Thursday, December 30, 2021

THE GIRL EVERYONE WANTS - Dena Netherton - One Free Book

Welcome, Dena. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters. I suppose there is always part of myself in each one of my characters. Since I’m a trained musician, I usually put some kind of music ability in at least one of my characters. The Girl Everyone Wants is an exception. Zara, my main character, is a writer and poet (well, I guess that’s part of me, too!) and has only minimal ability in music.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? While in graduate school, I paid to ride a very cheap bus from Berkeley, California, to Chicago. It was really a way for near penniless hippies to travel. As soon as the bus got out of the city limits, they passed a peace-pipe around. Soon, men, women, and children were mellow and happy. Then, as we got out into the country, the bus made a couple of side trips to ponds along I-80 where the happy riders could all skinny dip. I took my Bible and hiked into a nearby corn field until they were dressed again. Arriving in Chicago at midnight, the bus driver dropped me off in front of the Field Museum and paid for a taxi to take me two blocks and around the corner to the regular bus station.

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.

Tell us about the featured book. Zara, is the daughter of Iowa farmers. Her greatest desire is to be a college professor. But unfortunately, God has gifted her with the ability to heal. If the world finds out she can heal, she’ll never have a moment’s peace. After she heals a little boy, the media splashes her story all over the news. Now she’s the young woman everyone wants, including members of a drug cartel. What follows is a cross-country cat and mouse chase as Zara attempts to get back to Iowa to find and rescue her hostage-held parents.

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

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.

The Girl Everyone Wants 

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traveler said...

Captivating and memorable story. Thanks.Anne in NM.

Dena Netherton said...

Hi Anne, I sure hope you win a copy of the Girl Everyone Wants. Dena

Author Claire O'Sullivan said...

A great restoration novel.

Lucy Reynolds said...

Sounds very good. Would love to read. Happy New Year blessings from WV.

rubynreba said...

Being an Iowa farm girl, I would find this extremely interesting!
Beth from IA

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Nichols SC.