When he came out on the hillside, the storm had died down and there was a sunset gathering. Luke was crouched just below him looking tired to death, ten times more tired than he had looked after Mr. Wedding caught him. And as soon as he set eyes on him, David discovered that knowing all about someone need not change your feelings at all. Luke might be lord of fire and master of mischief. He might have done a number of appalling things and be going to do more before he was through. But David was simply very glad to see him again, and extremely sorry that he had been so slow fetching the hammer that he had tired Luke out.
- Eight Days of Luke (1975)
You can’t go wrong with the Book Smugglers’ opinionated take on things.
“It always fascinates me how DWJ never underestimates the children she is writing for.”
Auras and Dragons and Single Malt: Meeting Diana Wynne Jones in Edinburgh
I only met Diana Wynne Jones in person once, at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2003. I was fortunate enough to share several dinners with her over the course of a week or so, along with other authors and publishers, and also to drink whisky with her late one night in the hotel (I never drink whisky. I made an exception.). She told me then that she could see something akin to auras around people. I can’t remember what my aura was like, in terms of colour and so on, but I recall my relief when she pronounced it to be a positive and creative manifestation.
Before that Edinburgh book festival, I had known Diana for a long time through her work. Authors aren’t always what you expect, and sometimes they are very different from their books, and far less appealing. But Diana was more like one of her own characters than almost any other author I can think of, both kindly funny and sharp at the same time, apparently erratic but actually totally in control, and perhaps most importantly, full of the kind of mythic energy that made it very easy to believe that she could indeed see auras. And see dragons, though I can’t remember exactly where the dragons came in to the conversation, other than that she said some people were in fact dragons in disguise. Possibly metaphorical dragons, or indeed even “pull the leg of an Australian author” dragons. It’s very difficult to joke and be serious about mythical or spiritual things at the same time, but Diana could manage it.
I was prepared to be disappointed by the real Diana Wynne Jones, because I loved her books so much, and had done so since I was about 11 or 12 and read Power of Three, followed shortly thereafter by every single DWJ book I could get my hands on. But I wasn’t disappointed.