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Interview With Dana Mentink

Dana Mentink is a published author with Barbour (cozy mysteries for Heartsong Presents Mysteries) and Steeple Hill (Love Inspired Suspense). She lives in California with her husband and children. She is perpetually in search of a great story, either through painfully expensive trips to the book store or in her own labors in front of the computer. Let’s meet Dana…

Dana, you have the most fun series of cozy mysteries with the Finny books for Heartsong Presents Mysteries (Trouble Up Finny’s Nose, Treasure Under Finny’s Nose, Fog Over Finny’s Nose) and then you have some great suspense books with LI Suspense. Do you have a particular favorite to write - the cozy mystery vs. the suspense mystery?
Oooh, that’s a tricky one. I really enjoy writing cozies because of the potential for humor, but the suspense novels keep me on my toes with the tight pacing and tension. I guess my favorite is whatever I happened to be writing at the moment.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
I had a mentor before I was published and she advised me to act like a professional even though I hadn’t yet sold a manuscript. She told me to start thinking of myself as a professional writer and that was the beginning of my journey in that direction.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
I have two kids and a job outside the home so time is precious. I try to solve this problem by getting up early, before the roosters have cracked an eyeball. I’m not a night person so morning is my time. The rest of the day belongs to the kids, husband and all the other people that need my time. Coffee is very helpful in this endeavor.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I think it was Jerry Jenkins who said that you don’t have to write Christian fiction just because you’re a Christian, as long as you communicate your world view. I happen to have the privilege of writing Christian fiction, so that is an amazing opportunity to combine my faith and my craft. I consider it a great honor and responsibility.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career? I’m thinking it was the first time I saw my book on the shelf in a store. It happened to be Safeway, right across from the cottage cheese aisle. No kidding. The poor clerk I dragged over to see it still looks at me funny when I shop there.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I write because the creative side of it feeds my soul. Ideas come from articles I’ve read, strange bits of news that arrest my attention and incredible things that people do. The truth really is MUCH stranger than fiction so there’s always plenty to write about.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I think that comes through most clearly in my cozies. I’m a quirky little duck and I love to write about quirky people in amazing circumstances.

Finish this question. When I wrote this story…
I wanted to leave my audience feeling that…they experienced love, laughter and lifting up.

Any parting words?
As Kermit the frog says, it’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice. It’s my wish that people I meet in this zany world of writing, remember me for the way I treated them, rather than for any books I’ve written.

Thanks for sharing with us, Dana!

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