An Interview with Lynn Dove: Author & Teacher
Sylvia: Hi Lynn, it is such a pleasure to interview you. Please give our readers a brief introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Lynn: Hi Sylvia. I am a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). My debut novel, Shoot the Wounded , written for teens and young adults, was published in November 2009. I was thrilled to see that it was one of the Finalists in the 2010 Readers Favorite Book Awards! The second book in the “Wounded Trilogy“, Heal the Wounded was released on Oct. 18, 2010 and it won the Bronze Medal in the Young Adult – Coming of Age category in the 2011 Readers Favorite Book Awards! The third book in the Trilogy, Love the Wounded will be released in late spring 2012.
I am also an avid blogger with two blogs: “Journey Thoughts” (winner of the 2011 Canadian Christian Writing Awards) and “Word Salt” (a blog for authors and writers who are called by God to write.) Both blogs are nominated this year in the 2012 Canadian Weblog Awards.
Sylvia: I agree and admire with being a Christ follower first and all other life roles falling in place after that. Wow, two blogs? I can barely keep up with my one busy blog. What inspired you to write your first book?
Lynn: Having been an educator for over thirty years, I discovered that there are still very few good contemporary Christian books for a young adult audience.
Youth today are under such a spiritual attack from the enemy. He wants to destroy their spirit and he does it subtly by surrounding them with worldly messages that make them question their looks, their intelligence, as well as their hope for tomorrow. I wanted to write books that dealt with relevant themes, such as gossip, bullying, teen pregnancy, but with a definitive Christian message running throughout them: the hope in Jesus Christ.
Sylvia: Yes, I agree with you. It seems much harder being a teen of today than in our younger days. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Lynn: People make mistakes; Christians are not excluded from that. Scripture teaches us to “love one another” even when they make mistakes, however our actions speak louder than our words at times. I have seen wonderful young people crumble from the constant barrage of cyberspace bullying, malicious gossip and innuendo. Insensitive words and blatant lies can lead to deep emotional scarring sometimes with tragic consequences. At the beginning of my book, Shoot the Wounded, I included these two verses: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 and “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 14:4
Sylvia: I love the book of Proverbs… so many wise sayings and common sense teachings on living a godly life. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Lynn: Write! I believe everyone has a story inside of them. As a teacher, I encourage my students to write poetry, journal, write short stories and novellas. The more one writes, the more you improve and polish your craft. Write about things that appeal to you, write from the heart and write from experience. Much of my writing is based on my personal experiences and I believe God allows us to go through these experiences for a reason. Writing allows us the opportunity to share our life lessons with others. If God has called you to write…just WRITE!
The next piece of advice to young writers is:
Read! I don’t think it is possible to be a writer if you don’t like to read. I read all genres and because I write primarily for young adults and teens I try to read all the books that they may be interested in.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Lynn: For me, I find that writing a book is a relatively simple thing, but marketing a book can be extremely challenging, time-consuming, occasionally frustrating and discouraging. I have learned over the years to network with other authors, especially Christian authors who have experience with publishing, and engage authors, writers and readers on some online social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. I have found that most writers and authors are more than willing to share their expertise, their successes and failures with new and “seasoned” authors alike. I have learned that book signings can be fun, only if you go into them with the attitude that you might not sell one book, but you’ll meet lots of interesting people.
One thing I would tell new authors is to not feel shy about purposefully promoting yourself in the marketplace. I think that was one of the hardest things for me to do initially. As Christians, we value a humble attitude, but as authors the louder and bolder we are in promoting ourselves to our readers the more books they will buy and read. Some self-published or POD (print on demand) authors are quite content to write for a select audience, family and friends, but for those of us who want to reach a larger, more world-wide audience, we need to be prepared to create a “buzz” about the book. The only way to do that is to get people talking about it. Word of mouth is huge!
That said, I think it is also important to ask yourself the questions ahead of time about what your personal goals are before publishing a book. One question to ask yourself is: “What is the one thing, (the most important thing) you would like to accomplish with your manuscript (book)?” If you don’t have a goal before publishing your book, chances are you will not be able to answer that question.
Sylvia: Why should we buy your book?
Lynn: My books are resources on the largest anti-bullying website in the world: www.bullying.org. They have an anti-bullying theme running through them that is relevant to today’s teen and young adult, and to all parents who are trying to raise their children today. My books have a universal message regardless of whether or not they are Christian. In fact, I have had many parents buy my books because they know my books are “family friendly” and they appreciate that.
My books deal with a lot of “edgy” topics: teen pregnancy, family violence, alcoholism, cutting; as well as bullying and gossip. Every teenager deals with these contemporary social issues (even Christian teens). I would be doing them a great injustice if I “glossed” over those issues. They want me to keep it real, and I’ve done just that!
Sylvia: Wow, many important topics that face our teens daily. Good job Lynn! Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Lynn: I have set up my office in the loft of my home. We have an amazing view of the Rocky Mountains from our home and I love looking over the mountains, sometimes just to daydream.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Lynn: I am writing an autobiographical account of my journey with Breast Cancer in 2001 called, Life Lived. My blog, Word Salt is keeping me very busy with interviewing other Christian authors, and sharing writing/marketing tips.
Sylvia: What are your priorities when you write?
Lynn: I find that I wear so many “hats” as a wife, mother, grandmother, writer etc. that prioritizing them in order keeps me focused. So often I tend to forget one, neglect another while I spend the majority of my time on another. Especially when I get in the writing mode I can forget that I have a family that needs to be fed and a house that needs to be cleaned. (Who am I kidding? I have cobwebs on my vacuum cleaner!)
Sylvia: Congratulations on your fight and recovery against breast cancer. What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Lynn: My power word is “SURRENDERED.” I am surrendered to God the Father. My life verse is “In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 In my life, it is important that I constantly remember who is in control!
Sylvia: Yes, I love your power word and power phrase! Powerful!! Lynn, I’ve enjoyed our conversation. Thank you for your time. I enjoyed learning more about you and your book. Please let our readers know how to contact you.
Lynn: You are very welcome. My information is below.
- Website: http://wordsalt.wordpress.com/
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Word-Salt/193923660711039
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnIDove