Diane Allen comes from the Yorkshire Dales. Her family has lived and farmed there for generations. She is proud of her heritage and can trace her lineage back beyond Cromwellian times.
When I first met her, it must be fifteen years ago, she was working at Magna Books in Long Preston. She then took over, with her associate, Helen Bibby, the running of the company.
Magna is like no other publisher and it is because of Diane and Helen and their warmth, generosity and integrity that you would go a long way before you would find anyone who has not basked in the experience of the Magna fun. If you go anywhere within hitting distance of Long Preston you are immediately invited to coffee, to lunch, to dinner and to a walk around the works there. It smells of paper and its atmosphere is like sinking into a duvet.
Diane has a family, children and grandchildren and a husband who supports not only Blackpool but Darlington football teams, which says a lot about his generosity too.
Of late she has found a new outlet for her talents and this week is publishing her first novel. I always thought she would do so, every time you talk to her she has wonderful tales to tell. She writes about her passions, the people and the land she loves.
Last weekend she launched her first book at a place called Taitlands, Stainforth which is just outside Settle. It's a Georgian mansion with another building which upstairs has a huge tea room and it was there at 3p.m. on Saturday that her friends and family gathered, to eat scones with cream and jam, drink huge pots of tea and listen to the music of the Moonbeams, a Yorkshire folk group.
Diane spoke about her book, signed copies at the back of the room and dispensed her own lovely brand of joy.
Diane, second left with Leah Fleming on the left, Julia Stagg next to Diane and Elizabeth Gill on the right. Leah Fleming is the author of The Captain's Daughter and her next book coming out on January 17th is The Girl Under the Olive Tree. Julia Stagg's latest book is The Parisian's Return. She is working on the next which is called The French Postmistress. Elizabeth Gill's book, Miss Appleby's Academy is published on Valentine's Day.