Author Interview ~ Dana Mentink

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dana Mentink is a resident of California where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. After many years teaching elementary school, she now writes full length fiction for Harlequin and Barbour Books. She is a 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense. She juggles her writing career along with a husband, two children and a dog with social anxiety problems. Visit her on the web at http://www.danamentink.com/.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I’ve always written for as long as I can remember, but I decided to have a go at writing professionally about ten years ago.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

Hmmm. Still working on that. I’m at the point where I decide for myself whether or not to follow the suggestions I receive from my crit group or others but I would still like to improve my ‘gut’ instinct about whether something will work or not. Sometimes I just have to write it first and then realize it’s not going to work.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I’m a get up at 4 a.m. and write every morning except Sundays kinda gal.

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

Well of course I’m a huge reader. That’s true relaxation. To be honest, I’m not a good relaxer. Must make a note to work on that!

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

I loved Rebecca by Du Maurier. Oh! Did you mean a novel that I’ve written? I loved Trouble Up Finny’s Nose because that was truly a book of the heart thing and I got to use my wacky sense of humor!

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

It’s like a doctor watching another doctor operate. Think of all the new techniques you can learn!

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Betrayal in the Badlands is a book set in the remote badlands of South Dakota about a woman who is trying to make peace with her past and stay alive at the same time. The protag Isabel Ling is having a VERY bad week!

Where did you get your inspiration for Betrayal in the Badlands?

I came up with the idea for Betrayal in the Badlands when I saw pictures of these fantastic hoodoos, twisted rock formations that pepper the South Dakota badlands. I’ve always been mindful of how dependent we have become on technology and the idea of setting the crucial scenes of a book in a place that’s so remote it might as well be on the moon, was appealing.

Which character is most like you?

I think probably Isabel Ling because she’s really trying hard to keep it all together like yours truly!

Who is your favorite character and why?

The hero, Logan Price is my favorite. Former pararescueman, fit and faithful, what’s not to love?

Did you know how Betrayal would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

I knew how it would turn out, but I am always surprised at the connections that emerge between the characters during the course of the book.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

The take away message is that it’s never too late to give yourself to the Lord. He doesn’t hold grudges or hang onto mistakes the way people do.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

I’m fortunate to write for Harlequin who does a brilliant job of marketing. It’s been fun to participate on various blogs and such. There’s going to be a Harvest Festival on the Harlequin site the week of October 18th so I’m looking forward to that as well.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

Currently, I’m working the sequel to Betrayal and another book that comes after that, also set in South Dakota.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

As Kermit the frog says, “It’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice.” If you have a chance to be good to someone and lift them up today, go for it! That’s a much better accomplishment than writing a book! :-)
Thank you for having me.

Want more? Be sure to stop by on Thursday for an excerpt from Betrayal in the Badlands by Dana Mentink!

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