Friday, August 19, 2016

Review and Giveaway with Suspense Sister DANA MENTINK

Marji here. I've admired my fellow Suspense Sister, Dana Mentink for some time and am so delighted to get to interview her today! 

Welcome, Dana, even though this is as much home for you as for me! 

The first book of yours that I read was Jungle Fire. That incredible romantic suspense became one of my all-time favorites! Then you charmed the tar out of me with the contemporary romance, Sit, Stay, Love. That became another all-time favorite. Last week, I listened to Trouble Up Finny's Nose. What a hysterical cozy mystery! In which genre did you begin, and how did you find yourself moving into the other genres?


Well, the truth is stranger than fiction, I always say! I started out in the cozy mystery genre because I loved the problem solving, small town, quirky feel to it.  Cozies are a place where you can include gentle humor and really explore setting, so I loved that. My agent suggested we pitch to Love Inspired Suspense and after a few tries, they accepted me. I dove into suspense novels which kept me busy with LIS and then Jungle Fire for Moody. I love suspense, but I am a nut at heart and I missed the sweet, humorous style I was able to explore in the cozies, so when my agent said Harvest House was looking for a lighthearted, dog themed series I jumped up and down and said, "Me! Me! Let me write it!" By gosh, they actually did hire me! Such joy I've had writing that series! 

And those books are outstanding! Funny and heart-warming. I used to think mystery, romance, and romantic suspense were all very similar, but they really aren't. What are the main differences between them? How do those differences create special challenges as you move between them?

No, they are quite different and that's why I love to write all of them. Suspense is very danger driven, with tight pacing and no room for much humor. Mystery is more about the puzzle solving than the running for your life, so the pace can be a bit slower. In a straight romance, the conflict has to be teased out from the characters and circumstances, but the pacing is not as ruthless. For me, it's great to write lighthearted romance and suspense because they are so different. I don't get mixed up between the two!

Ha! That could be dangerous! Your 2016 repertoire is impressive! You released Sit, Stay, Love (Romance) in April, Seaside Secrets through Love Inspired Suspense in May, Seek and Find through Love Inspired Suspense in June, and now Fetching Sweetness (Romance) this month. Were you ever writing the different genres at the same time?

When I see my publishing schedule written out, I can't imagine how I did that either. It was an unusually busy year. I am also a part time third grade teacher so that adds to the chaos. I don't typically write two suspense or lighthearted books at the same time, so that helps me avoid confusion. That said, I'm sure my editor would tell you I'm plenty prone to messing things up! I also find it confusing when people say, "How's the book coming?" I just sort of stare blankly and try to figure out which one they're talking about.

Have you ever confused your plots, added a scene to the wrong story, or an element that shouldn't be in that genre? 

Not really, but I make plenty of bonehead mistakes like changing a character's name halfway through a novel, or skipping from a Monday to a Wednesday. That's why my editors are super important to me! They save me on a regular basis.

Oh, yes! Having other sets of eyes on the story is priceless! But your writing year has indeed been a busy one! Yet you have teenagers at home and life outside of writing. How did you publish five books in a 12-month period? What does your normal workday look like?

Normal for me during the school year is getting up real early and writing four days a week. I don't write on Sundays (that's a promise I made to God early on in the process) and I don't write on Thursdays and Fridays because I teach those days and third grade is exhausting! I try to be available as much as I can in the afternoons and weekends when the bear cubs are home. Papa Bear works from home, so we lunch together and chat throughout the day. That keeps things in balance for me (mostly.) In the summer I'm writing pretty much every day except for Sundays. I find that teenage cubs are not very early risers, so I get a lot of uninterrupted time to write!

Wow, that's great! My teenagers never quite stopped this summer. I'm not sure what uninterrupted time even looks like anymore! LOL! What does 2017 hold for you in writing and in your personal life? 

Well, still teaching, of course. I've got more Love Inspired Suspense novels coming out and Fetching Sweetness just released this month. The last in that dog series comes out in February. Looking forward to being a "band groupie" for my daughter's marching band performances and spending as much time as possible with friends and family!

I'm excited to read Fetching Sweetness! Thanks so much for sharing. 

Sure thing! I'm happy to give away a digital copy of Seek and Find and also Seaside Secrets to one of the readers! And if you want to have a sneak peek behind the scenes of my books, there's a YouTube video in which my dog Junie makes an appearance!
Lol! Love your video! 

Readers, if you want a chance to win an e-copy of Seek and Find along with Seaside Secrets, please leave your email address in the comments below. And tell us about your favorite of Dana's books or maybe the one you most would like to read.

39 comments:

  1. A wonderful post thank you.

    I have SIT, STAY, LOVE in my sights.


    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  2. love your books!! Thanks for the chance to win one
    mcaquinn@aol.com

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  3. Any book by Dana is a good book! Thanks for this post and contest.

    butterflii410 at yahoo dot com

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  4. I love your books. I love suspense and the K9 dogs.i would love to win a paperback copy. Cathy Gill 436 hwy 487 west Carthage, Ms 39051

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  5. I love your books. I love suspense and the K9 dogs.i would love to win a paperback copy. Cathy Gill 436 hwy 487 west Carthage, Ms 39051

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  6. Your suspense books are my favorite. Thanks for the giveaway.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot) com

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  7. I love love love your writing. Would be honored to read either book. Thanks
    Deana
    Jhdwayne(at)peoplepc(dot)com

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  8. I've not had the chance to read any of Dana's books, Trouble Up Finny's Nose, sounds like it would be a blast to read!
    Thanks for the give away!
    hollymag(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. I really enjoyed "Sit, Stay, Love" Looking forward to reading more from Dana. Thanks for the chance.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I really enjoyed "Sit, Stay, Love" Looking forward to reading more from Dana. Thanks for the chance.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. So glad you enjoyed Sit, Stay, Love, Dianne! :)

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  11. I haven't had a chance to read one of your books yet. Since reading Suspense Sisters, I have had the opportunity to look at some of your titles and plan to read one soon. I have a soft spot for dogs so that may be where I start. Thanks for the opportunity to win one about special dogs.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  12. Dana is a new to me author. But I would pick the cozy mysteries to read. I enjoy fun and humor to my mysteries. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  13. Beverly Duell-MooreAugust 20, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    What a neat interview! I love your books!

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  14. Dana,
    I have enjoyed reading all the different story lines you write. You shift very easily from suspense to romance and have gone to the dogs a time or two. Thanks for the delightful reading.

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  15. Dana,
    I have enjoyed reading all the different story lines you write. You shift very easily from suspense to romance and have gone to the dogs a time or two. Thanks for the delightful reading.

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  16. I'm sad to say that I haven't read any of Dana's books! I enjoy suspense & romance both! Thanks for sharing the review & giveaway! rw620 AT aol DOT com

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  17. Wonderful, informative, interview. Thank you. I have a K-9 search and rescue dog, Doc, and I love stories that include animals. Your books are now on my TBR list.

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  18. Wonderful, informative, interview. Thank you. I have a K-9 search and rescue dog, Doc, and I love stories that include animals. Your books are now on my TBR list.

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    Replies
    1. That is so cool, Mary! God bless you and Doc!

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  19. Wonderful the interview. As we have a well-loved dog, I would love to read the dog stories. I also throughly enjoy suspense with a little romance thrown in. Thanks for the giveaway.
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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  20. Just added Sit, Stay, Love to our church library. Would love to have more of your books there.

    Thanks...libraryat nhopcdot com

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  21. Thank you for letting us get to know you. I enjoyed the video. Count me in the drawing if it's not too late. lill dot kohler at gmail dot com.

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  22. I have not read your books but am always looking for another great author to add to my favorite's list. Thanks, Kristie tklovenestataoldotcom

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