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Interview with Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer writes Western romance, contemporary and historical. She is married to a former professional rodeo bullfighter and is mother to another. Her writing career began as a newspaper and rodeo journalist for the Prorodeo Sports News.

What or who inspired you to become a fiction writer?
Fiction was my goal all along, but I paid the bills for years writing nonfiction. As a journalist, I learned to “write tight,” as they say. Journalism is a great training ground for getting a handle on deadline and word count.

Where did the idea for your newest release, The Columbine Bride, come from?
My first novella for a Barbour collection was The Snowbound Bride that re-released in Oct. in their print edition, The 12 Brides of Christmas. Last year, editors asked the twelve authors if we could provide sequels using secondary characters from the Christmas stories. I was thrilled, because the uncle of my original hero caught my eye and heart—Buck Reiter. I knew he needed a book of his own and I loved telling the story of this true-hearted cowboy.

Did you have to do any research for this story? If so, what kind and where?
A close friend of mine lived in the high parks (mountain cow country) near where I set the story. She told me what it was like to ride into the timber to cut and “limb” trees, then snake them down the mountain on horseback with the tree tied off to the saddle horn.

I also did a little research about lightning strikes in Colorado, though my own first-hand experience was the most illuminating!

What type of books do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy romantic suspense, romance, women’s fiction, and general fiction.

What type of theme or message do you hope readers will take from this book?
One of my goals as an author is to entertain and encourage. God has a path for each of us, hand-picked in His great wisdom. The heroine of this story discovers that trusting God’s leading on that path rarely involves knowing exactly where she’s going. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be trust.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
Fiction is a great vehicle for truth. People seem to respond more positively to a message rather than a sermon. I believe this is because we relate with what we can “see” in the struggles of others. Writing the picture of God’s presence in our lives and how He helps us overcome difficulties is one of my goals as an author.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Most significant in my journey has been not giving up in spite of discouragement. As your question suggests, it is a journey, not a destination. I continue to ask the Lord to teach me how to write what He will bless.

Describe where you write.
I have a spare bedroom office with a large picture window that looks out on blue spruce and aspen. Quail gather around my bird feeder and sometimes deer come right up to the window. How could I improve on that?

With your teaching at a local college and family, how do you fit in writing time? What would be a typical day for you?
My classes are twice a week, and I truly enjoy teaching writing. However, I also read what my students write, so that requires many hours outside the classroom. When I’m grading essays, I don’t get much accomplished on my novels. I also write a regular column for the local daily newspaper and freelance a little for them as a reporter. My current approach is to do all the “busy work” in the mornings, and plow away at my fiction in the afternoons and evenings.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Do not give up. No matter what.

What other parting words do you have to share?
Never stop learning.

Thanks for sharing with us, Davalynn Spencer!

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