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Interview with Davalynn Spencer and a Giveaway!

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 excited to have Davalynn Spencer as my guest.  You know that a former rodeo reporter and wife/mother of rodeo clowns can write some seriously good cowboy romances! I loved her interview, her advice for aspiring writers, and especially love that she wanted to be my guest this week. Read on to see how you can win a copy of her latest release (which sounds so good!)

Tell us a little bit about yourself. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo clowns, I spent plenty of years on my knees outside the arena praying! But rodeo is also where I got my start writing nonfiction—there’s nothing make-believe about some of the wrecks I’ve seen. However, I always wanted to be a novelist, so after several years as a newspaper crime-beat reporter and rodeo journalist, I went after my dream. I also put all those years around cowboys to good use, and 15 out of 16 of my published titles—both historical and contemporary—have a cowboy hero. Gotta love ‘em, right?

Tell us about your current release. High-Country Christmas is a two-novella collection of unrelated stories set in the high country of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. In Snow Angel, Lena Carver lost something precious as a child at Christmas. Twenty years later, she’s about to lose her heart when a bruised and broken cowboy shows up at her physician brother’s home with a bullet-creased scalp and a mysterious dog. Just in Time for Christmas is the story of Abigale Millerton and the boy she grew away from. However, when she returns home to run her grandfather’s ranch, her neighbor Seth Holt is there waiting, as determined and true as ever.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? What a great question! Writing fast isn’t the answer for me – it’s writing everywhere. I think I have the corner on the sticky-note market, and they litter my desk and computer screen. However, I’ve journaled since the sixth grade, so most of my ideas start there, in whatever color notebook I’ve chosen for the year. I’ve always said I self-medicate with words, so if it has to do with words, it’s in my journal.

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)? I write because I have to. It may have helped that I started as a journalist and developed a thick skin to criticism and a warped sense of time where deadlines are concerned. I’m simply compelled to write, whether anyone reads it or not. But I believe the big push for me came several years ago when I read a novel by a well-known author and was surprised at the style, wording, plot – everything. “I can do that,” I thought. So I did. By God’s grace and gift, I did.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I’m not sure if I experience writer’s block the way other authors do. Rarely does a blank page (paper or pixel) stay blank if I’m within pencil distance. But sometimes I have trouble transitioning from one scene to the next in a story. When that happens, I scroll down in the document where I’m working and write another scene, completely unrelated to the one I’m struggling with. Once I wrote the ending to a story before I had reached the halfway mark. And that’s saying something for me, because I’m primarily a seat-of-the-pantser. No outlines for me, thank you very much.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it? I always wanted to drive an old Volkswagen beetle (bug). “Someday I’m going to have a VW bug,” I’d say. But it didn’t take long to realize that someday was never going to just show up and say, “Here I am. Time for a bug!” So I gathered my savings, hunted the newspaper, found two bugs (older models from the 70s) and bought one. That was only the beginning.

I always wanted to be a novelist too, and I read everything I could get my hands on. Soon all the articles were blending together and saying the same things. No one was going to write my book for me, so I set out to finish and sell the one I’d started. That was twelve years ago, right after a well-known author at a writer’s conference told me it was too late, that I should have started years before.

My tough, former-reporter skin got in the way of that advice, and my sixteenth title releases next summer.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? My advice is simplistic and mundane. It’s been repeated by countless people in various positions of leadership, stardom, whatever. Even Winston Churchill is reported to have said it.

Here goes:

Don’t quit. Never give up. You will fail only if you stop.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? In the parking lot at Big Daddy’s in Canon City, Colorado. A woman in the driver’s seat of the parked car facing me was on her cell phone, and in a flash, I got an entire story about a gal on the run from her money-hungry uncle/guardian who was forcing her into a money-making marriage. So she ran.

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 once got in an argument with my heroine about what her dog was going to do. (I know, that’s crazy. But you’re asking questions of a person who writes about people that don’t exist.) After a mind-bending discussion, I acquiesced and went with what she wanted. It worked. Actually, it was much better than what I was going to do because it ratcheted up the tension and the stakes.

Here is where you can find Davalynn online:

Quarterly Author Update and free e-book: http://eepurl.com/xa81D

Website: https://www.davalynnspencer.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/davalynn-spencer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5051432.Davalynn_Spencer

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/davalynnspencer/boards/

Davalynn is giving away a signed copy of A High-Country Christmas to a reader! See below how to enter to win: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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”!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview with Author Davalynn Spencer and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am excited to introduce to you Davalynn Spencer. A crime-beat reporter turned fiction writer, Davalynn is married to her cowboy husband – a love at first sight story that made me smile. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.

Davalynn is giving away a copy of her latest release,  The Cowboy Takes a Wife! So,be sure to check out the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to see how to be entered to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

When the dark-eyed cowboy walked into church that Sunday, my seventeen-year-old heart knew I was looking at my future. At least I like to think so. It took a couple of years, but we made it to “I do” and since then, so many of my nonfiction stories have come along because of him. I’ve written for Prorodeo Sports News, American Cowboy, Western Horseman, Power for Living, The Upper Room, Quiet Hour, and many other publications. And when I broke into fiction, our life was often the inspiration—ranches, rodeos, and romance. For several years I worked as a crime-beat reporter and religion page editor for a mid-size daily newspaper, and now I teach writing at the community college. I live on Colorado’s Front Range with the cowboy and our Queensland heeler, Blue. Contemporary worship is my favorite music genre.

davalynnspencerTell us about your current release.

The Cowboy Takes a Wife is set in Cañon City before Colorado was a state. Annie Whitaker follows her widowed father to the fledgling mine-camp supply town where she helps him set up and run his mercantile. Caleb Hutton rides through town on his way to a ranch that doesn’t need him. But it’s what he’s riding from that leads him to stay around, get to know Annie and her father, and find his way back to his true calling. Cowboy is the first in the three-book series about the Hutton and Whitaker families – all fictional, of course, but written against the bold backdrop of the rugged Rocky Mountains and the Arkansas River Valley.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?

Yes. That’s how valuable each of us is to God.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?

Fingers-on-keyboard. I don’t have trouble with writer’s block, and I credit my years as a reporter. When you write everyday on deadline, you learn to just write. It was great training on the way to what I really wanted to do. God knew that; I didn’t.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?

Words have always drawn me. In the sixth grade I wrote a short sci-fi romance—without knowing it was a romance. Crazy, right? But beyond that, I’ve always had an internal need to find the right words to show what I see or feel or experience.

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 am definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer. However, after 50-100 pages, I start plotting a bit. I also keep a notebook as I write that has a story calendar, page numbers of important events, and character sketches.

cowboytakesawifeDo you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?

It depends upon the publisher. I just start writing. Once the story sells, I can tailor it to be longer or shorter than what I have.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?

I don’t know if it’s the strangest place, but the most recent place was the parking lot at a local gas station/diner on a major highway that runs through our small town. I parked facing another car with a woman behind the wheel talking on her cell phone. I sat there for a moment and the story flooded in. Two months later, I sold that story’s premise to a publisher.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read?

I write what interests me, not what the “market” says people want to read. I can’t do that, because the words come from a well within. However, I can tailor the story to fit a certain publisher’s standards, or fill a need in their line-up. That becomes a challenge similar to going out and finding a news story as a reporter.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write?

As a Christian, I am learning to walk by faith. Jesus says, “Trust Me.” Rarely does He say, “This is the way we’re going and here’s how it’s going to work out.” The same thing happens in my writing—I just write. It’s not perfect, it’s not my final draft, but if I don’t put something down on paper, then I have nothing to work with. The first words are a blob of clay on a potter’s wheel. They look a lot different than the finished product.

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 usually have the ending in mind when I begin a book. The fun part is how I get there, and sometimes my characters have ideas of their own along the way.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?

I never saw myself writing historical romance, but when I look back at my life, I see the underpinnings of the genre – faith, fresh hope, the longing of our hearts for God’s all- encompassing love, and my ongoing delight in history and all things Western.

Find Davalynn online:

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn

Find The Cowboy Takes a Wife online:


The second book in the series, Branding the Wrangler’s Heart, can be pre-ordered for the May release, and the third book, Romancing the Widow, releases in August.

Davalynn is giving away a copy of The Cowboy Takes a Wife!

ANNIE WHITAKER HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PLAIN JANE 

But in the bustling gold-rush town of Canon City, Colorado, she turns heads, especially that of cowboy Caleb Hutton. Annie’s seen Caleb many times in her father’s mercantile, and she’s surprised and pleased when he takes a special interest in her.

Caleb’s faith was shattered when his fiancée jilted him for a wealthier man. But as he gets to know Annie, his view of women—and God—soon takes a turn for the better. Can Annie’s steadfast faith help the former preacher find his way back to his calling and a second chance at love?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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