Today we are sitting down with Aleta Kay, author and blogger. She is going to tell us a little bit about herself and her work.
DM: What is the title and genre of the book you want to tell us about?
AD: Mending Fences is an inspirational/mainstream genre fiction.
DM: Can you summarize your book in one short sentence?
AD: Robert McGinn loses his family due to being a workaholic and , after seventeen years with no contact with them, he is diagnosed with a terminal illness, leaving him with questions of whether or not the broken fences of his life can be mended in time.
DM: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
AD: People who are suffering and question how a good God could allow bad things to happen. I want people of all faiths, or lack thereof, that God loves them, has a plan for their lives, and genuinely wants to help them. Even if they think they’ve been too bad, God still offers forgiveness and hope.
DM: How did you come up with the title?
AD: Robert has a recurring nightmare in which he is surrounded by various types of broken down fences and there seems to be no way out. He is a Viet Nam veteran who never wanted to fight about anything ever again.
DM: Tell me about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
AD: The present cover is not the original. Someone online who works in graphics suggested I would get more sales if I updated the cover. I have very limited resources so I chose one of Amazon’s free covers. I’m not really happy with it but none of the others seemed to fit the theme, either. My brother-in-law is an artist and he did the original artwork which showed a man in coveralls, plaid shirt and baseball-style hat, standing in a meadow surrounded by razor wire, broken down stone wall, a white picket fence, etc.
DM: Who are your biggest writing influences?
AD: My two favourite authors, with equal billing, are Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. They write about life and its struggles, and overcoming. If I could be half the writer either of them are, I’d be ecstatic.
DM: Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
AD: Robert’s son, Jack, or maybe his wife, Sherry. They really work through some stuff.
DM: How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
AD: It would have to be the person Robert’s son Jack encounters at the convenience store who rudely pushes past him, shoving the door into Jack’s injured toe. Rudeness is unacceptable, but it happens.
DM: If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
AD: I’d make April’s mentor more prominent in the book. She played a big part in April coming to terms with herself. Eunice should have been brought in much sooner so the reader could get to know her in snippets, not in one long dissertation.
DM: Can you give us a fun fact about your book ?
AD: It was a relatively easy book to write because someone else gave me the nightmare. Once I started writing it, it seemed to take on a life of its own. It only took three years to write and another four to get published (in paperback the first time by a small press). I liked having my brother-in-law do the artwork. He did a great job, but I guess the market doesn’t like coloured drawings for its covers. The truck-driver in the book is based on my brother, who is also a truck driver. I love the name of the town where the story starts out: Christmasville, which is actually a community in Tennessee. I’ve never been there but I saw it on Microsoft Streets and Trips, went online and looked at the street names, and drew it out.
DM: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
AD: The first one that comes to mind is And The Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers. It’s also about an imploding preacher’s family. Leota’s Garden, also by Francine Rivers, is again about family dynamics and how we impact our own situations. One Tuesday Morning, by Karen Kingsbury is the first book in a series she wrote revolving around the bombing of the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. It also deals with family situations and grief. They all deal with grief, whether over the loss of a loved one or loss of relationship, or hurt over damaged relationships. Two of my favourite non-religious movies that fall into this category are A Time To Kill (John Grisham) and The Client (also by John Grisham). In The Client, I like the fact that Susan Sarandon’s character is compassionate (and over-indulgent), and has a faith that helps her get through tough things. She has overcome her own struggles.
For the record, and this is very important to me, the God I worship created all races and loves every single person, regardless of skin colour, ethnicity, political affiliation, etc. If I have any prejudices, it is against people who deliberately and maliciously harm others, regardless of where they come from or what colour they are. Evil knows no colour or ethnicity.
I care very deeply about relationships. Sometimes it gets me in trouble, though I do try to mind my own business.
DM: Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
AD: I don’t know about unique, but I love the desert and the variety of rocks, gems and minerals fascinates me. When I spend winters in Quartzsite, AZ I get to go rock-hounding, finding quite a variety. We stay on the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) where we get to watch desert quail, sparrows, jays, and chipmunks, with the occasional coyote. This year I learned to make pine needle baskets with waxed thread of various colours. Each basket has a beautiful polished stone in the middle and I incorporate slices of walnut shell into the outer rim. I also enjoy counted cross-stitch, Swedish weave, and crochet (afghans only).
DM: How can we find out more about you and your books?
AD: I’m on Facebook as Aleta Dye. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, About.me, WordPress, and Google+. Here are the links:
DM: What can we expect from you in the future?
AD: I have several works in progress right now. Currently dabbling in cozy mysteries. I may write those under a pen-name: D.D. Amythyst. I wanted to name our daughter Deanna Dawn but my husband said that was too many D’s (our last name is Dye). So I’ll settle for it as a pen-name. My birthstone is amethyst. I’m also thinking of writing a series where the main characters all have names of gems or precious stones. Also, another quirky series is people whose last names are days of the week, and another series with last names as months. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Probably a chick thing.
DM: What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
AD: Purchase or borrow the book, leave a review, and contact me with any questions or comments. I would love to hear from readers. If you don’t like the book, that’s okay. But please tell me what you didn’t like, or where you thought the book was weak. I can only improve my craft with feedback. Visit my blog. I eventually plan to have an email or newsletter just for my fans/followers. I also make patterned bookmarks with whatever colours (as close as I can get) are requested by the reader. All I ask is, if you didn’t like the book, please be constructive: what can I do to make it better? Please no foul language.
DM: Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
AD: Before you choose a POD company to publish your book, do your homework on that company, and don’t choose it because it’s an imprint of another large company. My first experience was a disaster. The price they put on a small paperback book by a no-name write was guaranteed not to get any sales and they did absolutely no marketing. I couldn’t even afford my own book. Friends and family were kind enough to buy copies, but that was it. Oh well, lesson learned. If you are going to use a POD, I have one I highly recommend. My friend, Arline Chase is an accomplished author/journalist/writing instructor/mentor and owns WriteWordsInc.com. She doesn’t publish a lot of books in a year’s time, but she is thorough and honest. I don’t know how much she promotes. However, she is approachable.
DM: Can you give us an excerpt from your book to intrigue and tantalize us?
It took Shannon two days to convince Tom to run the story of Robert’s tragic situation. The story was shuffled to page three where very few people would see it. It was treated as a local interest story and Shannon was furious. She stormed at Tom to no avail.
Tom then told Jim Seague, the paper’s primary investigative reporter, to get more details, leave no stone unturned, to get the big front-page story on Robert. Shannon knew nothing of Tom’s talk with Jim. It wasn’t the first time he had undermined his female reporters. He felt the newspaper business belonged to m en, because men didn’t get emotionally involved. They could be more objective.
A reporter from the Boise Chronicle was visiting the area covering another big story when he picked up a copy of the local Gazette. He was stunned that it had not been put on the front page. Deciding to call Shannon since her name was on the byline, a quick conversation with her told him everything he needed to know. The Chronicle reporter picked up Robert’s tale and tossed it to his editor, who in turn called the UPI. Two days later Robert’s picture and story were on the front page of every newspaper in the country. Tom was livid. He summoned Jim and Shannon to his office.
His face was as red as sunburn; his nostrils flared with his breathing. Shannon thought of the descriptions she had read of fire-breathing dragons and restrained a smile at her boss’s discomfiture.
Tom raked a hand through his dark hair, expelled a loud breath, and picked up his copy of the Boise Chronicle. He turned it towards Jim and Shannon, holding it out. He shouted, “How did they get this tory before you finished your assignment, Jim? Shannon, what do you have to do with this?”
Jim was stuttering, trying to find an answer to a question for which he had no reply.
Shannon tried to look chagrined and failed. “Tom, it’s no use yelling at us. I gave this story to you and you relegated it to page three because I’m a woman. Cal Barnes, of the Chronicle called me when he saw the article on page three of our rag. He was astounded that it would receive so little attention from you. I told him how I found Mr. McGinn and gave him the scoop. He called his editor, who in turn I presume, called UPI. It’s your male ego that got us into this mess.” She turned on her heel and walked out of the office with a smirk on her face, as she chalked up a one in the air.
Robert’s son, Jack, picked up the morning newspaper in one hand, his coffee cup in the other, sat back in the oak kitchen chair, and nearly choked on his first swallow. He put the cup down, slapped the paper on the table as he stood up to mop the coffee with a napkin.
His wife, Sherry spun around from lthe sink, and rushing to him, asked, “What’s the matter?”
Jack pointed to the newspaper while still coughing and wiping the spilled coffee.
The rest will have to be read by the reader.
DM: Where can we find your book?
AD: You can find it on Amazon.com by clicking HERE.
Robert McGinn, ex-preacher, ex-husband, ex-father, now facing certain death, feels the pull of a power greater than himself to mend the broken fences in his life. But is he too late?
About Aleta Dye:
I am a reformed shy person, senior citizen still gaining self-confidence. The loves of my life are Jesus, family, church, & reading/writing. Also enjoy needlecraft & making my own greeting cards.
Favorite authors: Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Joel Rosenburg, John Grisham, Jan Karon, Iris Johanson, Frank Peretti, Aaron Paul Lazar, and some I’m just disvovering.
My passion is traveling with my husband in our Airstream travel trailer, which is also our house.
When God was passing out senses of humor I was distracted and didn’t get one. Every now and then something funny does pop out, though.