Diana Elizabeth Jones The Bearer’s Burden engages readers in the bleak realities of World War I. In an extraordinary effort to uncover the secrets of his younger brother, Joe Mathieson travels deeper into the horrors of a war that he never had any intention of being a part of. This historical fiction traverses the reader into a world of chaos and darkness, and finding the light and love amidst the destruction.
Growing up in Dundee, Scotland, I loved to write. When I wasn’t inventing stories I was reading anything I could: newspapers, encyclopaedias, biographies and novels. As family and career became my focus the impetus and time I once had to write began to fade. After achieving my Masters in Linguistics I found myself immersed in the world of education, teaching every grade from Kindergarten to University, but restricting my writing to reports and academic papers. However in the year 2000, while convalescing from an illness, I had the time to pursue my creative side. I tried my hand at the visual arts but, while it was fun, I found that I was sadly inept with a brush in my hand. Eventually, I found myself in a writing class and rediscovered the thrill of staring at a piece of white paper and watching it fill with black squiggles. My output began to grow. I entered my stories to competitions, even winning a few. I was hooked again and writing once more became my constant companion. When I am writing, even when my characters are not co-operating, I am content and relaxed.
When I read, it delights me how close to human emotion and how deep into a character’s psyche writers can take me. I am fascinated by what makes people ‘tick’, what drives them to the actions and relationships that fill their lives. When I create a character it allows me explore this, to follow that line of thought into a whole new world via the character’s eye. In my writing I hope I can share that for someone else to discover.
My first novel, The Bearer’s Burden, is a historical fiction set in France during WWI. I have been fascinated with this time period all my life, but it wasn’t until adulthood that I began to recall that as a child I had sat with my grandfather, a WWI veteran, for hours as he told me story upon story about the war and his four years in France. Although I could no longer remember any of what he told me, I did remember the sense of vital importance in his words, the respect for his reflections even though the details were no longer there to grab onto. In 2008 I wrote a short story about a WWI nurse. I wrestled with its imperfections and finally put it side. Years later I tried turning it into a novel. A supporting male character I created began to overtake the nurse’s story. I became obsessed with his story, and as I wrote I felt as if he was telling the story and I was just along for the ride. Part of that ride evolved into living for three months among the Somme battlefields in northern France. In essence, with consciously knowing it I was modeling this character after my grandfather, and inventing a life he might have lived.
Currently I am in the final stages of a short story collection: stories inspired by images and places that have impressed, and sometimes even haunted, me from my travels in the past few years. I have already started work on a sequel to The Bearer’s