Dorothy Love is the author of the Hickory Ridge series, historical novels set in the beautiful Smoky Mountains region of her native Tennessee. When she isn’t busy writing or researching her next book, Dorothy enjoys hiking and hanging out with her husband Ron and their two golden retrievers, Major and Jake. She now lives in San Antonio, Texas.
For more information or a chance to win a copy of her newest release, please read the interview below.
1) How did you develop an interest in writing? My dad loved books and reading, and used to read aloud to me before I could read for myself. At Christmas I always got books as gifts. He made sure I always had pencils and paper around. I don't remember a time when I wasn't fooling with words.
2) Tell me a little about your blog. I blog from my website, www.DorothyLoveBooks.com usually on Wednesdays, and my focus is on fun and interesting historical tidbits I uncover as I am researching and writing my novels. Sometimes I post photos from a research trip or write a short profile of someone from history.
The second blog page on my site is called “Writers Caffeine”. On Saturdays I post information, writing advice, reviews of books on craft--anything that I think might be helpful to aspiring writers.
3) I see you are working on a MS - please tell me a little about it. Right now I am writing the third novel in the Hickory Ridge series to follow BEYOND ALL MEASURE which is out now and BEAUTY FOR ASHES due out next February. The third novel is called EVERY PERFECT GIFT and it will wrap up this series. I just received the final cover for BEAUTY FOR ASHES and I love it. It's posted on my website under the "Books" tab.
4) What other styles do you write - genre novels, poetry, articles, memoirs etc? Before I came to Thomas Nelson to write historical novels for adult readers, I published 14 novels for preteens and young adults at Random House and Simon and Schuster. Some of those novels were also historicals, my first love. So now I am writing only Southern historicals. I love it!
5) Is this a hobby or do you plan to make a career from writing? I've been publishing books for almost 20 years, so I guess it's my career now. Before I took up writing full time, I was a school administrator and a college professor. But I've been away from that field too many years, and in truth, I love writing more than anything else I've ever done. The quote on my Writers Caffeine page says "when the itch of literature comes over one, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen." I've been scratching away for a long time and I'm still not cured!
6) What authors do you admire? So many. I'll start with Southern writers--Eudora Welty, Reynolds Price, Carson McCullars, and the playwright, Horton Foote. I've read and admired Pat Conroy's work since I first read The Water is Wide. The Prince of Tides is one of his best, and my favorite. I've long been a fan of Gail Godwin's books. Father Melancholy's Daughter is one of my favorites. Among the authors currently writing Christian fiction, I love Tamera Alexander, Deb Raney, Margaret Brownley and Jodi Hedlund.
7) What music, places, people inspire you? I love the beach. It's where I go to reenergize, to focus on the spiritual, and to clear my head. I'm lucky to live a two hour drive from the Gulf coast, though I confess a weakness for Kiawah Island, South Carolina. People who inspire me: My husband who keeps cheering me on when I am so tired I can't breathe. My publisher, Allen Arnold who is one of the most fully realized and authentic human beings I have ever met. I cannot say enough about his integrity and his talent. My best friend of twenty years, Le Ellis, and is a fine writer herself. My amazing Mom who is 80, still lives alone, and cooks up a storm. I am surrounded by wonderful, caring people who lift me up every day. Such a blessing.
8) What do you do when you have writer's block? EVERY PERFECT GIFT will be my 17th or 18th book, and I've never had writers block. I'm not really sure what that is. Writers sometimes begin a project without a clear idea of where the story is going, and they get bogged down and can't figure out how to proceed. Or they lost interest in a project and abandon it. I make a fairly detailed outline of my major scenes before I begin a book and that helps me stay on track. I have often felt too tired to write, too emotionally drained to write, too grief-stricken to write, but I think that's a different thing than the writer's block people talk about.
9) How long did it take you to write your current MS? My contract at Thomas Nelson calls for submitting a complete, 85,000 word manuscript every 9 months. It usually takes me till the final few days to get the ms in shape.
10) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild? No, I'm one of those loners who has never had a crit group. When I first began writing full time, we lived in a tiny Midwestern community where there were no other writers. The nearest groups were a two hour drive away, in Omaha or Sioux Falls. So I got into the habit of working by myself. I sometimes brainstorm a book with my best friend or call her up when I am stuck on a scene, but otherwise, it's just me, the computer, and my two golden retrievers.
11) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? Dozens of them. Since I have an academic background, I often teach at conferences. In a couple of weeks I'm headed to St. Louis for a three day conference. I taught there last year but this year I'm going as a student, taking classes, meeting with my agent and hanging out with my friends, my publisher, and editors. I'm looking forward to it.
12) What is your writing process like? Certain hours that you find more productive, a routine, a set amount of time or a number of pages you make yourself write everyday etc? I handle e mail and other tasks first thing in the morning and then try to write at least 2,000 words a day. Sometimes I write more, sometimes less, but the 2000 range is where I am most comfortable.
13) Do you have an editor or agent? Yes, Natalie Hanemann is my editor at Thomas Nelson, and I work with two agents ---one on the east coast who is handling my older titles, and one on the west coast who handles my Thomas Nelson contracts.
14) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us? I'll do better than that. Log onto www.facebook.com/dorothylovebooks click on the little green icon that says Beyond All Measure just beneath my author photo, and you can read the entire first chapter.
Dorothy has agreed to give away a signed copy of her book. To enter, you must:
1. Have a US address.
2. Be a follower of this blog.
3. Leave a comment below.
4. Check back on September 7, 2011 to see if you’ve won.
Happy Labor Day!