For the next two weeks, my guest will be DeAnna Dodson, author of Letters in the Attic. DeAnna Julie Dodson is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery in the Annie’s Attic series. She is currently working on The Drew Farthering Mysteries, a new series set in 1930s England. A graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, she currently lives in North Texas with four spoiled cats and, when not writing, enjoys quilting, cross stitch and NHL hockey. She is also trying to teach herself to knit.
DeAnna has some great tips for aspiring writers:
1. What is your writing vision?
My vision is to write stories that are exciting and entertaining and that represent a Christian world view. Too many times, readers who are looking for a good story are inundated with philosophies that are opposed to what the Bible teaches. I think there’s no reason we can’t have engrossing, well-written books that support rather than tear down our faith.
2. Whom do you write for?
I write for people like me, I suppose. Whether a book is very gentle or has more grittiness to it, I want something that reflects Christian values and reminds me of God’s ever-present mercy and guidance. When all is said and done, He is my Audience of One.
3. What inspired you to write Letters in the Attic?
Actually, Letters in the Attic is the fourth book in the Annie’s Attic Mystery series, all written by different authors. The basic premise of the book was given to me by the publishers and then I was free to take it from there. I had never written a book like this before, but it was great fun. It’s the first contemporary book I’ve ever written. It was kind of nice to not have to do a lot of historical research for once!
4. Please give us a brief story of your journey to publication.
When I first started writing, I never dreamed that I would ever be published. I just wrote to entertain myself. After I had written about ninety percent of my first book, a friend of mine encouraged me to try to get it published. I didn’t think anything would come of it, but I gave it a try anyway. I was amazed when the third publisher I queried bought the book and the other two in the series: In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered. Unfortunately, I let “real life” get in the way and didn’t pursue my writing for a long period of time after that, but for the past three years or so I’ve really worked at it. Letters in the Attic will be my first published book in the last twelve years, and my agent is working hard to sell my 1930s series, The Drew Farthering Mysteries, too.
5. What advice would you give to an unpublished writer?
I suppose there are writing prodigies out there, people who can just sit down and write perfection from word one, but I’ve never met anyone like that. The only way I know to succeed in writing is to write. And write. And write. And read a lot. And write more. I’ve heard it said that it takes about ten thousand hours to really master the craft of writing. Shortcuts don’t work. Put in your time. There’s really no other way to end up with a product that will make you proud.
But while you’re putting in your time, don’t get discouraged. Really learning to write is a long, arduous process. It’s usually a thankless job. Lots of people say they want to write. Very few stick with it long enough to actually become writers. Writing is a lonely business. It can be a very discouraging one. But if it’s something God has called you to do, there is nothing else as satisfying. Stay the course. Learn your craft. Write the book that’s on your heart. God will use it where He sees fit.
Now, about DeAnna's book:
Up in her grandmother’s attic in Stony Point, Maine, Annie Dawson finds a stack of old letters from her childhood friend Susan Morris. Annie remembers Susan fondly and would like to get back in touch, but nobody seems to know what’s become of her. Her friends at The Hook and Needle Club aren’t much help either. All they remember is that Susan left town more than twenty years ago to marry a very wealthy man, but none of them is quite sure who he was. And Annie can find no record of any marriage.
The more Annie searches, the more she begins to wonder if something has happened to Susan. Something bad.
Although I (Louise) haven't had a chance to read Letters in the Attic, I did obtain a review that should stir your interest:
In chasing her mischievous cat Boots up to the attic of her late grandmother’s house, Annie Dawson discovers a pack of letters she had exchanged with a childhood friend, Susan. Reading through them, Annie begins to wonder, whatever happened to Susan, anyway?
Annie begins a casual search, but disturbing results prompt her to dig deeper. And when she receives an anonymous warning to let the matter rest, it only turns the search into an obsession. The consequences of her digging spiral out of her control, creating a final face-off that surprised even this jaded mystery reader.
Although this is book #4 of a series (written by authors other than Dodson) I did not feel I had missed a thing in the story. The characters are fully fleshed, especially Annie, who reacts with strength and grace when she realizes that she has made a fatal misstep. Supporting characters, such as Officer Roy, are a delight. And most important (to me, anyway) the plot is well paced, well constructed, and explosive in the end. A 5-star rating. Robin Hardy, author of the Annals of Lystra and the Streiker Saga
Sounds like a terrific book!
If you would like to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Letters in the Attic, leave a comment below. This drawing is limited to residents of the United States and Canada and is void where such drawings are prohibited. It is the responsibility of entrants to know the laws of their own state or province. The drawing will be held on August 28, 2010. We must have ten entries, or this drawing will not take place. So tell your friends! AND BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOUR NAME IS DRAWN!!!