now with Essential Puree LLC.