This Month CFRB is touring Vengeance by Donna Dawson. I chose to go with an interview as I’m swamped with reading at the moment. Readers please enjoy this glimpse into another author’s life and work that I have been privileged to come in contact with through my blogging.
Besides the obvious (God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit) I would love to meet John Grisham, Robert Ludlum and Frank Peretti so I could pick their brains on writing. Extremely talented authors with much to teach I’m sure.
2. Whatâ€™s your favorite comfort food?
Cool another chocolate lover – between that and books I can usually be plied for most anything unless of course it violates personal standards or is unlawful activity.
3. What would be your dream vacation?
Tour of Scotland and England.
4. Is there anyone who has influenced / encouraged you to write other than God who ultimately gives us any talents including creativity? Who and how / why?
My grade 12 English teacher, Mrs Quiggly, said that if I did nothing else, I should write. She always commented on my essays and stories.
5. Can you give a brief synopsis of your journey to publication with your first book?
My writing began in freelance non-fiction with my first article being purchased by Angels on Earth (Guideposts). From then on, I picked away at writing a few stories but really got involved in writing when my youngest daughter went to university. Having home taught, I decided to write a small guide to prepare parents for what to expect in home teaching. I then took a university course with Long Ridge Writers Group out of Connecticut. My teachers encouraged me in both fiction and non-fiction. My first novel grew from a question one of my daughters asked as we walked down a street in Toronto, Ontario. She wondered why there were so many homeless people. As I searched for an answer for her question, I became aware of the stories of the individuals and thought “People need to understand what brings a person onto the streets”. From that “Redeemed” was born. The editors and publishing staff at Word Alive Press really encouraged me and I haven’t been able to turn off the ideas since then.
6. What else have you written / are you currently writing (including unpublished works)?
Oh my! I have three novels; “Redeemed”, “The Adam & Eve Project” and “Vengeance”. I have just finished a rough draft of a novel entitled “Rescued”. This is another suspense novel but it has its roots in a very extreme truth–that abortion is not necessary. It is a novel that joins pro-life and pro-choice to fight for a new procedure to become standard policy. The book is to be released in the spring. I also have an e-book being released through Awe-struck books. It is an inspirational mystery romance entitled “Fires of Fury”. I just finished the final draft on a middle grade novel about a dog and the family she adopts. It is called “Princey”. And I’m beginning the first draft on the sequel to “The Adam & Eve Project”. I also write a monthly column for a local newspaper, a monthly column for a home school magazine and ongoing articles for nationwide magazines. Yes, I’m a very busy lady.
I’ve found that authors who have the itch to write generally are busy as that writing bug won’t let go yet like me and reading it can’t be done 24/7 either.
7. What first gave you the idea for Vengeance?
Revenge is one of the oldest temptations. We all face it. We all have our dark, painful traumas and it can be tempting to want to get even. And it isn’t a one-time battle. We face it daily. I wanted to write a novel that would show the two choices surrounding vengeance. One victim chooses to get even and his revenge consumes him while the other victim chooses to reach out to God and in so doing finds the path to emotional freedom. It is a heavy concept that victims sometimes don’t want to face. But they will accept it in a novel setting.
8. What else would you like to share with readers about yourself or Vengeance?
From personal experience I can say that getting even always comes back on us. I have had to remember that it is God’s responsibility to judge, not mine. That is the crux of the book–knowing that God sees it all and he WILL do something about it when the time is right.
9. Share with us one of the craziest things you’ve done or that’s happened to you? Where to begin? Among the many jobs I’ve had in my life, horseshoeing has had to be one of the most memorable. I remember once having a horse pull her foot away (she liked to play games when she got bored) while the nails were still sticking out the side of her hoof. She sliced my leg open. Not able to just leave her, I grabbed a roll of duct tape and “stitched” the wound closed so I could finish the job. After that my kids called me Mrs. Red Green.
10. What five books would you take with you to a desert island?
Most certainly the Bible. It is a fascinating book that never gets old. Any books written by Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum, Frank Peretti, John Grisham
Always so much fun to hear what others would chose from the sea of books we have at our disposal and every answer continues to be unique no matter how many people I ask this question.
11. What concept or scripture is God revealing more deeply to you in this season of your life? And how is that revelation influencing your life?
Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” I am understanding more each day that with each word I write for the glory of God, I am renewed in knowing that I am walking in his will. I am learning that there is no contentment, no rest, no peace outside of living in his will.
Great reminder to all of us that our focus should be on following Him in every endeavor and task we face.
12. Why did you start writing and when?
I began writing in school on a casual basis but I really got serious about it several years ago as a means of emptying my ADHD mind of its multitude of ideas. I guess it was my sleeping pill to start. If I got my ideas down on paper in their most basic form my mind would stop churning and I could sleep. I continue to pour out ideas daily because it is a compulsion–a calling. It is God’s command in my life and I can’t NOT write.
13. How do you choose names and get to know your characters?
I spend a good few hours just creating a character. The names come last. I decide what they look like, what they like to eat, wear, listen to etc. When I stumble across a name that suits that character, I snatch it and alter it enough that it becomes part of the character and he or she becomes a real person on paper. My character sketches can be pages long and I make sure that I keep the character consistent through out the story.
14. Whatâ€™s your favorite character / scene from Vengeance?
I would have to say that I love the relationship between James Benedict and Cookie, Julie’s dog. Life isn’t perfect. It doesn’t always fit together the way we’d like it to. I like slipping that truth into my stories. The animosity between these two who are both obviously jealous over Julie’s attention makes the story ring of truth. The reader believes the Biblical truths slipped into the pages because I’ve tried to make the overall story truthful in a way that life is truthful–by showing the relational flaws. My favourite scene would have to be where James is pounding out his frustrations on the upper deck. He’s showing that he’s angry but he is using the cruise ship’s driving range as a constructive method for working out his anger. Often Christians think they can’t be angry–or show it. Not true! We are to be wise in how we deal with our emotions–not pretend they don’t exist.
I know people do ignore emotions or pretend they aren’t there though I still don’t understand how someone can do that when my own emotions can be so intense and pervasive sometimes that although I want them just to go away experience and reality have proven it won’t happen that easily.
15. Do you have any teasers you can share for your next book?
“Fires of Fury” is the story of a woman’s betrayal by her husband, his murder and her struggle to remain distant from the police officer who is investigating the murder. It is romance in its innocent form with a faith message woven throughout.
“Rescued” is about a girl who becomes pregnant. Because of a biological defect in her reproductive organs she can’t have the baby. But she refuses to have an abortion. When a reproductive specialist creates an alternative, she jumps at the chance. And then the extremists come out of the woodwork and her life is in jeapardy. This book has a purpose to serve. The goal is to show women that there is an alternative to abortion but they must fight for that alternative in a society where nothing changes without pressure.
16. Are there any closing remarks youâ€™d like to share?
“Vengeance” has a simple message to it: trust God with our circumstances. He knows they happened and he can use them for good. He is also more than capable of calling to account those who victimize. They WILL stand before God some day and they WILL answer.
Wow that is quite a potent message and all wrapped into a story nonetheless. I love how books while fictional can carry so much truth deep within them. Thank you for taking the time to share with my readers.
It was my great pleasure. God bless.