Sunday, June 24, 2012

Interview with Lynn Dove, Christian author


Lynn Dove is a graduate of the University of Calgary, where she earned her Bachelor of Education degree in 1981, she has spent the last thirty years teaching children in the private and public school settings.  In 2007, she earned a Masters of Religious Education degree from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.   

Lynn’s blogs Journey Thoughtsand Word Salt have well over 10K in followers and readers.  Journey Thoughts won a 2011 Canadian Christian Writing Award (the equivalent of winning a Christy Award in Canada).  Lynn’s writing has also been showcased in a few compilation books the latest being in Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith featuring essays from Robin Jones Gunn, Tricia Goyer and Suzanne Woods Fisher just to name a few.  Lynn’s article “Cool Grandma” can be found on p. 56. 

How do you describe yourself, Lynn?
I am a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order).  I wear so many different “hats” that I find prioritizing them tends to focus me better.  I have been married to my best friend, Charles for over 33 years and we have three wonderful children: daughter, Laurelle (husband, Matt) grandbaby, Jaxon, and we have two live-at-home teenagers, Brett and Carmen.   I have been a teacher most of my adult life, and I still substitute from time to time at the private Christian school my youngest daughter attends.  I love volunteering and working closely with the youth in our church.  I love to blog, camp and read.

Tell us a little bit about your “Wounded Trilogy”?
Shoot the Wounded, the first book of the Wounded Trilogy, is written for youth and young adults. It addresses how lies and gossip destroy a person's spirit and speaks to the heart of relevant themes such as bullying, teen pregnancy and family violence.  The story points the characters, and ultimately the reader, to hope in Jesus Christ.  STW was a finalist in the 2010 Readers Favorite Book Awards.

Heal the Wounded, is the sequel to STW and the second book of the Wounded Trilogy.  HTW won a Bronze Medal in the 2011 Readers Favorite Book Awards in the Young Adult- Coming of Age category.  HTW delves even deeper into the real world of teenagers trying to live out their faith in the midst of upset and struggle.   Heal the Wounded, continues to follow the characters, Jake, Leigh, Mike (Jake's best friend), and Tim (Ronnie's brother) each of them dealing with the aftermath of their friend’s death in the first book. Jake is especially dealing with a variety of disappointments (“Job” experiences I call them) that cause him to question why God allows bad things to happen to good people. A new character is introduced into the story, Cassidy, a young cancer patient whose unquenchable spirit and faith impacts Jake, Leigh, Mike and Tim in a way that allows them all to experience God's grace and the power of His healing in each one of their lives.
Love the Wounded is the final and dramatic conclusion to the Wounded Trilogy series that has followed the lives of teenagers Jake, Leigh, Mike, Dylan and Tim as they come to terms with a series of tragedies and events that have made each of them question why God allows “bad things to happen to good people”.  Released May 30, 2012, the book has already received a five star review from Readers Favorite.     
My books deal with a variety of social issues: family violence, bullying, teen pregnancy, gossip and are listed as resources on the largest anti-bullying website in the world: www.bullying.org

 Why did you become a writer?
I know this is a cliché answer, but I have always wanted to write.  I have written poetry and short stories since I was in elementary school.  I was always writing.  In fact my biology teacher in high school signed my Gr. 12 year book: “To the only literary biologist I know”.  My teachers could always count on me to give a lengthy treatise on any subject.  I did not have aspirations to be a novelist.  My debut novel, Shoot the Wounded, actually started out as a short story but 100 pages later, I realized I couldn’t call it a “short story” any longer.  Then it sat for ten years taking up valuable computer memory space until one day as I was deleting files I came across the story again.  It was my husband who encouraged me to finish it and then get it published.

 Do you tend to base your characters on real people?
I have three children and because two of them are teenagers and I write novels for teenagers, I have been very purposeful not basing my characters on any one of them.  It would mortify them!  Instead I try to draw on my experience with working with teenagers in general as a high school teacher and as a youth leader, so I kind of create characters that have a smattering of many individuals I know personally all rolled up into one cohesive characterization.  My kids still say that they see themselves in the characters.  I suppose that’s to be expected, but I pray that when they recognize themselves they see the character as positively portrayed and not the otherwise.

 Do you have any new book or writing projects now that the Wounded Trilogy is done?
I am working on a more autobiographical account of my journey with breast cancer in 2001 called “Life Lived”.  I have a few projects I am working on, a devotional for one, as well as a few more articles set to be published in compilation book works.

 Do you have any advice for beginning writers (authors)?
I am asked this question a lot and my advice is always:  WRITE!  If you feel called by God to write, just write.  Decide in advance what your goals are for writing.  Is it for pure enjoyment that you write?  Is it something you do that is private or is it something you want to share?  Decide to whom you are writing.  Knowing your audience will also determine how you will write and what your focus will be when you write.  Also determine your “success” goals before you embark on the publishing journey.  Do you want to have a small, intimate audience or a world-wide audience?  That will help you set realistic expectations when it comes to selling and promoting your work. 

I had no idea when I embarked on this writing adventure that there would be so much work involved in promoting yourself and your work.  As a Christian we revere humbleness, however for you to be noticed in the industry and to get your books into the hands of readers, you have to create a “buzz” about your work.  It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of effort and purposeful networking.  I spend a lot of time building online relationships with hundreds of authors and industry professionals.  I read and review books and I have blogs that showcase new and “seasoned” authors.  I have learned so much for those who have been in the industry a long time, and I have been blessed with incredible mentors along the way.

 What is your favourite work of literary fiction? 
There are so many wonderful works of fiction it is tough to choose just one.  I love the classics but the book that inspired me to read (and then write) was Lucy Maude Montgomery’s, “Anne of Green Gables”.  I suppose being a Canadian; I gravitate naturally to Canadian authors and their work.

Who is your favourite contemporary author?
Again there are so many wonderful authors out there.  I am an eclectic reader, meaning that I read all genres of fiction so my favourite Christian author(s) are Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury and Suzanne Woods Fisher and Janette Oke.  

Who are your greatest encouragers?
I have a hugely supportive family, extended family and friends.  My biggest fan is my husband, Charles.  He has been the one who encouraged me to publish in the first place (and he had never even read the book at that time).  My church family hosts my book launches and prays for me on a regular basis.  They realize that this is a ministry for me, and they have bought my books and sent them all around the world!  I am more than blessed!

Lynn’s books are available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, on Lynn’s website.
Readers may also connect with Lynn on Twitter, Facebook,  on her blogs: “Journey Thoughts”, “Word Salt” and on her website: www.shootthewounded.org

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