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Monday, February 04, 2008

Interview with Dana Mentink!

1. What was your initial reaction in finding out you sold your first book? In other words, tell us about. . .THE CALL

Well, the first call was actually an e-mail. I printed it out and made my husband read it to be sure it wasn’t a cyber criminal preying on my need to succeed. It was unbelievable and surreal until the day I actually met the lovely Susan Downs, Barbour Editor. She really is a live person, either that or an incredible holographic representation. If she is a hologram, she’s a really charming one.
The CALL came from New York when I sold my first book to Harlequin. I remained calm, stoic even, the picture of cool. When I hung up I decided it must have been one of those sneaky crank calls only they didn’t ask for my credit card number. It wasn’t until I got the contract in the mail that I started believing it. I’m still not sure I really do. Could be an elaborate hoax and maybe we didn’t really land on the moon either. And about that Elvis, guy. I think I saw him at Safeway yesterday.

2.Tell us some of the background behind the ideas for your stories and about the story itself.

For the Finny series I was inspired by Half Moon Bay which is a small seaside community on the California coast. It’s a fantastic place filled with colorful people. Ruth is a compilation of many wonderful people I’ve met. As for the seagulls, I’ve got no idea. I’m kinda afraid of birds. Ask my sister. She has a parrot and I’m pretty sure he’s waiting to get a clear shot at my eye.

2. 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?

Ruth has learned to stop fighting for control of her life and to give it over to the Lord. I would like to say I’ve mastered that concept but it wouldn’t be true. I do aspire to trust fully and unreservedly as she learns to do, but maybe without the mystery solving, near death experiences she’s encountered.

3. What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

Writing is a process by which you share your soul with others. Do it to the best of your ability and let God handle the rest. It comes from Him, after all.

5 Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

I’d like to write funny. I don’t mean odd funny, but funny funny. That’s why I’m so completely tickled that Barbour Books took on a cozy mystery series. So cool! Humor is my natural bent, probably due to some mental short circuitry, but I believe I touch most people through laughter. I envision myself writing a humorous mystery series, maybe one for each alphabet letter. A is for Aardvark. B is for Bongos. Oh hang on. I think maybe that’s been done.

6. 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?

Treat it like a business and don’t be afraid of criticism. Oh sure, you can gnash your teeth and throw those comments through the old shredder, but learn from them too. And remember the words of my favorite writer Kermit the Frog. “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.”

7. Any writer’s resources you could recommend?

Join a good critique group and read How to Write a **** Good Mystery, by James Frey. Very helpful stuff, don’t you know.

Thanks for the interview, Dana!

Don't forget to visit the contest page to enter the drawing.

Dana's website: http://www.danamentink.com/


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