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Interview With Wanda Dyson

Wanda Dyson is a bestselling author of suspense and a non-fiction title that released on Oprah. Her fast-paced, page-turning stories are known for keeping readers up past bedtime. And, in case you didn't know, she's also the madwoman behind the scenes who makes our conference editor and agent appointments fit like clockwork. This month, Wanda joins us to share her new release, Shepherd's Fall, book one in the Prodigal Recovery series.

Wanda, can you tell us a little bit about Prodigal Fugitive Recovery and what roll it plays in Shepherd's Fall?

Prodigal Fugitive Recovery is the name of the agency owned by the bounty hunter siblings, Nick, Steven, and Marti Shepherd. But it is also a subtle reminder that we were all prodigals in one way or another-and that we are all called to recover the prodigals around us.

What do you love most about writing this series?

In addition to being fast-paced crime thrillers, this series is also about the different ways we as Christians, can be prodigals in different areas of our lives. I've had a lot of fun taking Nick, Steven, and Marti apart and not only showing their strengths and weaknesses as bounty hunters and as siblings, but also as Christians and how that all weaves together as a part affecting the whole.

How do you balance your writing time with other responsibilities?

Balance? What's that? I only have balance with my dogs (thank you Cesar Milan.) Seriously though, it's not easy, but I found something that works for me. I try to think of my writing as a full time job and the Lord is my boss. Which means I show up at the office at a certain time and work my eight hours. I may have to stop and feed animals, or stop and deal with Jayme, or stop and make dinner, but until my 8 hours is done, I'm not done. Of course, I put in a lot of overtime, but I don't have the heart to ask for time and a half.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture?

I doubt very seriously I could deal with all of it if the Father wasn't at the very center of it all. He keeps me calm, focused, and patient when all I want to do is scream at the interruptions-Jayme having a bad day, the horses breaking through a fence, the puppy getting into the trash, the power going out right in the middle of a paragraph and I haven't saved my work in over an hour, and all the other little things that happen that you don't plan. But He also is at the heart of everything I write.

What would you describe as your biggest obstacle in writing and how do you overcome it?

Procrastination. Pure and simple. I can always put off until next week what should have been done last month.

There's an old saying that if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. There's something to that. So, I stay busy. And the busier I get, the more I get done. I always have at least two or three other projects going on while I'm working on my WIP. I always have room for one more animal to rescue, one more endorsement to read, and one more appointment to schedule. And if I get 95% of it done on time, I'm ahead of the game. The downside to this is that I haven't been on a date in about eight years. ☺

What do you consider the significant moment of your writing/publishing career?

Wow. There are two actually and I'm not sure one is the "most" significant. One was the day I was listening to a conference tape of a class I did not attend and on it, I heard two editors talking about how every once in a while, a writer comes along and they just know from reading the first page that they're going to contract them and both of those editors mentioned my name as an example. It blew me away and I've never forgotten that sense of "I am where God wants me to be, doing what He wants me to be doing." The other was when I heard that Jumped was being picked up by Oprah for an exclusive release.

Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?

I write because I breathe. I honestly don't know any other way of saying that. It's not something I planned on doing. It's just something I've always done. I've lived with stories in my head since I was just a little girl. When I grew tired of getting punished for "making up stories," I learned just to write them down.

Ideas come from all over the place-the news, someone I see on the street, dreams, and mostly, I think the Lord just pops them into my "inspirator" to percolate until they're worth telling.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

I like to write "action" so my style is fairly fast-paced and I don't do a lot of deep character studies. We meet people all the time and no one gives us a cue card as to what makes them tick or what motivates them or what makes them cry. We discover that as we go along. So most of my characters are revealed more toward the end of the story, when we've started really getting a sense of them. And sometimes, I like to show you all of a certain type of character, let you make an assumption about someone and then show you how wrong you were. And isn't that fun?

Finish this question. I write because...

It's this or Walmart. Okay, seriously: I write because I love writing, I need to write, and I was born to write. It's what God created me to do, plain and simple. When I think back to the beginning of this fiction journey, I am utterly amazed at the provision of God. My marriage was falling apart, I had a handicapped child who would not allow me to work outside the home, and a desperate need to make a living. I kept praying for an answer. And then He finally showed me. It was all inside my head. All those stories I had been hoarding. So He provided a way for me to work at home, care for my daughter, and make a living, too. And isn't that just like our Father?

Any parting words?

Check those editorial needs before you make those editor/agent appointment requests. Oh, about writing? Trust the Father with your writing, your writing career, and your future. He knows what He called you to do and He'll help you get there.

I recently went through the devastating loss of my 18 year-old nephew, Daniel, as most of you know. It's still hard to accept sometimes. He was so loving, so talented, and he loved God so much. And then suddenly, he was gone, stricken with cancer. For days and weeks, I demanded to know how Father could do this. How could He take Daniel from us? Why didn't He answer all those prayers for Daniel's recovery? And then one night, I picked up the Bible to read and came across a simple statement. The days of a man are numbered by God.

Daniel was never meant to live a day more than he did. That's the way God had planned it. There's nothing any of us could have done to change that.

When you're writing for Him, nothing you do is going to change the day He has ordained for you to be published, or which project it will be. You can try to open those doors with a battering ram, but until He unlocks that door and brings you to the attention of an editor, it's just not going to happen.

You don't give up, you don't ram through the doors, you don't get frustrated that you haven't been noticed, you don't quit, and you don't decide which publishing house is going to publish you. You work for Him. He's the boss. It's all in His time and in His hands.

Thanks for sharing with us, Wanda!

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