About Dawn Lee McKenna:
I live in a small town in Tennessee, where I have three children still at home and two grown kids living within a few blocks. I am a ridiculous romantic, a caffeine addict and a dork. I apologize for none of it.
What inspires you to write?
Truly great movies and books inspire me to write better, but the inspiration for my stories comes out of nowhere, really. Characters I don;t know start having conversations in my head and I try to figure out what the heck they’re talking about. Once I do, a plot is born.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a hybrid, I think. Most of my writing is done pantser-style. The only time I use an outline is when I find the middle to be a little uncertain.
I do keep copious notes. All of the notes are dialogue and all are written longhand. The former is probably due to the fact that I started out as a screenwriter. The latter is because I started out a long time ago. 🙂 Longhand helps me think.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Oh, good grief.
I’ve often said that I feel more like a biographer than a novelist. The characters never shut up and yes, I do sometimes talk back. I will expose myself as a true dork and go ahead and admit that I’m in love with Jack, the main male character in See You. In my defense, he’s been talking in my head for seventeen years and he has a really enchanting way with words.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t mistake true belief in your work for love or affection . If people keep telling you that your work is good, maybe it’s because it really is.
That moment when you write a sentence or para that you hadn’t known was coming and then thought, “I think this is actually good”? Go with it.
Even if you doubt your talent, believe in your story and keep writing based on that belief. Forget about you and whether you’re good enough and don;t be afraid to write in your own voice.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I somehow found my way to several blogs belonging to successful self-pubbed authors and I knew it was the way I wanted to go. A year later, I’m finally published. I love the complete artistic control. I don’t want to be forced to write to the market. I write love stories that are not traditional romances. They’re too sarcastic, too dry, and there are no grand, public gestures. I want to be free to do that.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I honestly think this is the most exciting time in publishing.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Literary fiction, Women’s fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
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Jim Maxwell says
Very good interview. Very happy to hear Dawn say that “If people keep telling you that your work is good, maybe it’s because it really is.” Her book “See You” really, really is an excellent read. It definitely is not a romance novel, but a much better, real love story, with an absolutely unique and unexpected angle of love involving three generations. Dawn’s deft skill with dialog, that she says her characters “dictated” to her is marvelous. “See You” is a fascinating book on many levels, and especially for me, as I know one of the characters very well–“Miss Margret” is my mother.