Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interview with MG Christian author Dana Rongione

Today's guest author is Dana Rongione. She's wrapping up a virtual book tour with Virtual Book Tour Cafe today for her new MG novel The Delaware Detectives.

There's a chance to win an e-copy of the novel. Details after the interview.

Welcome, Dana. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Dana Rongione. (Yes, I know that's a mouthful.) I live in Greenville, SC with my husband, Jason, and my two dogs, Tippy and Mitch.

Having been a Christian for nearly 28 years, I know what it is like to experience both joy in the journey and weariness in well-doing. Currently self-employed as a writer and speaker, I struggle (like many other Christians) to balance the demands of work, family, church, health, chores, etc.

I enjoy all types of writing, but my true joy lies in writing devotionals that will encourage and uplift the weak and weary Christian. This blog, A Word Fitly Spoken, is currently read in over 15 different countries, allowing me the opportunity to spread the message of hope and joy throughout the world. I also have another blog, Song of the Day , that offers the truth of the Word in song.

I currently have three published devotionals. two children's books, a healthy living handbook and numerous articles in magazines and e-zines across the country. I am available to speak at local ladies' meetings or writers' workshops. You can find out more about me and my ministry by visiting my website at

Please tell us about your current release.
The Delaware Detectives is a novel intended for readers in the age range of 8-14 years, though that's not to say readers of other ages won't enjoy it. In fact, one of the most enthusiastic responses I've received about the book was from a lady nearing her 70s. The story is about a brother and sister who discover a cryptic clue while visiting their grandfather for the summer. That discovery leads them on a hunt to try to uncover a secret fortune that may or may not truly exist. The book is filled with mysterious elements, comical characters and valuable morals.

What inspired you to write this book?
I first began writing The Delaware Detectives as an assignment for a course I took through The Institute of Children’s Literature. Through the course, I had learned to write about what I know and what I’m passionate about. As a mystery lover and elementary school teacher, I could think of no better story for me to write. Based on some true life experiences, The Delaware Detectives was born. Sad to say, that was six years ago. Yes, it took me six years to finish and publish the story, but now that’s it’s finished, I can’t wait to begin the next one.

Nice segue. What exciting story are you working on next?
I currently have several works in various stages of completion. I have three new devotional/Christian living titles that I hope to have completed within the next few months. Additionally, I have two children's picture books that are in the process of being illustrated and one young adult book that is in the editing/revision stage. And, as if that weren't enough, I'm in the planning stage for the next book in The Delaware Detectives series.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I've dabbled in writing all my life, but I don't think I seriously considered myself a writer until I left my teaching job to write full time. Even after that, it took a couple of years before I could say, "I'm a writer" without getting a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now that I have several publications, it's easy to say, "Yes, I'm a writer, and I'm proud of it!"

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Despite my young age (wink, wink), I have a lot of back and shoulder problems. Because of this, I can't spend long periods of time sitting at my desk. So my writing process usually involves writing for thirty minutes to an hour then getting away from my desk and doing something else for a while, whether it be doing the dishes, walking the dogs, reading a book, sweeping the floors, etc. Most of these things work as a good time for me to think about what I've just written and what I want to write next. Then I'll go back to my desk, write for another thirty minutes to an hour and then get up again to do something more physical. At first, I was afraid all the ups and downs would prove to be time-consuming and distracting, but I've actually discovered the opposite to be true. By taking breaks before my body grows tired, I'm able to get more writing done in any given day. Additionally, the time away from my desk gives my mind the time it needs to rehearse and compose what needs to be said when I get back to my writing. It's strange, but it works for me.

In my spare time. . . sorry, I had to stop laughing. . .like there's any "spare time" around here. Anyway, when I'm not writing, I keep myself busy with church functions and obligations (I serve as church pianist, sing special music, teach the ladies' Sunday School class, etc.), teaching (I teach at a local Bible college), hiking, reading, and the million other things that come into my life during any given week.  I also strive to set aside uninterrupted time to spend with my husband, like our weekly "date night".

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Music! I must have music playing when I write. I can't write when it's quiet. If I don't have  music, I at least need nature sounds like a babbling brook, singing birds and the like. Road noise doesn't work. Voices are distracting. But soft music helps me get in touch with my creative side and allows my brain to relax and focus on the matter at hand.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Throughout my childhood, I longed to be a teacher. I played "classroom" nearly every day after school.  (I had the smartest dolls and stuffed animals in the neighborhood!) My mom was a teacher, and I longed to be just like her, except I wanted to teach young children instead of high school. 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes, I have a few things. First, I want to thank everyone for following my tour. Second, I want to let everyone know that The Delaware Detectives is currently available in paperback ($7.95) and Kindle (only $2.99) and will, Lord willing, be available in all other e-book formats by the middle of the summer. Lastly, I want to let you know where you can find me online:

Blogs:   A Word Fitly Spoken: Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
            Song of the Day:
Twitter: @DRongione

Thanks, Dana. And, Readers, don't forget to leave a comment and your e-mail address if you'd like to be in the running to win a Kindle copy of The Delaware Detectives. Feel free to leave a comment without your e-mail, too! Today is the last day of Dana's tour!


Unknown said...

Great interview. Thank you for hosting Dana today :).

Lisa Haselton said...

Always a pleasure to meet a new author. And I haven't had many middle grade writers here, so it's a treat. :)

Dana Rongione said...

Thanks, Lisa. That was a fun interview. What a way to end my tour!

Susan said...

I enjoyed learning more about Dana as well. I consider her a real "gem" in the writing world!

Dana Rongione said...

Thank you, Susan. That's so sweet of you to say, and I can honestly reply, the feeling is mutual. You're quite a gem yourself!

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