Skinny Dip with Diana Star Helmer

What animal are you most like?

My answer to this question could unwind like an endless ball of yarn! But I shall try to be brief.

For as long as I can remem­ber, I have loved cats. Look­ing back at my life, I can see how I am cat-like. I watch; I always have. When I first went to school, I was an “elec­tive mute” for some time, just watch­ing and fig­ur­ing things out. (A cat may look at a king, you know.) Like cer­tain cats I have known, I can do things that absolute­ly must be done, even things I’d rather not do. But I am hap­pi­est to sim­ply be, with the sun and the rain and the grass and the trees, and all the mys­te­ri­ous creatures.

bk_Dog'sBestFriendWhich book of yours was the most difficult to write?

My Kindle novel, A Dog's Best Friend, is by far the most difficult writing I've undertaken to date. There are a few reasons:

First, the sto­ry’s hero is a dog, and I have lived only with cats. Yet, I felt this char­ac­ter need­ed to be a dog: dogs seem, to me, to be Everyman.

Sec­ond­ly, A Dog’s Best Friend is my first long work. I had been writ­ing for news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines for many years when I began the nov­el. I’d become quite sure of my abil­i­ty to tell an entire sto­ry in 600 – 800 words. I thought such skills would trans­late eas­i­ly to novel-writing.


Which of your books would make a good movie and who would be the star?

bk_threescroogesI cross my fingers and hope that all of my stories would make good movies, because good storytelling is cinematic: visual and concise.

Because most of my nov­els are about non-human ani­mals, this means ani­ma­tion would be mar­velous, and I love ani­ma­tion! The voic­es could then be any fan­tas­tic per­form­ers — no famous names required.

A Dog’s Best Friend would be nice as a film because it’s a buddy/road trip, a clas­sic film situation.

Elsie’s Afghan would be amaz­ing because of the mag­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion required.

The Three Scrooges would be a great can­di­date because half of its inspi­ra­tion — the Stooges, of course — began as film characters!

What's your favorite line from a book?

Good heavens, that's like asking what is my favorite shell on the beach!

I’ll try to nar­row it down:

Favorite line from anoth­er writer: 


My life is the poem I would have writ / but I could not both live and utter it.”

My favorite line from the book I’m work­ing on:

Oh, do not seek wis­dom, my dear. If you find it, you’ll nev­er be fit for mixed company.” 

What book do you tell everyone to read?

I seldom recommend books. It seems so personal! But I have mentioned to a few people The Book, by Alan Watts. I have gone back to it many times over the years.

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David LaRochelle
8 years ago

I think you should con­sid­er writ­ing “A Cat’s Best Friend,” Diana!

Diana Star Helmer
Diana Star Helmer
Reply to  David LaRochelle
8 years ago

What a won­der­ful idea. Thank you! A cat’s best friend would sure­ly be a mys­te­ri­ous crea­ture, one I’d love to know better!

Cheryl Holmes
Cheryl Holmes
8 years ago

love your quote- reminds me of the peo­ple who are always tak­ing pic­tures of their moments and miss­ing the moment.….. LOVE YOU!

Diana Star Helmer
Diana Star Helmer
Reply to  Cheryl Holmes
8 years ago

Yes, yes! I have noticed this, too! And noticed how very up-to-date Thore­au remains, all this time and tech­nol­o­gy lat­er. Love you, too!

Judy B.
8 years ago

That was an excel­lent inter­view! Elec­tive mute…a note­wor­thy topic…

Diana Star Helmer
Diana Star Helmer
Reply to  Judy B.
8 years ago

Thank you. I enjoyed the provoca­tive ques­tions! Some­times I won­der what oth­er ani­mals peo­ple I’ve met are most like … what kind of an ani­mal are YOU?