Please Join us in welcoming romantic suspense author Dana Mentink!
Dana is a 2013 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, won a 2010 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. She has enjoyed writing a mystery series for Barbour Books and more than ten novels to date for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line.
Dana will be giving away a copy of Jungle Fire! To enter the drawing please comment on the blog below and provide your contact information.
SS: How long have you been writing?
DM: Forever and a day, but I’ve been getting paid to do it for about 13 years now.
SS: Do you write full time? If the answer is no, what else do you do? If you are a full time author, what other jobs did you have in the past?
DM: I have an odd split world between my part time job (third grade teacher) and my other part time job as a writer. Both jobs seem to creep towards full time, so it’s a constant juggling act.
SS: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?
DM: Hmmm. Most folks know me as a teacher around these parts so sometimes I still don’t feel like a real author when I get those disbelieving stares. I suppose after the tenth title or so I began to believe the writing gig was going to stick.
SS: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author?
DM: Papa Bear, hands down. He believed in me when I didn’t and he’s still right there through the good, the bad and the ugly. Sister Bear is also a pretty incredible support.
SS: Why suspense? Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?
DM: I’ve written a mystery series for Barbour which was rereleased in ebook format through Spyglass lane Mysteries. Mystery is my first love, but the market tends to clamor for suspense, especially the CBA.
SS: How does your faith play into your writing?
DM: God made me to do this writing thing. Sometimes I don’t know why, but He’s behind it, I’m sure. Every once in a while I get a letter or note that tells me someone was touched and encouraged by the simple words I’ve hammered out. That’s a God thing. I’m blessed that He enables me to do it to serve His purposes.
SS: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?
DM: Well, I wanted to be an Olympic Ice Skater but I’m thinking the ship has sailed on that dream. Frankly, I’m stumped by the question because I really can’t imagine doing anything else.
SS: Tell us about your current release.
DM: The newest book, Jungle Fire, is my first with Moody’s River North imprint. You’ve got your missionary nurse, the untamed Petén Jungle and a very old secret that’s going to result in lives being lost and saved. I hope it’s a page turner. Bring along your bug spray and machetes!
The deadliest animal in the jungle is the two legged kind.
Nina Truman is a missionary nurse, serving in a tiny Guatemalan town not far from the Mexican border. It's a fulfilling life, tending to the village poor, a way to serve in the country from which she was adopted. The day she leaves on furlough, is the day her life falls apart. Her bus is a
Nina's only hope of survival lies in the hands of Shaw Wilder, a man who despises missionaries and the God they serve. His skill is in handling a landmine detection dog, not helping a woman he blames for the death of his sister. When the lethal drug kingpin El Escorpion seeks to capture Nina, and the local police are no help, Shaw has to choose: flee into the Guatemalan jungle with a naive woman who has vowed never to take a life or follow his own spiritual demons and walk away. His choice may leave them both imprisoned in a jungle from which neither will escape.
SS: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
DM: I was approached by my agent to write a story about a missionary. My mother spent a short time in Guatemala and I learned a little about it as a child. I am in awe of the incredible geographical diversity of the country and the people’s resiliency in the aftermath of a horrific 30 year civil war.
SS: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
DM: Our God is a forgiving God and a merciful God, even when we can’t see that because the jungle is closing in around us.
SS: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
DM: I’m partial to the dog, Axel. He’s trained in detecting explosives, but he’s got that true loyalty and selflessness that all great best friends possess.
SS: Who is your least favorite character in this book? Why?
DM: Not too keen on the corrupt cops, but one must have some conflict, you know. There’s also Escorpion, who is pursuing Nina for a very dark purpose. He’s just…bad.
SS: What are you working on now?
DM: I’m writing a three book natural disaster series for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense. The first one, Shock Wave, releases August of 2013.
SS: A tough question: Where do you want to be career-wise in five years? Ten years?
DM: I’d like to be writing more mysteries, perhaps a children’s series as well. I’ll continue to teach the little guys as long as they’ll have me. I guess that means I’ll be juggling away for the foreseeable future!
SS: Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.
DM: I’d like to see the Okefenokee Swamp.
The bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico might be up there, too.
SS: What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
DM: I’m a teacher, you know. I’ve worn nerd glasses to school with pencils glued to them and dressed up as an M &M. Can I just say, at the risk of sounding immodest, that I made a very fine green M&M?
SS: What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
DM: Dealt with pregnancy related depression.
SS: Where can readers find you on the internet?
DM: All the usual hangouts. My website is www.danamentink.com, and I’ve got a Facebook page and Twitter account. Also, my blog is dmentink.worpress.com and I have a gift card drawing every month.
SS: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?
DM: I’m sure most of the readers of this blog are women. I have this strong opinion that women are the glue that holds families, communities and churches together and they do it with love and encouragement. Thanks, all you women out there who lift each other up in a million ways. God bless each and every one of you! Thanks for having me.
Thanks for joining us!