Join our Author Chat with Lena Nelson Dooley

Welcome, Lena Nelson Dooley!

dooley-headshotLook who’s stopped by for our Author Chat, readers! You’re in for a treat. Our honored guest, Lena Nelson Dooley, is a best-selling, award-winning–need I say prolific–author of a bevy of excellent books

Grab a cup of something-or-other and settle back as Lena tells us a bit about herself.

**(Leave a comment or question, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for the Kindle version of Rescuing Christmas.) **Congratulations to Jacqueline Kimball, winner of Lena’s Rescuing Christmas!**

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Before Lena’s Life as a Writer

2016 Release

I grew up in Arkansas, a middle child with an older brother and a younger sister. My mother died when I was seven and a very traumatic time followed. (Tweet That!) After that, my father married our stepmother, a wonderful woman who loved our Daddy and us very much.

I earned a BA in Speech and Drama, and did graduate work in Drama.

My husband and I married 52 years ago. We knew each other only three months and three days before we married.

How Lena Became an Author

2016 Release

God told me to become a professional writer in 1984. Readers, check out the story on the About Me page at 

I finished my first novel–Home to Her Heartin about six months. Zondervan accepted it, but before the contract came, the higher-ups decided to drop the fiction line. I submitted it several times to other publishers, each time after a major rewrite from the notes when it was rejected.

2016 Release

Barbour started the Heartsong line of Christian romances in 1992. I obtained the phone number of the publisher and asked if I could send my manuscript. He said yes. That was in October 1991.

I waited three months to ask about my manuscript. No answer. I waited longer and wrote again. Eventually I called him. He said that my manuscript was on the editor’s desk and he connected me to her. She told me that if I would cut 10,000 words from the manuscript, they’d contract the book. I assured her I would.

2016 Release

Needing to get it done quickly so they could consider it for a contract, I worked a whole week on the manuscript and mailed it on Friday. On Saturday, I received the contract in the mail. They started the contract through the channels right after our phone call.

Lena’s Journey Since 1992

mountainchristmasbridesGod has awesomely blessed me through the years. (Tweet That!) This year He’s really heaping on things. A novella collection I’m in–Mountain Christmas Brides–has spent the last two months on the ECPA bestseller list. It has spent the last three weeks on the Publisher’s Weekly Top 10 Religious novels list.

Expert advice for aspiring writers

Connect with other authors. Network. Attend conferences. Hone your writing skills.

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Thank you for stopping by to chat, Lena. What a fantastic career! We love knowing a bit more about you, including your awesomely successful marriage. Bravo! 

Readers, you can find Lena and her books at these links:




5 thoughts on “Join our Author Chat with Lena Nelson Dooley

  1. Loved the interview. 🙂

    1. Don’t you love getting to know some behind-the-scenes tidbits about authors? Thanks for joining our chat, Jacqueline.

      1. I am a big fan of Lena Nelson Dooley. Saw her on one of Janice Thompson’s live videos at a book launch party,and thought she was a sweetie pie. I love book launch parties,though I don’t get to them as often as I’d like to.I’m an indie writer,and enjoy the fellowship of other writers. 🙂

  2. Thank you for having me, Linda. Since I sent the information to you, the ECPA bestseller list came out. Just this week, I found out that MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS BRIDES is spending a third month on their bestseller list. God is so good.

    1. Oh! Congratulations, Lena! God is so sweet!


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Join Our Author Chat with Bruce Judisch

Welcome, Readers!

quimbypondfrontfinalToday we’re chatting with Bruce Judisch, author of Quimby Pond, Katia, and For Maria, among other novels. You can find Bruce on Facebook at

*** Join the chat below, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of Quimby Pond or both Katia and For Maria. Winner’s choice! Winner announced here on Tuesday, Nov. 1.*** 

*** Woo Hoo! GIVE-AWAY RESULTS! Bruce has graciously offered two give-aways! Congratulations to Lora D and Carlene H who participated in this interesting chat.

Stay tuned, folks, for another interview with another interesting author coming up tomorrow on this same station.

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Bruce Judisch, Our Guest of Honor


Thank you, Bruce, for your willingness to be the center of attention this week. We’d love to know a bit about your pre-author life and your debut experience. Tell us about your books and a little something about what you’ve learned along the way. Any advice for aspiring authors?


Pre-Author Life of Bruce Judisch

Although I’ve lived in Texas longer than I have anywhere else, I confess to being a transplanted Yankee (gasp!). bruce-and-jennie_judischIt’s true. Northeast Ohio has the dubious honor of claiming me as a native son. 

However, I left the Buckeye State when I enlisted in the Air Force at the shiftless age of 18. I married my high-school sweetheart, Jeannie, at the more mature age of 19. She has busied herself keeping me out of trouble ever since—well, mostly out of trouble.

cavalierkcsNow, after nearly 44 years of marriage, 23 household moves, 3 children, 14 grandchildren, and 2.5 careers, we’ve settled in Universal City, Texas with our two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Charlie and Raleigh. 

Becoming a writer

I believe I’ve made about every mistake possible in developing the craft and approaching the industry. In fact, if there are any pitfalls I’ve missed—which is doubtful—I’d really rather not hear about them because I’d probably manage to backtrack and stumble into them too. Yes, I’m that thorough. However, despite a naïve plunge into the murky waters of vanity publishing—I know, I know! I told you I’ve done it all—and bumbling pitches to agents and editors, I’ve still quite enjoyed the ride. And I hope I’ve managed to push out at least a few decent chapters of prose along the way.

It Began as an Idea 

Looking back the notion of writing fiction came to me rather late in life. More accurately, it came to Jeannie, one of her ideas for keeping me out of trouble. Let me explain.

journeybegunAbout 14 years ago, I was teaching a Sunday School series through the Minor Prophets. As I researched Jonah, it struck me how unique a character he was and how little we really know about him and his journey. During the introduction to that block of lessons, I made the mistake of saying, “If I were ever to write a novel, it would be about Jonah.” After class, Jeannie elbowed me in the ribs, looked at me in that way she does, and said, “Well…?” I shrugged and replied, “Okay.”

Debut Experience

wordfulfilledAnd so was born A Prophet’s Tale, currently in two parts, The Journey Begun and The Word Fulfilledwith a final volume, The Promise Kept, underway. A Prophet’s Tale retains the Scriptural integrity of Jonah’s ministry, but fills in fictional characters and settings to propel the story along. It’s not so much a novelization of the Book of Jonah as it is Jonah-the-person’s story. (Tweet That!)

Other novels

final-front-covermaria-high-resInterrupting “Tale” between the second and third volumes were Katia (so far, the easiest and most fun to write) and its rather unexpected sequel For Maria (so far, the most research intensive and emotionally exhausting to write). Both employ a favorite technique of dual contemporary and historical storylines. The historical focus of Katia is the Cold War in East Germany.  For Maria recounts the Kindertransport during WWII. (Tweet That!)

The Latest from Bruce Judisch

quimbypondfrontfinalThe most recent escapee from my keyboard is Quimby Pond, a mystery-suspense set in the mountains of northern Maine. Quimby Pond has a true historical seed. Its sequel (with the innovative working title of QP2) is also on the assembly line.


Bruce Judisch’s Quimby Photo Album

quimbypond-the-pondOn a research trip to the setting of Quimby Pond, the Rangeley Lakes region of NW Maine, I snapped these photos.  

Setting of a crux scene in Quimby Pond. This is the pond in May (still mostly frozen). The story takes place in October. Try to imagine autumn leaves.


What rural murder mystery is complete without an old cemetery scene? Notice the name on the headstone and epitaph, “Respected in life, lamented in death.” Some of the old markers held poetry about the deceased. There’s something about old graveyards with stones that speak of a passed loved one. Has anyone else seen a memorable gravestone you’d like to share?


Another scene from Quimby Pond takes place at the Rangeley Lakes Historical Society, a must-visit if you make it to Rangeley. A friend I made on my trip is standing at the left of this panoramic shot. His first name is Jim. Can you guess his surname? (Quimby, of course.)


This was freaky, but in a neat sort of way. One of the Quimby Pond scenes I wrote is at the IGA grocery store in Rangeley. My heroine goes into the store with the sky clear. She comes out, and it’s raining. When I visited Rangeley for research, of course I had to go to the IGA. I went in when the sky was clear. I came out, and it was like this:




Who says writing novels isn’t dangerous?  (Tweet That!)


Encouragement and Advice

If I were to offer any advice to aspiring writers, it would probably be this: You may have heard the old adage, “Write what you know.” Okay, but what if what you know is really boring? Instead, write what you judisch_bruce-and-holl_kristiwould want to read, and write it in a way that you would want to read it. If you don’t know it, learn it along the way.

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Dear Lord, how amazing are Your ways. Little did Bruce know as he was preparing for his lesson on the Minor Prophets that You would place a Jonah call on him. We’re thankful he has been faithful to the call. We pray You’ll continue to use Bruce to tell of Your goodness by blessing his writing and publishing efforts. For Jesus’ sake ~


9 thoughts on “Join Our Author Chat with Bruce Judisch

  1. Lora D

    This was such a fun interview! I especially appreciate Bruce’s wise advice: “write what you would want to read.” I can’t wait for the sequel to Quimby Pond, too. 🙂

  2. Quimby Pond was a great read. I’m looking forward to the sequel!

    1. Bruce C Judisch

      Thanks so much, Kelly. That’s high praise coming from you. 🙂

      Cheers! Bruce

  3. I loved reading this interview!

    1. Bruce’s perspective on things is cool, isn’t it, Carlen? I enjoyed interviewing him.

    2. Bruce C Judisch

      Thanks, Carlene! It was a lot of fun to write.

      Cheers! Bruce

  4. Linda, you’ll never run out of interesting characters to interview in Texas–Bruce Judisch, being the latest. I love it when authors speak about their path to publication with such transparency. Sometimes we think we’re alone in all our mistakes. I love Bruce’s sense of humor! I suspect I’d get along with his wife because I’ve nudged my husband into writing, too.

    1. You and Bruce would get along, Clarice. Not only is he interesting, but he’s a great writer with a humorous take and unusual ideas for stories. I lived in West Germany during the Cold War and visited East Germany, so his Katia brought back a bunch of memories. Fascinating.

    2. Bruce C Judisch

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Clarice. And I’m absolutely certain you’d get along with Jeannie. I often say that, when I want to make a good impression, I take Jeannie along. Otherwise, it can be pretty iffy… 🙂

      Cheers! Bruce


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