Alumni Spotlight Stories

Diane (Lechleitner) Maass, M.S. '05 Lives a Dream
Publishing her First Novel

Diane (Lechleitner) Maass, M.S. '05 always wanted to write a novel. Having crafted countless poems and short stories, the Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.  resident achieved that lifelong goal in the form of the novel, "Faron Goss." The first-time novel, set in her native Maine, is getting a fair amount of exciting notice - even winning the 2021 Foreword Reviews Indies Award for General Fiction.

We asked the novelist and Mercy alumna 5 Questions 

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment so far?


A: As an artist, I feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I finish a painting that turns out well, or when I write a poem I consider a good one. But most of all I am proud of having written my novel, “Faron Goss,” and getting it published.



Q. In either your work or daily life, what motivates you most?


A: Career-wise, I’ve never felt particularly motivated by anything. I’ve held different jobs, some of them art-related, most of them not. But visual art and writing were always in the background, something I did when the time was right. What motivates my creativity? I don’t know . . . sometimes a particular word, or joy or sadness, and many times, nature . . . especially the weather, which I find holds strong sway over moods.



Q:  How did Mercy College impact your life?


A: Indirectly. After working as a substitute librarian in a Special Act school district I decided I’d like to teach. Mercy was near where I live so I enrolled. While in the education program I had to create lesson plans, which reconnected me with art, which I later used to engage my students in the classroom. Eventually, as my desire to make art was rekindled I left teaching and began writing more seriously, short stories at first, then a novel. In-between, I paint.



Q: Select just 3 words that describe the Mercy College experience.


A: Unforeseen, surprising consequences.



Q: What one piece of advice would you share with a current Mercy College student?


A: Don’t give up, it’s never too late to set a goal and work towards fulfilling it. Many people have a creative side that remains dormant while working at another career, but ways can always be found to use your interest in art. Be open minded—you might, as in my case, graduate with a teaching degree . . . but it may end up leading you in a completely different direction . . . which is okay!