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 Cara Putman is Lourdes! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week is Lynn Dove is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Lynn’s latest book, Heal the Wounded, 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 am a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a soon-to be grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). I wear so many different “hats” that I find prioritizing them tends to focus me better. I have been married to my best friend, Charles for 32 years and we have three wonderful children: daughter, Laurelle (husband, Matt) are expecting our first grand baby in February, and we have two live-at-home teenagers, Brett and Carmen. We are blessed that every one of our children are also Christ-followers and involved in some kind of ministry unique to their gifts and talents.

I substitute teach junior and senior high school, but admittedly I have spent most of my time lately pursuing my writing career, so I am not in the classroom as often as I would like to be. I work with the youth at our church and have done so for many, many years and I currently work with a vibrant group of grade eight girls that keep me on my toes with their theological questions!

I have often complained to my husband (and others) that I have cobwebs on my vacuum cleaner because when I get absorbed in writing and marketing…who am I kidding?…in ANYTHING…I tend to forget about housework, cooking, laundry etc. I am the anti-Martha Stewart I think. LOL!

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

I write contemporary Christian fiction for young adults and teens. My books deal with relevant social issues such as teen pregnancy, family conflict, gossip and bullying. I wanted to present to my readers an alternative to the occult-type books out there that seem to be so popular nowadays with the youth. My books appeal to all youth regardless of whether or not they are Christian and I think that is why my books have been given a more world-wide readership. Parents of youth are looking for a family-friendly alternative to some of the dark and disturbing messages that some of the current books in this genre offer. Yet teens also want to “keep it real”, so I don’t shy away from the grittier topics such as “cutting”, teen pregnancy, alcohol abuse and family conflict. All teenagers can relate in some way to those issues.

Both my books, Shoot the Wounded and Heal the Wounded have recently been selected as “Helpful Resources” on the world’s largest anti-bullying site: www.bullying.org My goal is getting the word out there through my books, speaking and blog writing, that bullying is not to be tolerated.

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

I was blessed all through school with teachers who encouraged me to write. My biology teacher wrote in my year book just before my graduation, “To the only literary biologist I know.” My teachers always knew that when I handed in an assignment, they would get a long treatise of literary verbiage that probably made them cringe to mark. I always dreamed of being a published author but honestly I never thought I would be doing this, or writing in this genre, now when I’m 50 something. Starting a new career in mid-life is truly a blessing from God!

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

I actually wrote Shoot the Wounded well over ten years ago. It started out as a short story and after I had written one hundred pages I knew I couldn’t consider it a “short” story any longer. Then the manuscript literally (hahaha) took up space on the hard drive of my computer for ten years. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and battled the disease for two years. My family and I experienced God profoundly through that time and certainly to many I am considered a “survivor” today but I hope I have done much more than survive, I hope I have “thrived”!

In 2003 I felt the call to go to seminary, and I also worked on staff at my church as the Children’s Minister. My daughter, Laurelle got married and I took time with her planning the wedding. Life was just very full to say the least during those years. After I graduated seminary in 2007 with my Master of Religious Education degree, I rediscovered my manuscript, almost by accident there on my laptop and it was my husband who encouraged me to get it published. God started opening some doors for me and in 2009 Shoot the Wounded was published. I wrote the sequel, Heal the Wounded in a year and published it in October, 2010 and I am working on the final book in the “Wounded Trilogy” – Love the Wounded that I hope to release in 2011. I am also writing a more autobiographical account of my journey with breast cancer. I am currently putting together that book proposal to submit to publishers.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

When I published Shoot the Wounded in 2009, I truly had no idea the amount of time and energy an author puts in to promoting and marketing a book. I made (make) a lot of mistakes, but I have learned so much about the business and I love to connect with other authors, such as you, Suzanne, who continue to encourage me daily. I am blessed to be amongst such a community of faithful writers!

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

There have been several “stellar” moments in my short career. When my friend Caleb sent me his art work for the cover of Shoot the Wounded, I was so overwhelmed by its brilliance, I cried. I think that was the moment I realized that I was actually going to publish a book…with a cover! I felt the exact same emotion with Caleb’s cover design for my second book, Heal the Wounded. I can’t imagine how I’ll react when he sends me the last of his cover designs for Love the Wounded!

A few more highlights that come to mind was at the book launch of Shoot the Wounded when it was “commissioned” at my church. It was truly a humbling and profound experience to have one of the deacons pray for me and for my book, acknowledging that this was much more than just a book launch, this marked the start of my writing “ministry”. Whenever I get caught up with numbers and sales of my books, and I feel a sense of pride in my own accomplishments start to bubble up, I remember that God is in control of this enterprise, and He is directing my steps as well as determining whom He wants to read my books. It is for His glory, not mine that I write.

Another “best” moment for me was when my debut novel, Shoot the Wounded was named a Finalist in the Readers Favorite Book Awards. That was very exciting.

The worst moment came after I received a very mean-spirited, negative review of my first book. It was hurtful, not a bit constructive, only critical and harsh, and it destroyed my confidence for several weeks afterwards. It was my husband who reminded me that if I considered my writing a ministry, I must also expect that at some point, I would also face spiritual attack. Every writer has had their share of negative reviews I know. It is one of those things that kind of goes with the territory when you publish a book. That said, after that awful experience, I vowed I would never be the cause of destroying another author’s self-confidence by posting a negative review on my blog or elsewhere, about their books. I only post positive reviews on books that I have liked and enjoyed. I am all about being an encourager.

What advice would you give to new writers? 

As a Christian author, oftentimes we do not like to “toot our own horn”. It goes against our nature to promote ourselves because we are taught in scripture to humble ourselves. I have learned that you need to promote yourself in order to have your books read. It is important to connect with your readers through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and I have found that having an interesting blog is equally effective to showcase your writing. My blog, Journey Thoughts has become almost more popular than my books this past year! I have been able to interview wonderful Christian authors and I have been told by my faithful readers that they have been blessed and ministered to through my blog.

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.

Heal the Wounded is the much-anticipated sequel to my debut novel, Shoot the Wounded. Like the first book, Heal the Wounded takes the reader even deeper into the lives of teenagers who are trying to live out their faith in the midst of upset and struggle.

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

I love to connect with my readers on my website: www.shootthewounded.org or on my blog, Lynn Dove’s Journey Thoughts: http://lynndove.wordpress.com. Readers may also connect with me on Facebook or on Twitter.

My books may be ordered directly off my website or they can be ordered from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca for my Canadian friends.

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

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