Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lena Nelson Dooley: When I Was Just a Kid

Lena in junior high

Lena is one of the most admired and kind authors I know. She not only writes beautiful love stories but mentors authors all the time, even winning the American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year in 2006. She's continued to be a nominee every year since, as well. She is always friendly and outgoing, reaching out to everyone and she never lets you feel that she doesn't know you--she doesn't know strangers!

I have long wanted to do a kid interview of Lena, and she finally had some time to do this. I'm delighted. I think you will agree with me that she is an amazing person and that her childhood surely shaped her into the loving child of God we know today, as she used her trials for good in weaving her tender and delightful stories.Since I was a teacher, several things about Lena's own story especially touched me.

Let's read about Lena:

Childhood Ambition: 
My mother was a schoolteacher. She died when I was seven years old, so I don't remember too many things about her, but I wanted to be a teacher.

Fondest Memory (from back then): 
My favorite memory from before my mother died was in the evenings. We'd sit around the black, cast-iron stove in the evenings. Mother loved having her hair brushed, so my brother and I would take turns brushing her hair.

Proudest Moment (from back then): 
I had a teacher in first grade, who didn't really like me. She mistreated me in a number of ways. I would come home with welts on my legs, some of them bleeding. At that time, no one homeschooled their children, but my mother and daddy took me out of school and she finished teaching me the first grade curriculum at home.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:   
Now don't laugh. Those who know me now probably will. I was painfully shy. Really! I couldn't tell you what any boy even a year older than me really looked like without looking in the annual. I walked with my head down. Later, God told me that maybe the other people were just as shy as I was, so I should speak to them first and try to bring them out of their shyness. In the process, look what it did to me.

My First Job (paid or unpaid—something you feel is significant which can include chores you had to do as a child) : 
The first time I ironed as a child, I did Daddy's handkerchiefs and the pillowcases. I had to stand on a stool to reach the sink when I started doing dishes. And we always made our bed in the morning.

Childhood Indulgence: 

Remember, we were poor. When Daddy and my Stepmom went on fish distribution trips, they'd always bring me back a paper doll book. Back then, we used the Sears & Roebuck catalog to cut out more clothes for the dolls.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:  
Mother made me a beautiful gold wool dress with purple hand embroidery on it. I loved that dress, but it helped us find out that I was allergic to wool.

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: 
We didn't have a TV until I was in the 6th grade. We listened to radio slows-- Fibber Magee and Molly, The Green Hornet, The Shadow, Amos and Andy, things like that.

Favorite Childhood Book: 
We went to the county library every Saturday and checked out a stack of books. As a young child, I loved The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. Later, I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime: 

We liked to play outside, catching lightning bugs in a fruit jar. We lived on a fish hatchery with a nice sized farm attached, so we had lots of room to roam. We'd make tunnels and rooms in the tall grasses on the hill.
Lena in high school
Best friends?: 
My best friend's mother was the telephone operator in the tiny town of Centerton, Arkansas. They lived in a rock house across the street. I loved going to their house. And of course, after all these years, I can't remember her name. That's what over 50 years will do to you.

Any Childhood Pets or Animals? 
My brother and I raised geese and rabbits, which we sold to a packing plant to buy our first bicycle.

Childhood Heroine:  
Dale Evans

Share your introduction to Christ, if it happened as a child or teen. or a  any significant event/person that/who led to your walk with Jesus.
I was raised in a family that were very active in the church. People talked about Jesus in our home all the time. When I was seven years old, a traveling evangelist stayed in our home while he preached a revival at our church. On Saturday night, I accepted Jesus into my heart at the revival. My journey since then has been long and convoluted, with me straying during college, but not turning my back on the Lord. And He didn't let go of me. Early in my marriage, I had a dynamic event that led me into the deeper walk with Jesus. I've never looked back.

Lena interviews many authors on her blog and has such interesting revelations:
Lena Nelson Dooley Today

Lena on Facebook (Fan Page)
Lena on Shoutlife
Lena on Twitter
Lena on Facebook
About Lena
Lena blogs at Bustles and Spurs (and has a Christmas story there)

Lena's latest release is Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico (Summerside Press)
Readers can see the rest of her books by going to her blog and clicking the My Books tab at the top of the page.

Winner of this book is announced in the comments! 

 Her next book is Family Secrets, which will release October 6, 2011.

The next two books in the McKenna's Daughters series will soon follow!

More About Lena:
Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of ACFW and president of the local chapter.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great-grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not at the same time. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat. And the high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially her fans. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.