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Interview with Dana R. Lynn

Dana R. Lynn is a voracious reader who loves to read many genres, but romantic suspense has always been her favorite, so being an award-winning, multi-published author in this genre thrills her.

As a kid, Dana read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. She discovered he was only 17 years old when he wrote the novel, so Dana, at the time, decided she would do the same. "Well, that didn't happen. I played around with the dream for years."

When she finally started to pursue publishing, she didn't believe she had the ability to write suspense, so she began by experimenting in Contemporary and Regency romances. One of her first regency romances was a Pride and Prejudice variation story.

"I have loved Jane Austen since high school, especially Pride and Prejudice. I literally read it every year and have seen all the movies multiple times. Twenty years ago, I discovered Pride and Prejudice variation stories. I probably squealed in joy. So, I finally decided to try my hand at them."

That first attempt was the novella An Inconvenient Courtship, a book Dana claims "was not that good." She recently got the rights back to it so she can revise and lengthen it. Two other variation novellas though she is proud of, and that also happen to be time-travel books, are: The Colonel's Timely Bride and The Heiress's Timely Hero.

Dana's dive into writing romantic suspense was a journey that began around 2012, the year she first heard about Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) contest. This was a yearly contest where aspiring authors would send in a chapter geared toward any Harlequin line, all the editors would read the chapters, the Top 50 were asked to submit the whole book, and then contracts were offered.

"I was too late for 2012, but when 2013 came around, my chapter was ready. I’ll never forget coming home from work and hearing a Harlequin editor telling me my book was number 50, and would I be able to submit the full book by five the next afternoon. Well, I did it. It didn’t sell, but I knew then that I had the ability to write 60,000 words. I could write a story. That gave me the courage and the drive to continue."

So, when February 2014 came around, Dana didn't hesitate to enter the Love Inspired Suspense contest. In July 2014, she got the call that the editor wanted to buy her first romantic suspense book, Presumed Guilty. Dana has now penned 13 Love Inspired Suspense novels. Her total book count is at 21, as she also has four novellas, and then four books through Annie's Fiction, a subscription-based publisher.

Which novel out of the 21 is Dana's most beloved?

"It's really hard to say which book is my favorite. I love them all as I write them. I think, though, that it might be a toss-up between two books. There's Presumed Guilty, because it was the first time that I felt that I was an author, and then Plain Retribution, because it was my first book to feature a completely deaf heroine. I am a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing, so being able to give Rebecca her own happy-ever-after was an amazing feeling."

Two other of her novels have featured deaf characters. In Plain Target (2017), the heroine Jess is deaf. She knows sign language, communicates verbally, and relies mostly on speechreading. In Plain Refuge (2020), the heroine has a teenage sister, Celine, who is deaf and wears bilateral Cochlear Implants.

"I can't tell you how much joy writing these characters has brought me!"

Deadly Amish Reunion is Book 9 in the Amish County Justice series, and it's the author's newest release that came out the beginning of this month. Amish novels make up the majority of the Love Inspired Suspense books, and Dana has done all kinds of research to accurately portray the Amish. She has visited several Amish communities to get a feel for them; she subscribes to Amish America, a daily publication with interesting facts about the Amish life; and she reads quite a few non-fiction books about the Amish.

"Probably one of the most important research tools, though, has been the people I know in my area who have answered my questions and welcomed me into their homes. My husband also has been a fantastic source, as a volunteer firefighter and an EMT. With Deadly Amish Reunion, I also needed to research prosthetic arms, how they worked, and the costs to veterans who lose a limb in the service. It was humbling."

One takeaway Dana says she wants readers to have from Deadly Amish Reunion is that the main characters both have been wounded and they need to trust in God to learn to accept love and move on with their lives.

Although not all of Dana's novels have one certain theme or subject she wants readers to have as a takeaway, a lot of her books do have the themes of redemption and trusting God. Dana says she also loves to write about reunions and second chances. Each novel though will have its own spiritual thread, and Dana admits she doesn't always know what that thread will be when she first starts a book.

She does know, though, that it is important to her that each novel does have some kind of inspirational message to it. Why? Because Dana views her writing as a ministry to show God's love can bring healing and peace.

"I think we are called to use our talents to bring the Gospel into the world. God gave me the talent to write for a reason."

And write she does – a lot! Dana averages writing three to four books a year. Are there some suggestions for newbie authors this prolific penning person can give?

"My advice is to remember that every proposal, even a rejected one, is a success because you are developing your craft and learning. Very few of us go anywhere the first time we submit. The other bit of advice is to find your own process. I have learned that I am not someone who can write 1,000 words every day. I do better with large chunks of time where I can write several thousand words at once. That’s not wrong. It’s just how my mind works. Every author has tricks that work for them. Find yours."

Being a successful author often comes with being able to answer what is one of the best parts of living the author life – but Dana can't name just one!

"This is a hard question. There are so many great things about being an author. The readers. Oh my. I love meeting readers. And developing friendships with so many incredible authors who also understand the love of story! Seeing books on the shelf is also great!"

There are, of course, some "bad" aspects authors have to deal with in the writing world – the waiting and rejection.

"Publishing is not a quick process, and there are times when a pitch at a conference might generate interest, but then the proposal doesn’t go anywhere."

Speaking of conferences, Dana has attended lots of writing conferences. Two times she went to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference in New York. She says her publisher, Harlequin, had a lot of fun events for authors at that event. Dana has also been to every single ACFW Conference, including this year's virtual one, since she joined ACFW in 2014.

"The classes at the ACFW Conference are fantastic, but most of all, I appreciate the time spent with like-minded people. I love socializing with my writer friends, seeing my agent and my editor, and meeting new people."

Dana's first agent was Mary Sue Seymour from the Seymour Agency. Some writers ponder whether to get an agent or not, and even though Harlequin's category lines don't require an agent, Dana knew she still wanted one.

"I wanted someone in my corner when I was looking at contracts. Plus, I knew if I ever wanted to expand, an agent was my best bet. Mary Sue was a special person, and I admired her greatly. I stayed with her until she passed away in 2016."

Her current agent, who Dana had been following on social media for some time, is Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency,

"I knew several of the authors she represented. She calls them Tamelites. I was thrilled when she offered to represent me. I am so grateful to have her on my side."

Dana's writing is under four publishers: Harlequin, Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press), Annie's Publishing, and Blessed Publishing. The publisher of her newest release is Harlequin, and although Dana first gained publication with them through the 2014 SYTYCW contest, she has been a fan of the publishing house for many years.

"I have read Harlequin romances since I was a teenager. My aunt used to send me boxes of books after she had read them. When Harlequin decided to publish inspirational romances, I knew that's the publisher and line I wanted to target."

The next book in the Amish County Justice series is Dana's current WIP, then Dana has two more books planned for this series. Sometimes it's a little tricky to get writing time in, since Dana works a day job, and she also has a husband, three kids, and pets that require attention. Let's hope though that her two cats, two dogs, three chickens, and a horse don't distract Dana too much. And who knows? Maybe one of them will show up in her next novel. Dana will just keep readers in suspense wondering about that!


Melinda Freeland wrote her first "novel" at age 8 about Mr. & Mrs. Texas Toast, and their struggle to get off the plate before someone ate them. Today, Melinda writes fiction you can relate to—about humans—and their real struggles, not only in relationships, but also with understanding and trusting God. Love, Texas – Population 2 is her debut Christian contemporary romance novel. It was inspired by Melinda's reunion with her first love, her life as a small-town reporter, and her faith journey. Melinda lives in Texas with her handsome husband, two great kids, and her lovable Pug. She'd love to connect with readers at and on social media @authormelindafreeland and @melindafreeland.

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