Canadian author Lynn Dove has been turning her personal stories of hardship into encouragement for others through the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. This year, she had three short stories in different books, with at least one more story due to appear in Chicken Soup book next year. Recently, Lynn took a bit of time off from her busy life of blogging, teaching, and volunteering to talk about her Chicken Soup for the Soul stories and her award-winning novel trilogy.
Bonnie: One of your short stories is featured in the recent Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives: 101 Daily Devotions to Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire Women. Can you give us a hint about what inspired this story?
Lynn: The story “Socks” was actually written several years ago after a dear friend of ours lost her precious husband. Grieving the loss of a great man, and thinking about how much I would miss my own husband if I were left a widow, “Socks” was first a journal entry and then re-written for Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Bonnie: And your fourth Chicken Soup for the Soul story will be coming out February. Can you give us a sneak peak of that story?
Lynn: I am delighted to have four of my stories highlighted in four different Chicken Soup books: “Do Angels Wear Glasses?” (Parenthood, March 2013); “Socks” (Devotional Stories for Wives, Sept. 2013); “Polar Plunge” (O Canada – The Wonders of Winter, Nov. 2013) and “Would You Give It Up For Me?” (Miracles Happen, Feb. 2014). “Would You Give It Up for Me?” is my very personal experience with God and how His miraculous intervention resulted in early diagnosis of my breast cancer.
Bonnie: What is your favourite part about writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul?
Lynn: Truly, I love to blog and I enjoy writing about my family and living here in southern Alberta. Chicken Soup for the Soul books are a great “fit” for sharing snippets of life that I write to encourage others. I have been honoured for Chicken Soup to publish them to a world-wide audience of readers.
Several weeks after the Parenthood book was published, I received an email from a man in Saudi Arabia who had read my story “Do Angels Wear Glasses?” He wrote to me about how my story (about my youngest daughter being bullied because she had to wear glasses) had “touched his heart” as he read it to his young daughters (he even sent me a picture of him reading the story to his girls).
Bonnie: What advice would you give to others who want to write a Chicken Soup for the Soul story?
Lynn: Chicken Soup publishes several titles a year. If you wish to submit a story, follow the guidelines on their website and choose a title that will be a good “fit” for your story. Write from the heart and write stories that encourage and inspire.
Bonnie: What motivated you to write your Love the Wounded trilogy?
Lynn: My Wounded trilogy started first as a short story about teens being bullied. That became a rough draft for the first book, Shoot the Wounded. My husband encouraged me to get the book published and then it was actually my oldest daughter who encouraged me to continue writing the second book, Heal the Wounded, and then the final book, Love the Wounded.
Bonnie: What was the hardest part of writing these books?
Lynn: Writing Shoot the Wounded was relatively easy. I have often said the hard part was not writing the story; it was marketing and learning how to promote the books afterwards. I have learned that authors need to have a lot of patience and be willing to spend a lot of time using social media to get the word out about their books. I have been blessed with exceptional mentors along the way, and I have learned a lot about self-promotion and the industry in general.
The most difficult book of the trilogy for me to write was Love the Wounded because I knew it was going to be the last book in the series. I had read so many series that had fallen flat because of a poorly written last book and I did not want that to happen with my trilogy. I felt tremendous pressure to write a book that readers would embrace on its own merit but also end the series in a satisfying way. I actually took far longer to write the last book and there were times I battled “writer’s block.” Love the Wounded is perhaps the book I prayed (and fretted) the most over, but it has also been the book I have enjoyed writing the most and it has received the highest accolades from the readers.
Bonnie: What response have you received to these books?
Lynn: All three of the books are listed as resources on the anti-bullying website www.bullying.org. They have garnered much attention world-wide, and I am humbled by the awards they have received, most recently with Love the Wounded receiving a silver medal in the 2013 International Literary Classics Book Awards for faith-based fiction.
Bonnie: What other writing projects do you have on the go?
Lynn: I am doing a lot of freelance writing (have had articles published in LifeWay’s HomeLife and Parenting Teens magazines) and I will continue to submit stories to Chicken Soup. I have a manuscript about my journey with breast cancer that I am writing but it is a slow process because I am now the busy grandmother of two adorable grandbabies, and I teach part-time as well. I continue to blog and “Journey Thoughts” has a significant readership.