Diane Simmons grew up on a farm in the high, dry country of Eastern Oregon. After earning a BA in history from the University of Oregon, she began her writing career as a journalist in Idaho. Her first investigative piece involved a ponzi schemer in a mink tie and rattlesnake boots; some years later he ended up as "Hank" in the short story, "Little America." Simmons also worked on newspapers in Alaska and Washington. Her newspaper reporter's novel, Let the Bastards Freeze in the Dark, about hapless environmental terrorists in pipeline Alaska, was published by Simon and Schuster. She moved to New York City where she earned an MA in creative writing from The City College of New York and a Ph.D in English Literature from The City University of New York - Graduate Center.
Her novel Dreams Like Thunder, set on a farm in Eastern Oregon at the end of the frontier, won the Oregon Book Award. Her short story collection, Little America, about life on the road in the West, won the Ohio State University Prize for Short Fiction. Her story, "Yukon River," was runner-up for the Missouri Review Editor's Prize, and her "Setting the Water, was runner-up for the 2016 Fish Memoir Prize (Ireland). Short stories have appeared in Fiction Magazine, Northwest Review, Missouri Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Drunken Boat, Blood Orange Review and elsewhere.