Today’s interview features inspirational romance and mystery author, Dana K Ray!
Intro: What’s your name, what do you write, where can readers find you on social media? And just for fun, if you could be any mythological being, what or who would you be?
Hello! I’m Dana K. Ray. If you say it with a southern drawl it’s kinda fun to say. Go ahead and admit it. You just said it out loud with a twang. 🙂 I write mystery (if you like a little bit a killin’ with your love) and inspirational romance. If I could by a mythological character I’d be The Hulk. Okay, that might not be considered mythological, but gosh darnit, wouldn’t it be fun to just be able to smash that crud out of things!
- Who has had the biggest influence on your writing career?
Gertrude Chandler Warner. Who you ask? She is the gal who wrote the Boxcar Children. Book 1 was one of the best books ever!!! After reading it for the gazillionth time as a child, I remember starting to see my own “movies” in my head. That’s when I started thinking I wanted to be a writer. I also wanted to live in a boxcar and find all my worldly goods in a junkyard. One outta three isn’t bad J
- You’ve been writing since you were a teenager. What was your first book and would you or have you ever considered publishing it? Why?
The first book I wrote was Absolution only it was two books crammed into one because I didn’t know a thing about writing. I just knew I had to put this story on paper. I’m so thankful it was never published as it was. A fellow author read it and said, “You have a series here. Learn the craft and make this into a couple of books.” I did and it’s published now as Absolution, Book 1, The Luciano Series and Mercy, Book 2 in The Luciano Series. And I’m happy to say, soon to be released is Everlasting, Book 3. Book 4 is in the works.
3. You write “gusty” Christian stories. What drew you to that genre above others?
I didn’t want to write fluff. I’m not knocking fluff, I like feel good reads, but I wanted to write about real characters with real problems and how they got through them. A lot of inspirational books don’t touch the hard stuff. A Second Chance was my first published book and the second book I wrote. It deals with drinking, suicide, and death. All the issues are tastefully done but I stuck true to life. I had an agent once tell me, “You can’t have your main character drunk on the first page in a Christian/Inspirational book. It’ll never get published.” I never felt led to change it. I wanted people to know where Raven was coming from. It was published by a traditional Christian publishing house.
- What inspired There’s No Reasoning with Love?
I’m not really sure if any one thing inspired me to write this book. In all by books, the characters come to me, and as I write I either fall in love with them or I don’t. If I love the characters, then I keep writing to see where they take me. If not, I chuck the project and move on to something else.
5. What are the characters like?
In There’s No Reasoning with Love you’ll find characters to love and those you’ll love to hate. India is very self-reliant and self-less. Vince starts out hard and unlovable but you’ll get to see his transformation throughout the book. Daniel is the solid, almost too good to be true, love interest. I know that you’ll connect with the characters.
- Who should pick up your books and why?
Everyone, of course! J Seriously, if you like true to life romance, then my romance novels are for you. If you like a little mystery/murder to go along with your love, then definitely pick up The Luciano Series; Absolution, Mercy and Everlasting. Those two Italian brothers will keep you guessing.
- Favorite quote from your own work?
I really have two. One comes from There’s No Reasoning with Love and how I got the title. India is torn between the man who loves her and the man she loves. She’s unable to give the man who loves her a chance because…there’s no reasoning with love…ever.
My equally favorite line is in Mercy, this tough Italian gangster-wanna-be seventeen-year-old sets up the perfect revenge. He says, If skipping were cool, he’d have done it all the way to the car.
- What does literary success look like to you?
Of course I’d love to sell millions of books, but I really feel I’m successful when a reader tells me how a book helped them, or how much they loved a book. That they couldn’t put it down. I had one friend text me at two in the morning because she couldn’t stop reading. She said if she was still up, I should be up. That’s success to me!
- If you could only write in one genre for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
It’s tough to choose one genre, but I’d have to pick mystery. A sprinkle of murder with your romance. Writing more in The Luciano Series keeps me awake at night. I have two more books in the saga already half written.
- What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Honestly, I’m not sure which book I’d chose. There are so many writers, indie and traditionally published, that are under-appreciated.
- If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
That I could eat anything and not gain a pound! Ha Ha. But, seriously, if I could change anything about the world, it’d be that I could eat anything and not gain a pound.
- What do you believe is your main purpose/motivation as a writer?
If you go to bed with my characters in your head, I’ve done my job. I like to produce fun, fast reads that will entertain and leave you wanting more.
- What’s your favorite writing-related memory?
Opening a box of books that was just got shipped to your door. Seeing your work and your name on the cover…that never gets old!
- What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
I spoke at a book club about writing, then everyone bought Absolution. They wanted me back the next month to discuss the book. I agreed but was a bit worried because I knew someone may not like the book. I went back and they all had loved it. It was so encouraging to hear them talk about the characters the way I had intended them to be. Loved the ones I loved. Hated the ones I hated. Then, they all bought Mercy, the second book in The Luciano Series, and I’m going back next month to talk about it. I can’t wait.
- One fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I write best with distractions, loud music, a movie on, or kids and family around.
- If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I’m not sure I’d do anything different except that I do wish we had computers when I was younger. I believe I would’ve written a lot more back then. I know that dates me but gosh, how do you write a novel with pen and paper? I had a typewriter in my teens, but trying to edit was horrible and it kept me from writing like I do now. I really started taking writing seriously after I got my first in-home computer back in the 1990’s.
I’d love you to check out my books! And when you do, let me know what you think!
Thanks for the interview, Dana! Check out her books and don’t forget to say hi at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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As always, keep making magic, word weavers!