22 September 2011

Readers questions with Lena Nelson Dooley

Today I have Lena Nelson Dooley on my blog to help promote her new book Maggie's Journey.  Thanks Lena for being on my blog and allowing me the opportunity to help promote this book. I love the cover and  can't wait to read it.

Lyn’s question is since the story is about a girl who’s been lied to, were you ever lied to by a loved one?
The thing that I remember most from childhood wasn't about how I was lied to, but information was withheld from me. When my mother died when I was seven years old, the hired hand came to pick my brother and I up from elementary school. No one told us anything. He just put us in the car, drove us home, and parked on the dirt road in front of the house. He had us stay there in the car. Back in 1950, most rural areas had shared telephone lines with each home having a different ring pattern. Word had really spread fast that something was wrong with my mother. So many neighbors stood around in the yard in small clusters talking. I could see the white ambulance parked under the black walnut trees, so I knew someone had to be sick or hurt.
After what seemed like an eternity to a young girl, my father came out on the porch, and Pete let Brian and I go to him. Daddy looked terrible. I just knew the ambulance was there for him. When we got close, his skin looked like candle wax, and I could see every individual hair on his face as if they had been pushed into the wax. He opened his arms, and we ran to him. Clutching us tightly to him, his tears streamed down his face, making wet spots on our clothes. I had never seen my strong father cry.
Then he said, "Your mommy has gone to be with Jesus."
Until that moment I hadn't known anything was wrong with my mother. But I did know you only went to be with Jesus when you died. I couldn't understand why no one told us anything for such a long time. (Actually, they didn't tell the children things like that very much back in those time.) I decided right then to never do this to any of my own children.

Jennifer’s question is did you base your characters in this book of a true story or your own experiences?
The stories in the McKenna's Daughters series lived in my mind for several years. I believe God gave the concept to me. The three stories in the series are about identical triplets, born in 1867, who were separated at birth. They didn't know they had sisters until near their eighteenth birthday in 1885.

Janet’s Question is I always like it when the main character has a journey to take) and this one is physical as well as emotional). What kind of research did you do for the journey?
A lot! I'm really careful to make my historical novels as true to the time period and setting as I possibly can. I was having trouble really getting into the setting of Seattle, Washington Territory, in 1885.
When I stopped working and started writing, I had to have more interaction with people than the solitary life of a writer provided, so I volunteered at the local library. Knowing about the resource people at libraries, I contacted the one in Seattle. They sent me a treasure trove of places to find what I needed. In 2007, they had started digitizing books from that time period and literally thousands of historical photos, which were online by decade.
Of course, I also had to research the railroads of that time period and Little Rock, Arkansas, from that time period. Little Rock was easier, since I grew up in Arkansas and studied so much Arkansas history.

Jenny’s questions are Maggie sounds like many even today who have found they are adopted, how did you go about setting the period to set this book?
I'm not sure I understand exactly what she's asking, but human emotions don't really change that much from century to century. The emotions I used are similar to what a person would feel today, given the same circumstances. Of course, some of the legalities were different.
(Jenny here I did write a confusing question I was meaning how did you choose a time period)

Is Maggie’s mother’s constant criticism due to the fact Maggie is adopted or is this a gem we need to find out from reading the book? I don’t want you to have to give away any of the story.
One of the major threads of the story has to do with why Maggie's mother treated her that way. The spiritual growth in both characters will help you understand the dynamics of the relationship, and you'll have to read the book to find the reason and solution.
(I cant wait to read this book to find out more)
Is there a message you would like readers to take out reading this book?
God's ways are higher than our ways. Learning to really trust Him is essential to life.

I love the front cover it’s like an older photo and well done, did you have any say in the cover art?
The Charisma House design team is amazing. I did give them information and a couple of suggestions, but had no idea how they would use these. They did ask for me to sign off on the cover, and they made the minor changes I asked for. I recently received the graphic for the whole cover flat and was blown away by it. The photo wraps from the front, onto the spine, and onto the back. I've been blessed with good covers for all by books, but this one is definitely the best.

Thank you, Jenny, for having me here.

Maggie's Journey 
By Lena Nelson Dooley
ISBN 978-1616383589
Realms/Charisma House
October 6, 2011
McKenna's Daughters Series, Book 1

Maggie's Journey grabs you on page one with characters and events that reflect real-life joys and heartaches that change the characters forever. Make room on your "keepers" shelf! —Loree Lough, best-selling author of 80 award-winning books, including From Ashes to Honor.

A girl who’s been lied to her whole life…

Near her eighteenth birthday, Margaret Lenora Caine finds a chest hidden in the attic containing proof that she was adopted. The daughter of wealthy merchants in Seattle, she feels betrayed both by her real parents and by the ones who raised her. 
Maggie desires a place where she belongs. But her mother’s constant criticism and reminders that she doesn't fit the mold of a young woman of their social standing have already created tension in their home. With the discovery of the family secret, all sense of her identity is lost. 
When Maggie asks to visit her grandmother in Arkansasher father agrees on the condition that she take her Aunt Georgia as a chaperone and his young partner, Charles Stanton, as protection on the journey. Will she discover who she really is and, more importantly, what truly matters most in life? 
Lena Nelson Dooley is an award-winning author with more than 650,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers—where she received the Mentor of the Year award in 2006—DFW Ready Writers, and Christian Authors Network. She lives in HurstTexas, with her husband of over 45 years.


Lena Nelson Dooley said...

While I was at the ACFW national conference last week, I found out that MAGGIE'S JOURNEY was awarded 4 stars by the reviewer of Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine. I really appreciate that.

Judy said...

I really enjoyed this interview with Lena. I teared up when reading that at the age of 7 her Mother died. She and her Brother didn't know anything was wrong with her. I'd like to know if Lena grew up without a mother figure or if there was a step-mother involved, or an Aunt maybe.

Maggie's Journey sounds like a good read.


pol said...

Thanks for sharing today Lena, Interesting questions asked and enjoyed your answers, I too was sad to hear how you were treated as a young child when your MOM died. Your book looks like a wonderful story that I would like to read, will be looking for your books now that I have met you.
Paula O

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Thanks, Judy and Pol. My father did remarry the next year, and I had a wonderful stepmother, who loved my father and wanted to rear us so that our mother would have been proud of us. I praise God for her presence in my lifr.

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