Today's guest author on Interviews with Dante is Dena Rogers. Enjoy learning a bit about this wonderful author.
I live in Kentucky with my husband and two sons. They pretty much keep me running to and from school and sporting events, but I also work full time outside of the home. We are very much an outdoorsy family and enjoy camping, hiking, and watching my husband race at one of the local dirt tracks. I’m also the mom of three dogs and three cats, a goat, and a snapping turtle. I drink way too much coffee, love road trips, and have a slight obsession with college basketball. My Kindle travels everywhere with me and my stories all entail a happily ever after.
Tell us about your latest book.
Drive Me Sane is as second chance romance set in rural eastern Kentucky. The heroine, Sera, is a feisty, outspoken and quick tempered army veteran who has no intention of sitting around and hoping for a miracle cure to her PTSD diagnosis. Tyler has always been the sensible one in the relationship and for the most part, he’s calm and collected. As teenagers, they’d been perfect for one another, but Sera’s imminent deployment and Tyler’s music career drove a wedge between them that neither knew how to deal with. They both return home years later and find that while some things have changed, other things remain the same.
What do you have coming out in the future?
I’m currently working on a contemporary romance tentatively titled, When Love Goes South. It deals with a couple who meet while on vacation in Cancun, but they are both there for very specific reasons and it’s not for the umbrella drinks or to work on their tans. I’d like to think it touches on some very realistic issues facing thirty almost forty somethings and how things such as death and divorce affect everyone differently.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
Music. I don’t play any instruments and can’t carry a tune to save my life, but music is a huge part of who I am. I love all genres, but I’m partial to my southern roots. Most of my work has been inspired by a song in one way or another.
What authors inspire your writing?
I love Brenda Novak and Shannon Stacey. Their writing is simple without too much angst and I hope that I bring that kind of feel to my work.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I’m not picky. I like a wide variety. Romance of all heat levels, mystery, thrillers, and memoirs. Anything except horror. I’m a weenie and can’t stomach horror.
Tyler Creech made it to Nashville and even earned a number one hit, but being a rising country music artist isn’t as easy as he thought. He’s back in Cobb City, Kentucky, looking for something to ease the stress of his next release. He discovers it standing on his mom’s and stepdad’s lawn when Sera, the girl he once planned to marry, shows up.
They’d been perfect for each other, until the strain of Sera’s deployment and pressure of Tyler’s career drove them apart. Now with neither of their lives going the way they anticipated, both are fighting different yet similar demons.
But change is good, and sometimes going a little crazy is too. Sometimes it’s what keeps you sane.
Ever wonder if those pitch contest and such work? Well, they do. I went out on a limb one day and entered a Twitter pitch. I had just finished Drive Me Sane and hadn’t yet begun the querying process. Literally, I was sitting in a parking lot in my car and came up on Crimson Romance’s Twitter pitch. Without much thought, I typed out my characters and got a request for five chapters. A short while later they asked for the full manuscript and eventually acquired it. So, if you think those pitch contest are a waste of time, don’t, because you never know.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
I first settled on the title Drive Me Crazy, but after googling it and seeing there were at least fifty other books with that title I decided I wanted something different. It took me a while, but I came up with Drive Me Sane, because truly, the main character Sera, because of her PTSD, was fighting for her sanity.
Is your book a stand alone or a series?
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
I totally go with the flow. I tried writing out an outline once and it just didn’t work.
With many publishing routes available today, which felt the most reliable to you when it came to the many choices?
I was a closet writer. Aside from my husband, no one knew I was writing a book until after I had my contract with Crimson signed. For me, I needed that extra little encouragement of having someone else see something in my writing, so I took the traditionally published route. I’m not sure where I will go in the future. I like the support and aspect of letting someone else be in charge of certain things, but I think I would also like to try my hand at self-publishing at some point.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I played with the idea as a teenager and why I didn’t pursue it as a career is anyone’s guess. Then life happened. I got married, began working, had kids and it got pushed to the side. About ten years ago, I began writing again with the hope of one day being published, but again it was just a dream and not something I took very seriously. Finally a couple years ago, with the encouragement of my husband, I decided I was going to make that dream come true.