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Interview with Dawn Crandall

The Narrow Path
An Author Spotlight on Dawn Crandall

What would you do if you had a dream of writing a book, but you never shared it with anyone, and life continued to throw curve balls at you, diverting you or knocking you away from a path you wanted to travel? What if your spouse one day learned of your dream and gave you the encouragement and green light to pursue it? That is exactly what happened to Dawn Crandall, our featured author this week.

Dawn became a Christian at the age of seventeen, then went on to major in Christian Education at college. She wanted to learn more about her faith and the foundation of her new beliefs, and that only left her wanting to explore it in greater depths. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she always knew she would attempt to write a novel—someday—but life kept getting in the way. Following college, she taught preschool, keeping that dream to herself and not doing much with it. Even when she worked at a local bookstore, she considered being published a pipe dream. So, she continued with her day-to-day life, having that continual thought of writing return to her thoughts time and time again, but not sitting down to write.

Dawn managed to convince herself she would get around to writing once she was married and had children in school…but God had other plans. She did get married first at twenty-eight, but then she had a difficult time getting pregnant. That was when her husband discovered her hidden dream of writing a book. “He told me to stop working and focus on writing that book. So, I was thirty-two when I started writing The Hesitant Heiress, and before it was even finished, I had multiple agent offers after attending my first ACFW conference in 2011.” She signed a contract for the first three books with her publisher in 2013—and was six months pregnant at the time with the first of two children. Two dreams realized in the same year. Talk about a different path from the one she’d planned!

This falls right in line with a principle theme Dawn tries to weave in her stories. With Enchanting Nicholette, she hopes readers understand “our stories are never quite done. Even when it seems everything is wrong or damaged beyond repair, God can make something new. And He’s been planning this ‘new’ thing since before you were born.” Although her stories are historical, Dawn writes in a very deep first-person point-of-view. This allows her to showcase the spiritual journey of the heroines in her novels in an intimate manner. It also allows her to depict how much these characters are just like us, going through life as it happens, experiencing all the drama and emotions we experience in our modern daily lives. Her focus in these historical love stories is on God’s hand at work on the forming of these two hearts coming together.

Many readers have described Dawn’s writing as containing “swoon-worthy moments” and featuring “compelling characters.” Dawn attributes this to that deep point-of-view approach. “When I’m forming my stories, I try to make the hero the last person the heroine thinks she would ever love…then I have all the fun making her fall for him. The reader gets this immensely gratifying experience of learning bit by bit about the hero and ends up falling in love with him right along with the heroine.”

Each story has a new heroine and a new story, but both of those build off what happened in a previous book. Dawn has loved writing in a series, as it’s been so much fun discovering what was happening behind the scenes and in the thoughts of the side characters introduced in previous books. She specifically wrote each one to stand alone in its own merit, to make perfect sense and be its own thing apart from being a part of the series, but the connections have allowed her to explore those other characters and stories, which has added depth to the overall series. “I tell readers they can read them in any order, but it’s a lot more fun to read them chronologically.” She’s even had readers tell her they’ve read the books over and over and picked up new things every time.

That’s a little bit like the life Dawn lives every day when she’s not writing. She and her family live on a little hobby farm in her hometown, relatively close to everyone in her family. They all love living on a dirt road, just a field away from one of her brothers, and the experiences they share provide a wealth of new discoveries with each passing day. “We have an angora goat, two roosters, a big dog and three cats. Nothing crazy, but it’s fun. We’re in the process of fixing up an 1860s brick farmhouse which hasn’t seen much love in the last century!” It’s certainly never dull, especially with two young boys underfoot.

If Dawn were to pinpoint the biggest hurdle to her writing, it would be those two rambunctious little guys, who love to run around the oak trees in the yard and go traipsing through the woods along the creek along with their parents. She spends most of her days feeding them, cleaning up after them, dressing them, washing them…it doesn’t leave much time to write. However, despite feeling like she’s falling behind in her writing, the reasons—Rhett and Blake—are completely worth it! She does strive to write every few days, and she’s managed to release five novels in the past four years, so it’s clear God’s hand is all over this new path Dawn is traveling. It might not have started out the way she planned, and it might have veered off in a direction she never saw, but this narrow path bathed in her dreams is one she wouldn’t change for anything in the world.

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Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having an active imagination and a flair for the dramatic. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning author and speaker who works in the health & wellness and personal development industries, helping others become their best from the inside out. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and son, and a Shiba Inu-mix named Nova. She has sold over 20 books so far, three of which have won annual reader's choice awards. She is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. www.amberstockton.com.




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