by Jeff Reynolds
It's my pleasure to have one of my favorite authors and victims ... I mean interviewees, Wanda Dyson back for another interview. Since then she has released two new books, and we'll be giving away a copy of the winner's choice of those two titles, which Wanda will be telling you about. Like most authors, I really had to twist her arm to get her to talk about her latest projects. (And if you believe that, I'd sell you the oceanside property next door to us in Indianapolis.)
Besides her awesome suspense stories, she also has helped with an autobiography which ended up on Oprah. If you'd like to read the previous interview which includes that experience, here's the link:
Jeff Reynolds: Welcome back to Sleuths and Suspects, Wanda. It's exciting to know you have two new books out this year, but any thing else new going on in your life you'd like to share?
Wanda Dyson: Well, it's been two years since I moved to North Carolina and purchased this house, and I'm STILL looking at white walls and trying to decide what color to paint. I would seriously like to get that done by the end of this year. That's the goal, anyway. In the meantime, the Lord has just been truly teaching me to rely on Him for everything. Since my husband died and writing doesn't bring in enough to pay all the bills each month, it's been a remarkable journey of watching Him provide each and every time. I'm slowly getting to the point of not stressing anymore about things. The Lord knows what I need and He's proving to me that He is the Lord that Provides, the Lord that Heals, the Lord that Saves, and the Lord that Loves.
JR: When we bought our house, my wife picked out a color for our living room called Mr. Bluebird. Not just Bluebird, but Mr. Bluebird. But since this blog is about writing and not painting ...
Let me be a little atypical and start with the most recent release first. Hot off the press (probably an outdated expression in the era of e-books) is Retribution, the fourth installment of the Shefford Files. Could you give us a brief overview of the series and tell us about Retribution?
WD: Well, I guess we can still say that to some extent since I'm releasing my books for both e-book download and paperback.
The Shefford Files is about a famous crime psychic named Zoe Shefford who, in book 1, is called in on a child abduction case. She is caught between an athiest detective who doesn't believe in the supernatural and a Christian mother who does believe and won't allow Zoe on the case. In trying to defend her gifts as being from God, she begins to question everything she believes in. She convinces the cop the supernatural is very real and finds the Lord in the proecess. Book 2 teams up Zoe and the detective, JJ Johnson once again, but now the attraction between them is something Zoe must resist since JJ still isn't a Christian. She tries to stay away from him, but when several co-ods are murdered, they have to work together in spite of their personal feelings and solve the case. Book 3 brings back FBI Agent Donnie Bevere from book 1, but now he needs their help in locating his missing wife. Together, the three bring down a rogue general and a foil a terrorist plot, and JJ finally gives his life to the Lord and asks Zoe to marry him.
And then the publisher closed the suspense division and in spite of their popularity, the Zoe and JJ books ended. Until now. I've had so many requests over the years for more of JJ and Zoe that I finally decided to bring them back.
Retribution finds JJ Johnson and the love of his life, Zoe Shefford, finally headed to the altar. Busy with wedding plans, when Zoe's instincts start raging that something bad is going to happen, she misreads it entirely, causing a fight with JJ that sends him off to Alaska to pick up a murder suspect. When the plane crashes in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, Zoe realizes that she may have just made a deadly mistake. She teams up with FBI Special Agent Donnie Bevere to move heaven and hell to find JJ. Severely injured in the place crash, JJ realizes that between a raging blizzard, a hungry wolf, and no food, it will take a miracle to survive. But his life or death struggle to make it back to Zoe takes a deadly turn when he realizes the entire trip had been a well-planned trap and that the cop he's traveling with is a hired killer. Now, he must rely on the skills of a woman he put in handcuffs to keep him alive while praying that the woman he loves will find him in time.
JR: That sounds very exciting. But I'm wondering if that's the first new book I need to start reading? Earlier this year saw the release of The Restoration. (Is this year sponsored by the letter R?) Would you like to tell us about this book?
WD: LOL... had I realized I'd be writing and releasing Retribution, I would released The Restoration under a different title, that's for sure. The Restoration was actually the first book I ever wrote. It was picked up for contract several times but never made it into print, so I figured why not go ahead and release it on my own. It's the story of a young woman who buys a home with the intention of fixing it up and living in it, only to discover the house has a unique history and there are some willing to kill to keep anyone from ever restoring the place. She and Max Trent, the contractor she hires, uncover a deadly plot that will force them to choose to trust God with their very lives to bring about His will, or take the easy way out.
JR: Wanda, while your two books starting with the same letter (first two letters, actually), I think that pales to another author (Pamela Meyers) having Love Will Find A Way and her contribution to the Love Finds You ... series within a month or two. But I'm not interviewing Pamela this month, so let's get back to Wanda Dyson. You've written some series and some stand alone novels. Do you know when you start writing which it's going to be?
WD: I tend to write everything from page 1 with the idea of a it ending up as the first book in a series. Up until now, the publishers had the final say as to whether it went on to be a series or stayed a stand-alone. I've had many e-mails from fans who want more of The Prodigal Recovery Series and some who want to see more of Alexandria and Marcus (Judgment Day) but until I recover the rights from the publisher, I'm not free to write any more with those characters.
JR: In an interview posted on this site a couple of weeks ago, author Sibella Giorello told my co-contributer Amanda Holland that art imitates life. I'll admit that watching the news can transform me into a conspiracy theorist. What are your words of advice in this world that can become a real life suspense novel at any time?
WD: It sounds a bit cliche, but honestly, we have to trust the One who holds us in the palm of His hand and just rest in the assurance that He has and can keep us safe and sound. He can feed us in a food shortage like he did the Jews in the wildernerss, He can raise up an army of angels to fight for us like He did for Elijah. We tend sometimes, to see the world around us in one dimension and while there's a part of us that believes those Bible stories, there's a bigger part of us that stays one dimensional instead of truly trusting Him in every situation. We fret, we worry, we stockpile, we load our weapons and think about moving up into the mountains, away from it all, but He called us to bring HIM into every situation. When things turn ugly, He needs a people who will stand and say, "In the name of Jesus, I have what you need."
JR: What's next on the agenda? You mentioned a historical suspense series last July -- any progress on that? Is there a sequel for The Restoration, or any chance for a new installment of Judgment Day (one of my favorite suspense novels ever)? And are the Shefford files officially closed?
WD: I've been asked to write the autobiography of a remarkable woman no one has ever heard of, but her life story will inspire thousands. Most people think that the Lord chooses extraordinary people like ministers and evangelists and missionaries to do extraordinary things, but this woman who could barely read and write because of deslexia, chose to believe at a young age that every word in the Bible was true. Over her lifetime, she raised people from the dead, led hundreds if not thousands to the Lord, and changed the life of everyone she met. She was just a simple farmer's wife but the Lord used her in powerful ways.
I haven't heard anything back from my agent about the historical series, so that's on a back burner for now. I want to see how The Restoration sells. It's getting good reviews, so there's a strong possibility of a sequel. I did start one way back when, so I'd only have to go back and finish it up. Wouldn't take long. As for Judgment Day, I am trying to get the rights back to that so that I can do some more with Marcus and Alexandria. Keep your fingers crossed. And I don't think I'm closing the Shefford files just yet. I really do love those two and would like to see some more of them if the fans want more of them, as well.
JR: Thank you for your time, Wanda. Could you remind us about your websites for those who want to keep in touch with you?
WD: The website is www.WandaDyson.com for more information on any of my books, as well as updates for future releases, and they can always write me at WandaDyson@aol.com or visit me at www.facebook.com/wanda.dyson And thanks for having me, Jeff. It's always a pleasure.
Jeff to reader: As I mentioned, we'll be giving away an e-book of either The Restoration or Retribution, the winner's choice. Four simple rules:
- Leave a comment. Obviously. We won't know you want to enter otherwise.
- Include your e-mail address. One entry in the previous giveaway I promoted disqualified themselves by not including their e-mail. Yes, you may get notifications, but us contributors don't have access to notify you. Of course, you can spell it out, like AuntDotKahm(at)Ant(dot)com.
- Which book would you prefer?
- If you could write someone's autobiography, who would you want to work with and why?