Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Minnesota Brothers by Lena Nelson Dooley

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.

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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.


Judy said...

Lena, I LOVE your interview - it was a great idea.
I, too, read cereal boxes...LOL... and my DH also doesn't read or write for pleasure. As he and I approach our 40th anniversary you and I sound like twins separated at birth...ROTFL.

I hear you: you can only be published if you SUBMIT!

Alexis Jacobs said...

Great interview. I always loving hearing different writers perspectives. I'd love to read this book :)

Kristy Dykes said...

Great interview, Lena! Thanks for sharing! Jello, huh? Haha! Congrats on all you've accomplished. Your list is awesome! God bless--

Anonymous said...

Jello? Shame on you. ;^D The college I attended quit using the fountain after spending so much money on repairs from bubble bath. I'd like to hear more of your quirkiness! 'Sounds like we could get some good blackmail material. I've seen this book in the store and considered buying it. Maybe I'll win it instead!

Pammer said...

Wonderful interview. Thank whoever suggested it. :D

I've gotten my hands on some of the books mentioned in the Minnesota Brothers, but would love to read them all in order.

I was looking through my bookcase last night and for some strange reason, it's like a book of photgraphs for me, each book special for some reason or another. Several of yours were there and made me think of you, of course.
So give yourself a hug from me today.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

My goodness, you people are fast. Thank you for coming by. I did change my quirky thing this morning. Since other people were involved in the first one, I decided it didn't need to be on the Internet.

Ang said...

Thank you for this interview! I've been visiting your site for awhile now and I like that you've chosen to interview yourself.

Minnesota Brothers sounds great. I love books that are a series all comined into one!


Cherie said...

Great interview Lena! What a super idea!

Cherie Japp

Carolynn said...

Great interview...very interesting:)
Your book sounds great!

Lindsey said...

Great idea, interviewing yourself! :-) Feel free to enter me in the drawing - thanks!

C.Gwynn said...

I really enjoyed your self interview. I like learning more about authors I enjoy. I am looking forward to many more years of reading your books. God Bless you in your writing.

Norma said...

I enjoyed the interview - what's this about Jello? Please enter me in the draw.

Margo Carmichael said...

You forgot to tell us what animal you'd like to be! I'd like to be a pink flamingo. They have a pretty color and long legs and they get to eat a lot of shrimp. And occasionally, they fly.

Anonymous said...

what fun to interview yourself! I'd love to win a copy of your book. rose