Lena Nelson Dooley is an award-winning author with more than 650,000 books in print. Her novel Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction.
She and her husband James live in Texas, where she is the president of her local ACFW chapter.
Your latest book is entitled Maggie’s Journey. What sparked your personal writing journey?
In May of 1984, God told me to become a professional writer.
I have always written. I thought everyone did. If we needed a program, I wrote it. If we needed puppet scripts, I wrote them, etc. I often daydreamed of writing the great American novel. Sometimes, while I was in my middle 30s, I thought I would like to write a book based on the Proverbs 31 woman. And I still may write that book.
In January 1984, several publishers came out with inspirational romances—Silhouette, Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Harvest House, Baker Books, Bethany House. I bought all of them and read them before I would let my daughters, who were still in school, read them. At the time, I was an auxiliary rural mail carrier in Colleyville, Texas. While I was driving the mail route, I created a story in my head. It was like a motion picture, but it would make a good inspirational romance.
If your readers want to read the whole story, they can check it out at: http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com by clicking on the About Me tab at the top.
How does your faith play into your writing?
Since my relationship with the Lord is such an integral part of my life, a strong spiritual thread is an integral part of every book I write.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Way too many to enumerate. I’ve found that when my life takes an unexpected turn, either for the better or for the worse, God has something for me to learn from the experience. After realizing that, I deal with possible roadblocks in an entirely different way from the way I did before.
Let’s talk about your new book, Maggie’s Journey (Realms, October 2011), the first in your McKenna’s Daughters series. Please tell us about it.
Maggie is one of triplet sisters born on one of the last wagon trains west in 1867. Their mother dies soon after giving birth to them. And they’re separated and grow up in different areas of the western United States. Not until near their eighteenth birthdays do they find out they have two sisters.
Maggie has grown up not even knowing she was adopted. Finding out that she was brings all kinds of emotional and trust issues into her life, as well as a man who can love her for who she really is.
Sometimes we learn from our character’s experiences. What did Maggie’s journey teach you?
To trust God through every circumstance.
You are a prolific writer. How do you manage to stay focused on the project at hand? Or do you work simultaneously on more than one manuscript?
When you’re multi-published with books releasing less than a year apart, you can’t completely stay focused on only one book. While I’m writing book three right now, I’m also working on rewrites for the second book and marketing for book one.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate. Here’s part of my current bio:
Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with fifteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I have been a singer for as long as I remember. I’ve sang in choirs, directed choirs, and been a featured singer on retreats. I’ve played the tambourine, a couple of stringed instruments, and keyboards—mostly for my own enjoyment.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
A romantic song of worship for the One Who loves me more than anyone else possibly could love me, even though He has seen every sin I’ve ever committed.
Are you a major or a minor chord?
Major chord—a loud major chord
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I’d like to be the mysterious woman behind dark glasses, but I’m more a strong, female lead—and I don’t hide in the shadows.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Actually, the “pets” from childhood were working dogs. Our daughters had dogs when they were fairly small, but we’ve lived several places where pets weren’t permitted.
Thanks, Lena! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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For more information about Lena, visit her website at http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com
To purchase Maggie’s Journey logon to:
Lovely to read about you, Lena, and even lovlier to travel with you.
Great interview, Lena and Kathy. Divine Detour is a fine way of expressing what happens when we’re trying to have a well-planned life.
I enjoyed meeting you at ACFW last week, Anne!
Thanks, Lee. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about Christian fiction on your website — and how we would all immediately choose God’s will for our lives if we knew what He does. So true!
Lena truly is the strong female lead. I would be the girl next door hoping to follow in her footprints.
I agree, Connie!
Good interview. Lena is a treasure in her writing and her goal to help writers hone their skills. Thanks Lena. Kathy, love the title of your blog.
Thanks for stopping by, Patricia!
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