Dakota Peace author Megan Kinney shares her story

Today I welcome Megan Kinney. I received a preview copy of her debut novel Dakota Peace. it’s moving and wonderful. We’re going to learn about her journey and how she came up with the idea for Dakota Peace.

I’ve always loved to write, but I started writing fiction when I was pregnant with my first child over sixteen years ago. I was naïve enough to think that just because I had a great idea and the love of writing I’d be able to write a great novel. After my first rejection, I signed up for a correspondence course on how to write fiction, then I went to my first writer’s conference.  There I learned gobs of information about the writing industry, met some amazing people, and got my second rejection, but with it constructive criticism. Five years after writing my first novel, I completed my second and sent it to a publishing company for rejection number three. Four years ago, after a tragedy in my hometown, I decided to write in order to find closure. Two years later I went to another writer’s conference, and this time an editor liked my pitch, starting the two year process from rough edits to published manuscript.

I was inspired to write Dakota Peace after two police officers were killed in my hometown.  At the funerals, the same dispatcher who took the initial call when the officers lost their lives called the officers’ number over the first responders’ radios several times. Then in a ten-code she tells them their free to go home, to rest in peace, and that the other officers would take it from here. This tugged at my heart as I imagined the pain and courage of this dispatcher. In the following months, the story of a dispatcher struggling with burnout emerged.

Much of this story is from my own experience as a law enforcement wife and a foster parent as the main characters are searching for a kidnapped foster child. I ask lots of questions to experts I know whether they are dispatchers, police officers, nurses, or social workers. I had the unique opportunity to take a citizen’s dispatch course for four hours one night. That gave me firsthand knowledge of what a dispatcher does during a shift. Then lots of research is done looking things up online.

My favorite verse is Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” God delights over me whether the words are flowing or I’m struggling with edits or I’m just having a rough day. This verse says nothing about what I’ve done to earn His love because He loves me first.

If I could go back and give my younger self advice I’d tell myself to take every opportunity to learn about the craft of writing, start networking with other writers sooner and build a platform as soon as possible.

My favorite place to write would be either in my bedroom where I can look out over the neighborhood or at the lake, depending on what I’m working on and how much I need to concentrate.  Although I write modern-day women’s fiction, I love to read historical fiction. I love stepping into another time period through the pages of a well-written book.

Back Cover for Dakota Peace:

She went looking for peace, but trouble found her.

After a traumatic call, emergency dispatcher Natalia Brynner flees the city, desperate for some distance from her stressful life. Her peace is short lived when a flat tire strands her on the other side of South Dakota with nothing but her high heels and a speeding ticket. State Trooper Travis Wilkins offers to keep her company while she waits for a new tire, but the quick fix turns into an overnight stay which turns into an extended stay. She soon finds herself in the middle of a foster child’s kidnapping case helping the handsome law man. His presence doesn’t quite settle her anxious heart. With the support of her new friends and her blossoming relationship, Natalia starts to believe she could finally experience a peaceful life … until an armed madman threatens it all.

Facebook launch party is live today. 6-8 MST (& CST and 8EST) Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/618959645602534/

 

More about Megan Kinney:

A foster mom and police wife, Megan Kinney combines her experiences and love of writing in her debut novel. When she’s not behind a book or computer, she’s enjoying the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and four daughters.

Social media links:

megankinney.net

m.facebook.com/megankinney.net/

instagram.com/megan_kinney_author/

Buy links:

shoplpc.com/dakota-peace/

amazon.com/Dakota-Peace-Megan-Kinney/dp/1645262553

Also, Megan is offering a free e-copy of Dakota Peace to one lucky commenter. This is your chance to ask her about South Dakota, who resembles her police hero and dispatcher heroine. Or just to ask to be put in the drawing. The winner will be drawn on Friday.

 

Researching to Write a Contemporary vs a Historical Romance

Today, Denise Weimer returns to share some helpful insight into research. She writes in both historical and contemporary romance which means taking a different track to gather background nformation for each genre. Take it away Denise.

 

Hi, readers! I’m delighted to be visiting on Cindy’s blog, sharing about my TWO novels that release this month through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, one a contemporary with Candlelight Romance imprint, and one a historical with Smitten Historical Romance imprint.

 

Fall Flip, Candlelight contemporary romance, set in the river town of Augusta, GA

The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband—her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business—stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets—and their own mistakes—cost a second chance at love? https://www.amazon.com/dp/1645261883/

The Witness Tree, Smitten historical romance, set in Salem, NC, and Cherokee Indian Territory (now NW GA)

Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother.

Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets. (https://www.amazon.com/Witness-Tree-gain-break-heart/dp/1645260623/)

 

As you can imagine, researching for these stories looked very different.

 

For a contemporary romance:

  • My research emphasis falls heavily on the careers of the characters or things that happen during the course of the story, like home renovation. Sometimes I interview experts or visit job sites.
  • A trip to the setting proves imperative. Where do the locals eat? What smells and sounds predominate? How do the people talk? And what do the neighborhoods look like? When researching for Fall Flip, I’d picked out online a specific historical neighborhood to be the upscale spot where the parents live, only to discover in person that the neighborhood had fallen into disrepair.

 

For a historical romance:

  • I tend to start with the real history, poring over web sites, books, and microfilm, funneling pertinent facts into a timeline. From what really happened in history, I salvage bits and pieces into my fictional plot. I need to know what’s realistic before I can begin to picture the story.
  • I add to that timeline maps that help me figure distances, terrain, and travel time.
  • And I add portraits and drawings of real historical figures, fashion plates, and buildings. And yes, sometimes the handsome actor who helps me picture my hero just right.
  • A visit to the location can be extremely helpful, though it’s important to remember that time may have significantly changed the landscape. Even with a building, like Chief James Vann’s house in The Witness Tree, the elaborate interior trim-work was only added after my story by the chief’s son. You can’t assume anything. The other people in my tour group were probably rolling their eyes behind my back at my many questions by the time we reached the detached kitchen. LOL!
  • I’ve also been known to attend or participate in the select living history event. Great for sparking sensory detail.

Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She is the managing editor of Smitten Historical Romance and Heritage Beacon Historical Fiction (imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:

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