Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am excited to have Anneliese Dalaba as my guest! As I read through this interview, I found myself wishing I could sit back and listen to her speak about her life and her lifetime of ministry. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Anneliese is giving away an ebook to her novel Reluctant to Wed, so make sure you keep reading to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in Brazil. We immigrated to the US when I was almost 7.5 years old. I grew up in New Jersey and absolutely love the Jersey Shore. When I was in my 20s, a new pastor came to our church. We fell in love, got married, and moved to Michigan. Later, after we had two children, we moved to Germany for four years, then back to Michigan. We have traveled to many countries together including most of Europe, Dubai, Brazil, etc. My husband has shown me the world and we’ve lived quite an adventurous life. Now my nest is empty, but I have entered the wonderful world of grandparenting. I’m a romantic at heart and love reading Christian historical romance novels. I’m the author of the Arranged Marriage Series, which includes two books so far.
Tell us about your current release: The Marriage Maneuver, which is the second book in the Arranged Marriage Series, takes place in the early 1800s in England. In the first book, the antagonist is Fitz. My new release is Fitz’s story. In it, we find out why he is so adverse to marriage. He vowed never to give his heart to another woman. He is willing to be shackled into marriage to produce an heir, but not yet. He still has time. Unfortunately, others have a different plan for him.
We also meet Lady Selina Kendall who was given to an aunt to be raised. She never understood why she was forced to leave her parents’ home while her siblings were allowed to stay. Although her aunt and uncle are good to her, Selina cannot help the longing in her heart for her family. When she is ready to be presented to society, the long-awaited letter from her parents finally arrives. But when Selina returns home, nothing could have prepared her for the news that greets her.
An arranged marriage binds these two together in holy matrimony. How can love grow and faith prevail when outside forces and internal conflicts conspire to tear them apart?
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Yes, I do feel the pressure sometimes, but I refuse to give into it. If I’m going to publish Christian Fiction, I have to write a faith-based novel. I feel a responsibility to give a clear description of a godly life without becoming overly preachy. However, I don’t think mentioning God a few times or one of the characters mentioning that she prays constitutes a Christian fiction. That’s fine if someone wants to write that kind of book but I find it lacking and unrealistic. When a believer faces a major challenge, they call out to God. Not just, “Oh, God!” They actually fall on their knees and pray the thing through seeking answers. They may take a prayer walk or call a friend and ask for additional prayer support, etc. If I don’t show that in my books in some way, I feel I have not given an accurate picture of what the Christian life really looks like. I don’t think I have to present the entire plan of salvation in every book, but the characters who are believers should behave as believers ought. My novels give a clear description of a godly life with all of its ups and downs, defeats and triumphs. But they will always have a happy ending. That’s a must! Otherwise, it’s not a romance.
What’s the first major news headline that you remember and what do you remember? I remember being at my aunt and uncle’s house with my family. We all sat around a black and white TV and watched as a man step out of the lunar module Eagle and onto the moon. I was too young to really understand how amazing that was. I didn’t even realize that was the first time man had set foot on the moon. I only recall how the adults seemed enthralled by what they were watching. I was a month away from turning eight years old.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? The best way for me to avoid writer’s block is to keep writing. As I write, the ideas begin to flow. I think it’s important to read a lot. Many ideas come while I’m reading the works of others. Certainly, not to steal what they wrote, but there are so many stories within a story that trigger the creative juices in a writer. It’s also important to observe life and listen to people. There are stories everywhere that help you get ideas for what to write. For example, when I didn’t know what to write for The Marriage Maneuver, I did some brainstorming and remembered my grandmother telling me about how she had been given away to an aunt to be raised while her siblings were allowed to stay with their parents. She shared how it affected her as a child. That is where I got the idea for Selina’s story in my novel. My character’s story is nothing like my grandmother’s, but it gave me a place to start and my imagination took over from there.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I always wanted to write. I tried writing a book once when I was about twelve and got a couple of pages written before deciding it was too frustrating. My hand couldn’t keep up with my thoughts, so I set it aside. I just made up stories in my head and enjoyed them alone. (I know that sounds strange, but I have always loved creating stories in my head.) Of course, I forgot all of them since I never wrote them down. Years later, when my husband and I were preparing for ministry overseas, we had to read a stack of books and write a report for each one. We also had to write a 15-page autobiography. When the man from the national office came to do our home interview, he told me how much he enjoyed my autobiography. He said I was a gifted writer and encouraged me to keep writing. I have written articles for newsletters, blogposts, and published articles in magazines. After my kids left our home, I decided to finally begin my first book. What was different this time over the first time I tried to write when I was twelve is that now I had a computer. I type much faster than I can write longhand, of course. This made the process less frustrating.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I am an avid reader, especially of Christian romances or clean romances. (The Christian romance market wasn’t plentiful when I was young.) I’ve read since I was about twelve years old, so I know what I like to read. And if I enjoy those books, I imagine a lot of other people enjoy them, too. So I would have to say that I write for my own enjoyment, but I think others will enjoy it also. I write the kind of book I like to read.
Which of your characters most reflects your personality? They say there’s a bit of the author in all of her characters. I hope not. LOL! I hope I’m nothing like Lady Harriet in Reluctant To Wed. The character that is probably the most like me – or so my family tells me – is Emma in the first book in the Arranged Marriage Series.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? Let me first say that ignorance is bliss. If I had known all that self-publishing entails, I may never have had the courage to do it. However, I’m so glad I did it. I listened to Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn. She is a successful indie author and has some traditionally published works, too. After listening to her and talking with authors who have self-published, I decided I wanted to embrace the challenge just to see how I would do with it. I’m happy to say I am doing quite well and plan to continue this series as a self-published author. I sometimes play with the thought of seeking to be traditionally published just to gain a greater audience, but I’m not certain about that yet. I’d have to do more research. So far, I’m having too much fun self-publishing.
Find Anneliese online:
Anneliese is giving away an ebook of her first novel, Reluctant to Wed. Here’s how you can enter to win: