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Interview with Darlene L Turner

Darlene L. Turner is a Canadian-based, award-winning romantic suspense author who combines classic elements of Nancy Drew with relatable characters and faith-based questions. In the short span of three years, Turner has published seven books, including the Word Awards and 3rd Place Selah Award winning book, Border Breach. But her writing journey began years earlier.

The Impact of Reading

Like many authors, Darlene’s reading preferences impacted her writing ones.

“Ever since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book, I’ve loved a good mystery,” Darlene says. “That’s when my love of writing took hold of my heart. I started writing my own ‘Mindy Dobson’ mystery series!”

Although she never tried to publish her Mindy Dobson series, Turner has never forgotten that first source of inspiration.

“I try to give my hero and heroine a ‘Nancy’ mind and dive into sleuthing to discover the villain’s motive and identity in order to stop their crimes. I also love bringing in mysterious surroundings, i.e., dilapidated houses, lighthouses, churches, etc., to give the story an added dimension. Just like Nancy’s haunted houses.”

The Impact of Faith

Darlene’s Christian faith has influenced her stories in a big way.

“My characters go through various faith questions. Questions we all go through in life. I want readers to be able to relate to my characters and then see how my hero and heroine react when circumstances come their way. Spiritual life always has a thread woven throughout my stories.”

The Impact of Hobbies and Prior Work

No experience is wasted in an author’s life. Though not directly related to writing, Turner’s downtime enjoyments and former full-time jobs have also aided her in her writing journey.

“I love reading, tole painting (painting on wood pieces), Lego-building, watching movies. These relax me and help refuel my creativity tank. Sometimes it even sparks story ideas!”

Before she became a full-time author, Darlene held various jobs at an insurance agency.

“That work helped me with organization, planning, networking, and working with multiple systems.”

Beautiful Simplicity

Turner refers to herself as a “straightforward” author.

“I keep my style simple without too much description or fancy words. That’s just me.”

Setting her stories in Alaska and her Canadian home territory also gives them a unique angle.

Journey to Publication

Darlene’s first full-length novel wasn’t in the romantic suspense genre in which she now writes. Instead, it had more of a gothic feel. It hasn’t been published (yet) but was impressive enough to win the Daphne du Maurier award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in the Unpublished division.

“I would love to go back one day and clean it up to maybe indie publish it. You never know!”

Since her first novel, Turner has continued to have success in writing mystery/suspense novels. Her mentor, literary agent, and editor have played key roles in the publication process.

“DiAnn Mills is my amazing mentor. She helped guide me along the way and shape this journey. Also, my agent—Tamela Hancock Murray—has done so much for me. My LIS [Love Inspired Suspense] editor, Tina James, is such a pleasure to work with and keeps my stories on target with what their readers love. I’m SO grateful.”

As she continues in her writing career, Darlene looks forward to maintaining her current path as well as branching out a bit.

“I love writing for Love Inspired Suspense. They’re amazing. I would also love to publish a trade book and am interested in writing something gothic. So many possibilities!”

An Awkward Author Moment

Authors do a ton of research. Their quests for authentic information can sometimes lead to embarrassing interactions.

“Being a suspense author, I do a lot of interesting searches,” Darlene shares. “One time I was googling how long it takes before a certain poison can take effect. Immediately, the suicide prevention hotline number appeared. Which of course, is a good thing to come up for someone who needs help. Thank you, Dr. Google.”

How it Began

“I was asked to write a story involving a K-9 Search and Rescue dog, so I started googling and came across avalanche dogs. I quickly gained a ton of respect for these dogs. They find people in the snow so quickly! It immediately sparked an idea, and I ran with it.”

Pulling from Real Life

Although few authors (and readers) will ever go through the exact scenarios of characters in books, they often relate to them in their personal trials and triumphs. Many times, the reason readers love and connect so strongly to a specific character is not only because the work is well-written, but because the author pulled directly from their own experiences to describe them.

In Alaskan Avalanche Escape, Darlene understood some of her characters’ intrapersonal conflicts especially well.

“Both my hero and heroine struggle with their self-worth and imposter syndrome. There have been times throughout my life where I’ve wrestled with the same.”

On-Site Visits

With all the information available on the internet, authors no longer need to travel to a book’s setting to accurately describe it. However, it’s always nice if they can.

With many of her other novels taking place in Canada, Turner is obviously familiar with the territory. But she has also seen the sights in Alaskan Avalanche Escape.

“My brother used to live in Whitehorse, Yukon, so I was able to visit him during that time. We travelled throughout Yukon and then to Alaska. We visited Anchorage and Skagway. It’s beautiful country. I love the mountains. They’re so majestic!”

Faithful Themes

Some of the major themes in Alaskan Avalanche Escape include redemption, trusting in God’s journey, and realizing God truly does hear our prayers. We only need to be still and wait.

Impact on the Author

God often uses books to impact both those who read them and those who wrote them. Darlene shared one way in which God reached out to her through Alaskan Avalanche Escape.

“Interesting story. I wrote the book and during the editing process a couple months later, I went through some situations that disheartened me. While re-reading it, I was able to relate to Jayla and Bryson more, and the message encouraged me. It was fun to see how God used this story to speak it back to me. Love when He does that!”

Author Hopes

As Alaskan Avalanche Escape hits the shelves, Darlene prays that God will use the story to reach out to others.

“I want readers to know how much God loves them and that He’s always there, listening to our cries. Even when we can’t sense His presence. He’s there wrapping His huge arms around us! We only have to trust in Him and the amazing journey He has in store for us.”
Jenny Fulton is a wife, mother, author, blogger, and freelance writer. An enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, she grew up hearing stories from my dad about the supernatural workings on the Navajo Reservation. As a child, she collected angels and loved anything related to fairy tales. Her days are now mostly spent raising my three young daughters and writing as much as time and opportunity allows. Follow her at her blog, Heart Soul Mind.

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