Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blogside Chat | Lena Nelson Dooley

Lena Nelson Dooley is my guest today on i blog 4 books. She has more than 650,000 books in print (wow!) and most recently published Mary's Blessing, the second book in the McKenna's Daughters series. (You can read my review and the first chapter here.)

i blog 4 books: Lena, welcome to i blog 4 books! For any readers who might not be familiar with you, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Lena Nelson Dooley: I am from Arkansas, but I've lived in Texas more years than I did in Arkansas. I've been married to a Texan for about 48 years. All of our children and grandchildren live fairly close, except our Army grandson, who is serving overseas. At this season of my life, I am writing novels. If you Google me, you can find out all kinds of things about me.

ib4b: Forty-eight years is a long time to be married ... congratulations! And please tell your Army grandson how much I appreciate his service to our country! What was the inspiration behind your latest book?

LND: Mary's Blessing is book two of my McKenna's Daughters series. This series lived in my head and my heart for several years before my agent sold the series to Realms. Book one, Maggie's Journey, released in October 2011 and was awarded the 2012 Selah award for historical novels in May. Catherine's Pursuit will release in January 2013. This series is about 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 they have sisters until near their 18th birthday.

ib4b: I've really enjoyed the series so far and am really looking forward to reading Catherine's Pursuit! What message or lesson do you hope readers will take away from reading it?

LND: All three of the books deal with forgiveness. Other issues are bitterness, a poor self-image, and lack of commitment. These issues are lived out in the lives of various characters. I pray that readers will find hope in the stories.

ib4b: How do you see yourself in the book?

LND: I'm just the storyteller.

ib4b: The more I read, the more I appreciate the research that authors do to deliver a realistic story. Tell us about your research process for this book.

LND: Since the books take place in 1885, and in various settings, I had to do a lot of research. It's very important to me to make the setting and society of the time authentic. I use books, the Internet, and interviewing people to achieve this.

ib4b: It seems like most authors have quite an interesting journey to getting published. What did you do in your "former life"?

LND: Sometimes, I feel that I never had a former life, but I did. I have a large variety of experiences that contribute to my ability to tell interesting stories with strong characters. My educational background is in drama. I've worked a lot of different places--taught school, worked in retail in various ways, had a rural mail route, among other things.

ib4b: That's a quite a variety of things for sure! A rural mail route?! I see a story here ... Where do you like to write?

LND: I usually write sitting at my desktop computer with a flat-screen monitor. I have an office in my home. However, sometimes I also write on my laptop. I'm doing more of that as I grow older.

ib4b: Do you have a "life verse" or favorite Scripture?

LND: At this time in my life, it's Philippians 3:10.  "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..."

ib4b: Write your memoir in six words or less.

LND: I love Jesus, James, my kids.

ib4b: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

LND: I will be 70 years old this year. I can't really remember wanting to be anything besides a wife and mother, and I'm both of those.

ib4b: If you were Miss America, what cause would you champion?

LND: In these days and times, human trafficking. It's such a problem, even in these United States.

ib4b: My mom always let me choose a special meal for my birthday. What's on the menu for your birthday dinner?

LND: Center cut prime rib, baked potato, salad, and a decadent chocolate dessert.

ib4b: I'm with you on the chocolate dessert! What were some of your favorite books growing up?

LND: We visited the library a lot when I was very young, and I read all the time. I've read all kinds of books as I got older from mysteries, suspense, to epics like Gone With the Wind. I like romantic fiction with substance.

ib4b: What was the last "must read" Christian fiction book that you read?

LND: There are a lot of very good Christian novels being published all the time. I read as many as I have time to. So I would have to say the latest one I finished reading—Cowgirl Trail, one of the books in the Texas Trails series. Right now I'm reading Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T Bergren on my Kindle and Hidden in Dreams by Davis Bunn in paperback format. Both are excellent. I love anything written by Ronie Kendig, Robin Caroll, Susan May Warren, Martha Rogers, Jillian Kent--I could tell you authors' names for a long time. Check out my blog to see what is being published by Christian publishers.

ib4b: Can you tell us a bit about what you're working on now? When can we expect to see it in stores?

LND: I'm writing the first book in my Restored Hearts series. The working title is The Gift of a Son. It is scheduled for release in October 2013.

Brooke, thank you for letting me visit with your readers today.

ib4b: Thank you, Lena, for stopping by! I enjoyed getting to know you better!

Lena Nelson Dooley Online

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  1. Thank you, Brooke, for having me. I must have hit the wrong number on my keyboard when I gave the scripture recerence.

    It's Philippians 3:10, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,"

  2. Thank you for this interview! I loved the first two books and am waiting for Catherine's Pursuit! And... a new series begins before I receive that one!!! So awesome. Thank you. Kathleen

  3. Good interview with interesting questions.
    Hi Lena.
    Lena is one of the sweetest people I know and one of my mentors. Her books are a delight. They are good stories with realistic characters.


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