Please welcome this week’s featured YA Author, Dana Romanin!
My name is Dana Romanin, and I write young adult Christian fiction. I’ve been seriously writing for over two years now. Well, really I’ve been writing for much longer, but those manuscripts have been safely hidden away. I’m a mother of three children, two dogs, two cockatiels, one turtle, and a hermit crab. I have not been published, yet. But I’m bound and determined to get there. And when someone is both bound and determined, you can pretty much rest assured it’s gonna happen. Now when it’ll happen is up to God. My current project is a young adult Christian paranormal trilogy. I have just now started the querying process. It’s both exciting and scary. I hope you enjoy learning more about me!
Why do you write?
I ask myself that same question quite often. I come up with different answers, depending on my mood. I write because it’s fun. Or I want to work from home and stay in my jammies all day. I write to express myself. But the true answer to that question comes in times of uncertainty. When I feel inadequate. Why do I write? Why do I even try? So and so is an awesome writer and I can’t even put a comma in the right place. (Please be advised, I’m notoriously bad with comma placement. I can’t be held accountable for where they may wind up.) And when I’m in the middle of one of those rants, I’ll hear the quiet voice of God reminding me that I write for Him—nobody else.
“I write for teens, because I like teens. They make me laugh. I’m not sure I could even write for adults. Hmm…maybe one day, when I grow up.”
~ Dana Romanin, young adult fiction author
Favorite Book/Author? Why?
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I loved Anne of Green Gables when I was a child, because I wanted to be Anne. Okay, not the poor, forgotten orphan, but the strong, passionate girl who loved to write. A girl who could see beauty in everything. And it didn’t hurt that she had a cute boy absolutely head over hills in love with her.
The best thing about being a writer?
One of the best things about being a writer is that you have to read. I can cuddle up on the couch under a Dora the Explorer blanket, open Divergent, to find Tris and Four leaping off yet another high speed train—excuse-free. “Sorry, honey, I’m so behind on my work. Can you start dinner?”
The worst thing about being a writer?
Commas. No seriously. It’s the times when you just don’t think you have it in you. When you feel like giving up, because it’s hard work. Getting published is extremely difficult and while you’re slaving away on a book month after month, year after year, you’re not exactly getting paid. It takes a lot of faith to write.
What tools do you/have you used to study the craft of writing?
I really love Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins. Brandilyn was my mentor at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2013 and I learned so much from her. I was amazed at how much better I wrote after absorbing her knowledge for four days. Brandilyn became a verb for me after that conference. “I need to Brandilyn this paragraph.”
Top three things every writer should have/do, in your opinion?
Coffee. Prayer. Faith. (Not necessarily listed in order of importance. At least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself, because idolizing coffee is frowned upon.)
Best time of day to write and why?
My best time of day to write is any chance I get. I can’t wait for the setting and time to be perfect, then I’ll never write. Instead, I write even if the kids are having sword fights, the dogs are barking at the mail man, and my husband is singing to the radio. A closed door and music help—I have to block out the inconvenient distractions. Except fire alarms. I don’t block those out.
What keeps you motivated?
God keeps me motivated. Writing is just too hard not to have constant contact with my number one fan—God. Prayer keeps me going. I pray over everything. If I’m doing a critique, I pray first. I pray over my blog posts. I prayed before answering these questions. I even pray over the small things, like those doggone commas.
What is your goal in writing?
My goal in writing is to further the gospel of Jesus through my books. Although my latest book is not overtly Christian, I consider it a seed planter.
A Bible verse that encourages you in your writing?
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
Name one thing you have learned in your growth as a writer.
Perseverance is one thing I’ve learned on my journey as a writer. Keep on. Keep on. Even if you make a mistake. Move on and just trust God to carry you through.
Here’s a perfect example of something that happened to me at my very first conference. My stomach was in knots and I was slightly freaking out, because I really wanted to talk to this one particular agent. I spied her across the room, took a deep breath and walked up to her. In a shaky voice, I told her about my book and gave her my card. She was very kind and said that when it was ready I could query her. Whew. I did it. I walked away feeling rather proud of myself and happened to glance down at my sleek, gray pants, and to my utter horror realized my zipper was way south. Now since this has happened, I have spoken with many agents and editors. I did not let this one bad experience stop me from being bold. I just check my fly before doing so. The lesson to be learned is to be bold. Step out in faith. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself, just obey God. And if you totally blow it, just think of me. And you can walk away, chin held high thinking, “At least my fly was up.”
What is your experience with writer’s conferences?
You’ve gotten a taste of my conference experiences by some of my previous answers. But I think that conferences can be one of the single most important things you can do to enhance your writing career. Besides praying, of course. It’s not so much the classes or interaction with agents and publishers (even if you’re one of the lucky ones with zippers that stay in place), but what is really awesome are the other writers that you’ll meet. They’re the writers that are deep in the trenches with you, the ones waiting in line to sign up for appointments, or beside you at lunch. They understand exactly what you’re going through, because they themselves are currently in the thick of it.
I have gone to several conferences and I’ve learned a lot from the classes. And it is super important to have that one-on-one contact with agents and publishers. So do make agent and editor appointments and go to the classes, but don’t forget to make friends. Talk to people. You’d be amazed what you learn from other writers. They’re your future critique partners, friends, and prayer warriors.
Connect with Dana…
On her website:
Thank you, Dana for sharing your stories and experiences with us. It has been a pleasure to have you on the blog today!
Don’t forget to leave a comment, question, or word of encouragement for Dana below. Until then, happy reading!
Yours in Messiah Yeshua,
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