Interview with Author Davalynn Spencer!

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’m so thrilled to have interviewed Davalynn Spencer, a writer who chops wood to break writer’s block and has her own encrusted belt buckle award. I enjoyed this article very much. Read on to the end to see how you can enter to win a copy of The Cowboy’s Bride Collection, a 9-book historical romance collection featuring Davalynn’s “The Wrangler’s Woman”.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I will eat almost anything that has peppermint in it. Or bacon. Other than that, I drink a lot of coffee and tea, teach creative writing at our community college, take my Queensland heeler, Blue, on long walks, and read every evening. I have a background in journalism and photography, and followed the professional rodeo circuit for years when my husband worked as a clown and bullfighter. My first writing award was a silver, gold, and ruby-encrusted belt buckle from the Prorodeo Sports News for a two-part special feature.

Tell us about your current release. “The Wrangler’s Woman” is one of nine historical novellas in Barbour’s The Cowboy’s Bride collection. For me, it’s a story-of-the-heart. The characters were as real to me as any I’ve written, and I’d love to step into their 1881 lives, sit at their table, and meet their challenges alongside them. Widowed rancher Josiah Hanacker hires spinster Corra Jameson as a lady-trainer for his young daughter, Jess. He fears losing Jess to his wife’s sister if the girl doesn’t meet her aunt’s ladylike expectations. Turns out, Corra has everything Josiah needs for his daughter. He just never figured she’d have what he needed for himself.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I’m a binder babe, which means I have a binder for every book, complete with a cover I create for the front. In each binder I keep notes, research, maps, questions, character sketches, synopses, taglines—anything and everything to do with the story. I can’t write fast enough to get it all down, but I can jot down ideas, write reminders, and slather on the sticky notes for later reference.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher (or agent or audience if you self-publish)? Feelings of inadequacy always lurk in shadowy corners. Victory comes in knowing they are there and ignoring them. But sometimes, ignoring them is hard to do, especially when I’m tempted to compare my work to other authors’ creations. It helps to remember what my mother told me right before my sixth-grade talent show in which I played a piano solo: “There will always be people not quite as good as you, and there will always be people who are better than you. Do your best.”

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I go outside and split firewood for kindling. A little tricky in the summer.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I write because I have to. It’s right up there with breathing and eating. Since I was twelve years old, I’ve journaled and been compelled to put down on paper/computer screen what I see, feel, hear, smell, experience. Words—is there anything better? Even God started with them. (John 1:1)

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I wrote my first novel as a seat-of-the-pantser. That means I sat down and started writing what I saw playing on the movie screen in my head. Four novels and four novellas later, I plan more. I still leave room for the characters to surprise me, but I pretty much have a flexible roadmap of where we’re headed. It’s easier to get someplace if you know where you’re going.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Don’t stop writing. You’ll be discouraged, disappointed, and disgruntled. But if you are meant to write, then write. Even if it’s not perfect.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? One winter’s day I pulled into the parking lot of a gas station/café/convenience store and parked facing another woman in her car. She was on her cell phone. I watched her for about a minute and an entire story came to me. I hurried home and jotted down everything I had in mind for a contemporary Christmas story. Several weeks later, I bumped the story back 150 years and sold it as a historical novella to Barbour’s collection, The 12 Brides of Christmas, an ECPA bestseller in 2015-2016.

Find Davalynn online:

Newsletter sign-up, Blog , Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Amazon

Find Davalynn’s latest release online:

At Barnes and Noble:
The Cowboy's Bride Collection: 9 Historical Romances Form on Old West Ranches

At Christian Book Distributors

095250: The Cowboy"s Bride Collection


Enter to win the entire The Cowboy’s Bride Collection featuring Davalynn’s “The Wranger’s Woman”!
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  1. Thanks for hosting me today, Hallee. It’s always so fun to connect with readers.

    • Phronsie on January 4, 2017 at 16:15
    • Reply

    My son told me the other day that I should write a book. I am completely confoofled about where to start. Do you have any suggestions/tips? People say write what you know. I guess that’s a good place to start?

    1. Phronsie – I suggest starting out by simply writing as if no one else will ever read it. We are more inclined to write honestly and uninhibitedly when not writing for an audience. Then as you progress, you will see your writing change and improve. The key is to write – as obvious as that sounds. But writing is hard work and there are many ways to avoid it! By the way, I love your word, confoofled.

    • Donna B on January 4, 2017 at 17:22
    • Reply

    I love the books that are a collection of stories. I am amazed that you can see something such as the gas station incident and end up with a book written from that idea. I’m looking forward to reading your books.

    1. Thank you, Donna. Stories are all around us – that’s one of the fun things about being an author. I’ll write in a notebook or journal about people I meet or observe, and they or their situation might end up in a story about a fictional character. As far as collections go, they’re a fun way to read an entire story in an evening and have a new one to look forward to the next day.

    • Sarah on January 4, 2017 at 21:57
    • Reply

    Thank you for the advice for aspiring writers! I’ve recently discovered the fear of the blank page and am working to get past it and I may have to steal your binder habit. I’ve got several first chapters, or couple chapters written, but I’ve yet to figure out where the story should go next. Maybe some plotting would help. 🙂
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Nancy Burgess on January 5, 2017 at 00:09
    • Reply

    Looking forward to reading your books.Your a new author to me.

    1. Thank you, Nancy. Enjoy!

  2. “Words—is there anything better? Even God started with them. (John 1:1)” Love that! 🙂 I also appreciate your advice for those aspiring to write. Your novella sounds like a good one. Hope I get a chance to read it! Thanks for sharing in the interview and for the giveaway.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the interview, Julie. Thanks for reading.

  3. Sarah – don’t let that blank page intimidate you! Put your words on it. Let it simmer over night, and if you don’t like it in the morning, rearrange, re-do, or delete. You’re creating a world with a story, so you can make it into whatever you want. One technique I have taught in writing courses is to make a “photo album” of the story that is in your head. The album can be a section of your binder. Find photos of people resembling your characters and of events you’d like to incorporate. Search online or in magazines, print or cut out, and tape them to blank pages in the order of your story – like a visual story board. And remember, nothing is in stone until after it’s published, so feel free to change and rearrange. Happy bindering!

  4. I’m a huge fan of both historical and romance, so I’m very glad to have discovered you!
    Great interview, Thanks Hallee

    1. Well, Sara Beth, you’re a woman after my own heart! So glad you enjoy historical romance. Thanks for stopping by.

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