Exclusive Interview with
Dawn J Rasmussen
When did you start writing?
I started writing in graduate school, when a professor remarked that he thought I had some talent. He devised my curriculum to include the finishing of my first novel, which I handed to him on the morning of my graduation. In retrospect, however, I've been writing most of my life, I just didn't realize what I was doing. It was always a long letter or a twenty page future I invented for some friend in school.
What makes writing your passion?
Writing is how I am able to express what's inside of me with true articulation. There is nothing more satisfying than saying precisely what one feels.
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Absolute dread. I had no idea what I was doing. The editor chopped my book to pieces, and I ended up taking back my rights, entering a contest with another publisher (which I won), and publishing the same book the way it was meant to be written. This was under another pen name, but the experience became lessons well learned.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My protagonist has the same career path as myself, as a forensic accountant. It's an exciting career path that allows me to write what I already know.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Writing is definitely hard work, however, I like to concentrate on my blessings. It is a happier way to live.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I learned in a master class from James Patterson that if you have writer's block, you haven't done enough research. I have found this to be true. Also, sitting down and working, even when you don't feel the vibe will usually break through that. People watching also helps.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
The idea of not writing is repellent to my soul. It's not part of my nature to give up. It took me years to find a literary agent, and two years after that to sign with a publisher, and eighteen months after that for my book to go through the editorial process and finally be released. It's a machine with slow-moving cogs.
The best advice I can give to other authors is to wait until your work is at its immaculate best before submitting it to agents or publishers. Sit down quietly and ask yourself if there's any portion of your story that causes you to twinge. If so, more work is required. Keep at it. It will blossom into what it's meant to be with the right amount of work. Treat every scene as if it's the most important scene in your book.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell myself to be myself. To embrace who and what I am and run with what God has given me. I would teach myself the joy of daily gratitude. I would do the things that really matter and stop chasing things that don't.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Different people love different books based on where they are in life and what they're going through. I concentrate on the positive feedback. The opinions of others have no place to affect my value.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Singing on the moon kind of happiness!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I think most writers do this. We take our inner angst and turn it into fiction. The trick is to remove yourself from the story before it's all over. Author creep is an unforgivable sin in writing.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I have put many years, re-writes, edits, scrappings, polishings, and fine-tunings into this book. I have bled my soul onto the page. Yes, the cover matters. It should be beautifully gilded. Even the most heartfelt gift is improved when charmingly presented.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love talking to readers. I want to connect with them. I want to hear about who they are missing. I'm thinking of adding a page to my website where people can post a picture of whomever they are missing. The should also be a paragraph explaining their favorite thing about that person. TWELVE FOR TWELVE is a story born of my grief. I want to hear yours.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It's absolutely wonderful when someone loves the book and wants to tell me about it. If you love my work, please tell a friend and let me know by leaving a review!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Alexandre Dumas. Hands down the king of literature. Jane Austen. It may seem cliche, but I love her works. Eoin Colfer. I just love those Artemis Fowl novels.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
My dream is to be me. If only a few dozen people find solace from what I have written, I suppose that will have to do.