An Interview with Lynn Dove – author of the “Wounded Trilogy”
Lynn Dove is a graduate of the University of Calgary, where she earned her Bachelor of Education degree in 1981, she has spent the last thirty years teaching children in the private and public school settings. In 2007, she earned a Masters of Religious Education degree from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.
Tell something about yourself?
I am a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a soon-to be grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). I wear so many different “hats” that I find prioritizing them tends to focus me better. I have been married to my best friend, Charles for 32 years and we have three wonderful children: daughter, Laurelle (husband, Matt) are expecting our first grand baby in February, and we have two live-at-home teenagers, Brett and Carmen. I have been a teacher most of my adult life, and I still substitute from time to time at the private Christian school my teenagers attend. I love volunteering and working closely with the youth in our church as well. Lastly, when I’m not writing, I’m reading. I love to blog and when I’m not blogging, I’m working on my next book.
Do you have a life verse that you have claimed and why is it so meaningful to you?
My husband, Charles and I have claimed this life verse: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 Through our nearly 32 years of marriage, this verse has sustained us through all the ups and downs of life knowing we may make our plans but God is always in control… AND He allows U-turns!
What led you to write your “Wounded Trilogy” books? Why did you target youth with these books?
Having been an educator for over thirty years, and I discovered that there are still very few good contemporary Christian books for a young adult audience.
Youth today are under such a spiritual attack from the enemy. He wants to destroy their spirit and he does it subtly by surrounding them with worldly messages that make them question their looks, their intelligence, as well as their hope for tomorrow. I wanted to write books that deal with relevant themes, but with a definitive Christian message running throughout: the hope in Jesus Christ.
I also wanted my young readers to know that everyone makes mistakes; Christians are not excluded from that. Scripture teaches us to “love one another” even when they make mistakes, however our actions speak louder than our words at times. I have seen wonderful young people crumble from the constant barrage of cyberspace bullying, malicious gossip and innuendo. Insensitive words and blatant lies can lead to deep emotional scarring sometimes with tragic consequences. My books deal with gritty topics such as “cutting”, bullying, gossip, family violence and cancer. We are not excluded from tough situations just because we are Christians, on the contrary it is exactly in those tough times that God comes alongside us and helps us. I want my young readers to understand that they are never alone; God is their ever present comfort and strength in everything they are going through.
Tell us a little bit about your books?
Shoot the Wounded, the first book of the Wounded Trilogy, is written for youth and young adults. It addresses how lies and gossip destroy a person’s spirit and speaks to the heart of relevant themes such as bullying, teen pregnancy and family violence. The story points the characters, and ultimately the reader, to hope in Jesus Christ. STW was a finalist in the 2010 Readers Favorite Book Awards.
Heal the Wounded, is the much-anticipated sequel to STW and the second book of the Wounded Trilogy. HTW delves even deeper into the real world of teenagers trying to live out their faith in the midst of upset and struggle. Heal the Wounded, continues to follow the characters, Jake, Leigh, Mike (Jake’s best friend), and Tim (Ronnie’s brother) each of them dealing with the aftermath of their friend’s death in the first book. Jake is especially dealing with a variety of disappointments (“Job” experiences I call them) that cause him to question why God allows bad things to happen to good people. A new character is introduced into the story, Cassidy, a young cancer patient whose unquenchable spirit and faith impacts Jake, Leigh, Mike and Tim in a way that allows them all to experience God’s grace and the power of His healing in each one of their lives.
Both STW and HTW have been selected as helpful resources on the world’s largest anti-bullying website: www.bullying.org
I hope to have Love the Wounded, the final book in the trilogy published next year. I am also writing an autobiographical account about my experiences and personal battle with breast cancer, and I am working on putting that book proposal together to submit to prospective publishers next year.
What advice would you give to young writers who are thinking about becoming published authors?
I have been asked often to give advice to young writers and truly the best advice I could give is this:
I believe everyone has a story inside of them. As a teacher, I encourage my students to write poetry, journal, write short stories and novellas. The more one writes, the more you improve and polish your craft. Write about things that appeal to you, write from the heart and write from experience. Much of my writing is based on my personal experiences and I believe God allows us to go through these experiences for a reason. Writing allows us the opportunity to share our life lessons with others. If God has called you to write…just WRITE!
I actually wrote Shoot the Wounded well over ten years ago. It started out as a short story and after I had written one hundred pages I knew I couldn’t consider it a “short” story any longer. Then the manuscript literally (hahaha) took up space on the hard drive of my computer for ten years. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and battled the disease for two years. My family and I experienced God profoundly through that time and certainly to many I am considered a “survivor” today but I hope I have done much more than survive, I hope I have “thrived”!
I wanted to share part of that experience with my readers, so in Heal the Wounded, the main character’s mom is going through breast cancer and I write about how a family copes with that in the book.
The next piece of advice to young writers is:
I don’t think it is possible to be a writer if you don’t like to read. I read all genres and because I write primarily for young adults and teens I try to read all the books that they may be interested in.
Do you have any publishing and/or marketing advice for new writers?
I am still a “rookie” for all intents and purposes when it comes to publishing and marketing a book. For me, I find that writing a book is a relatively simple thing, but marketing a book can be extremely challenging, time-consuming, occasionally frustrating and discouraging. I have learned over this year to network with other authors, especially Christian authors who have experience with publishing, and those like me who are new to it. Some online social networking sites have given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful writers and authors who have been more than willing to share their expertise, their successes and failures with me. I have learned that book signings can be fun, only if you go into them with the attitude that you might not sell one book, but you’ll meet lots of interesting people.
One thing I would tell new authors is to not feel shy about purposefully promoting yourself in the marketplace. I think that was one of the hardest things for me to do initially. As Christians, we value a humble attitude, but as authors the louder and bolder we are in promoting ourselves to our readers the more books they will buy and read. Some self-published or POD (print on demand) authors are quite content to write for a select audience, family and friends, but for those of us who want to reach a larger, more world-wide audience, we need to be prepared to create a “buzz” about the book. The only way to do that is to get people talking about it. Word of mouth is huge!
That said, I think it is also important to ask yourself the questions ahead of time about what your personal goals are with publishing a book. I applaud my publisher, Word Alive Press for asking some pointed questions up front in their publishing questionnaire. One question in particular prompted me to prayerfully consider my personal goals: “What is the one thing, (the most important thing) you would like to accomplish with your manuscript (book)?” I remember I wrote, “My hope is that teenagers and young adults who read this book will be touched by the message in the story and ultimately that this book and any others I write will bring Glory to God.”