Bold Strokes Books author Dena Blake is here today to share about life, writing, and her latest Unchained Memories. One lucky winner will receive either a paperback or e-book copy of the book. Details can be found below.
How well do you know Dena? She’s challenged you to ferret out which of her statements in the spot the lie section is untrue.
Please welcome Dena Blake.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
It’s my pleasure! Thank you so much for having me, I’m completely flattered to have the opportunity.
On Monday, MJ Williamz, a fellow Californian was here. So, I’ll welcome you with our not-so-secret Californian greeting, “Hey Dude.” What part of California did you grow up in?
Dude! Following MJ is going to be difficult. She’s awesome! Throwing you a virtual high-five right now.
I grew up in the Northern California town of Novato, about 30 miles north of San Francisco where there was easy access to the beach, the city, and the ocean. I still have many good friends there whom I don’t see nearly enough. You can’t beat the California weather, I’ll take an earthquake any day over a tornado.
Currently you live in the southwest. Has living in different parts of the US impacted your writing?
Definitely. You can see a drastic difference in culture between the west coast and mid-America. The people in both places are wonderfully unique, which really helps with characterization. The southwest has a noticeably slower pace than the west coast, and that comes out in my writing. I’ve also visited many different states across the country, which allows me to create distinctive personalities for my characters.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? And, how long (roughly) did it take you to realize your dream?
I’ve loved creative writing since I was a child, but I didn’t think about writing seriously until about 10 years ago. Not long after I started writing, life threw some significant obstacles in my path and my creativity vanished while I dealt with them. Thankfully, I was able to move past those complications and my creativity came back. That was about two years ago and I haven’t stopped writing since.
Your latest release Unchained Memories is your second published book. How much did you learn about writing and publishing after releasing your first book earlier this year?
I’ve learned so much just in this past year that it’s hard to know where to start. I’m the first one to admit that I need an editor and mine is awesome. She’s taught me so much about sentence structure, and she makes me sound incredibly smooth. I’ve also been fortunate to have a couple of fellow authors reach out and coach me on the many things involved in making a book successful before and after it’s released
Can you tell us a bit about Unchained Memories?
Unchained Memories is a contemporary romance with a bit of intrigue. It’s set in Norman, Oklahoma, a town just south of Oklahoma City, and well within driving range for me to do research.
Essentially Jillian McIntyre was taken from her home and moved to New York after she witnessed a brutal crime. Years later, after her sister is killed in an accident, she must return to her hometown to find her niece’s father, neither of whom knows the other exists. Jillian conceals her identity to accomplish the task, and isn’t hesitant about her decision until her past drops a huge roadblock in her path. She isn’t expecting to run into her high school sweetheart, Amelia, and is thrown into emotional turmoil when she begins to fall in love with her all over again.
There are a few surprises and obstacles to overcome along the way, but they get through it and actually end up together. Sorry for the spoiler, but it is a romance, after all. 🙂
It’s been suggested to me that I should write a sequel that includes the two secondary characters, Julie and Darcy. I’m taking that under consideration and slipping it into the possibility file for now.
Your third book is already slated to be published in 2018. What’s your secret for staying productive?
I have to admit, the first draft of Where the Light Glows was already written when I submitted it to Bold Strokes Books, and Unchained Memories had a lot of structure by the time I received my first publishing contract from Bold Strokes Books. I did have a bit of a head start, but I do try to always have something working. Currently, I have A Country Girl’s Heart back from my editor for second round edits, Racing Hearts due for submission in November, another story outlined and partially written, as well as another idea mapped out. These women in my head want life!
Be honest, do you have a crush on any of your characters?
Whenever I’m in the middle of writing a book, I can’t help but fall in love with one of my characters. I’m currently crushing on Kat from my next book, A Country Girl’s Heart, but I can’t truly say that I’m completely over Amelia from Unchained Memories. I definitely have a thing for strong women with big hearts.
In your author bio, it states you’re a would-be chef. If you were cooking a romantic dinner what would be on the menu?
I’d make a light vegetable pasta dish that I’ve been told is delicious. You’d catch me in the kitchen chopping Roma tomatoes, zucchini squash, and fresh basil that would simmer together while we enjoy a small antipasto tray and a glass of Coppola Claret. Next I’d toss cooked bowtie pasta into the vegetable mixture, and warm a nice loaf of sour dough bread. Before serving, I’d dust the pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Dessert would be optional. 🙂
And, finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer but hasn’t found the right push to take the plunge?
My advice is to sit down and write. Someone isn’t going to come knocking on your door asking to see something that doesn’t exist. Read as many books on the craft of writing as you can. Learn about point of view, about showing, not telling, about killer beginnings and romantic endings. Most of us don’t start writing effortlessly in the beginning, and we never write flawlessly. Writing is hard, but it can become much easier if you do your homework. Watch the people around you, the world is full of interesting characters just waiting to be given new life. Write something from beginning to end, a short story, a poem, a full-blown novel. It may be something you hide in a drawer forever, but you have to start somewhere. The next one can only get better. Lastly, read the genre in which you want to write, know your audience. Reading will make you a better writer.
SPOT THE LIE
For a bit of fun, Dena has provided two truths and one lie? Which do you think is the lie. Let us know by leaving a comment.
- I learned to snow ski on a black diamond run in Lake Tahoe.
2. If I could afford it, I’d have as many pairs of shoes as Imelda Marcos.
3. I love pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza.
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Intrigue & Thriller / Romance
Jillian McIntyre is ripped from her home in Oklahoma after she witnesses a brutal crime, even though she cannot remember the details. Years later following her sister’s death, Jillian must return to her hometown to locate her niece’s father, neither of whom knows the other exists. A TV investigative journalist by trade, Jillian conceals her identity to complete the task.
Amelia Mathews is a family attorney who doesn’t have time for romance. After growing up in a volatile household, she’s devoted to advocating for abused and mistreated children. Amelia and her brother provide a voice to children who have no one else to speak for them. When a woman and her niece come to town in need of assistance, Amelia can’t seem to detach this time. As her attachment to them grows, Amelia’s world becomes more complicated than she ever imagined.
The last thing Jillian expects is to fall for the girl she left behind. Confronted with unreconciled feelings for Amelia, Jillian begins to fall in love with the woman she’s become. Will Jillian give up her high-powered career for a second chance at love?
MEET THE AUTHOR
Dena Blake grew up in a small town just north of San Francisco where she learned to play softball, ride motorcycles, and grow vegetables. She eventually moved with her family to the Southwest where she began creating vivid characters in her mind and bringing them to life on paper. She currently has two books published and two more due out in 2018 from Bold Strokes Books.
Dena lives in the Southwest with her partner, and is constantly amazed at what she learns from her two children. She’s a would-be chef, tech nerd, and occasional auto mechanic who has a weakness for dark chocolate and a good cup of coffee.
One winner will be able to choose to receive either an e-book or paperback copy.
Thanks so much Dena for stopping by today.
Don’t forget to share which statement you think is a lie. It will be revealed on Monday.
And, best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.