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Monday, April 16, 2007

Interview with Dana Mentink!


Today I’m excited to introduce to you Dana Mentink and her latest release, Pi and the Fabulosa (slightly married) Twenty Four Hour Man.

Dana also writes for Barbour publishing’s new mystery line, so you can look forward to seeing more of her books in the near future.

LISA: Dana, tell us your initial reaction in finding out you sold your first book? In other words, tell us about. . .THE CALL

DANA: Well actually, it wasn’t a call. It was an e-mail. The Wild Rose Press publishes both e-books and the print variety so the Pi book was released digitally first. Nonetheless, I was very excited in a weird, I-don’t-really-believe-it kinda way.

LISA: Tell us some of the background behind the idea for your stories and a blurb about Pi and the Fabulosa (Slightly Married) Twenty Four Hour Man.

DANA: I’ve always been fascinated by the circus. Most people would say that is because I am primarily a clown. I even drive a teeny tiny car and wear floppy clothes that don’t fit properly. Circuses are tight families who create a world independent of the outside culture. That makes the perfect backdrop for a story, a world within a world.

Here’s a blurb from Pi and the Fabulosa (slightly married) Twenty Four Hour Man. The title, by the way, is thanks to Ruth Logan Herne who was my editor at that time.

Pi Steely’s life is a circus. Literally. As business manager for the Steely Family Circus, sensible Pi steers her madcap troupe through the perils of life on a daily basis. Things progress from muddled to madness when her soul mate accidentally turns up married and a body is discovered on circus grounds.

Aided and abetted by a zany young man with a tarantula tattooed on his forehead, and her pet chicken, Rhonda Sue, the smart and sassy Pi must fight the odds to save her circus family, reunite with Reuben, the slightly married love of her life, and manage to mollify an international cast of flamboyant, one-of-a-kind characters, one of whom could be a murderer. It’s going to take a brilliant performance and a whole lot of heavenly intervention to keep the show on the road.

LISA: This definitely sounds like a book full of laughs, Dana! On another note, I find in my own writing that I often grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Is there a character who you relate to and who made an input on your life?

DANA: I gotta love Pi because she’s a couple eggs short of an omelet but in a lovely, innocent way. I’ve always admired people who had the courage to be who they are with no apologies. She has an authentic and childlike faith which is something I strive for with less than stellar success sometimes.

LISA: What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

DANA: Never lean too far back on your exercise ball/office chair. The results aren’t pretty.

LISA: You’re a hoot, Dana. Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

DANA: I’d like to write mysteries for a living, humorous mysteries with quirky people struggling with real faith issues and solving crimes in the meantime. What a dream job that would be! That’s why I’m beyond thrilled to be writing for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents Mysteries, a new line that launches in the Fall. The people there are fabulosa!

LISA: I completely agree! Because I know there are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published, especially from someone who has just broken in?

DANA: Write what you have a passion to write. Don’t try to change who you are to sell something. God gave you that particular passion for a reason. Stick with the writing and be humble enough to keep learning and keep asking God to direct you. I believe creativity is one of His most precious gifts in whatever form it takes.

LISA: Any writer’s resources you could recommend?

DANA: Find a great critique group and read Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King.

LISA: What is the process you use when writing a mystery/suspense?

DANA: I find an incident or phenomenon that fascinates me. Then I go off on a complete research tangent for about a month. Then I’m ready to start plotting. There is a lot of coffee and scribbling on napkins and such in the interim. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to keep this brain in order, let me tell you.

LISA: What is your system to keep the story/clues organized?

DANA: As Pi would say, the key to my organizational system is a little piece of high tech paraphernalia I like to call… the file cabinet. I know, it’s not a PDA and it has no giga anythings but sheesh, what a great invention. I am also a fan of the light-up pen I have next to my bed and of course, the Post-it. Did you know the Post-it was invented by a man who was frustrated that when he stood up to sing in church his notes fell all over the place? Did I mention I tend to go off on tangents? It’s an ADD thing. Sorry. Where was I?

LISA: Right here telling us more about the research you had to do for this story! LOL

DANA: I read everything I could about the circus and circus history. I learned about nuns who travel with the circus and the rich language that characterizes the business. Oh yes, I had to learn a little about goats too. Don’t ask.

LISA: You can’t leave us hanging like that, Dana! To find out more about Dana’s new book, (and maybe a goat or two) check out her website. And don’t forget to check out our contest page for a change to win a copy of Pi and the Fabulosa (Slightly Married) Twenty Four Hour Man.

Blessings!

Lisa

4 Comments:

Blogger Gina said...

Great interview, Dana and Lisa. Can't wait to read it!

8:12 AM  
Blogger :-)Ronie said...

Dana clearly has a great voice! The interview was great. Thanks for posting this.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a great book.
As one of Dana's CP's I got to read it in the making!
Kate

1:29 PM  
Blogger Lynette Sowell said...

I love the title! :) Great interview. :)

5:57 PM  

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