July 23, 2024
Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled has been recognized for its outstanding writing, design and overall market appeal out of thousands of books submitted into the Book Excellence Awards.

Diane Covington-Carter is a best-selling, multiple award-winning author, journalist, photographer and commentator.

She has received numerous awards for her journalism, books, photography and NPR commentaries including a Book Excellence Award, Willa Award, Lowell Thomas Journalism Award, Gold Award from the Society of American Travel Writers, and an award from the Society for Professional Journalists.

She has authored three memoirs and one novel. Her articles have appeared in AARP.ORG, The Los Angeles Times, Hemispheres, Sierra.com, Reader’s Digest, France Today, and many other publications.

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Active in the literary community, Diane teaches creative writing in person and online and is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and Bay Area Travel Writers.

Diane holds both American and Australian passports, living in New Zealand and on an organic apple farm in Northern California, when she is not off having other travel adventures.

This one-on-one interview shares Diane’s background and experience writing Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled.

Tell Us About Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled.

June 1944, France. A young American Navy Lieutenant reaches out his hand to a hungry French orphan boy, Gilbert, and invites him to share a meal. This simple act of kindness will reverberate down generations, across cultures, languages and oceans.

Growing up, I found myself captivated by my father’s stories about his time in France during World War II, and the orphan boy, Gilbert, who he tried unsuccessfully to adopt and bring home to America. Gilbert felt like an invisible brother to me and France, where it had all taken place, felt like somewhere I already knew.

Fifty years after the war, I set out to find the man who could have become my brother. Through a combination of miracles and providence, I connected with Gilbert on what would have been my father’s 80th birthday.

Spanning eight decades, beginning and ending on the shores of Normandy, the book shares the remarkable true story of my journey to Gilbert, and how I was able to tell him that my father had never forgotten him. He did eventually become my ‘brother’ and I now visit Gilbert’s family each year in Normandy, where there are now four generations who know and love the story of my father and Gilbert.

Ultimately, the book is a testament to the importance of a father’s love and how a caring father can change lives in ways that ripple down through time.

What inspired you to write Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled?

I originally wrote the story of Finding Gilbert for Reader’s Digest in 2009, and it was voted the “#1 Must Read” on their website for a year. Readers sought me out by phone, email and letters telling me how much the story meant to them. The editor-in-chief even thanked me, saying how each person who worked on it was touched, moved and inspired.

I knew then that I had to write the book.

Writing a memoir presents a unique challenge of what to leave in and what to take out, especially because the story began before I was born and spans 80 years. So, it took me a while to write the book I wanted to write.

I am so happy that readers have loved the book and that it has won awards because it is a story that is so close to my heart. I am now working on a screenplay for it.

How did you feel when you found out you received a Book Excellence Award?

Writing is such a solitary pursuit, so it feels so good to know that your words have had an impact out in the world. Receiving a Book Excellence Award was a thrill!

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How did your background and experience influence your writing?

My father was a storyteller. He passed that down to me. Maybe that is why I have been compelled to be a writer, to be the ‘keeper of the stories’ in my family and in my life.

As a child, when I listened to my father’s stories of his time in France in World War II, his efforts to speak French, the kindness and gratitude of the French people at being liberated from the Germans, and of course, Gilbert, it was as if I could see it all in my mind. That could be when I discovered the power of words and of course, my first link to Gilbert.

Much later, at UCLA, I chose a major which required me to write my own thoughts and observations and I discovered my passion for writing. That was in my twenties and that passion has only increased over the decades.

My father’s stories led me to France and to Gilbert. They also created a deep connection to the D-Day anniversaries. As a journalist, I covered the 50th, 60th, 70th and 75th anniversaries of D-Day in France, working as a translator and guide for returning veterans.

This year, June 6th, 2024, marks the 80th anniversary.

My book’s story began 80 years ago, just after D-Day, and lives on to honor not only my father and Gilbert, but all the men of ‘The Greatest Generation’ who risked their lives in France, fighting to preserve our freedom.

What is one message you would like readers to remember?

I hope this story will remind readers of the power of love and kindness, the power of stories to soothe and calm us, and that our dreams and passions open a doorway to our destinies. For all the years that I studied French, I couldn’t explain the wonder the language held for me. And then, when I found Gilbert and was able to tell him that my father had never forgotten him, in French, he wept.

Secondly, if you have dreams that you have put on the back burner, go ahead, dust them off! It is never too late to bloom. It is never too late to fly.

Finally, we’re here to love and be loved. Everything else is like cotton candy—it looks pretty, but then you discover that there is no real substance to it, no real nourishment there. Someone said, “In the end, it’s all about who you love and letting them know.” That is true. I know that now. Finding Gilbert and writing this book have taught me that.

Purchasing the book

Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and other online bookstores. Readers are encouraged to purchase their copy today: https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Gilbert-Fulfilled-Diane-Covington-Carter-ebook/dp/B00K1DVXUM

To connect with Diane and receive updates about upcoming events and new book releases, visit: https://dianecovingtoncarter.com. You can also find Diane on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled by Diane Covington-Carter Wins Top Prize in International Book Excellence Awards Contest first appeared on Web and IT News.

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