Thursday, August 21, 2014

Award Winning Author Spotlight - Lynn Dove

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING? I know this is a cliché answer, but I have always wanted to write. I have written poetry and short stories since I was in elementary school. I was always writing. In fact my biology teacher in high school signed my grade 12 year book: “To the only literary biologist I know”. My teachers could always count on me to give a lengthy treatise on any subject. 
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN WRITING? I did not have aspirations to be a novelist. My debut novel, Shoot the Wounded, actually started out as a short story, but 100 pages later I realized I couldn’t call it a “short story” any longer. It sat for ten years taking up valuable computer memory space until one day, as I was deleting files, I came across the story again. It was my husband who encouraged me to finish it and then get it published.
I call writing my ministry. I write for pleasure, I write as a career, I write for myself, I write for others. It’s in my blood to write, I guess, it’s something that drives me…the written word. So I suppose it is my “call” to write.  
At first I didn’t think that way about it. Like every author, all I was hoping for was that someone would pick up and read my book and enjoy it. Same with my blog, I just hoped someone would actually read it. I didn’t realize my audience was so large or so varied until people started to email me telling me how much they enjoyed my books and my little blog “musings” and then they began to pour out their life stories to me. Suddenly I realized that God had given me a huge opportunity to share my faith, and give encouragement to my readers. And that’s when I got really nervous! A scripture that has impacted me is James 3:1 “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” I dare say that a writer in many ways is a teacher, especially those of us who are called by God to write. Our words may teach, empower, embolden, condemn, accuse, uplift, benefit and reprimand. I am very mindful of that when I write. I want my writing to be honouring to God at all times.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE? I was bullied in high school, but never to the extent as my daughter was. My daughter still carries some of the emotional scars from bullying she had to endure in middle school. I have worked with teenagers for well over thirty years (as a teacher and youth leader at church) so I have heard the horror stories of what kids do to one another. Certainly that has motivated me to address the topic to some extent in my books, and my books are listed as helpful resources on the largest anti-bullying website in the world:
There is a "code of silence" about bullying. Kids, youth and even adults don't like to talk about being bullied because 1) they are embarrassed 2) they are fearful that they will be victimized more 3) they don't know where to go for help.  
Through the struggles of one of the characters in my book (Tim), I address his victimization in detail and then share with the readers how he was able to get the practical help he needed.
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. Although Love the Wounded is Literary Classic’s silver winner in the “Faith based” category, my books have a universal message regardless of whether or not readers are familiar with faith-based literature. Parents, teens and young adults will appreciate the message of hope conveyed in the Trilogy.

IS THIS YOUR FIRST BOOK?  Love the Wounded is the third book in my award-winning “Wounded Trilogy”.  Shoot the Wounded was my debut novel and Heal the Wounded was the second novel in the series. Both books were finalists in the Readers Favorite Book Awards and Heal the Wounded won a bronze medal in the Young Adult – Coming of Age category.  
I am also published in three Chicken Soup for the Soul Books: Parenthood; Devotions for Wives; and O’Canada – the Wonders of Winter. As well as a contributor to anthologies Mother of Pearl – Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith (compiled by Margaret McSweeney); Purim Celebrations – 28 Daily Devotionals (compiled by Deborah H. Bateman) All books can be purchased at I have also written articles for LifeWay’s HomeLife and Parenting Teens magazines.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? I have been so busy writing articles and freelancing, I have had to put a couple of manuscript ideas on the back-burner for a while, however, I write an inspirational blog called Journey Thoughts that won a Canadian Christian Writing Award in 2011. I have a world-wide reading audience and I enjoy connecting with my readers with it. 
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF: I describe myself as a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). I find that I wear so many "hats" 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 I need to care for and a house that needs to be cleaned. (Who am I kidding?...I have cobwebs on my vacuum cleaner!)
TELL US SOMETHING OUR READERS MIGHT FIND FASCINATING ABOUT YOU: I am a breast cancer survivor having been diagnosed in 2001 with the disease. I fought a two year battle but as I have shared repeatedly when I speak to women’s groups etc., God allowed me to experience the disease so I could draw closer to Him through the entire journey and so I might provide support to women and their families who are going through cancer. I write a bit of my journey with cancer through the character of Maggie Taylor in Love the Wounded. 
Looking back on that season of my life and sharing what I experienced then and telling what has happened to me since, I hope others will see that there is indeed life after cancer; I can honestly say I am not a “Survivor” – I am a “Thriver”!
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME? I thoroughly enjoy spending as much time as possible with my children, husband, and my two grandbabies. I love camping and traveling and I am an avid reader. 
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW/MOVIE? I enjoy Dancing with the Stars and Battle of the Blades (that’s the Canadian version of DWTS…hockey players paired with figure skaters, dancing on ice J My favorite movie of all time is the Wizard of Oz, although I must admit that I am a “trekky” at heart and I love all the Star Trek series and movies.  
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS AN AUTHOR? As an author, my greatest challenge is to find ways to promote and market my books to a world-wide audience. Readers tend to gravitate to well-known authors and book titles that are on top of best-seller’s lists. It is imperative to have an online presence so readers can connect with me, but it is also extremely time-consuming to market and promote when I would rather be writing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS? I am asked this question a lot and my advice is always: WRITE! If you feel called to write, just write. Decide in advance what your goals are for writing. Is it for pure enjoyment that you write? Is it something you do that is private or is it something you want to share? Decide to whom you are writing. Knowing your audience will also determine how you will write and what your focus will be when you write. Also determine your “success” goals before you embark on the publishing journey. Do you want to have a small, intimate audience or a world-wide audience? That will help you set realistic expectations when it comes to selling and promoting your work.
I had no idea when I embarked on this writing adventure that there would be so much work involved in promoting myself and my work. I have always revered a humble attitude however, to be noticed in the industry and to get my books into the hands of readers, I have had to create a “buzz” about my work. It takes a lot of time, effort and purposeful networking and self-promotion.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY TIPS ON GETTING PUBLISHED? There are countless tips in countless books and blogs on how to get published. Authors have so many avenues available to them through traditional, print on demand, and self-publishing that if an author wants to pay for a book to be printed, or send in their manuscripts to agents and editors, eventually any book can be published. The question is whether a book is “worthy” of being published and whether or not readers will actually want to read the book. If you are an author, ensure that you have produced a quality work. Get someone other than a family member to read your manuscript before you publish, and make sure they are someone you trust that will give you an honest, critical opinion on what they thought of the book. The manuscript must be well-edited, and I recommend spending money on a great editor who will slice, dice and mash your manuscript to pieces to ensure that the finished product is exceptional. Do not assume that once your book is published that people will, in fact, read it. It requires perseverance and patience to market, self-promote and develop an audience.  
I enjoy connecting with my readers:

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval