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 so happy to have Dawn Kinzer as my guest. Dawn is giving away a copy of her latest release — and, friends, this book sounds so good! Read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a freelance editor, and my own work has been published in various devotionals and magazines. I co-host and write for the Seriously Write blog. Sarah’s Smile is the first book in my historical romance series, The Daughters of Riverton. Hope’s Design is the second, and Rebecca’s Song completes the trilogy. My latest release, By All Appearances, is a contemporary romance set in the Seattle area.
I grew up in a small rural town in Wisconsin—third generation to be raised there. That town’s setting and history inspired The Daughters of Riverton. I’ve lived in the Seattle area for twenty-six years, and I love everything about the Pacific Northwest, except the Seattle traffic!
I’m a wife, a mom to two grown daughters (a stepmom to another), and a nana to four young grandchildren. We’re a close family, and I adore those little ones. When I’m not consumed in writing, editing, or family time, I enjoy gardening, music, and spending time in nature. I’m also a Masterpiece Theatre junkie!
Tell us about your current release. By All Appearances is about a social event planner and a disfigured musician who discover that not all people or situations are what they seem. The story challenges readers to think about how we often make judgments before we know the facts or take time to know the person behind the mask.
Story blurb …
Liana Tate, a special events planner grew up in a high-profile family. No matter what she does, Liana feels she never measures up.
Bryan Langley, a talented musician, was close to signing a recording contract when a barn fire left part of his face severely burned. He survived, but his career did not.
When Liana’s father hires Bryan as a caretaker on the family estate outside of Seattle, Liana’s and Bryan’s lives become entangled. He risks public humiliation for Liana’s success, and she encourages him to use his musical gifts, despite his reluctance. Thrown together, will they achieve their elusive dreams? And will the two find the love and acceptance they yearn for, or will their actions only drive each other away?
What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. I was in the first grade, and we were in class when our teacher announced that he’d been shot. She brought a black and white TV into the classroom and showed us a replay of a news broadcast. I think our teacher felt it was important for us to understand and discuss what happened. We were all stunned that he was gone, and it was difficult to process the situation.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? As a child and teen, I wrote simple stories. I took a sci-fi literature class in college and wrote a story as my final project and received an “A.” At the time, I didn’t want to teach English, and I didn’t want to go into journalism. I’d placed authors on a pedestal, and I didn’t believe I would ever be good enough to write anything publishable. So, I focused on science—another passion—and graduated with a BS in biology and chemistry.
Years passed, I became involved with the drama program at my church, and I was asked to co-write a play for the teens to perform. A friend and I ended up writing three full-length plays, and during the writing process, it felt like I’d found “home.” I realized that writing filled a creative void. That’s when I decided to write my first novel—just to prove to myself that I could do it, and that decision started me on the journey to publication.
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’m a plotter. I need a roadmap of where I want to go. When I start writing a novel, I know the beginning, most of the challenges along the journey, and how the story will end. However, surprises always pop up along the way. More ideas come as I write. I also have a pretty good understanding of my characters, and I know their dreams, goals, and fears, along with the spiritual lies they believe. But I still get a rush when one of them reveals something new about themselves. For me, those revelations are exciting because they’re signs that the characters are coming to life.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? As I learned to read Dick and Jane in first grade, a new world opened up for me, and I became an avid reader. Living in a rural town with a population of 500 people, there wasn’t much more to do than read, play with friends, or ride bikes.
A small revolving library was created in a back room of our town’s fire station. One summer, the librarian held a contest with awards for reading the most books. My first place prize included two Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. I was hooked! I think I spent any money I earned on that series. I still have those novels and two others I inherited from an older relative: The Secret of the Red Gate Farm (1931) and The Message in the Hollow Oak (1935). Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is one of my all-time favorite books. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte made a huge impression when I first read the story, and it remains a treasure.
Which of your characters most reflects your personality? Sarah McCall may reflect my personality the most. She’s my heroine in Sarah’s Smile, (Book 1 in The Daughters of Riverton series). But it’s almost impossible to pick one of my characters because a part of me is reflected in all of my heroines. Some of their struggles have been my own struggles, and they handle situations like I would—or have. They tend to be independent and a little more on the serious side, but they also have a sense of humor and can be funny at times. They’re strong but also softies at heart. They strive to do the right thing, but they’re imperfect and make mistakes.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? When I struggle with what to write, I give myself permission to daydream. Sometimes our brains are so overloaded with all the other “things” in our lives, we don’t leave any room for creativity. The best place for me to daydream is somewhere in nature (if the weather cooperates). Sometimes, it works to let my mind wander when the house is quiet for the night or in the early morning hours while I’m lingering in bed. It’s amazing what will come when you slow down for a few minutes.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? I changed direction while writing The Daughters of Riverton series. Annie Banks is first introduced as a minor character in Book 1, Sarah’s Smile. In Hope’s Design, she was originally going to play another small role and then take the lead as the heroine in Book 3.
But as I wrote Hope’s Design and began fleshing out more of Annie’s role, I discovered that the storyline I was originally going to use in Book 3 would make a strong subplot in Hope’s story.
I also realized that I could provide an interesting character arc and a satisfying ending to the series if Rebecca Hoyt became the heroine in Book 3. Readers disliked Rebecca intensely in Sarah’s Smile, but by the time they finished Rebecca’s Song, they’d watched her transformation, and they’d grown to love her. So, Annie never got her own story, but she was still able to have a fun and meaningful role in the series.
Here is where you can find Dawn online:
Dawn is giving away an ebook or paperback (US only) copy of By All Appearances to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway