A love of writing and family has landed one local author in the Soup, Chicken Soup For The Soul that is.
A stay-at-home mom, Diane Stark moved to Brazil four years ago with her husband Eric and their five children.
"I've loved writing since childhood," Stark recently told The Brazil Times. "I remember when I was in elementary school, I would sit in my closet where no one could find me and write stories."
Her passion paid off, and Stark won the Young Author's Contest while attending fifth-grade in her hometown, Crown Point, Ind.
"Although I loved writing, I never considered it a career option," Stark said. "I went to college and became a teacher instead."
After teaching kindergarten for nine years, Stark decided to make a change four years ago.
"I resigned to become a stay-at-home mom. And that's when I finally got serious about my writing," she said.
At first, Stark used her parenting and teaching experience to write several articles for an on-line parenting publication.
"I knew about kids, so parenting magazines were a good place to start," Stark said. "I still write for them, but my writing has expanded to include all kinds of magazines now."
Stark expanded her writing skills to publish inspirational and often humorous stories in more than a dozen "Chicken Soup For The Soul" books, two "A Cup of Comfort" books and many religious magazines.
Her favorite topics to write about include family and faith. Stark's family, especially her husband, is supportive of her writing career.
"My husband Eric is so proud of what I'm doing and my mother-in-law baby-sits my toddler when I'm on a deadline," Stark said.
Stark said her children, who range from age 2-15, enjoy the idea of being part of her stories. But a hectic family life does require a little creativity and some late nights to stay on top of things.
Recently Stark has made the jump from being a writer to being a published author of her first book, a devotional guide for teachers. She has also started to write stories for children.
"I know what really matters in this life," Stark said. "So I try to focus on those things."
For Stark, that is enough.
"As far as the future of my writing career, I'm pretty happy with where I am. But someday, I'd love to branch out into fiction," Stark said. "Between my devotionals, parenting articles, and inspirational essays, I'm very focused on non-fiction right now."
However, that doesn't mean she's not willing to chase a dream
"My secret dream is to publish a romance novel," Stark said. "I completed my first one last year, but I haven't found a publisher for it yet."
While waiting to see where that goes, Stark is happy with her life and her writing career.
"My writing revolves around my family and my faith," Stark said. "And so does my life."