STRENGTH UNDER FIRE is my critique partner Dana Nussio's latest title, but it also sums up her journey to this particular publication. Already a multi-published, award winner in the Inspirational genre writing as Dana Corbit, dealing with a transition back into the work force, and three daughters at various stages of starting their own lives away from home, she could have continued doing what she was doing so successfully. But she had stories whispering to her that didn't fit into that traditional mold, stories that pushed her and provoked her (almost as much as this critique partner did!) until she forced herself to take that step of faith - in herself.
I like bigger books with grittier problems, topical causes and angsty characters. And law enforcement - Bonus! This first book in Dana's True Blue series is all that. And as a delightful more, she brings to its pages the heart that attracts so many readers to her inspirational titles.
So here's Dana, Taking Five out of her busy schedule working on the next True Blue installment and sharing STRENGTH UNDER FIRE. Buy it! Read it! Enjoy it! Review it! (and not just because I'm on the Dedication page -though that did put a big smile on my face!).
1. What was the hardest adjustment to make now that the nest is empty at home?
Since I’d gone from five plates at the table to four and then to three, I didn’t find the transition to two as tough as I thought I would. I do miss having the girls around just because I enjoy having conversations with them and sharing in their daily lives. My biggest surprise about the empty nest was that I didn’t suddenly have a bunch of extra time to fill. I am busy. Really busy.
2. Is it easier or harder to get your writing time around a full time job?
I find it much harder to carve out my writing time now that I work full-time. I come home pretty tired after my day job as a classroom assistant in an elementary autism program, but my stories are important to me, too, so I make the time to tell them on evenings and weekends. Yes, I’m a busy gal.
3. What were the biggest hurdles to breaking out into a new genre?
Although you, Nancy might not agree since you were the one who helped me hone my craft for the transition, I think my biggest hurdle was my own fear that I couldn’t take on the bigger, multi-layered stories. As for the writing, you pushed me to embrace the emotional side of my stories and to stretch my skills in writing crisper dialogue and weightier prose.
4. After that big birthday (You know, 30!), what have you learned as you matured as a writer?
I have learned that as a writer, there are only certain things you can control. Those include writing the best story you can and making your stories a priority in your life because there will always be something else that can come first. I have learned that you can’t take reviews too seriously – except when they’re good because then they’re absolutely right.J But the most important thing I’ve learned is you should always keep learning. Every time I attend a writing seminar, I take notes, looking for at least one new thing I can take away and apply to my work. Even in a basic workshop on characterization, I might find a new approach that will help me make characters that will speak better to my readers.
5. What’s the best thing about writing outside the Inspirational box?
I liked being able to take on meatier issues – such child sexual abuse and drug abuse – in a more realistic way than I might have been able to in an inspirational because of reader expectations. Strangely, it was both harder and easier to write with this new freedom. I have loved writing inspirational romances as well; they offer a hope and a peace that not all stories can. But I enjoyed having this new opportunity.
One day Lieutenant Ben Peterson is single-handedly stopping a bank robbery and the next he is being accused of tampering with evidence in drug cases. Ben needs to clear his name, but he has been set up and no longer knows who his friends are. His only ally appears to be straight-shooting rookie Delia Morgan, who has never learned that there’s no “I” in team. Involving Delia in his secret investigation is the last thing Ben wants to do, but he is short on options. As their search intensifies, so does the temptation, and they open up to each other in ways neither expected. However, when it becomes clear that Delia still doesn’t trust Ben completely, it puts more than just their careers in jeopardy.
Find Dana on the Web
Dana Nussio enjoyed making up tall tales before she could spell her name, so it came as no surprise when the Indiana native chose to work in a field where she could tell stories every day. She left a career as an award-winning newspaper reporter and features editor to become a homemaker, but the people stories she loved came home with her as she discovered the joy of fiction writing. Now a multi-published, award-winning author, Dana also works as a classroom assistant in a local elementary school. She makes her home in southeast Michigan with her husband, three nearly grown daughters and two adopted and overfed kitties.