Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Author Interview & Giveaway: Lena Nelson Dooley

By Ellie Whyte

Lena Nelson Dooley is an award-winning author with more than 700,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, DFW Ready Writers, and Christian Authors Network. 

Her 2010 release Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, won the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western Fiction. Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers Top Ten Books of 2011 list. It also won the 2012 Selah award for Historical Novel. Mary’s Blessing released in May 2012 and was included in Book Review Sisters list of top five reads in 2012. Catherine’s Pursuit released in February 2013.

The following is a recent interview with Lena.




PLUS! ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
Post a comment about this interview at the end of the blog post and enter the Rafflecopter draw for a PDF copy of one of Lena's books, MAGGIE'S JOURNEY or MARY'S BLESSING - winner's choice. A valid comment on the blog is an entry requirement into the draw. Contest open to entrants worldwide, and ends on Saturday, 22 March.



Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. All my children and grandchildren live close to me, except a grandson who is in the US Army. I live in Texas with my wonderful husband of over 48 years. And I write novels.


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

I grew up in a family where everyone wrote, not for publication, just wrote. I didn't know everyone didn't write until I was almost an adult. I actually have a BA, and most of a Master's degree in Drama. I actually didn't begin writing professionally until 1984 when God used the events of one week in May to tell me to become a professional writer. You can read the testimony about that on the About Me page of my website: www.lenanelsondooley.com


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

I love to read and can get lost in an interesting story. I believe many people are that way. An author can use Christian fiction to depict how a person's daily life can be impacted by the presence of God. That's what I try to show without being preachy in any way.


How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

Every author hopes that readers will like their stories. But I've learned over the years that you can't please everyone all the time. I just hope that my books will reach the people who can be most affected in a positive way with the stories.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

I love to hear from readers, whose lives have changed because of a story of mine they read. And they do contact me. Sometimes I even cry when I read how a story made a dynamic difference.


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

I have loved the Lord for a long time. He is woven so deeply into my life that the relationship spills over into the stories I write. I believe that is what true Christian fiction is all about.


Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?

I want to bless the Lord with my life. I cannot bless Him even a small part of the amount he blesses me, but I want to. It's important to me to keep my marriage alive and vital. Being a good mother, grandmother, friend--all of these are important as well.


As a writer, what influences have inspired you the most to write, and continue writing?

Knowing in my heart that God created me to be a writer in my mother's womb. In late December when I was seeking God about His word for me in 2014, He told me that He had woven into my DNA all the gifts and talents that I would need this year, so this is a year of Destiny for me.


Every writer struggles with various aspects of their writing journey. What has been the most difficult aspect of writing for you, and what come the most naturally?

Putting the words on paper is easy for me. Usually, ideas spend a lot of time in my head, forming and reforming until they're just right. That's when I pur them on paper.
The most diofficult part is the waiting--waiting for my agent to find a publisher who's interested in my proposal(s), waiting while a publisher goes through all the steps that lead to a contract.
Waiting for the publication date to arrive. AS you can see, I'm not the post patient person on this planet.


What is one piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring writers - either something you adhere to, or something you wish you had known when you started writing?

Give your writing gift back to the Creator of that gift. Then seek Him as you write. He'll keep you on the right track.


As a reader, which stories excite you the most to read, and do you have any favourite novelists?

I love to read, all kinds of genres, except horror. And yes I have favorite authors, but the list is quite long. I invite your readers to visit my blog. http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com
My blog received the TBCN Readers Choice 2013 Blog of the Year AWard. I interview other authors and help promote their books. If you follow this blog, you'll soon discern many of my favorite authors.


What are some of your most favourite places on the internet to visit, that help challenge you as a writer, and encourage you as a reader?

I follow a lot of Christian Authors' blogs and Facebook pages. It helps me keep up with what's happening in our field.


What can you tell us about your most recent and upcoming novels?

If you haven't read them, I'd invite you into the world of my McKenna's Daughters series. Set in the 1880s near the west coast of the US, it's the stories of identical triplets, born on one of the last wagon trains on the Oregon Trail. Their mother dies giving birth, and they are separated. They don't find out until near their 18th birthdays that they have sisters.
MAGGIE'S JOURNEY, MARY'S BLESSING, and CATHERINE'S PURSUIT. MAGGIE'S JOURNEY won the Selah Award. MARY'S BLESSING finaled in the Selah, and CATHERINE'S PURSUIT is in contests right now.

My next project is adapting another author's novel into a movie screenplay. I'm excited about this new projected. ABDUCTED TO KILL should release late this year or early 2015.


Do you have any parting words?

Spend time with the Lord. He's the only one who will never leave you and has only your best in mind.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
Post a comment about this interview and enter the Rafflecopter draw for a copy of one of Lena's books, MAGGIE'S JOURNEY or MARY'S BLESSING - winner's choice. A valid comment on the blog is an entry requirement into the draw. Contest open to entrants worldwide, and ends on Saturday, 22 March.





Visit Lena's Author Portfolio Page at Soul Inspirationz // Christian Fiction Site to find links to her website and other online hangouts, as well as her list of books and a Featured Author Interview.



ELLIE WHYTE is a long-time supporter of Christian fiction and is the founder and owner/operator of Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site which relaunched after a 5-year hiatus in January 2013. Ellie also has aspirations for her own writing career, and has begun working on a project set in New Zealand in the 1850s.  http://soulinspirationz.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.christianfictionsite.com
Blog: http://soulinspirationz.blogspot.com 
Facebook: Soul Inspirationz http://www.facebook.com/soulinspirationz
Twitter: @SoulInspiredNZ http://twitter.com/SoulInspiredNZ

35 comments:

  1. Wow, what a nice interview! I And what a life you have, Lena, being a great-grandmother! I am not a mother yet:)
    I love that you are writing about daily lives impacted by God. I love stories like that, being touched by God in just a normal day, because I have most days like that!

    God bless you!

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    1. Janka, thank you for your comments. I love hearing from readers. And yes, God has a great impact in my every day life.

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  2. Welcome Lena, and thanks so much Ellie for your interview, today. :)

    I've had the pleasure of reading Lena's books (I was holding a copy of Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico when I met Sir Richard Branson on a flight to the US, and he asked me if it was one of my books ~ true story!)

    I've also taken one of Lena's online courses and of course, chatted with her at the ACFW conference last year, and in 2010.

    I love your parting words, to 'spend time with the Lord.' No better advice for a reader or writer. So good to have you visit with us Aussies and NZ'ders, Lena. I hope we get to meet up again soon.

    Dotti :)

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    1. Dorothy, as you know, I love my Aussie and NZ'der friends. I do hope we meet again. And thanks for sharing that Sir Richard Branson asked about my book. What a hoot!!

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  3. Hi Lena, lovely to have you visit our neck of the woods. I can hear your faith spilling over even in this interview! I'll have to pop the McKenna series on my TBR pile.
    I couldn't agree more that we must hand our gift back to our creator so that He can work through us.

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    1. Hi, Catherine. I wish I really could visit your neck of the woods. I've had a decades-long desire to visit Down Under. Thank you for your interest in my McKenna sisters.

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  4. Hi Lena, I love your reason for writing. "An author can use Christian fiction to depict how a person's daily life can be impacted by the presence of God."
    I remember featuring you on my blog some time ago after I'd read Mary's Blessing, so Maggie's journey must be as good a read.
    Thanks Ellie for this lovely post from a abundantly productive author. Gotta love her!

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    1. Hey, Rita. I do like to tell stories of how God's presence affects people's lives. Some Christians won't read fiction, but we should remember that our Lord taught His principles through parables.

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  5. I love what Lena said about Christian fiction. That is how I feel. Sometimes you can reach people in a book when you couldn't any other way.

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    1. Susan, that has happened numerous times over the years with some of my books.

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  6. Hi Lena,Have a wonderful week.I enjoy reading your books. Wonderful interview! I am looking forward to reading MARY'S BLESSING.

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    1. Hi Emma, it always blesses me so much when a reader tells me they enjoy my books. Thank you. Have you read MAGGIE'S JOURNEY?

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  7. Lena, I think you're a fantastic author and I love your interview. I love your attitude and spirit. Your books are great. Unfortunately, I endure a lot of pain and when I read your books and some other author's books, it takes me to a different place and time. It helps my mind to go somewhere else beside on my pain. Thank you for sharing your talent and this great interview.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you for sharing that, Barbara. There are a lot of ways to bless readers, and one is to take their mind off their physical pain. I'm glad I can help.

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  8. Ellie and Lena, great interview! Lena, welcome to ACW :) It's exciting to hear you're working on a movie screenplay. Thanks for your generosity in promoting authors on your blog, and I hope we have the opportunity to meet again at another conference.

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    1. Yes, the movie is exciting. We just launched the Crowd Funding Campaign for the start-up funds. We'll have help with the rest. If anyone is interested, they can check it out here:
      http://indiegogo/projects/abducted-to-kill-the-christian-movie . There are lots of fun perks.

      And I also hope we meet again at a conference ... or anywhere else.

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  9. Hi Lena,
    It's lovely read this interview with you, having read many of your interviews with other authors. I love your thoughts about your writing gift being woven into your DNA. It's also helpful to see that other authors, who are long established, have the same problems with impatience that many of us share. Thank you, Ellie, for interviewing Lena today.

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    1. Paula, yes, all we authors share the same problems. We still get rejections, but we also get contracts. Praise the Lord.

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  10. Welcome Lena love the sound of the film project. I have read quite a few of your books starting with HP books, novella and onto longer ones. Loved the Mckenna daughers books. I think Love finds me in Golden New Mexico still stands out as a favourite one.

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    1. Jenny, I'm glad you love my books. And Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, is one of my favorites as well.

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  11. Wow, a screenplay. That is amazing. I hope you have lots of success! Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Sonja. We'd appreciate your prayers as we move forward.

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  12. Thank you, Lena and Ellie, for such an enjoyable and challenging interview. I love the sound of that 'year of destiny', Lena. God bless!

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    1. Jo-Anne, I'm sure the Lord plans for 2014 to be a year of destiny for many more people than just me.

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  13. Loved reading Lena's love for the Lord ... "He is woven so deeply into my life that the relationship spills over into the stories I write." ... I hope one day to be able to say something similar.

    Thanks Ellie for bringing Lena along to ACW.

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  14. Lena, I enjoyed your interview and I love your books! Lena is such an encourager and I dearly love her.

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    1. Kathy, thank you. I'm glad you love me books, and I am blessed by your love for me.

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  15. I enjoyed the McKenna's Daughters Series so much that I read them in quick succession. They were fabulous. A MUST Read.Thank you for bringing us this interview, Ellie. As a fan of Lena's it was a delight to find out more about her. I love those parting words - 'Spend time with the Lord'. :-)

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    1. Hi, Rose. I loved reading your books as well. Thank you for the compliments.

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  16. Hi Lena - what a treat to read your post. You've encouraged me in my writing journey so much! Love how you weave your relationship with the Lord so naturally in your stories. 'McKenna's Daughters' are now on my TBR pile. God bless.

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    1. Andrea, I'm kind of late coming to the site today. It's been CRAZY around here. I'm glad I could encourage you. Hope you like my stories when you read them.

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  17. I love going into bookstores and seeing books by author you know and love. I don't try to 'preach' in my books, but I let God's message shine through the story. Giving it to Him is something I try to do. Thank you for your post.

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    1. I'd love to read on of your books, Melanie.

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  18. Great to see the comments of fellow readers and writers. Lena, I'm glad you gave us a heads up on this site. Good to know that encouragement is universal.

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