What is the quirkiest
thing you have ever done? I’m a pretty traditional person, but one year
when we went to a family camp I rode the zip line through the trees of
When did you first discover that you were a writer? There were a few hints over the years. First, I wrote and illustrated a book about a dog in grade school. Next, in high school, the English teacher gave my name to the local newspaper, The Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette, to be teen correspondent for Phoenix Christian High. I enjoyed writing for them two years of high school and another year afterwards on special assignments.
Finally, when I became an empty nester a young man encouraged
me to take the Manuscript Writing class at
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. I write Biblical Fiction, and it is my favorite genre. I also enjoy many other time periods of historical fiction, especially Regency, the American West, and stories about farmers, ranchers, or settlers. I’m currently listening to a romcom by an author friend who writes clean romance, and I’m enjoying it immensely. Women’s fiction is great. I enjoy some, romantic suspense, but I’m picky.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world? I remember that God is in control. I bring my appointments before him and ask, “Do you want me to do this? If so, order my time and give me strength.” My husband and I have a time of daily Bible Study together, and we read through and discuss the Bible each year. I also spend a lot of time in the Bible as I research my books.
How do you choose your characters’ names? Since I write biblical novels, several names come from the biblical account. I research other Hebrew names for meaningful names for the character, or in some cases, the animal. In Whirlwind, the sequel to Rain, I named an eagle “Hevel” which means “breath or vapor.” I enjoyed writing animals into both books, Elijah’s ravens and a yellow dog in Rain, golden eagles and a war horse in Whirlwind.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? I’m proudest of our three grown children, two daughters and a son, all kind, responsible, and thoughtful adults. I’m also proud I have now finished two novels and am hoping to write several more.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why? I love horses, but I’m pretty sure I would be a sloth. I hope I’m not truly lazy, but I need a lot of quiet, am methodical in my approach to things, and enjoy the occasional nap.
What is your favorite food? I guess it must be Skippy Super-Chunk Peanut Butter, because I have it for breakfast at least five times a week, nearly always spread over toast - my husband’s homemade Dutch oven bread. Hmm. Maybe that homemade bread is actually my favorite food. Toss-up!
Tell us about the
featured book? My debut novel, Rain, tells the story of a
mysterious prophet (Elijah), a desperate youth, and a relentless queen during
the time of
Rain was published in 2021 and finaled in The Christy Award. This year it is a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Award.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Aban paused when he saw the dried blood, even though he knew time was running out. A smear stained the altar, flowing to a darker brown. He gathered a corner of his tunic and tried to scrub it clean, but only a few flakes fell away. He let his tunic drop. It would take water and a hyssop brush to get in the crevices, and there would be more blood next sacrifice, but everything in him wanted to erase the dirty stain.
His gaze swept over the bronze feet, the outstretched arms, and the head of the bull. The god’s image seemed smaller somehow without the holy fire burning at its feet. Although the other boys still slept, Aban glanced swiftly around before he fell prostrate on the cool marble floor. Outside, hinges moaned as the city gate opened. The other acolytes could wake soon—no more time to delay.
“Oh, Melqart, beloved of our queen and protector of
He shouldn’t be here at all—not before he was elevated to priest. But he had passed the Debir, seen it empty, and taken the opportunity to speak privately with the god. He began to back away on hands and knees, then paused once more.
“Have others sought you out? We all yearn to know the secrets of power.” He listened, but for what? The god to speak? He held his breath, but he only heard a rooster crow from a distant housetop. He paused, then closed with the formal blessings that Melqart expected.
A few seconds later, he jumped out the rear window—the very one he guarded during nightly rituals to keep freeloaders from climbing into the temple. He stifled a curse when the ill-fitting tunic caught on the window frame, tightening against the scars on his back. He loosed it with a yank. He’d traded for the garment with one of the Israelite boys he taught to read—a tunic of fine linen for this scratchy one smelling of sheep dung. The lad hadn’t believed his good fortune. But the humble garb made a disguise of sorts. Aban could walk the streets unnoticed, and today that was worth the price.
How can readers find you on the Internet? Drop by my website at https://danamcneely.com, sign up for my newsletter, and receive a free novella. The Eyes of the Lord is a prequel to Rain.
Thank you, Dana for sharing Rain with my blog readers and me. I’m on a tight book deadline, but I look forward to reading the book when I’m finished.
Readers, here’s a link to the book.
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