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Parkite author offers message of hope

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record staff
For Diana Alserda, writing her first novel Scattered Hearts acted as personal therapy for the Parkite.
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Writing a novel was both painful and a source of therapy and fulfillment for Diane Alserda.

The five-year Park City resident and children’s book author took two years to complete her first fiction novel "Scattered Hearts," which was published last June.

"Sometimes I had to walk away from my laptop in tears or anxiety attacks," Alserda said. But she also said, "It has been one of the neatest experiences and fulfilling experiences of my life."

She will have a book signing Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble in Murray, located at 5249 South State. The Spotted Frog Bookstore will also host a book signing for her sometime in November.

Her novel is based on true events that happened in her life, events she claims are unique to her.

"We all have challenging times, but I have since learned that mine are more than average," Alserda said. "There were times while writing the book that I couldn’t sleep at night because I relived some of these projects. I was in therapy during this. They say that writing it down helps, it does to a certain extent, and it helped me release what I’ve gone through."

Dr. Lynn Richards, her therapist, told her during one of her sessions, "They say it takes courage to look inside yourself, but even more courage to write it down for all the world to see."

Alserda, 53, decided to take on the daunting project of writing a novel because of motivation from a friend and the influence of Donald Trump.

"I bought a book from Trump on how to get rich, and he said ‘for you to be happy in life you got to jump in and do what your passion is.’ So, I thought I should write a book and when I started, it kind of poured out," Alserda said. "This is what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize it until the Donald Trump book helped me learn to appreciate the ability I had. To dive into a full novel, was a completely different experience. It was something that I wanted to do."

Her book follows a fictional protagonist, based on Alserda, who experiences a plethora of tribulations. Her goal for the book is to show how to overcome any problem.

In the introduction she writes a note to the reader, which reads, "All of us have a strength that exists deep inside, and with any experience you face, if you can learn to rely on this personal, inner fortitude, you can and will get through anything. We are more resilient and stronger than we allow ourselves to know."

Endurance is what she has learned through her life and through her novel she hopes she can help others cope with their problems.

The story follows the main character moving from Hawaii to Lake Tahoe. In Tahoe she develops a strong bond with a group of girls she calls the "Tahoe girls," they then go their separate ways that’s when the conflict begins.

"The villain of the story is all kinds of abuse, an ex-husband, suicide, diseases, alcohol, family members, a brain tumor, a demise of parents, it just goes on," Alserda said. "The protagonist goes through abuse, loss of twins, and everything that happens, one thing after another, the climax is being accused of a crime that I didn’t do. It just builds up and the end of the book, she is accepted and she’s pressing on and has learned that you embrace life and go forward."

While the events may seem depressing, Alserda claims the book is focused on finding the positive in a cruel world.

"There’s nothing depressing about it," Alserda said. "It’s about a strong woman who gets through things and the deep, deep friendships between these seven girlfriends, a very special support that comes from a man who is there for the protagonist. She’s not a scarred woman. It ends on a very happy note, kind of."

The novel is for many audiences. When she started, she thought it would be more of a "girly-book, romance novel." Not so. A bookstore owner in Lake Tahoe placed her book in the mysteries and adventures category, Alserda said.

"I had a FBI agent friend read it on a trip and he said he couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel room to get back into the book. It’s not just a girly-book romance novel like I thought it would be. I’ve had all ages read it. Anybody can get something from this book."

Her foremost reason for writing "Scattered Hearts," she said, is to spread the word that people can get through anything.

"There have been some painful times and some happy times, but no matter how hard things get, no matter what, you can get through it and you’re not alone," Alserda said. "With each hardship you dig down deep inside because you have to get through it. You learn that you have a strength in there and you come out of it stronger, more resilient and find more strength than you ever dreamed you had."

Alserda will have a book signing Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble in Murray, located at 5249 South State. The Spotted Frog Bookstore will also host a book signing for her sometime in November. She is currently working on a sequel to "Scattered Hearts." For more information or to purchase a copy of Alserda’s book, readers can find it on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or e-mail tahoegirls@comcast.net.

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