Excitement runs high in The Blog Studio as the camera pans the audience. The curtain lifts and the audience applauds as Carol Ann walks onstage.
“Good morning! Can you believe this beautiful weather here in central Ohio? Great sleeping weather. In fact, I had a hard time getting up this morning.” Carol Ann looks over her clothing. “Yep, I remembered everything.” The audience laughs.
“I’m excited to introduce our author for today. Lena Nelson Dooley is a full-time writer, who loves to help new authors hone their skills. Multi-published and award-winning, Lena has had thirteen of the people she's mentored receive book contracts after working with her. This is a great joy to her. Several times a year, she speaks for writers groups or women’s groups both here in the US and internationally. Lena lives in Texas with her husband of over 40 years. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their family. James and Lena are active in Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, where she volunteers in the bookstore. She's also on the altar ministry team and helps with Global Ministry and PrimeTime. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our guest for the day…Lena Nelson Dooley!”
Audience applauds as Lena walks onstage.
CAROL ANN: Thanks for joining us today, Lena.
LENA: I’m happy to be here.
CAROL ANN: Tell me about this new anthology.
**Carol Ann holds up a book and the camera pans in closer**
LENA: I believe it was Tamela Hancock Murray who first contacted me about the book--Snowbound Colorado Christmas. There was a major blizzard in Colorado in 1913. It snowed for six days, leaving 48 inches behind. That became the setting for this novella collection. The collection contains these stories: Fires of Love by Tamela Hancock Murray, The Best Medicine by Lena Nelson Dooley, Dressed in Scarlet by Darlene Franklin, and Almost Home by Susan Page Davis.
The stories start at the first party of the Christmas season in the home of Tamela's heroine. In my story, my hero is the new doctor in town. He treats one of the guests at the party who gets sick after eating something he's allergic to. My heroine is the daughter of the owner of the ranch where the heros father had been the foreman.
One of the joys of writing this book, besides the story, was delving into the history of 1913. We worked really hard to make the setting and characters true to the times.
CAROL ANN: It sounds great. I’m anxious to get a copy. You have helped many writers with their careers. Tell me what you feel is the hardest thing about being a writer?
LENA: The whole process of selling novels to publishers is full of waiting times. I was not a patient person by nature, but God has refined patience in me through the selling process. Snowbound Colordo Christmas is my 18th book release, so I've had plenty of chances to practice patience.
CAROL ANN: How did you realize the God was calling you to write?
LENA: Several events happened in the first week of May in 1984. The whole story is in my writing testimony on the bottom of the main page of my web site. Your readers can check out the whole story there.
In addition, I believe that God created me to be a writer. He gives each one of us the abilities He wants to develop and use in our lives. Many people discover those abilities and let Him lead them. Others do not.
CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
LENA: My major stumbling block early on was that I wanted to write the stories I wanted to read, instead of letting God tell me which stories He wanted me to write. I also needed to hone my skills and learn good writing habits.
CAROL ANN: Do you collect anything?
LENA: I first started collecting crosses. I have several of those, both jewelry kinds and others. I later started collecting angels. I have a rather large collection of them. Many of my angels stay out all year around, but I also have many that only come out at Christmas. I have an angel mantel scarf, and I arrange angels on the mantel during the holiday season. I really like angels that are more masculine looking, but they're hard to find. I also have a wall hanging with all the scriptures about what the Bible says angels do. This is a very interesting subject.
CAROL ANN: Your collections sound very interesting. I really like the masculine looking angels. Tell me, do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?
LENA: Yes. If you can get people to stop the fighting and listen to reason, it gives the Lord time to work on their hearts. The written word often leads to this.
CAROL ANN: Which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers are and trees are budding? Why?
LENA: Actually, you've mentioned my two favorite seasons. In Texas, summer gets way too hot for me, so I stay in air conditioning as much as possible, and when the weather is really cold, it bothers my asthma. Probably my favorite season is spring with everything budding and blooming. Spring symbolizes new life and a new chance to me. I also love the colors of autumn, the return of temperatures where I can feel comfortable being out in the sunshine.
CAROL ANN: Now, put on your creative hat. You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to tell the world something....what will it be?
LENA: I had that happen when I was interviewed by Steve Bonenberger for his syndicated radio show. He gave me one minute at the end to tell America whatever I wanted to. I used it to say that we need to go back to our foundations. Our country was founded on godly principles and we need to return to that.
If it's a word for the whole world, I would say: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life." So often we as Christians think this scripture is only for those who eventually believe in Jesus. That is so far off. I recently found out about the protein laminin. This protein glues each of the cells in our body to the others. Laminin is shaped like a cross. God put his sign of redemption on every cell in every human who has ever lived. He did this in creation. Our God is the God of eternity, and He wants everyone to come to His Son so they can live eternally with Him. He loves the alcoholic on skid row, the prostitute and drug addict on the streets as much as He loves each Christian in church. Understanding that will change the way we look at those around us and give us an urgency to find a way to reach them with the truth.
Okay, maybe that took more than a minute, but it is important.
CAROL ANN: How do you balance your "real" life with your "writing" life?
LENA: It took me a lot of time to learn how to do that. I work at home, so I turned one of the bedrooms (after my daughters left home) into an office. I get up in the morning, do my exercises, eat breakfast, spend time with the Lord, then go to the office. When I'm on a deadline, I don't even answer the phone while I'm writing. However, if I'm not on a drop-dead deadline, James can come into my office any time he wants to and ask me to do something with him, and I'll stop what I'm doing and go. On his days off, he often takes me on long or short breaks out to eat, shopping, or to the movies.
I also plan days off to spend with friends. It took me quite a while for some people to understand that being a writer is a "real" job.
CAROL ANN: It looks like our time is up. Before they shut us off the air, where can readers learn more about you and your books?
LENA: You can see all my books on my web site www.lenanelsondooley.com . On my blog, I interview other authors about their recent releases, and they give away free copies of books. http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com . There are links to email me on both the web site and blog. I also have an Internet presence on Shoutlife: www.shoutlife.com/lenanelsondooley If you're there, too, ask me to be your friend.
CAROL ANN: **Hugs Lena** Thank you so much for your time and for coming all the way from Texas to Ohio for our interview.