Author Spotlight! Lena Nelson Dooley

Suzanne Author Spotlight

Last week’s winner was Susan Marlow! She won Ocieanna Fleiss’ Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington! Congrats – please send my assistant your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest books. FUN.

This week we welcome author Lena Nelson Dooley. To win a copy of her Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

My husband and I are empty nesters, but most of our family lives nearby. We’re very involved with them. I was really blessed by the Lord to be able to quit work about 8 years ago and write fulltime.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

My tagline is Characters who grip your heart. So my stories fit that line, and I’ve written several genres. I’ve sold more historicals than I have contemporary, and I do teach classes about writing historicals. The members of the critique group that meets in my home consider me an expert on historicals.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

The dream of writing professionally didn’t come to me until I was in my 30s, after my children were mostly grown. And God told me to become a professional writer. You can read that testimony on the About Me page on my blog: http://lenanelsondooley.blogspotcom

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

It took 8 years to sell the first book, then 10 years to sell the second, but since 2002, I’ve had over 25 book releases.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I don’t drink coffee, but I do drink iced green tea with no sugar. I do my best writing while sitting in my office at my computer. My husband gave me a large, flat-screen monitor a few years ago for Christmas, and I love having all that space. I spend 4-6 hours per day, 5-6 days per week, according to whether I have a deadline or not.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Definitely conferences and writing groups. When we’re connected to other writers who are farther along on the journey, they help us grow. And when we help those who aren’t as far along as we are, we grow along with them in many ways. I don’t want to ever stop learning more about writing.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

It’s much more solitary. I’m sure God chuckled when He gave me the talents, because He knew I’d be a people person. That’s why I have to take forays into the real world and interact with friends on a regular basis.

What are your biggest distractions?

Before I learned to control it, the Internet was a big distraction. And I love to read. I review the books I get to read. If I get into one that’s compelling, I have to pull myself away to do my work.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

There have been a lot of good moments. Being presented the ACFW Mentor of the Year in 2006 is a real high point. I don’t dwell on the bad moments, so I can’t think of one right now.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

I sold many of my books without an agent. Now I have Joyce Hart, and I love having her take care of those business things for me. But it’s important that you and your agent become friends. She was my friend for several years before I signed with her. Now she is indispensable.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Read. Read. Read. Learn. Learn. Learn. Write. Write. Write.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, is my heroine-in-peril, mail-order-bride gone awry story.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

A three-book series proposal goes to pub group on Monday. I’m hopeful about the publisher buying this series.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

I’m all over the Internet:
http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com – click on the book tab, to contact me, use the contact tab
www.shoutlife.com/lenanelsondooley
www.facebook.com/lenanelsondooley
www.twitter.com/lenandooley

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)