Today on Meet the Author, I have the please of welcoming Dawn Nelson….
D A Nelson (Dawn)
Children’s fiction and non-fiction, Young Adult, Adult fiction
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m 48 and live near Loch Lomond in Scotland with my two kids and three small dogs. When I’m not writing, I’m doing a part-time English Literature degree course with the Open University, crafting or cooking. I enjoy Pilates, Zumba and Swimming. Life is very busy in our household, as you can imagine, so I squeeze in exercise in around the kids.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been an avid reader, ever since I learned to read, and would visit our local library in Neilston, where I grew up, every week with my family. I read everything and anything (still do) and knew early on that I wanted to be a writer. In fact, I wrote and illustrated my first book at the tender age of seven or eight – it was a book about talking animals and had been inspired by Wind in the Willows.
How many books have you written and published?
Three children’s novels (DarkIsle, DarkIsle: Resurrection, DarkIsle: The Final Battle), A Children’s History of Glasgow and my two indie novels for adults: Dusting Down Alcudia (a pacy adventure romance) and Everything She Wants (a dark comedy).
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
DarkIsle – it was the first book that was published and won the 2008 Royal Mail Award for Scottish Children’s Books. It’s set initially on Irvine Beach in Ayrshire, a beach I used to visit regularly as a child. In fact, there’s a lot of little bits and pieces in the book that are nostalgic for me: the beach, the stone dragon, some of the food they eat, and the fact I was a huge fantasy fan as a kid.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
I get them from street names, online name sites, tv, other books or something I’ve heard that just tickles me.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Hmmm, Bertie from DarkIsle because, although he is a pompous little Dodo, he does have a magical satchel with him from which we could get food and drink. Also, Nina Esposito from Dusting Down Alcudia as she’s brave and pretty self-reliant.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
For children’s books, I loved C S Lewis (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and E Nesbitt (The Enchanted Garden) – both because they are fabulous fantasy books. For adult books, that’s really difficult as I love loads of different authors. My top favourite authors, though, would have to be Charles Dickens (Bleak House), the Brontes (Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights), Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice), Terry Pratchett (Thud!), Joanne Harris (The Lollipop Shoes), Janet Duncan (the My Friends series) and Richard Russo (Nobody’s Fool). There are loads more writers I enjoy, but these are the authors and books I return to time and again.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
A book about talking animals inspired by Wind in the Willows. I don’t remember what it was called but it featured a rabbit and mole.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
I’ve worked in journalism and PR for 30+ years, which have been great for me because they instil in you the discipline to write hundreds of words every day. I’ve just just set up my own author book editing and formatting services: nelsonauthorservices.com
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I would go back to the Regency period so that I could attend the Assembly Rooms in Bath in the hope of meeting Jane Austen (and also to gaze at the lovely gowns).
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d like to have met Charles Dickens. He was supposed to have been very good fun and it would interesting to talk books and writing to him and his friend, Wilkie Collins (whose Women in White is a great book by the way).
What are your favourite things to do?
I still love reading and do it whenever I have a minute to myself. I love to bake and, after many years of producing inedible bricks, have finally discovered the secret of bread making: a bread maker!
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Oh, that’s a very good question. I have had loads of good things happening to me, and some bad, but not any that I would think of as strange. So, I’ll tell you a good one. As a major fan of Doris Day (I was brought up watching her movies), I once wrote to her and she wrote back. I was so delighted that when DarkIsle was published, I sent her a first edition and was really pleased when she wrote me another letter. I treasure them both.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Keep going and don’t lose heart at all the knock back letters you receive. Keep writing and read everything so that your writing continually improves. Be brave.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
Joanne Harris’ The Lollipop Shoes (in fact any of her books), it’s the sequel to Chocolat and I couldn’t put it down. I think her writing is outstanding and her storytelling, truly gripping.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
I’ve actually released two books in the last six months. Dusting Down Alcudia is an adventure romance about a female archaeologist who joins forces with a hunky ex and a handsome rival to find a fabled ancient Roman necklace. Things don’t go quite to plan as the pair battle out for the right to her heart plus added to the mix is the shady character of a local billionaire who will stop at nothing to snatch the jewels from under her nose. If you are interested, you can buy it here: https://geni.us/Dustingdownalcudia This book is also being distributed by Ingram Spark.
Everything She Wants is a dark comedy starring Susan, a put-upon housewife who leaves her selfish husband and horrible teen daughter to run away with a Wham! tribute act as their ‘Shirley’. She ends up getting together with an 80s pop star, but things go a bit awry.
If you’re interested, you can buy it here: https://geni.us/everythingshewants
Thanks so much Dawn for talking to us! I love that Doris Day wrote back to you! And as a girl with a dream of being an archaeologist, Dusting Down Alcudia sounds right up my street!
If you’ve got any questions/comments for me or Dawn, you know what to do….
Have a great long weekend lovelies, and thanks for reading as always!