What is the quirkiest
thing you have ever done? While in graduate school, I paid to ride a very
cheap bus from
When did you first discover that you were a writer? I didn’t believe I was a writer until a professional novelist critiqued one of my stories and told me I was a good writer. Me, a writer? I thought that was only for those special people who have their names on a book cover.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. I started out reading poetry in elementary school. Then graduated to Fantasy novels. In high school I couldn’t get enough of war stories, especially those about World War Two. In my twenties I moved into the 19th century classics. Now, I read both non-fiction and novels: anything with well drawn characters and some thrilling adventure.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world? I keep a calendar and regularly black out hours or days for myself. If I don’t do this, I have a hard time saying no. the result is I get overbooked and start to feel stressed and irritable.
How do you choose your characters’ names? Some of my characters simply tell me, “I must be called Jesse, or Finn, or Zara.” If I’m stumped for a good name, I’ll consult a baby-names book for ideas.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? Besides raising three spectacular children, I’m most proud of the fact that I’m not a quitter. I started writing later in life and realized that I would face challenges and disappointment. But if God wants me to write, who am I to give up when I face negative judge comments, or don’t final in a competition? My job is to keep on studying and writing.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why? Call me silly, but I think I would be a donkey. Donkeys are smart and stubborn. But they’re also affectionate and loyal. They may be small, but they’re strong. I like that!
What is your favorite food? I love German cuisine. Give me some spaetzl and some pickled beets and wiener schnitzel, and I’m in heaven.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it? Starting a book has always been my nemesis. My first novel has at least ten beginnings stored on my computer. I think I’m getting the hang of it though. My last novel only took two beginnings.
Interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.
The first time I wished I’d been born normal, I was five years old. It was August, and Janey and Jenna, my twin friends who lived on the farm next to ours, told me how they couldn’t wait to go to kindergarten because it would be so much fun. I had picked out my favorite dress, my favorite hair clip, and my favorite pink-and-lavender shoes for my first day of kindergarten. I cried when Mom told me I couldn’t go because then the teachers and the other kids would know I was different. Almost twelve years later, being normal is still the first thing I ask Abba for each morning and each night before I go to sleep.
“Please, Abba, make me normal. Please, Abba.”
Like today, for example. Dad and mom and I are driving to the hospital to see my sister, Abby, and her new baby, Cora. Mom’s all worried about how I’ll behave when we get inside. She looks in the rearview window to check that there are no gaps between my sleeves and my flesh-toned gloves.
“Zara, you gotta not touch anybody when we go inside the hospital.”
I want to roll my eyes, but instead, I say, “Yes, Mom.” It’s not like I don’t know the drill. After all, I’m almost seventeen, almost an adult. And I’ve had lots of practice not touching people. Without my gloves, my bare fingers sometimes zap people, that is, if there’s anything wrong with them.
But Mom is worried I’ll slip up and something will happen and my secret will get out. “Remember Aunt Evelyn,” Mom always says. She was my mom’s older sister. But she died way before I could form concrete memories. I only remember bits and pieces of Aunt Evelyn and how she seemed sad and nervous.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter (@DenaNetherton1), Goodreads, MeWe (just joined). Find me on my website at https://DenaNetherton.me
Thank you, Dena, for sharing this new novel with my blog readers and me. My copy has arrived, and it’s at the top of my to-be-read pile. The concept of the story intrigues me.
Readers, here’s a link to the book.
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