You're getting a bonus this week. Someone challenged me to do an interview with myself for one of the posts. So here it is.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I suppose occasionally I include something in a character that comes from me. I have had a couple of school teachers. I've written about seamstresses, and I sew. And sometimes my characters have to deal with problems I've had in my own life. However, I really believe almost all authors do this.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I decided to change this answer. While I was in college, a couple of friends and I went hiking in the area around campus. At one place a pipe about a foot in diameter crossed a deep chasm. I walked across the chasm on that pipe. Only after I was on the other side did I realize that I would have been killed if I had fallen.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I didn't know people didn't write. I just thought it was part of life until I married a man who didn't read or write. He wasn't illiterate. He just didn't like to read or write. He still doesn't write, but he has read all my books, except one, and he's starting on that now.
I didn't even consider being a professional writer until May of 1984. You can read the testimony at the bottom of the main page of my web site: www.LenaNelsonDooley.com
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I like to read almost anything. If I don't have anything else available, I'll read everything on the label of the cereal box while I eat breakfast--if I'm eating alone. I prefer fiction, but sometimes I'll get a really good non-fiction, too. I like every kind of fiction, except horror. Romance, adventure, suspense, mystery, futuristic, almost all kinds.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Home to Her Heart, The Other Brother, His Brother's Castoff, Double Deception, Gerda's Lawman, Mother's Old Quilt in Scraps of Love, Pirate's Prize, Windswept Weddings, Never Say Never, A Daughter's Quest have all been published, and some of them have won awards. The Spinster and the Cowboy in The Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner, Can You Help Me? in Carolina Carpenter Brides, Christmas Confusion in Montana Mistletoe, and Who Am I? will all come out in 2007. And I have one book that has never sold.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
First, I'm centered on the Lord, seeking what He wants me to do, not what other people want me to do. Also, my husband helps me remember what is really important. That's probably one of the reasons the Lord gave him to me.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes the names just come to me. Other times I search databases, especially for foreign names during a specific historical period.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Probably finally learning to hear God's voice, knowing that He will lead me where I should go.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Okay, this is a crazy answer, but I'd like to be a giraffe. I've been short all my life. I'd like to see the world from that vaulted perspective.
What is your favorite food?
I didn't realize how hard this one was to answer either. I love most anything chocolate, except Flan. When they started making Chocolate Flan in the US, I hated it. I prefer the kind I learned to love in Guadalajara, Mexico. I also love Key Lime Pie, avocado enchiladas, queso (if it's not too hot), prime rib. My list could become very long if I continued.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
At first, I would do an information dump, especially description. Tracie Peterson helped me know that this type of information had to be woven in bits through the story. I love to create a strong sense of setting, but now I don't dump it all at once. Another thing that took a while was the difference between showing and telling. I quickly learned the difference, but there are so many nuances of this, and once again Tracie Peterson, as my editor, helped me learn the depths of them.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Learn from those who've gone before you. Listen to their sage advice. Don't cling to your pet phraseology. And remember that only those authors who submit get published.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Minnesota Brothers is a repackage of my second, third, fourth, and fifth novels. The Other Brother, His Brother's Castoff, Double Deception, and Gerda's Lawman make up a series of historical novels about immigrants who came to Minnesota in the 1890s. They were first published by Heartsong Presents. Barbour Publishing put all the books in one volume. The good thing about this is that you get the whole series without starting to read them and then having to go find the next one.
This book is my first book to go into Walmart stores as well as Christian bookstores and other major chains.
Leave a comment on this interview for a chance to win a copy of Minnesota Brothers. These books were fun to write, and they've been well received by readers.