Today, we have author, Dena Netherton back with us to answer a few more questions and tell us a bit more about her new book, HIGH COUNTRY DILEMMA
Welcome, Dena, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself.
When I was ten years old, I started to read poetry, and it dawned on me that words have the power to inspire, or outrage readers, to make them laugh, or plunge them into a vat of tears. As a kid, when I found a really good novel, I’d read it again and again. I remember thinking, “I want to write so well that some young reader will stash my book under their pillow.”
I never forgot that goal, even while I was studying music theater in college. Later, I had the opportunity to write scripts for community music shows, and to direct them. It’s so much fun to transport the audience to a new world for a couple of hours. That’s what I hope my novels will do, too.
So, you’re newest novel, HIGH COUNTRY DILEMMA released earlier this year. Can you tell us what it’s about?
Fallon Hart has landed her dream job—directing the annual melodrama, Miss May’s Dilemma. But when Fallon arrives in Pine Ridge, Colorado, she finds her new apartment in flames. To make matters worse, her manager wants her to sing an impossible solo. Her family wants her to give up the theater and join the family jewelry business. And her selfish, controlling ex-fiancé wants her back. The biggest dilemma of all, though, is trying to make everyone happy.
Handsome firefighter, Lucas O’Farrell, is searching for his soul-mate, a lady who’ll share his love of the mountains, small-town living, and kids. He knows exactly what he doesn’t want: a sophisticated city girl like Fallon. But when they are cast as sweethearts in the melodrama, the attraction is hard to deny. Before he realizes it, he’s falling for her—hard—and it’s possible she’s starting to love him, too. But is love worth the risk if the she’s planning to return to Denver at the end of the season?
What’s your favorite scene from the book?
I like this excerpt because it’s the first time Fallon recognizes her attraction to Lucas.
“I-I, um, wanted to go over a couple of lines with you…if you don’t mind.”
Lucas’s lips spread into a disarming smile. “I’ll be happy to do some more rehearsing, Fallon.”
My word, he reminds me of an actor I’ve seen in some old movies. A tall man with black hair and blue eyes. What was his name? “Why don’t you sit here?” She pointed to the chair next to hers.
“In Act One, scene two, we have this tender scene where Justin Tyam is promising Miss May his undying devotion.” The actor had one arched eyebrow that gave him a rakish look. Got his name on the tip of my tongue.
Lucas sat down and glanced at her open script. “Yes, I guess I need a little help in this paragraph.”
“The one in the middle of the page.”
Fallon scanned the page, and Lucas leaned closer to show her. His hand went to the specific line on the page at the same time hers did, engulfing hers. He pulled his hand away before things got awkward. But his touch sent a communication: attraction mixed with respect. Darts of adrenaline speared her hands and feet, her neck, her chest. Her heart responded as quickly as a skittish race horse in the hands of an experienced jockey.
No, Fallon. You mustn’t let your feelings go beyond simply being Lucas’s director. He’s a firefighter. You’re an artist. The two don’t mix.
She glanced up. His head was bent to study her script. One shock of his hair fell over his eye. If she were Lucas’s girlfriend, she’d rake his hair back. Her fingers would linger in his hair. He’d look up and they’d stare into each other’s eyes like sweethearts do. His face would lean in closer. She’d meet him halfway and her eyes would close for—
“I know I’m not delivering that line very well.” He straightened and dropped his hands to his sides.”
What’s your least favorite scene and why?
I didn’t like writing the scene where Fallon has an anxiety attack during rehearsal. It was a necessary component of the story, but it brought back memories of my own anxiety attack while on stage, years ago. As I was writing this scene, I vividly remembered how I thought I might faint right there, in front of a big audience.
It sounds wonderful! Where can we get a copy?
You can read the entire first chapter for FREE on the Anaiah Press website.
What one book or series do you wish YOU had written and why?
I absolutely love Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. From the first page I felt so sorry for little Jane, so unloved, mistreated by her aunt, misunderstood and humiliated in her boarding school. She’s plain, she’s poor. But she has intelligence and character. She doesn’t wait passively for life to happen to her. She seeks a better destiny, (a hard thing for a woman to do in the early 1800s). And Mr. Rochester chooses her over the beautiful and rich Miss Ingram. Isn’t that every average girl’s fantasy?
What’s the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
I find writing an effective beginning to be the most difficult part of writing a novel. For every book I’ve written, I think I’ve composed at least ten or eleven beginnings. I admire writers who hook me right from the start. I have to really work at that.
What one piece of advice would you give to new writers?
Be teachable. I know hundreds of writers. The ones who succeed have swallowed their writer’s pride and sought out advice in critiques, contests, writer groups, beta readers, etc. We all have something to learn.
Thanks so much, Dena!