Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My first novel had quite a bit of my personal experience in it regarding the protagonist’s line of work as a reporter, the foods she enjoyed, and the way she took her coffee. But for this romantic Christmas novella, very little of my likes and dislikes appear in the story. True, I was also an elementary school teacher, as is the heroine, but beyond that, her character revealed itself to me as I wrote, and I loved getting to know her.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
My husband was a professional rodeo clown and bullfighter for many years. One summer at the Estes Park Night Rodeo in Colorado, he was seriously injured and could not continue with the comedy acts he presented between rodeo events. Forbidden by the doctor to even attend the performances, he stayed at the motel for three nights while I dressed up in his clown clothes, painted my face, and with the help of another bullfighter, carried on with the comedy routines. But that’s where I drew the line – no bullfighting for me! There’s a story in there somewhere, don’t you think?
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote my first story in the sixth grade. The teacher liked it so well, he asked me to read it in installments one evening during our class’s science camp in the mountains. Other students performed skits as “commercials” between the installments, and from that moment, I was hooked on writing.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Fiction opens our eyes and hearts to the truth, much like the parables that Jesus shared. The power of story can change a person’s life when the reader or listener relates to a character or that character’s challenges. Though I write romance, I read across the board, from contemporary suspense, adventure, and mystery, to Biblical fiction, women’s fiction, American historical, and mild sci-fi.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Most mornings I take our
Queensland heeler, Blue, to the Riverwalk
where I hide away from everything technological. Only God’s great creation
meets me there: the river, mallards, Canada geese, white-tail deer,
squirrels, songbirds, and bear that kindly just leave their calling card rather
than greet me face-to-face. The seasonal changes wrap the trees in varying
colors and inspire me to show these transitions in my writing. And the quiet –
oh, the quiet! How sweet to hear the Lord’s dear voice while enjoying His
How do you choose your characters’ names?
True confession: I’m not so good at finding imaginative or memorable names. When I begin a story, a name comes to me and I stick with it at least until the tale is told. I’ve changed a few that didn’t feel right, and searched for others with specific meanings behind their origin. But usually the character just shows up and introduces herself.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Allowing someone to peek through the cracks in my life to catch a glimpse of God’s redemptive love.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
If I could choose to live a day in an animal’s body, I would be a bird. Preferably a meadowlark or red tail hawk. How grand it would be to fly, to defy gravity and spiral skyward on the thermals or sing across the meadows at dawn. However, sometimes I think I morph into a hummingbird and beat myself silly with a rush of wing and activity.
What is your favorite food?
Chocolate-chip mint ice-cream and lasagna. And tacos. And my daughter’s homemade bread with honey butter, and …
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Life, and all its daily demands, has been my biggest roadblock. I can’t run off to a cave and immerse myself in story and plot and characterization—I have to live life. However, overcoming it isn’t the goal, but rather, not letting it overcome me. Remembering God’s faithfulness, that He is in control and loves me, is my saving grace. He helps me prioritize and do the important thing first, not the urgent.
Tell us about the featured book.
In this contemporary, Colorado Christmas romance, an elementary school teacher is devastated by her cheating boyfriend. Sticking with her plans to go home for the holidays, she returns to her grandmother’s Berthoud Boarding House only to be surprised by the handsome stranger waiting there.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Angela Murphy squeezed her eyes tight against the invisible onion mist and prayed she wouldn’t slice her fingertips off with the next few strokes. Why did she always get the job of dicing onions for Mollie’s sweet onion jam? Angela rubbed her sweater sleeve across her watery eyes. Over the years she had tried everything to prevent the sting—from holding a slice of bread in her mouth to cutting the onions under water. Nothing helped, so she cried her way through the process. But this time, the onions served as a perfect cover for the waterworks coming from her heart.
“Angie, dear.” Mollie padded into the kitchen and stopped at the stove to check on supper. She lifted the cast-iron lid from her stew pot, peeked inside at the simmering Swiss steak and then looked at Angela. “You about finished with those rascals?”
“I’m on the last one now.”
Mollie walked over and swept the onion skins and end pieces into her apron and peered into Angela’s face. “He’s not worth those tears.”
Angela glanced at the diminutive woman and forced a shaky smile. “You’re right. He’s really not. But it still hurts.” How did Mollie always know if a tear was real?
“Well, there’s plenty of fish in the sea—or deer on the mountain—as my Jim used to say.” She emptied her apron into the wastebasket by the back door. “There are also several nice-looking young men at the church, I’ve noticed. You might meet someone there on Sunday.”
Angela’s heart squeezed at the thought of her adoptive grandmother’s constant husband-hunt. She loved the woman dearly, the woman who had rescued her from Social Services, and raised her as her own grandchild. Mollie and Jim were the only family Angela had ever known.
“I never really cared for ol’ what’s-his-name anyway,” Mollie said. She opened a lower cupboard door and pulled out another pot. “A little too wrapped up in himself, if you ask me.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?Readers can contact me through my website, www.davalynnspencer.com, my blog, www.davalynnspencer.blogspot.com, and my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/davalynn.spencer
Thank you, Davalynn, for sharing your ebook and your life with us.
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