I cannot fully recall when, nor how, Deanna Lynn Sletten and I crossed paths in the fiction publishing world, but I am truly delighted that we did. Why? I have gone on to enjoy several books she has published which have enriched my life by having read them. Beyond the stories, though, is a wonderful, kind-hearted, gentle, generous soul whom I truly hope to meet someday.
I had meant to catch up with Deanna long before now but, as the saying goes, it is better late than never. I asked her a few questions about her life and writing; read below the responses she shared with me.
Norma: What does being an author mean to you?
Deanna: That’s an interesting question; I never wondered what it meant to me before. It was always something I wanted to do and aspired to do. I guess, for me, it’s being able to create something that readers can enjoy. I hope they can connect with the characters in some way and feel as if they know them like a friend by the time they’ve finished the story. Maybe it’s my way of connecting with other people through my stories. If I can touch them in some way, then I feel I’ve done my job correctly.
Norma: When did you first realize that you wanted to write and publish a book? How old/young were you at the time?
Deanna: When I was ten, I wrote my own version of a Nancy Drew story because I thought it would be fun to write a book. After that, I never thought of writing as a way to earn a living, so I put that thought away until I attended college. Two of my freshman English teachers told me it would be a shame if I didn’t major in writing; that really hit me. I’d always had stories in my head, but never thought to write them down. Right after my son was born, and I was up several times a night, I started writing a story in a notebook. It formed into chapters, and then into a full book. Even though it took years to get it out to the public, it was the first real book I wrote – and I wanted to write more. After several (over 100) rejections from agents and publishers, and years of waiting, I finally published it as an indie author; that book was Memories. I haven’t stopped writing.
Norma: From its inception, how long did it take you to write and publish your first book? Was the experience mostly rewarding or filled with varying levels of frustration?
Deanna: As I briefly shared above, I wrote my first book many years before I could finally publish it. The publishing world wasn’t interested, and self-publishing wasn’t available when I wrote it. Years later, I’d completed three novels and was able to publish them myself on Amazon; it was a rewarding feeling. That was in 2012, before the self-publishing industry began to boom. Readers quickly found my books and they took off pretty quickly. I loved that readers enjoyed my books and left encouraging reviews, and it made me want to continue writing.
Norma: Are you currently writing another book which you hope to publish at some point? If so, we'd love to hear more about it.
Deanna: I’m always writing my next book. I have a new book in my Rachel Emery Murder Mystery series which came out March 14th —the third in the series—and I am already researching my next historical fiction novel. I also hope to write another Christmas story by the end of the year. So many books to write, so little time.
Norma: I definitely understand that concept. There seems to be a story always lurking in my mind and they can never write themselves fast enough. If I may ask, of the books you've published, which book is your favourite, and why? If you can't decide on one favourite, that's OK; break the rules and give us two or three.
Deanna: I’ve published 26 novels to date and it’s hard to choose a favorite. Each one was fun to write. My favorite character was Etta Place from my historical novel, Miss Etta. I’d researched her and Butch and Sundance for so long that I really felt I knew them. Summer of the Loon has a special place in my heart; the story has a tiny bit of my life in it. I fell in love with Anna in The Ones We Leave Behind; she became a character that I grew very close to while writing her life. I could go on – they are all special to me.
Norma: Who has been a major source of inspiration for you as a writer/author?
Deanna: I don’t really have a single person as a source of inspiration for becoming a writer. I have always loved books and I love to delve into the reasons why people act the way they do. I would say many classic novels have inspired me. Jane Eyre was the first “large” book I read at ten-years-old; I’ve read it multiple times since. I also have read everything ever written by F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as every book written about him. There are so many authors whose writing I love and admire; I wish I could write as beautifully as they do. I would say they all inspire me.
Norma: What is your ultimate dream, in terms of being a writer/author?
Deanna: Of course, I’d love for my books to be read and enjoyed by millions of people and having a couple of books made into movies would be wonderful, but since I’m a realist, I’m just happy about the readers who have found me and have given me so many heartfelt reviews.
Norma: I definitely know what you mean when you mention those heartfelt reviews. Sometimes I revisit the reviews written about some of my books and it never ceases to fill me with a sense of awe. I always feel that same sense of excitement as when I first read a particular review. Now I am going to ask you to open up and tell us a little about your life. What does an average day look like?
Deanna: My days start a little later in the morning because I usually stay up until one or two in the morning writing. By afternoon I’m in the loft writing again for an hour or so, and then in the evening after dinner I write for about an hour. By ten o’clock, I’m upstairs writing again. If I’m not writing, I’m talking with readers on social media or working on advertising. Our winters are long, and I don’t spend much time outside in the winter. From spring through fall, I love walking in the woods with my dog or finding other trails around our area to walk. I also like to spend time on the lake in the boat with my husband.
Norma: What are three of your favourite hobbies?
Deanna: Hobbies?? What are those? LOL. Writing was my hobby until it became my livelihood; that’s why I spend so much time writing. I really enjoy it. I also love the marketing end of writing—creating pictures for ads and writing copy. I could call photography a hobby. I love taking pictures of the beautiful scenery around our house and on trails. We have so much wildlife around here, too, and I love grabbing the camera and taking photos. I keep promising myself that one day I’ll take a photography class and get serious about it - but then, I’d probably turn that hobby into a job, too. LOL
Norma's closing thoughts:
It has been such a pleasure learning more about Deanna Lynn Sletten and her world. I am familiar with some of the photos she has taken around the trails surrounding/near her home; in fact, at one point, I had made a short trip to her area of the world but our schedules clashed and we could not meet as we had hoped. I did have the privilege of walking one such trail and it was gorgeous. I now understand why I hear from Deanna during the late evening hours - since that is when she interacts with people pertaining to aspects of her writing.
If you would like to read any of the reviews I've posted here at Norma's World, feel free to visit the following titles: Summer of the Loon, Memories, Maggie's Turn and Sara's Promise. I shall be delving into more of her titles in the future; with 26 titles published to date, I have a long way to go. I could read until I've read them all but then I'd be in the position of waiting for another book to be released and, with Deanna Lynn Sletten, I prefer to have other titles readily available for when I want to delve into one of her worlds.
Published: April 28, 2023