Q&A: Lena Nelson Dooley
Maggie doesn't know who she is. She doesn't have amnesia, but when she discovers proof that she's adopted, she realizes that she's not who she thought she was. As she learns more about her past, she feels betrayed by her parents - both her real and adoptive parents. Feeling cut loose from everything she thought she knew, she leaves her home in Seattle and takes off to find her identity. But one thing hasn't changed - Charles Stanton remains completely in love with her. Can he maybe help her discover who she was and, in so doing, help her discover who she is?
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE MAGGIE'S JOURNEY?
The McKenna's Daughter series has been in my mind and heart for several years. The stories percolated there. Then last year, my agent found a publisher interested in publishing them. I'm really excited about working with Realms/Charisma on these books. I love all the people I've worked with in any aspect of the book.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
At the time I started writing novels in 1984, I had read most of the Jeanette Oke books and several books by Debbie Macomber. There were other authors, too, but few and far between. There was a period of time when I compared my writing to other authors and found it wanting in my eyes. But the Lord showed me that none of them could write the stories He gave me as well as I could. Now I do read other authors, too numerous to name, and I enjoy their stories. When I read a good author who writes in the same genre as mine, I know it helps me grow as a writer. Reading badly done books probably could have the opposite effect.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
Without my faith, I wouldn't be writing the books I do. Walking with God is an integral part of my life, and I made that an integral part of books I write. Yes, the characters are often flawed, and they make mistakes, but their growth through the book is the only reason to tell that story.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
I grew up in a family where writing was commonplace. I didn't find out until I was an adult that not everyone wrote. And many years, I had pipe dreams about writing The Great American Novel never ever thinking I would ever write a book. But when God used a week of events in my life to tell me that He wanted me to write books, I never turned back, trusting Him to take me where He would. There were times when I didn't know where we were going, times of discouragement, but He has always been faithful to lead me on the way He would have me go. And lives have been changed in the process.
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
I want them to see that God has a plan for them, and they can trust that plan. Many of my books have a theme of unmerited forgiveness or theme of learning to really trust God. I want them to have a satisfied feeling when they close the book, knowing that they were entertained and their faith in the Lord has grown.