Monday, March 24, 2008

Q&A: DANA MENTINK

Today we check in with mystery writer Dana Mentink, another author with Heartsong Presents -- Mysteries!. Her first book with HPM is the cozy mystery Trouble Up Finny's Nose. In between juggling an elementary career, two daughters, a husband, and a dog with social anxiety troubles, Dana enjoys performing in mystery dinner theater and writing mysteries and inspirational fiction. Find Dana online at DanaMentink.com.

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HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BIG BREAK?
The big break? Well I was roller skating over cracked cement. Down I went, head over tea kettle ... oooh wait! You meant THAT big break. That big break happened when I sent an email to the ACFW loop asking if anyone still read gentle mystery and Susan Downs responded with an invitation to submit. I thought it was a trick or something.

With Harlequin, they happily rejected many of my manuscripts until one day they sent a revision letter with my rejection. I revised and they accepted. I thought this was a trick too.

HOW MUCH DO YOU WRITE FOR AN "AUDIENCE" VERSUS SIMPLY WRITING FOR YOURSELF?
I used to write completely for myself but I've come to realize there are PEOPLE reading these books. Imagine! What a shock. I try to keep them in mind now and put in more clues about time and setting so they don't feel lost.

WHAT FIVE (give or take) CLASSIC AUTHORS DO YOU CONSIDER ESSENTIAL MYSTERY READING?
I'm not sure these folks all pertain to mystery, but they are fabulous writers, every one.
1) Agatha Christie
2) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
3) Dr. Seuss (because he could play with language better than any other author on the planet)
4) Willa Cather
5) Carolyn Keene

WHAT FIVE (give or take) MODERN AUTHORS DO YOU CONSIDER ESSENTIAL MYSTERY READING?
1) Janet Evanovich (because she isn't afraid to be FUNNY)
2) Dorothy Gilman
3) Elizabeth Peters
4) Carl Hiaasen
5) Jan Karon (Well I just really want to BE her when I grow up)

BEFORE BEING SIGNED, WHAT'S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION YOU HAD ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR?
I thought the hard part was writing the book. Ha! What a silly girl. Thanks for the interview Chris!

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Thanks to our guest, Dana Mentink. Find her online at DanaMentink.com. She also blogs at Dana Menink's Blog and at Spyglass Lane. Subscribe to Heartsong Presents: Mysteries!

More interviews:
Q&A CRESTON MAPES (Nobody)
Q&A: CECIL MURPHEY (Everybody Loved Roger Harden)
Q&A: LONNIE CRUSE (Fifty-Seven Heaven)
Q&A: NANCY MEHL (In the Dead of Winter)
Q&A: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller authors
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SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.