Thank you for joining me for this exciting Author Spotlight!
Dana writes wonderful Harlequin Heartwarming novels, as well as a great many Love Inspired Suspense novels!
First – a bit more about Dana:
Dana Mentink lives in California where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine.
Her family includes two teen girls (affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo.) Papa Bear is retired from the fire department and he met Dana doing a dinner theater production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Ironically, their parts were husband and wife.
Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and a two time ACFW Carol Award winner. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award.
She is honored to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired, Harlequin Heartwarming, and Harvest House Publishers.
Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.
Now for my interview with Dana:
1) Do you find that writing under a deadline takes the fun out of writing? How do you deal with that? Any special snacks you like to have handy?
Deadlines are very motivating! Writing is like exercising your muscles, the more you use them the better they work, so a deadline forces your writing muscles to get into great shape! Snacks? I’m a big hummus eater and I’ve never turned up my nose to anything with sugar in it.
2) When you begin a book do you have a pretty good idea of what the characters look like or does that come to you as you write?
I usually start with a picture that I clip from a magazine or find online. That way I know what the characters look like going in and I don’t change their eye color between chapters or something funky like that.
3) Do you use an outline for your stories? Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor, agent or friends?
I use a synopsis, not a chapter by chapter outline. I have a file folder that says “really cool writing ideas!” If only I had time to write about them all!
4) I’m sure this is different for every author but are you allowed to give your readers a look at the general timeline for one of your books? From the time you finish writing to the time we have the book in hand?
It’s usually a year from signing of contract until the reader gets the book. I write books in about 4 months, so the rest of that time is editing, revising, etc.
5) You work full-time, teaching third graders. How do you find time for everything… writing, teaching, family, church, friends, social media, etc.?
Actually, I don’t work full time. I teach two days a week (I have a job share partner) and write the rest of the time except on Sundays. How do I find the time to do it all? My theory is that we always find time to do the things we really want to do. I am a very early riser and very disciplined about my word count.
6) You write amazing suspense novels… is romantic suspense your choice of genre? Are there other genres you have written — or would like to write? If your agent/publisher requested that you write a different genre, how would you respond? I write romantic suspense and lighthearted romance.
I’m really a pretty quirky gal so a sense of humor comes naturally to me. I love writing lighthearted books as much as I love writing suspense. So many books to write…so little time!
7) You belong to the ACFW… do you belong to other author/writer organizations? We read about writer retreats, conferences and the like. Is this the norm for most authors? Are they necessary for your writing? How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?
I belong to ACFW and RWA. That’s pretty typical for a romance writer. I do believe the learning and networking available in a professional organization is invaluable to writers. I usually try to do one conference every year.
8) Did you always want to be a writer/author? Will you share a bit of your story with us? Was your path to being a published author easier or harder than you expected?
I’ve always loved writing and reading. When I stopped teaching to stay home with my baby girls, I discovered that I was dissatisfied. I missed the creativity and intensity of the classroom. My husband suggested I take a writing for publication class and that was the beginning of my writing career. My girls are in high school now, so that gives you an idea how long I’ve been at it. 🙂
9) What are you working on right now? Can you give us a hint?
Well…I’m jumping into a new adventure, writing a three book, dog themed series for Harvest House which will be lighthearted romances. Also, I’m just finishing up a k-9 cop continuity for Love Inspired Suspense.
Thank you, Donna. It’s been such fun!
Thank You Dana . . . and God bless you!
Be sure to check out this author spotlight with Dana Mentink… – Tweet this!
Today’s the last day to enter Dana’s GIVEAWAY contest!
If you haven’t entered, click the link below!
God bless you!
Interview © 2015 DJ Mynatt