Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Interview with Deanna Sletten, Author of Maggie's Turn

Deanna Lynn Sletten writes women’s fiction and romance novels that dig deeply into the lives of the characters, giving the reader an in-depth look into their hearts and souls. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Deanna’s romance novel, Memories, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012. Her novel, Sara’s Promise, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2013 and a finalist in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her northern Minnesota home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing in the boat on the lake in the summer.

Visit Deanna at her website at www.deannalsletten.com.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I grew up in southern California living near the beach and with a pool in the backyard. It was the typical California lifestyle. Then, in my teens, we moved to a farm in northern Minnesota, which was the exact opposite of our other life. But I grew up, married, and stayed in Minnesota. I've been married forever, have two grown children, four cats, a bird, and an incredible Aussie dog. I've actually been writing for years, but was unable to secure a traditional publishing contract, so I just kept writing. During that time, I was also a freelance writer, writing articles for various websites and publications.

I love spending time outdoors from spring to fall, and especially love autumn here in Minnesota. We spend as much time as possible in our boat on the lake during the summer, and I also love walking the trails in the woods around our house with my dog. Winters are long here, great for writing but not so great for spending time outside. I also love to travel and hope to do a lot of it in the upcoming years.

When did you begin writing?

I actually started writing novels years ago when my first child was just a baby. I wrote every free moment I could find. As my children grew older, I'd bring a notebook along with me and write in my minivan during all those times I'd wait to pick them up from school or activities, and also during baseball practices. I finished three books this way, and started writing ideas for many more. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with all these books and book ideas, since I couldn't seem to find a publisher, but I kept writing anyway. Now I'm glad I did. When I learned about self-publishing in 2011, I already had books I could publish and enough ideas to keep me going for a long time.

What is this book about?

Maggie's Turn is about a mother, wife, and employee who one day just drives away, without planning to, and finds herself on a journey of self-exploration. Maggie and her husband, Andrew, have been together since college, but their relationship has turned stale and he's started taking Maggie for granted. Her children, ages 19 and 14, treat her like she's their personal servant, and Maggie feels she no longer has any control over her own life. She's worn out, run down, and feels uninspired in her life. As Maggie journeys across country, she meets some interesting people who inspire her, and she also spends time having difficult conversations with her husband over the phone as they both try to make sense of what has happened to their relationship. Maggie's Turn is not just all about drama and heartache, though. It's a fun, sometimes humorous story of one woman's journey to reconnect with her passions.

What inspired you to write it?      

I've been a mother. I've chauffeured kids around day after day in a minivan, I've sat at sporting events year after year, and I've tried balancing work, home, kids, and husband. Is this the story of my life? No. But I think almost every mom knee-deep in motherhood has thought once or twice about just driving away from all the chaos for a much needed break. Women today are expected to do it all, from raising the kids to bringing home a paycheck, and it can be overwhelming at times. I think most mothers can relate to Maggie and understand why she ran away, and will enjoy joining Maggie on her journey.  

Who is your biggest supporter?

I have many. My husband is 100% behind my writing. My kids cheer me on. I have many online author friends I have met over the past two years who have been very encouraging and supportive. And most importantly, there are my readers, the people who have read my books and have left lovely reviews. They are really the best support group a writer can have.

Who is your favorite author?

F. Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite author. I've read all of his work, and enjoyed it very much. I love his humor and sarcasm as well as his writing style. He knew his lifestyle was ridiculous, and he made every effort to make fun of it in his novels. He was honest, and knew how to not take himself too seriously, although he did take his writing seriously. It's a shame he hadn't written more in his lifetime, or hadn't lived longer; because I'm sure he had many more novels in him.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Since I'm a self-published author, the road to publication was pretty smooth. In my quest to learn about self-publishing, I ran into a wonderful blog by fantasy author Lindsay Buroker (http://www.lindsayburoker.com/). She wrote in-depth about her self-publishing journey and I learned so much from reading her blog. From there, I did more research and learned to format my ebooks and everything else I'd needed to self-publish. My daughter, Deborah, had gone to college for computer design technology, so I coerced her into creating my book covers for me. (This ended up quite nicely for her because she decided she loved creating book covers and now she has her own online business, Tugboat Design, (www.tugboatdesign.net), and has created numerous covers for self-published authors.) I published my first book in November 2011 and by March 2012, I already had three self-published books online. 

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

*After October 15th, Maggie's Turn will be available on B&N Nook and on Kobo. (I will send these links to Dorothy so she can let everyone know as soon as I publish them.)

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I have both. Readers can find me on my website at www.deannalsletten.com and at my blog at www.deannalynnsletten.com.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I've spoken with so many aspiring authors who are afraid to take the plunge and self-publish because they are still afraid it will ruin their credibility and their chance of ever acquiring an agent or a traditional publisher. Believe me, it won't. If you are watching the self-publishing world, and you should be if you are considering self-publishing, you see self-published authors hitting the top 100 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble more and more. These authors are often approached by agents and publishers. So don't be afraid to place your book out there. It is a chance to get feedback from readers, sell books, and make money from your writing. And if you sell well and make it to the top 100, that's even better.

What is up next for you?

I am currently working on my sixth and seventh novels, both women's fiction, which I hope to have out in the spring and summer of 2014. Sorry, that's as much as I wish to give away for now. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

First, I'd like to thank you for being a host for my Maggie's Turn book blog tour and for sharing my book with your readers. Without the generosity of book review bloggers like you, I'd have never been able to get the word out about my novels. I'd also like to thank all of the wonderful readers who have bought my books and supported me by leaving reviews on all of the vendor sites as well as on Goodreads. November marks the second full year I've been self-publishing my novels, and this has truly been a wonderful journey for me. I never thought I'd get a chance to share my stories with readers, so this has been, and continues to be, a dream come true. 


Deanna Lynn Sletten said...

Cheryl - Thanks so much for being a host on my book blog tour. The post looks amazing. I enjoyed sharing information about myself and my novel with your readers. :)

thewriterslife said...

Thank you for hosting Deanna today, Cheryl!!!

Cheryl said...

Great having you today, Deanna.

Eileen said...

I enjoyed the interview here today. Deanna, is a good to learn a little more about you. So you are originally from southern California. That's where I live now. Thanks for the tip of self-publishing. Might find that is the direction I go. I'll share with my son as well. Congrats on Maggie's Turn. I hope to read it soon.

Eileen said...

I enjoyed the interview here today. Deanna, is a good to learn a little more about you. So you are originally from southern California. That's where I live now. Thanks for the tip of self-publishing. Might find that is the direction I go. I'll share with my son as well. Congrats on Maggie's Turn. I hope to read it soon.

Deanna Lynn Sletten said...

Hi Eileen - Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words.

Teena in Toronto said...

I liked this book.