Niles native pens children’s book

Published 8:45 am Friday, October 8, 2021

NILES — A Niles native recently let her imagination run away with her and is now seeing a longtime dream come true.

Diane Blank Creekmur, now of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, recently penned her first children’s book, “Holly’s Big Imagination.” The book, illustrated by Wisconsin-based artist Kate Nead, follows a child named Holly as she overcomes her fear of the dark.

“This is my dream come true,” Creekmur said.

The daughter of a podiatrist, Creekmur spent her early years in Niles before graduating from Niles High School in 1974. After high school, she obtained a communications and journalism degree at Western Michigan University, interning at the Niles Daily Star, and later submitting articles to the Grand Rapids Press and Amway Corporation. Even after moving to Wisconsin and raising two children, the author continued to write freelance work.

“Niles was a great place to grow up,” Creekmur said.

Creekmur said her book is more than 30 years in the making. The author began writing her main character Holly’s story in the 1980s while raising her daughter.

“My daughter was young, and when she was a little girl, it started reminding me of things that happened to me when I was a little girl and fears I had,” Creekmur said. “I just started developing a storyline. I wanted to write a story that would be about a child’s fear and how they conquer that fear.”

Though Creekmur fell in love with writing Holly’s story, she put her book down due to work and family obligations that took much of her time. It was not until the last few years that Creekmur felt inspired to finish her story, seek an illustrator and get her book published.
“This is my true passion, and what I probably should have been all along,” Creekmur said of writing. “This is something I thought I would never do. I feel like this is my gift to the world. I want people to see it and enjoy it and learn from it and experience what Holly experiences.”

While that may be the story behind “Holly’s Big Imagination,” Creekmur’s love of writing began much earlier — inside a grade-school classroom at Niles’ Eastside Elementary. Creekmur credits her first-grade teacher Helen Hoover with inspiring her love of reading and writing.

“She really stimulated our imaginations and made it a lot of fun,” Creekmur recalled. “She said to my parents, ‘[Creekmur] should be a writer.’ That is how I originally evolved into what I am doing now.”

Though Creekmur has not seen Hoover or any member of Hoover’s family in decades, Creekmur said she hopes her former teacher knew the impact she had on her students.

“I wish she could see me know,” Creekmur said. “I achieved my dream, and she really was the inspiration at the beginning for my whole life’s course. I can’t say enough about how important a good teacher is. They really influence our lives.”

After decades of waiting and a lifetime of writing, Creekmur is ready to share her creation with the world, and she hopes it will make an impact on readers.

“I’m very excited,” Creekmur said. “If it can help one little boy or girl overcome their fear of the dark, I think it will be a good thing.”

Visit for a copy of “Holly’s Big Imagination.” Copies will also be sold at Shelf Life Bookstore, 223 N. Fourth St., Niles, in the coming weeks.

A formal book launch is scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 13 on Creekmur’s official author Facebook page, where watchers can learn more about the book and participate in book giveaways and a question and answer session.