Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Interview and Book Giveaway with Wanda Dyson

by Jeff Reynolds


I have a confession. While I like suspense, there are times I hate suspense. I can't put it down because I'm so worried about the characters and I find it a nerve-wrecking experience, giving me a sigh of relief when I put it down. What book is the most effective at such nail-biting suspense which I also enjoyed that experience? Answer: Judgment Day by Wanda Dyson.

We will be giving away a copy of your choice between Shepherd's Fall and Judgment Day. Details are below, but let me state one qualification: REMEMBER YOUR E-MAIL WHEN ENTERING THE CONTEST! I always get one person who expects to win without giving me a way to contact them.

Jeff Reynolds:  Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Wanda. Allow me to start with a dual question. How did you start your writing journey and your Christian journey?

Wanda Dyson:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m thrilled to be here. I became a Christian in 1988 after a night horror led me to make the ultimate declaration—"God, if you’re real and you get me out of this alive, I’ll do anything you want." He got me out alive and I gave Him my life. For the first few years, it was all about His Word and I was totally devoted to it. Slowly, He began to reveal His desire for me to write for Him but I wasn’t sure and wasn’t confident about it. I had always been writing, but not novels or even suspense. But, someone saw my work and sent me to a Christian writer’s conference where an agent signed me and several editors showed interest in my work and I was on my way.

JR:  You have written five suspense stories so far. Is my understanding correct that you're rereleasing your first trilogy in e-book? Could you tell us about them?

Abduction was my first book and the publisher loved it so much, they asked me to write at least two more. After writing Obsession and Intimidation, the publisher closed the suspense division so that was the end of the series. But I still get letters from people who just fell in love with the irrepressible Zoe Shefford and her love/nemesis Detective Josiah Johnson. All three are available on Kindle for $2.99 each.

JR:  You've also written Shepherd's Fall and Judgment Day. Are they part of a series? And as a fan of the latter, are Marcus and Alexandria going to return?

Shepherd’s Fall was supposed to be part of a three book series but the publisher cancelled the series. I’m working now on getting the rights back to the other two books so that I can release them as e-books for the fans of the Shepherd clan. Judgment Day was never intended to be anything more than a stand-alone novel but I do have people asking me for more of Marcus and Alexandria from time to time, so you never know. J

JR:  I've read that some people believe the best suspense is written without an outline, but I've come across several good suspense writers that are outliners, including two of my favorites (Randy Singer and Amy Wallace). I'm curious how another of my favorites (Wanda Dyson) does hers.

I do SOME outlining but not that much. I prefer to just write and let the story unfold, then go back and tweek it here and there. I guess I like being surprised as much as my fans do.

JR:  Besides your fiction, you also wrote a non-fiction book -- Why I Jumped: My True Story of Postpartum Depression, Dramatic Rescue & Return to Hope . What was it like working with Tina Zahn? And your web-site mentioned your book was picked for an exclusive release on Oprah.

It was the hardest book I’ve ever had to write mostly because it started out that I’d have several months to write the book and then when Oprah requested the manuscript, that was cut down to just several weeks to write the book because Oprah’s team was going on hiatus. I hope I never have to do that again. LOL. 

JR:  Your web-site mentioned your farm. This zoo-oholic would love to hear about your animals. How do they inspire your writing?

I need to change my website. I’d sit for hours, staring out across the pasture at the horses and thinking up plot scenarios. And if that failed, I’d jump on a horse or the four-wheeler and ride until something came to me, then rush back to the house to write. And if nothing came to me, I still had a great time out there. LOL. But after my husband died, I had to sell off all my horses and give up the country life. I now live in North Carolina in a very residential area.  I miss my chickens, ducks, the barn cats... I gave away all but the German Shepherd, and now the “zoo” is gone.

JR:  You also served as the appointment coordinator for the CCWC, Great Philadelphia Christian Writers, and ACFW conferences. What is that like? How does that experience rub off on your writing and your Christian experience? And are you still doing this?

I had to give all that up when Jim passed away. I’m now sole caretaker for our disabled daughter, and then my elderly mother moved in with me, so I can’t travel anymore. I’m lucky to get an hour at the grocery store.. LOL. But I used to love that work. It was such a blessing to pray over all those requests and put people with the editors I felt they needed to see. I would receive letters letting me know that my efforts had turned into a publishing contract for them and those were all so precious to me.

JR:  Every writer has their ups and downs, and you mentioned the major one of losing your husband. How has it affected your faith, your writing, and your ministry to others?

My husband died suddenly and it turned my and our daughter’s world upside down. Unfortunately, he hadn’t really prepared so in the hospital, he asked his best friend to handle the sale of the business and his gun collection for me. The “friend” essentially took everything, leaving Jayme and I fairly destitute. It was like being trapped in one of my own books—one bad thing happening after another, but the Lord was so faithful. He carried me through, moved Jayme and I to North Carolina and even put me in a position to buy a little house with nothing. Truly, when everyone fails you, He is faithful. When He says He is our provider, He means it. And now that I’m on the other side of all that, Jayme and I are still missing him, still healing, but we’re okay. Finally, after two years, we’re settled in and I’m writing again.

JR:  What is on the horizon for your writing? Did I hear correctly you're planning a historical suspense?

I have writing going on two fronts actually. With the release of the three Shefford Files novels on e-books, I’m working on book four, taking Zoe and JJ through the wedding everyone has been waiting for (and of course, the path to the altar will be paved with chaos, murder, and a few more surprises), as well as also working on a historical suspense series about three Irish children sold into slavery and their struggle for freedom in the American colonies. The historical is a real departure for me, but I came upon a bit of history that I just knew I had to share through the lives of these children.

JR:  Thank you for your time, and may the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you. How can we keep in touch with what you're up to?

Thank you so much for having me. I’m always available through my website, and Facebook or

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And now for the book giveaway part.  If you'd like a copy of either Shepherd's Fall or Judgment Day, you need to do the following:
  1. Leave a comment. (That's a no-brainer, isn't it?)
  2. Include your e-mail, and you can write it out as my-name at dot com. (This SHOULD be another no-brainer, but I always have at least one person say they'd like to win and not include it.)
  3. Wanda has shared several bumps in the road she faced. Share one of your bumps and how God helped you get through it. 
Thanks again, Wanda.


  1. Great interview, Jeff! Wanda, thanks for coming on Sleuths and Suspects!

  2. Great interview. Welcome at Sleuths and Suspects Wanda!

    Deborah Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"
    "Murder in Marietta"

  3. Hi, I'll be checking out your books.

  4. Great interview! And so thrilled to hear you are writing again, Wanda! And equally thrilled to hear there will be more yet to come in the Shefford Files. I was so pleased to see them released as ebooks as they had become so difficult to source in print format, and I have had countless people asking me for them, and have had to disappoint them. Now, if they ask, I can say yes, they are still out there! :-) I've added them to your Author Portfolio page at and will be excited to add more of your books as they come available :-)

    Bless you heaps!
    Ellie (NZ)

  5. Really interesting interview. With regards to bumps in the road, I was always extremely fit and healthy but then ended up with numerous health problems. However, I always knew God was with me through it all. It has brought me to the place where I have started writing murder mysteries as I have had to slow down my pace completely.
    My email address is w,


  6. Wonderful interview, Wanda. I did not know of your loss and am so sorry to hear of your heartache. I knew I had not seen you at conference for a while, but did not know the reason. So gad you are getting back to writing.

    I'd love to win your book!


  7. Dear Wanda,
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway. One of the "bumps" on my road of life was becoming a caregiver to my Mom.
    Janet E.

  8. Great interview for my crit buddy Wanda! Thanks Jeff for your great questions. don't need to enter me in the drawing. I already own everything Wanda's ever written :-) And waiting patiently for Zoe and JJ's new story...waiting...waiting...

  9. Wonderful interview! Glad to find another writer who doesn't do a lot of outlining. So sorry about the "friend" who betrayed you at such a devastating time in your life. But God really is faithful, isn't He?

  10. Great interview! I am sorry to hear about your loss. I can't imagine. And wow, Oprah? So you had a couple weeks to write the entire novel? How many hours a day was that of writing?

  11. I'm going through some health issues right now, so mid-bump. I'd love to win! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. Good interview. Bumps in the road make good stepping stones, but sometimes a person falls into a dark hole - no bumps, nothing to cling to. I was in Mexico when I developed a fast growing, light sensitive cataract, so I couldn't drive myself to town to get food or water. I dehydrated and had only one gram of salt and a smidgen of potassium left in my body. When I finally got to the doctor, my brain was giving me distorted messages. When I got home from the hospital, where they informed me I was lucky to be alive, I was in bad shape emotionally and mentally. I knew my only chance of survival was to thank Go in everything, so I did - even for the cup, the water, the spoon, and the tea. Even driving into town was an ordeal, especially since I had to wear two pairs of sunglasses to keep out the light as I drove. I have fibromyalgia so sleeping was an exercise in self-control. Then one day while I was driving to town with the radio on, God spoke to me through the words of a song - You Lift Me Up - and I knew those words had been written for me. I know they were written for a lot of other people too, but that didn't diminish the personal message for me from
    God. That is only one of many times.