Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Interview & Winner!

Congratulations to Kim from The Homesteader's Heart. She's the winner of a signed copy of Continents Apart and a $10 Starbuck's gift card. Email me with your address Kim, and I'll toss it in the mail for ya!

If you didn't win, don't be discouraged. I have a few more signed copies from favorite authors, coming your way in the next few weeks.

For those of you still hungry for more, there's one last Valentine's Day treat in store for you. Author, Dana Sudboro, sat down with me to answer some questions about his writing journey. Please make sure to welcome our Blessed... Guest with lots of comments below!

I'm a Blessed Guest!

It's so great to have you here today Dana! Welcome to Blessed... tell us a little bit about yourself.

In 1957, at a youth summer camp at Mount Hermon, I discovered God was real. Fifty years later God brought me back to Mount Hermon to attend my first writers conference. Some of the redwoods stood virtually unchanged. But everything in my life had changed. It was a precious moment standing on the bridge, watching the creek flow timelessly by, and thanking the Eternal for all He’d done.

Being a male romance writer is almost an oxymoron. How did this happen?
When I watch a movie or read a book—regardless of genre—it’s the romance between hero and heroine that stirs my emotions most. So, naturally, that’s what I want to write.

Much of your story takes place in Africa, where you were a missionary with your wife.

Yes, God sent me to Africa to reach out to the Fulani people—nomadic herders of cattle and sheep.

Once there, African partners led me to the outreach that worked best—the Jesus video in the Fulani language, shown outside the villages in the camps where they bedded their cattle at night. We showed the video, which always drew an eager audience, preached the gospel, and invited people to make decisions.

At first, all decisions were made in secret, but year by year those responding became bolder. And we trained pastors to follow up on the new converts and disciple them discreetly in ways that jeopardized their relationship to their Muslim community as little as possible.

I LOVE your main characters, Odette and Xavier. Were either of them inspired by people you know?
A burden for the Tuareg people—camel riders of the Sahara—inspired me to invent a missionary nurse reaching out to them. Two single missionary nurses in West Africa, one French, one American, impressed me with their selfless work and dedication. But Odette’s personality is all her own, not based on either. Likewise, a love for the Japanese people and culture led me to place the hero in their midst.

I know you belong to a pretty amazing critique group. Do you believe they are helpful?

Critique groups are all about feedback. What works, what doesn’t work in the story. How to improve that which works. How to eliminate the boring stuff, the stuff that doesn’t move the story along, etc.

Mechanics of writing one can learn at writers workshops and conferences, from books and blog sites. But just as an experimental engine needs a test run, so does a piece of fiction. That’s what make critique groups invaluable.

My critique partners in Inspire Christian Writers are fair, honest, and loving in their evaluations—not overly flattering, heaven forbid, nor overly picky and critical.

Quite a few of my readers here at Blessed... are aspiring writers. What words of wisdom can you give for someone hoping to publish one day?

Stay true to your heart. Network with other writers to learn the craft. Go to conferences to meet agents and editors. But don’t let any of them rob you of the passion and vision God has given for your message, whether fiction or non-fiction. In a multitude of counselors, listen for His voice.

Thank you so much for visiting us today, Dana. Your book is sure to bless many.

Happy Valentine's Day!


The Real Me! said...

WOW! YAY! WOO HOO! I'm so excited! Thank you so much. I'm going to email you right now.


Mari said...

Congrats to Kim and thanks for the interview!

Denise said...

Such a great interview. Congrats to Kim.

Chris Pedersen said...

Thanks for the peek at Dana's missionary experience and journey to being published. I know his writing is memorable.

Danie Marie said...

Love Dana's responses, especially as a fellow writer who espires to be published one day. Thanks much for your input, Dana. I look forward to reading your book. So proud of you!
Great interview, Joanne!


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