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 book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Leslie Gould is Dianna Bupp! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)

This week please welcome Linda Danis in the spotlight! To win a copy of her book 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know, 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?

I have been married for 27 years and have four wonderful kids, two in high school and two in college. Raising them has been my main job and ministry for the past two decades, which means I have worn many different hats over the years… PTA president, Moms in Touch leader, Team mom, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader, and Carpool driver extraordinaire. I definitely fall into the “write when I can squeeze it in” category.

So, when do you find time to write? Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Writing requires focused time for me. It takes a while for the words and ideas to start flowing. I need a chunk of uninterrupted time and that is hard to come by at my house! Most of my book was written between midnight and 2:00 AM, because that was when everyone was tucked in bed, fast asleep. Now that I have teenagers who keep later hours than I do, my best time for writing is early in the morning, before they even begin to stir.

If you happened to have a free hour, what would you do?

Well, my first instinct would be to get something done on my to-do list. But after you clarified that it had to be something relaxing, I would probably say read the latest book sitting on my nightstand or browse Pinterest for fun ideas and recipes. If it was nice outside, it would definitely be spent gardening.

What’s your favorite way to break a sweat?

Hiking or walking with friends. It’s a great way to get caught up with each other’s lives, plus we are usually so busy talking that we don’t even notice we are working up a sweat.

What have been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moments so far?

Wow, there have been so many, especially because I never thought I would become a published author. I originally just wrote 365 Things Every New Mom Should Know to give as a gift to friends when they had a new baby.

My top five moments from this amazing journey would have to be:

1. Receiving the initial call from the acquisition editor at Harvest House asking if I was still interested in having them publish my book. That took about two seconds to think about… Yes!
2. Seeing my book on the TV program, “Friends”, as Monica read from it for tips on how to help Rachel’s baby stop crying (it worked!).
3. Discovering a box at my front door with copies of my book translated into Indonesian. It was pretty amazing to think it would be read by women half way around the world in a language that I didn’t even know!
4. Finding out that my publisher was going to re-release my book this past April and give it an updated cover on its tenth year anniversary in print.
5. Knowing that I have been able to help over 50,000 moms during that exciting, yet often overwhelming, first year of parenting!

What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?

It actually was advice on book publicity. Even though I have a degree in marketing, this was the most challenging part of having a book published. I hated anything that seemed remotely like self-promotion. Even telling friends about my book was awkward, because I didn’t want to seem prideful. But then a wise friend told me, “God has given you this opportunity to share what you feel is very helpful for new moms. How can they benefit from it, if they don’t even know the book exists?” That helped me have a new perspective on publicity. I admit it is still difficult, but it helped me see that I am not promoting “myself” or “my” book, but instead I’m letting others know about a book that I truly believe will help and encourage other mothers.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Sometimes, we let perfectionism and self-doubt get the better of us. I would recommend trying to turn off the critical side of your brain and just let the words flow. Give yourself permission to write poorly at first. Our desire to choose just the right words and say it in just the right way often paralyzes us from beginning to write. For the first draft, just focus on getting the words and ideas on paper. Later you can begin the important process of editing.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book to give to a friend who just had a baby. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

365 Things Every New Mom Should Know: A Daily Guide to Loving and Nurturing Your Child guides a mother through the first year of her baby’s life one day at a time, offering practical advice, developmental activities, and helpful hints in caring for her baby. Weekly devotions speak straight to a mother’s heart, addressing all the joys and frustrations of motherhood, providing godly insight and encouragement.

Where can readers find a copy of your book?

It’s available at any bookstore (if it’s not on the shelf, they can order a copy for you) or online book retailer.

What have you most enjoyed about being an author?

I love hearing from my readers that I have helped them as they venture into the wonderful world of parenting. It’s a great feeling to know I may have made a small difference in the life of a child by what I taught his or her mom.

Are you working on a new book?

No, not right now. I believe God wants me to focus my time and energy on my family for this season of life. In my desire to help others be good moms, I don’t want to end up neglecting my own kids. I do speak to moms groups and write parenting articles, and I have several partially written manuscripts waiting in the wings. When the time is right and God opens the door again, I will be ready. The good thing about waiting is I am always learning new things about parenting. Experience is the best teacher!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Can I give one word of encouragement to any new moms who may be reading this? What you are doing has eternal significance. As we deal day in and day out with diapers, tantrums, dishes, spilled milk, and piles of laundry, it’s easy to lose sight of how important our work is as mothers. We look back at the end of the day and feel we haven’t accomplished much of anything. Yet, our work is so important! I think we need to catch a glimpse of God’s vision of motherhood – it is the greatest ministry opportunity we will ever have. We have the privilege of shaping the next generation! You are laying a loving foundation that will last a lifetime!

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog, Suzanne!

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