Friday, September 28, 2018

I Can Only Imagine Now (A Seriously Write Blog)

I know we were just a little late to the party (okay, really late), but we just watched the movie, I Can Only Imagine.It was definitely inspirational. First, as a Christian. Knowing that God can forgive the worst of the worst is encouraging when I walk amongst so many monsters. And to make it even more encouraging, to sum up the words of the Apostle Paul, we were all part of that unpopular throng at some point, whether we choose to admit it or not (1 Tim. 1:15). We may not have been a domestic abuser like Arthur Millard or an accomplice to murder like the Apostle Paul, but through the lens of Scripture and what “the kingdom of heaven is like,” sin is sin is sin. Here on Earth, we have a tendency to categorize sin. Some sins are viewed to be more heinous than others. But according to the Ten Commandments, serving other gods and dishonoring your father and mother made the list alongside murder, adultery, lying, and stealing.

Now do you see why I’m encouraged? God can forgive us…all of us.

To read the remainder of this blog, click here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Author Behind the Story - Lena Nelson Dooley

Just watched the movie, I Can Only Imagine. Now, that song has a different meaning for me. Not so much about what we will do in the presence of God when we finally arrive before Him, although that is a question I ponder as much as anybody else, I imagine (pun intended). That's why I wrote my manuscript, The Letters. There is a spiritual world around us now that will culminate in Heaven. And I believe that "scene" will be literally "out of the this world" and something we cannot fully describe on this side of it. The marriage of the physical and spiritual worlds will be something unforgettable, like Jesus walking through a door as if it wasn't there and showing His disciples his nail-scared hands and pierced side.

In the same way, this blog series is meant to help readers see the author behind the stories they pen. To have a new appreciation for the story lines, the themes, the truths, contained within its pages.

To further that journey, I welcome a fellow author who has written many a book, Lena Nelson Dooley!

Lena, welcome to the Florida front porch! Pull up a chair and give us a description to the reader who may not know who Lena is. Who is Lena Nelson Dooley? 

I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. My family is the most important thing in my life. And I have loved Jesus for over seven decades. God blessed me by choosing me to write stories whose  characters will grip the reader’s heart.

Seven decades. Wow. What a blessing! Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

I have written all my life. I came from a family of writers. However, I’m the only one with that profession. In May of 1984, God used events in one week to let me know He wanted me to be a professional writer. Your readers can read that testimony by going to my website, and clicking on the About Me tab.

What educational background do you have?

My father paid for my brother, older by 16 months, to go to college. He told me he’d pay for secretarial school or something like that for me because I wouldn’t be the breadwinner for a family. That’s how older people felt in the early 1960s. I wanted to go to college, so I worked my way through, working full-time in the summer and holding an on campus job and an off campus job during the school year. I chose Ouachita Baptist College (its name at that time), because my brother and many of my friends went there. When my family moved to Texas during my college years, I transferred to Howard Payne in Brownwood. Later I did graduate work at Abilene Christian College. It was the only one with graduate classes in Drama, my major.
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Song of All-Time: “Love Me Tender” I think it’s the most romantic song ever written.
Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:13
Favorite Movie: I love Christmas movies and princess movies
Favorite Actor or Actress: Tom Selleck
Favorite TV Show: I love game shows and cooking shows
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Favorite Author (other than you): I have so many, and they are all Christian novelists
Favorite Sport: America’s pastime, baseball
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): The Texas Rangers
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: I loved all the literature classes
Favorite Subject Now: My grandkids and great-grandkids (KEVIN: Bet you get schooled often in those classes!)
Favorite Teacher in School: Mrs. Hater (that was her name, and she saved me from completely dropping out) (KEVIN: Glad she didn't live up to her name!)
Favorite Time of the Year: The holiday season including Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas
Favorite Place to Vacation: On cruises. I’ve only cruised in the Caribbean.
Favorite Drink: Iced Green Tea (year around)
Favorite Food: Lobster

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

One of the books I’m featuring here was a miracle from God. The publisher contacted my agent with what she wanted to publish this year. My agent told me that as she told my agent each thing, my name came to her with each one. So she didn’t offer it to the authors in her group. Because there had to be a short turnaround, I wasn’t sure I could do it. But God gave me the story, and He assured me that I could do it. I always pray about what I’m writing, but with this book I had to remain totally plugged into God to be able to get the book done in time. It was an amazing experience.

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?

I’ve often been asked this question, and I answer, “The one I’m writing right now.” It’s the one I’m pouring all my writing ability into, and it’s the one most present in my thoughts. I loved writing the McKenna’s Daughters series. A Heart’s Gift was a book of my heart. I could go on with a long list The 12 Gifts of Christmas that released on September 4th is the book I was talking about in the other answer. Right now, it’s my favorite, both because of the story and because of how closely I was connected to God during the writing.
and why I loved that particular book.

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

Right now, I’m working on filling out the details of a book that I dreamed about a few weeks ago. It’s working title is The Small Green Cottage, and it’ll be what they are calling a time-slip story, where there are two time periods and two sets of characters but happens in one place.

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

My mother. She died when I was seven years old. I’d love to know her as an adult. Learn the wisdom she would have passed on to me, had she lived.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

I’ve always been fascinated by Queen Esther. I’ve studied her at length. I even wrote a dramatic monologue of her that I’ve shared with women’s groups and at women’s retreats. Her situation was unique, emotional, and intense. She could share a lot of wisdom with me, too.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

Adventures in Prayer by Mary Jo Pierce. This book has meant a lot to me, and I’ve used it when mentoring other women.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

I love my readers. They are the reason I work so many hours writing. I want to entertain them. I want to make them think … and feel. And I like to connect with them on many levels.

They really bless me when they write reviews of my books. I love hearing from them on social media. They are the reason I’m there. Nothing pleases me more than knowing how one of my books changed a life. I’ve been known to sit and cry before the Lord, because He used me to do that very thing.

What a great way to end our interview! With the readers!

Lena, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and stopping by the Florida front porch. Many blessings to you and your writing ministry!

Dear Readers, if you wish to learn more about Lena and her writing, you can visit her at these sites listed below!

Blogtalk Radio, The Lena Nelson Dooley Show:

Until next time, May God bless you all, and may you bless God!