Introducing Darlene L Turner, author of Border Breach, her debut novel. Darlene and I have been friends for years. We’ve roomed together at writer’s conferences, messaged each other, encouraged each other, and celebrated our successes. She is an excellent writer, a strong Christian, and a great friend. Oh, and we both like pumpkin spice lattes!
I’m honored today to share her responses to several questions I thought you’d be curious about asking a “published” author.
Darlene, your debut novel released on April 1, 2020. What was your initial reaction to seeing all your hard work published?
A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! It’s hard to put into words. To see all your hard work and your dreams coming true brings joy and thankfulness. Not in a boastful way. I just feel blessed.
How many romantic suspense novels have you written?
Where do you get your plot ideas?
I often have ideas spark from watching scenes in movies and TV. Also, from some news stories and even dreams.
How long have you been writing?
When I was young, I loved to read Nancy Drew, so I started my own version – the “Mindy Dobson” series. I wish I’d kept them as it would be fun to go back and read it (and laugh). I always wanted to write but stopped until I was older. I got more serious about writing ten years ago.
What is your greatest challenge in writing?
I would have to say carving out time to write after an exhausting day at my full-time job. It can be tough to write when you’re tired, but I have to keep on going! Oh…and keeping up with social media!
Have you ever felt like giving up?
Absolutely. Many times, especially after just getting another rejection. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. However, a friend once told me that every rejection just means you’re one step closer to the “one.” I kept saying that to myself and kept on writing.
In your opinion, is it worth the trouble to enter contests?
Yes! Entering contests has been a valuable step in my writing journey. Each time I entered, I was able to take the feedback from the judges and apply it to my manuscripts and future writing. In 2017, I won in the romantic suspense category of the ACFW Genesis contest and I believe this helped me sign with my agent. I highly recommend unpublished writers to enter contests. It changed my life!
What are your thoughts on critique groups?
I believe they’re important but also feel a writer needs to find the right one. Joining a group with the right fit-writers close to the same stage as each other-will help a writer grow. Learning from one another is vital and it’s also fun to develop long-lasting relationships.
Are writers conferences as important as people say? Why?
Yes! Writers conferences are a place to not only learn from the best but develop those lasting relationships with other authors. also, meeting agents and editors face-to-face is the best way to submit your proposals and manuscripts. Being able to put a face to the name is invaluable.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Wow. I’ve dreamed that someone would ask me that someday. I would say keep on and don’t give up. I know that’s easy to say as there were times when I felt like giving up, but I had many supporters cheer me on. Also, read writing books, go to conferences, and find a writing mentor. These will all help you.
How do you manage your writing time versus your job and personal time?
It can be tough. When I come home after a busy day, I’m exhausted. I will often get on my treadmill and watch a TV show I PVR’d before I throw myself into my writing world. I need a break to decompress. I try to write one-two hours each evening, but I know it’s important to take breaks to spend with my husband and also give my brain a rest. It’s important to do this to stay fresh. It can be tough, but I’m learning to carve out time and take breaks to recharge.
Last thoughts. Writers are always interested in the lives of successful authors. Share something fun people don’t know about you.
I love to tole paint (painting characters on wood surfaces). My dream is to live in a log cabin style home on a lake at the foot of a mountain.
Thank you, Darlene, for taking the time to answer all these questions. I am beyond thrilled for you on your first published novel and I look forward to seeing many more successes!
Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.
If you have any questions for Darlene, feel free to ask in the comments below.