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Interview with Darlene L. Turner

Darlene has always loved a good mystery, from her first experiences with Nancy Drew book as a child to starting her own Mindy Dobson series. She may have put her writing passion on hold for a while, but after growing up, enduring rougher roads, and joining a writer’s club (WWC – Women Writing for Christ, London ON), she has re-ignited her spark for the written word.

Darlene has now written devotionals, articles, and short stories, attended multiple writers conferences and started a blog. She has fulfilled her dream of writing contemporary romantic suspense books. Her debut book, Border Breach, will release in April, 2020 by Love Inspired Suspense–an inspirational division of Harlequin.

Welcome, Darlene. Congratulations on achieving such amazing praise through the Daphne Du Maurier and ACFW Genesis award contests. What have been the greatest benefits from entering these contests?
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 I highly recommend unpublished writers enter this contest. It changed my life!

Can you share how you found your agent and connected with Harlequin Romance for your first novel?

I took some amazing courses through the Jerry B. Jenkins group and had some wonderful mentors. I started attending writing conferences in an attempt to get an agent. I’d pitch to them and have interest but nothing happened. I wrote two previous manuscripts before writing Border Breach. In 2017, I won the Genesis award for one of those books. I believe this helped me catch the eye of my agent (who is an absolute sweetie!). She started pitching both of those books and suggested I write something to send to LIS, so I did. After doing some revisions, my agent got the call from them. When she called me, I did a happy dance (you should have seen my husband’s dance! haha). God is good!

Have you faced any difficulties or advantages being a Canadian writer working with an American publisher? Do you have any advice to share for other international writers?
There was a time when I was told that having a novel set in Canada wouldn’t get picked up. However, I refused to give up and was delighted to find out that LIS had various books set in Canada. I believe both publishers and readers are now more open to international settings. Love Inspired is definitely one of those publishers and they are awesome to work with. They also have an office in Toronto! Yay.

Who/What reignited your passion for writing after your long hiatus from wanting to write mysteries as a child?
That’s a great question. Even though I continued to read, the writing spark faded and life happened. I started working, got married, and eventually moved to a different city. I didn’t have time to write…or at least, I didn’t think I had the gift, so I put it out of my mind.

Years flew by and then the unspeakable happened. I went through some rough times and a betrayal by someone close to me (you can see my full story on my blog under My Story On my journey working through the hurt, I decided to take a creative writing course. This triggered the idea for the very first book I wrote. That’s when my love of writing re-surfaced and grew. So, God does use ALL circumstances in life to grow us, right?

What inspired you to write Border Breach and include cross-border elements?
I’ve crossed different borders into the States many times and I’ve often thought it would be fun to put a female border patrol agent together with a police officer to solve a smuggling ring. When I started googling some ideas, the doda drug came up and that’s when the storyline came to me.

How did you gain such fantastic details about border guards and special investigation Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) teams?
Their websites have a wealth of great information! However, I also contacted them and was able to ask questions. I interviewed a constable and that helped me gain insight into law enforcement. I also took my local Citizen’s Police Academy and even did a ride-a-long. Amazing to see a day in the life of a police officer. I have so much respect for them. I still have lots to learn and look forward to gaining more knowledge!

What literary character is most like you?
That’s a toss-up between Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables. Nancy for her sleuthing and Anne for her love of books. Did you notice that both are redheads? LOL.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
I work full-time, so when I come home after a busy day, I’m exhausted. I will often get on my treadmill and watch a TV show I DVR’d before I throw myself into my writing world. I think that’s my biggest challenge. Writing when I’m tired. However, I’m learning to carve out time but also take breaks to recharge.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My stories always center around my relationship with Christ. My characters go through many emotions and struggles concerning their faith…some of which I’ve gone through. Knowing we can come out on the other side if we only believe and trust in our sovereign God are key components to my storytelling.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I love to tole paint. This is painting designs onto wood surfaces. It’s fun and relaxes me. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time to paint as I would like! I also love to watch movies and read.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
100 Days of Faith over Fear by Lisa Stilwell (for fiction – A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate)

Finish this statement: If I were not an author, I would be :
…a Superhero…Wonder Woman or maybe Supergirl.)

What do you hope readers will take away from your stories?
Hope. Forgiveness. Inspiration.


As a teen, Tara Ross first discovered how hope-filled prose can change the entire trajectory of a person's life. Case in point: her life. She now has the joy of sharing this truth with youth every day - as a Speech-Language Pathologist, youth ministry worker and YA author.

Her soon to be released debut novel and blog, were created to ignite sparks of faith for Generation Z. You can follow Tara on instagram (tara.k.ross) or twitter (tara_k_ross) for more book reviews, tattoo worthy quotes and updates on her publishing journey.

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