Dear Readers, Darrel and I share the same agent. I’ve wondered is somehow we are distant cousins, since I was a Nelson before I became a Dooley. When his first book came out, I loved it, and so did I love the second one. I have this third one, but I haven’t read it. I will very soon. I know you’ll love his stories as well as I do.
Welcome back, Darrel. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I have recently finished two writing projects, one nonfiction and the other fiction, and I feel that God is taking me in a new direction. My wife and I have recently volunteered to work three days a week at a local employment center, assisting those who have lost their jobs to find work. Also, we do volunteer work every Saturday and Sunday for our local church. So my immediate future is filled with service opportunities. I do have a new novel outlined and another one semi-outlined, however, but I’m giving the story ideas time to incubate. I’m sure they will hatch and grow when the time is right.
James and I volunteer, too. Both of us at church, and he volunteers more than I do. He’s retired, but I’m still writing half-time and doing physical therapy every day. Tell us a little about your family.
My wife, Marsha, and I have four children (two boys and two girls) and ten grandchildren. Our two daughters and their families live in
Denver, Colorado, and our
oldest son and his family live in . Our
youngest son and his wife don’t have any children so all ten of our
grandchildren live in the States, far away from us. Saratoga
Springs, Utah Denver
is fifteen hours by car from southern Alberta,
and Saratoga Springs
is eleven hours, so when Marsha and I drive we listen to book tapes to help
make the road seem shorter. On occasions when we fly, we take books along to
help pass the time in the airport and on the plane. Either way, we head south
as often as we can because our precious grandchildren are growing up so fast. I
suspect all grandparents feel that way about their grandchildren.
I’m blessed to have all my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren within about 10 miles of us. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
If anything, my writing has focused my reading habits on the works of other male authors who write romantic fiction. I like to see how they handle the subject. Nicholas Sparks, of course, comes to mind and I have read most of his books. But I must confess that his writing has become a little too graphic in the romantic details for my taste. I prefer the work of Charles Martin, and I find that that the spirit of his writing is more closely aligned with my own.
You should read Dan Walsh. He’s been called the Christian Nicholas Sparks by some reviewers. What are you working on right now?
Since I recently retired from teaching school and substitute teaching, I have been working on two writing projects. One is a history of my local church in the area in which I live: southern
It has been interesting to delve into the past and research people, places, and
events that form the backdrop and foundation to the present. And based on my
research, I’m grateful I didn’t live back in the early settlement years. I
think I would have made a terrible pioneer.
The other project is my third novel, Following Rain. It has been interesting to work on a nonfiction and a fiction project concurrently. I’ve decided that between the two, I prefer writing fiction. I feel more comfortable in being able to take “artistic license” and fill in gaps using imagination. True, there’s still the necessity of making the fiction believable, but not the pressure to document each and every fact.
What outside interests do you have?
I enjoy visiting our children and helping out with handyman chores around the house. My grandkids call me “Fix-it Felix.” One of my young grandsons refers to himself as “Wreck-it Ralph” and says we go well together. It’s rewarding to find something in need of repair and fix it. I love the feeling of leaving our children’s homes in better shape than when my wife and I arrived. Marsha is hoping my handyman interests will carry over to OUR house.
Also, I enjoy golfing with my sons and am pleased that I can still keep up with them, although they outdrive me by a mile. I used to be an avid golfer and would go out, rain or shine, wind or cold. Now I’m more of a fair-weather golfer.
I have always loved songwriting and have written many songs over the years. Three of them were professionally produced and received limited airplay on the radio. During my teaching years, I always wrote a special Christmas song for my class to learn—my Christmas present to them. We would go to each grade and sing the song and wish everyone Seasons Greetings. Special memories.
I’ve written the scripts for several Christmas productions. Someone else wrote the music. How do you choose your settings for each book?
I set my novels in places I’m familiar with so the setting rings true. My first novel, The Anniversary Waltz, is set on the great plains of
which geographically, is identical to southern Alberta, where I live. My second novel, The Return of Cassandra Todd, is set in
the Denver and
Silverthorne areas because that’s where my two daughters and their families
live and my wife and I have been there frequently. My third novel, Following
Rain, is set in Seattle
because I like to change locations to keep my settings realistic but also interesting.
I love the Silverthorne area. I’ve been there a couple of times. If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
It would be intimidating, for certain, but I would love to meet William Shakespeare. What a privilege it would be to interview him and ask how he came up with the plotlines to his plays and how he used words so magnificently to create such profound and poetic dialogue. I taught high school drama for five years and used to write the plays for my drama club. Several plays won state-level success, but my plays, in the words of the Bard himself, “couldn’t hold a candle” to his.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I had known beforehand how hard it is to get one’s book “out there.” John Grisham, another of my favorite authors, is quoted as saying that promoting a book is much harder than writing it. I used to wonder about that statement. Now that I’ve had three novels published, I don’t wonder anymore!
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
What a marvelous question. I feel the Lord is teaching me to trust in Him and not base my faith on how well my books sell. Working in the unemployment centre has helped me realize how temporary things can be. Jobs come and go. The same can be said for book sales, one’s health, finances, and so on. I have gained a deeper understanding of staying focused on the most important things in life: my relationship with God, my wife, my family, and with others. I have gained a deeper appreciation of the Lord’s tender mercies, and I am learning to develop an attitude of gratitude.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
For starters, I would like to define success. I’m sure for many people, success translates: money! Yes, receiving a return on one’s investment of time and effort is important. My original book contract was cancelled because my books did not sell well enough. So, yes, I have learned that money is important. But to me success is broader. First, to be successful be persistent and compete the book. They say that over 80% of people who start out writing a book never finish it. Second, accept constructive criticism and realize you don’t have all the answers. A skilled editor can provide necessary feedback and help reshape your book into something far better than you can do on your own. Third, realize that you need a large network of help along the way. They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said regarding books. It takes the cooperative effort of authors, agents, editors, publishers, publicists, and so on to bring a book to life.
Tell us about the featured book.
I write love stories, short and simple. I’ve tried writing adventure and science fiction, but love stories are what ultimately come out of me. Following Rain is the story of Paul Blakely, a successful investigative reporter, who visits a
homeless shelter on assignment and meets Rain McKenzie, a mysterious young
woman who is living with a painful past. It becomes a life-changing experience
for both of them. As he uncovers her secret, he makes an important discovery about
his own life. It turns into an unexpected journey that will challenge
everything Paul and Rain think they know about life and love.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The girl’s eyes widened in horror when she recognized the man standing in the glare of the porch light. “Dad!” she gasped.
Her father’s presence seemed to fill the entire doorway. A scowl furrowed his forehead, and his expression—backlit by the porch light—increased the sullenness of his appearance. “Time to go,” he said firmly, above the sounds of boisterous laughter and talking that issued from within.
“Wh—what are you doing here?”
“The real question is what are you doing here? You told us you were going to Breann’s to study. And apparently Breann told her mom she was coming to our place.” His eyes narrowed and he cocked his ear toward the noise coming through the open doorway. “This isn’t either place, and it sure doesn’t sound like studying is going on.” He sniffed the air and his scowl deepened. “Have you been drinking?”
The young man who had answered the door thrust his beer bottle behind his back. “We’re just having a little party,” he said quickly. “A few friends dropped by to—”
“I’m not interested,” the girl’s father said, holding up his hand like a stop sign. “I’m here for my daughter.” He looked at her determinedly and motioned toward the street. “Let’s go.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my website at www.darrelnelson.com and check out my books and blog articles. You can post comments there, as well, and I would appreciate hearing from you.
Thank you, Darrel, for visiting us today and sharing your new book. I know my readers are as eager to read it as I am.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Following Rain - Paperback
Following Rain - Kindle
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