8/19/2014

Interview with Author Dawn Crandall

OCFW's Terri Weldon interviews debut author Dawn Crandall about her new release, The Hesitant Heiress.

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The Hesitant Heiress released August 1, 2014 from Whitaker House. I had the privilege of reading an advanced reader copy – it’s excellent! Even better, it is the first book in a series. And if you’re anything like me, you love a series.
 
TW: Dawn, let me start by telling you I was hooked from page one. And it wasn't until halfway through the book I realized you'd written it in first person. I didn't “feel” like I was only in Amaryllis’ POV. All the characters seemed so close, familiar. I’m not sure I even know how to explain it, except to say I felt like I knew what they were thinking.

DC: Thank you, Terri! I knew I needed to write The Hesitant Heiress in first person, first of all because of the nature of the story, but secondly because it’s just how my words come out. And I think one of my favorite things about writing first person is the fact that I get to introduce all of the other characters to the reader and the heroine. I know all of the characters very well, and I know just what every one of them is thinking as they are doing and saying things around Amaryllis. It is how we go about real life, isn’t it? We’re constantly reading people and trying to figure out what they mean by things. I love writing this way!    

TW: The book is set in 1890. What about this era drew you in?

DC: I didn’t really know what year it was when I started writing The Hesitant Heiress, I only knew that it was the late 1800’s. I just love the atmosphere of old New England near the end of the Victorian Era when so much was changing, but still staying the same in regards to tradition and standards of society. I also loved taking a heroine who had come from a well-known family of this high society in Boston, but who had never been raised to think like them… and then throwing her in head first. :)



TW: Is it difficult writing historical fiction and making sure you're getting all your research correct?

DC: You know, I didn’t think it was that difficult because I really enjoy doing the research and finding out things about history. It wasn’t until I started a Contemporary Romance just for fun that I realized how much more difficult it was. Writing a book set in the world in which I live is so much easier! But don’t worry—I’m totally hooked on writing my historicals. I might finish up this CR next, while my son is still little—after I’m finished with The Captive Imposter—since it doesn’t take near as much concentration to write.

TW: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

DC: Because I have ADD, there is no method to my madness. It's not exactly pantsing, but I also don’t know the entire story when I start out. It's "somewhat plotted" with lots of things to still figure out as I go. 

TW: Each chapter starts with a chapter title and a quote. What gave you that idea?


DC: I love quotes. I always have. I’ve always collected them because they would make me think, kind of like a writing prompt. I think it’s so much fun to pair up what happens in a certain chapter with a quote from my favorite classics! I guess it’s just part of my creative madness that came out without my ever thinking about it. I just did it because it was fun. 

TW: I loved the fact your heroine played the piano. How did you come up with the idea of a pianist for a heroine?

DC: Since this was my first try at writing a book, I started out writing scenes before I even knew what the book was about! I probably had half of the book written by the time I came up with the whole piano thread... as well as much of Amaryllis's back story. 


TW: Amaryllis and Nathan spend a lot of the book together. It made for a great read. How'd you manage to keep them together but apart? Before you answer, let me just say I was impressed!


DC: I really love that part of writing a love story! Honestly, I don’t even know how I did it. It’s just one of those things that I value in other books—but that doesn’t often happen, because like you said, it’s tricky. I guess I just made sure there was enough inner conflict between them that they had to work through before they could understand each other completely.


TW: I know you're a new mom, to an adorable baby boy. How has motherhood changed your writing schedule?

DC: I really love being a mom! I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom, but because it took me so long to get pregnant (7 years!), I made do with being a stay-at-home-writer. It’s really hard to be both!!! I don’t have a good writing schedule yet—my son is about five months old now, and I’m starting to realize that I’m just going to have to have someone else watch him for a few full days a week in order to get any writing done. I’m so sad! But I really need to finish up The Captive Imposter! 

TW: With ACFW right around the corner, I'm sure folks are interested in whether you pitched your novel at a conference or submitted through an agent?

DC: After spending a year and a half figuring out how to write a book in the first place, and while I was still in the midst of revising my ending (which is the hardest part for me! I know the ending, but getting there is sometimes tricky), my husband insisted I go to the national ACFW conference in 2011 right after I’d joined as a member. I pitched to two agents that fall, both of which asked for a proposal. I didn't even know what a proposal was, so I went home and figured it out. I sent them out by November and within a week they had both responded with a contract of representation, so I had to choose! I chose Joyce Hart and then went about finishing the book. It's a little backwards, I know. She then submitted it to publishers for a year and a half before I was offered my three book contract with Whitaker House. They had been holding on to my manuscript the whole time, waiting for the right time in their fiction schedule. 


TW: I'm excited about the next two books in the series. When do they release and what can you tell us about A Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter?

DC: Book two, The Bound Heart, releases this November. It's about Amaryllis's friend Meredyth Summercourt, from her first person POV as she struggles to choose between the two men in her life who want her. Lawry Hampton has loved her for years, and Vance Everstone, whom she’s thought she loved for just as long… one man who loves her in all the right ways, and the other who has a shameful grip on her from years past.


And book three, The Captive Imposter, releases next February. It follows Estella Everstone as she’s sent away from her family to live in anonymity as a lady’s companion at one of her father’s mountain resorts. While there, she comes in close contact with Jay Crawford, an ex-love set on making her as uncomfortable as possible. While coming to terms with her lack of feelings for one man she’d thought she’d always love, she is simultaneously drawn to Dexter Blakeley, the one man she’s been forced to trust since setting foot in the hotel.



TW: Dawn, thanks for taking the time to visit with us today! To find out more about Dawn and her books, check out the information below.


CONNECT WITH DAWN

Blog: www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com
Facebook: facebook.com/DawnCrandallWritesFirst 
Book Review Blog: APassionforPages.blogspot.com 
GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/dawn_crandall
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/dawnwritesfirst
Email: dawncrandallwritesfirst@gmail.com
Twitter: @dawnwritesfirst
Amazon: www.amazon.com/Dawn-Crandall

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FIRST CHAPTER FOR FREE!

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About The Hesitant Heiress



After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.
Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn't who she thought at all.



About Dawn Crandall

     A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.
     Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
     Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.
          The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013. 


8/05/2014

August Meeting

Erin Taylor Young
OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Erin Taylor Young on Saturday, August 16th, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Young will speak on Writing Fresh. We want our readers to not only love our story, but to love every word along the way. In this workshop, learn to add humor, vivid descriptions, dialogue that doesn’t dead end, symbolism, and metaphors to engage your readers word by word.

Erin Young’s debut book, Surviving Henry, published by Revell Publishing, was released August 5, 2014. Ms. Young is an award-winning humor writer living in a comedy with an all-star cast including one well-meaning husband, two polar opposite sons, and a non-compliant dog. When she isn't writing or rescuing the dog from mortal danger, she works in a library where she gets to wander among books. She has a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in music, which is mostly inconsequential but makes her sound more reputable. She loves football (Da Bears), photography, and hiking in cool national parks. Learn more about Erin at www.erintayloryoung.com where she blogs about writing, God, and her aversion to spiders.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, visit www.okcchristianfictionwriters.com or email Susan Crawford at OCFWchapter@gmail.com.


7/10/2014

July Meeting

Staci Stallings
OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Staci Stallings on Saturday, July 19th, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Stallings will speak on Facebook and Twitter Tips.

Social media can seem like a jungle, and new authors don't always know how to approach promotions. When everything seems SO IMPORTANT, where do you even start? Ms. Stallings will give you that starting place, and if you've been at the online marketing game for a while, some tips on where to go from here. She'll talk about blogs, Facebook, and Twitter so that you'll understand how they work, but more than that, how they can go to work for YOU!
 
Staci Stallings’s latest novel, A Work in Progress, published by Spirit Light Publishing, was released February 13, 2013. A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids, and a writing addiction on the side, #1 best-selling Christian author, Ms. Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! Staci also has two online groups for authors and readers. Grace & Faith Author Connection/Grace & Faith 4U and www.CrossReads.com. These help readers find awesome Christian authors, and Christian authors network with each other, make friends, and learn to get their titles out to a wider audience. To read more about Staci, go to www.stacistallings.net.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, email Susan Crawford at OCFWchapter@gmail.com.





6/11/2014

June Meeting

Rene Gutteridge

OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Rene Gutteridge on Saturday, June 21, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Gutteridge will speak on Character Development in Fiction. A great, catchy plot will certainly sell a book, but a memorable character will plant your story into the hearts of your readers long after they've read the last page. Learn techniques, tricks, and craft secrets that will help make your story memorable and catch the eye of an editor right away!

Rene Gutteridge’s latest novel Just Eighteen Years, published by Tyndale House Publishers, was released March 21, 2014. Ms. Gutteridge is the author of seventeen novels, including her latest releases, Heart of the Country, Escapement, Possession, and Listen from Tyndale House Publishers. Her other suspense titles include, The Surge, The Splitting Storm, Storm Gathering, and Storm Surge, plus her very first novel, Ghost Writer (Bethany House Publishers).


She is also known as a comedy writer. Her latest comedic novel is Never the Bride  (winner of the 2010 Carol Award for best women's fiction), co-written with screenwriter Cheryl McKay (of The Ultimate Gift).Her other comedy titles from WaterBrook/Multnomah Publishers include The Boo series and The Occupational Hazards series. Another very popular comedy title is My Life as a Doormat, a Women of Faith selection for 2006, from Thomas Nelson. She has written one novelization, The Ultimate Gift, for Thomas Nelson.

Rene also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude. She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full-time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, visit http://okcchristianfictionwriters.com or email Susan Crawford at OCFWchapter@gmail.com


5/05/2014

May Meeting

          OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Regina Jennings on Saturday, May 17, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Jennings will speak on There's Something Funny About Love. She will show how to add humor to your romance novels as she looks at common (and uncommon) plot devices for romantic comedies as well as opportunities to enhance the humor in other genres.
            Regina Jennings’ latest novel Caught in the Middle and An Unforeseen Match, a novella included in the collection A Match Made in Texas are published by Bethany House Publishers. Ms. Jennings is a homeschooling mother of four from Mustang who enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. Regina graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. For more posts by Regina or information about her novels please visit her website -www.reginajennings.com.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, email Susan Crawford at OCFWchapter@gmail.com


4/03/2014

April Meeting

OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Lacy Williams on Saturday, April 19th, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Williams will speak on Before the First Word & Self-Pub Q&A. In this combination workshop, Lacy will briefly discuss the work that goes into a novel before she writes the first word, including brainstorming characters, developing the plot, and evaluating originality of ideas. For the second half of her workshop, Lacy will do a Q&A time with participants on the current market for self-publishing, retailers, audiobooks & print, the reality of making money, and more.

Lacy Williams’ latest novel, KISSED BY A COWBOY, is part of the FIRST KISSES anthology, available March 15, 2014. Ms. Williams is a native Oklahoman, a wife and mom to three. She grew up on a farm, which is where her love of cowboys was born. In reality, she's married to a right-brained banker. She gets to express her love of western men by writing historical romance. Her books have finaled in the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Awards (2012, 2013 & 2014), the Golden Quill and the Booksellers Best Award.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, visit http://okcchristianfictionwriters.com or email Susan Crawford at OCFWchapter@gmail.com.

3/04/2014

March Meeting

OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Janet Lee Barton on Saturday, March 15, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Barton will speak on Keeping the Joy in Writing. We all have those times when it’s like pulling teeth to put words on the screen. Or edits on the last book come in at the worst possible time. Or our proposal gets rejected. Day-to-day life happens and we didn’t get any writing done at all. Do we cave or do we keep the joy?Janet will try to help us get the joy back into our writing.
Ms. Barton is a multi-published, award-winning author of twenty-two novels and five novellas. Her latest book, A Place of Refuge, published by Love Inspired Historicals, is the second book in the Boardinghouse Betrothal series. While she’s lived all over the south, Janet and her husband make their home in his home state of Oklahoma. Janet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and her local chapter, OKC Christian Fiction Writers. She is also a member of RWA's Faith, Hope and Love Chapter, and has served as president in both chapters.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, visit http://okcchristianfictionwriters.com or email Susan Crawford at OCFWchapter@gmail.com