Love Inspired Suspense Author, Dana Lynn joins us this week to introduce us to her latest release, Plain Refuge. Dana is a best-selling author who writes as a way to minister to people through her stories. Join us as she gives us a peek into her contribution to the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection along with her other projects.
The following transcript is a shortened version of the original recording.
Tracy: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Buggy Talk. I’m your host, Tracy Fredrychowski. Each week. I bring you the story behind the stories, along with the storytellers. For this week’s episode, we have Publisher Weekly, Best Selling Author. Dana Lynn onboard.
Hello, Dana. How are you today?
Dana: Hi, Tracy. I am doing fantastic. Thank you for having me.
Tracy: Well, thanks for joining us. We have so many things to talk about today. One, one being your newly released book, Plain Refuge, and the other being your part in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. That’s due out in November. But before we get started talking about those particular topics, I’d love for you to tell me more about making it to the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller List.
Dana: Okay? So for me, getting on the list, it has meant so much as a writer. So to me, that is so humbling. And just so touching that people are actually enjoying my books enough that they’re going to go out and they’re going to buy them, and they’re going to read them and pass them on to their friends. That, to me, is what my success is based on.
Tracy: Well, I can tell you how excited I was when I saw that you had made it to the list. Is this the first time that that’s happened for you,
Dana: Actually, this is the fifth or sixth time.
Tracy: Oh, congratulations. What an accomplishment.
Dana: It’s been pretty amazing because it’s never something that you expect. I had no idea that I’d even made it on the list. I’d actually checked a couple of days before and I didn’t see anything. And I was like, Oh, well, I guess this was not making it. And then a friend said, Hey, they just put up the new list. Did you see that? You’re on it? So, uh, I went and checked in my book’s been on there for two weeks running now, which I still can’t quite wrap my head around it. I’ve never made it two weeks running before
Tracy: I can see how humbling that would be. I know that if that happened to me, I would, I would be blown away, and I can hear in your voice that you’ve been blown away as well.
So knowing that is that what success means to you is making it to some, to a list like that?
Dana: Well, I think that’s part of success, but I think it’s always dangerous. I think to put my success in terms of monetary things because, for me, my writing is a ministry. Uh, I truly believe that God has stories that he wants me to tell. And I always feel when I’m writing that there’s a specific message or there’s a specific person that he wants me to write to. And I never know who that is. So for me being successful is the sense of peace. I get at the end of a book when I feel like I have really written the story that he wants me to write. And that’s, that’s my goal is to reach the people that God wants me to touch.
Tracy: I just absolutely love interviewing Christian authors because the things that come out of your mouth or, or the authors that I interview is the exact same things that roll around in my head. Every time I write the end or when I close that book and I’ve said, okay, I have done what God has asked me to do. And that’s all I can do is put the message out there.
So knowing that I know a little bit about your background, but tell the writer or tell our listeners is writing your full-time career.
Dana: No, it’s not. I am a teacher. I have been a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing for, let’s see, I graduated from college in 1993. So it’s been a while. I’ve done a stint as an interpreter and educational interpreter, and I’m back as a teacher now. So that’s my full-time career. And then writing is my second full-time career.
Tracy: Would you like writing to be your, your, your number one career?
Dana: That is the goal. That is the goal. My husband and I have talked about it. We have two children that need to go through college. So we can’t think of me retiring until we’re done with the college thing. But eventually, I would like to write full time,
Tracy: What time of the day do you write, and, you know, on a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?
Dana: You know, I always get asked the same question. And it’s funny because I don’t write every day. I have tried it, but for some reason, it just, it’s just not my process. Uh, I do brainstorm, I do, um, character chats. Uh, in fact, when I’m driving to work, a lot of times I’ll be talking to my characters. So thank goodness for Bluetooth. People are probably thinking I’m on a phone call. No, I’m talking to my character, but, um, well on those days that I do right, and that’s probably about four or five days a week, but I actually do sit down at the computer, and I will write out the scenes that I’ve been working through my mind that day or the day before I’ll spend two or three hours in the evening writing.
Tracy: Tell us about the very first book you published and what that journey was like.
Dana: Well, there were actually two books. So let me start at the beginning. Back in 2013, I decided to enter Harlequins. So you think you can write contests and I entered with an inspirational contemporary romance aimed at love inspired. And I was so excited about the first chapter.
So yay. I finished the book. I turned in the book. It didn’t make it any farther than that. In fact, it’s still probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done, but, but I wrote a full book. So I was really psyched. I love suspense, but it had just never occurred to me. But when 2014 came around, Love Inspired Suspense, put out this, um, competition search for a killer voice and all they wanted was the first page. So, you know, I wrote up a first page of something and I took a leap of faith, and I hit submit, and I sent it, and that ended up being my first book
Tracy: How exciting. I’m sure you have a good following of readers. So let’s change gears a little bit. I want to hear more about Plain Refuge. That is such a unique title. Can you tell us the significance of the title?
Dana: Okay. Well, This story is what’s considered an adjacent Amish story. My hero and my heroine are not Amish. They are on the run, and they take refuge in the Amish country.
Tracy: Well, that, that makes sense to me because I have not read the book. So I was, you know, I read the back cover, and you know, I was trying to wrap my arms around it. So I have to tell you that I fell in love with the cover though.
Do you have a lot of say in the cover designs, or do you just send in your information, and you just have to accept anything they give you?
Dana: It’s a little bit of both. What happens is they ask us to pick out three scenes from the book. And so we’ll describe the book, the scene. We will describe the emotions the time of day, what it looks like. We’ll send in pictures, that show kind of what we, it should, you know, should, you know, what we think the characters look like or what we think their clothing looks like, what we think the scenery looks like, and then they’ll take it from there. And sometimes our ideas and their ideas are very similar, and sometimes they’re not.
Tracy: So, I’m really excited to be part of the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection that comes out in November. And I know you’re part of that is well, have you started that book yet?
Dana: I’m still in the brainstorming process. I’ve got my characters, and I’ve got what the story is going to be about.
Tracy: So have you pulled one of your characters from any of your other books, or is this just a whole new person that you’ve, you’ve conjured up in your head?
Dana: This is a brand new set of characters. The character-building process is the most fun for me.
Tracy: I know you don’t have your, your story written yet, but can you give us any little keys to where you might be going with the storyline?
Dana: So I have my hero. Louisa is one of those people who always looks on the positive side of life. And it’s amazing because a few years ago she was in a horrible accident that changed her forever. And so now, even though she’s a very bright, very outgoing person, she has this disability that has been caused by the accident.
Tracy: Well, you know, a lot of our listeners probably already know about the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection that we’re all writing, we will have 14 stories in it, from14 different authors. But the one thing that all of the stories have to have is a love story. And then, you know, in that love story, we all are probably going to write a key theme or a message. And it sounds like your message is right in line with where these stories are going to be. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait till November gets here, and I can just curl up and just get lost in all 14 of these stories. How about you?
Dana: I am super thrilled about it. I have read almost all of the authors that are included in this. And when I was asked to join the collection, I was amazed and humbled because some of these women, I’ve been reading for several years and they just amaze me with their talent and their inspiring stories. So I am just thrilled to be a part of it. And I can’t wait to read the other stories and
Tracy: I have talked to a lot of them by now, and throughout the summer, I will have each one of these authors that are included on this podcast as a guest. We all have a very strong faith, and that faith is going to come through in each one of these very inspiring stories.
So I love to switch things up a little bit, um, as we close up and I like to do some fun things.
Do you have one thing that you can share with our listeners that they may not know about you?
Dana: I am a huge, huge Star Trek fan. My husband and I have the DVDs for three of the series. And we watched them. We don’t watch a lot of TV, but for our downtime, we will put on like a StarTrek, Voyager, or a Next Generation.
Tracy: So if you could have one season, what would it be?
Oh, see that one’s hard because it will be a toss-up between spring and fall. Okay. I love the sunshine, but I don’t want the, really the high heat or the extreme cold. I like the weather where you can walk around in jeans and a tee-shirt and maybe pull on a hoodie if it gets a little bit cool.
I love the smell of smoke for campfires or burning leaves. And I just love how all the colors come alive in both those seasons will fall in Pennsylvania.
Tracy: What some of our listeners don’t know is Dana, and I grew up in or not grew up; we’re from the same area, even though Dana, you’re from Chicago, and you moved to Northwestern, Pennsylvania, I grew up in Northwestern, Pennsylvania. So spring and fall in Northwestern, Pennsylvania, is absolutely beautiful. So I can see how you would enjoy both of those seasons.
So on, on the last note, I have one more question. If you could choose celebrity parents, who would you choose?
Dana: I really feel like my own parents were the best parents I could have had. Oh my, my father is no longer with us, but he and my mother, they would have been married 50 years if he were still around. Both of them, it’s funny because they, both of my parents, were Christian, but they were not the same faith. They were not the same denomination. They’d go to different churches on Sunday. I knew that both of them loved God with all their hearts. And I knew that when they came home that they brought that same message to us. I had three brothers, so we were welcome at both churches.
Tracy: Well, that has to be the sweetest thing I have ever heard. And I didn’t expect that as an answer. And I am so tickled that that was the answer that you said. So that is a perfect note to end on Dana. I just want to thank you so much for spending time with us. And I look forward to reading all of your stories, um, especially the one in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection.
That wraps up this week’s episode. Next week we’ll have Shelley Adina (Adina Sneft) as our guest to talk about her latest project along with her part in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. See you next week on the Buggy Talk Podcast.
So we’ll see you next week on Buggy Talk Podcast.