Interview with Lena Nelson Dooley

Multi-published author Lena Nelson Dooley has had more than 900,000 copies of her books sold. She is a member of ACFW and the local chapter, ACFW – DFW. She’s a member of Christian Authors’ Network and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

She has been on the ECPA and CBA Bestseller lists, Publisher’s Weekly bestseller list, and several Amazon Bestseller lists as well as a reviewers’ Top Ten Books of 2011. She has won over a dozen awards.

She hosts “The Lena Nelson Dooley Show” on the Along Came a Writer Blogtalk radio network.

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Interview with Lena Nelson Dooley

Welcome, Mrs. Dooley. Thank you for joining us today.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I really like about six months to write a novel, but this book was different. In December last year, my agent got a request from the editor at Whitaker House because she wanted to publish a full-length Christmas novel this year. When my agent called me, she said that with everything the editor asked for, my name kept coming to her. I had been wanting to write a Christmas novel. I’d written several Christmas novellas for Barbour Books. I was contracted for a novella, not for Christmas, that I needed to finish by March 1. I could then start writing this one, but because Christmas books usually release in September, I only had two and a half months to finish it.

That’s fast. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

When I’m writing a historical novel, I research for a couple of months. With this one, I set it here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and it’s a contemporary, so I used a lot of things I already know about. I did research a few times during the writing of the book.

Research is key, no matter what genre you write, I think. What does literary success look like to you?

I know that a lot of authors count their success by the money they make. I like the money, too, but it’s not my main focus. I’m successful if the readers enjoy the story, and I’m successful when the book makes a difference in the life of the readers.

That’s an awesome viewpoint. Tell us about your latest book.


Can Malcolm MacGregor capture the heart of Italian/Brazilian beauty, Alanza Cantalamessa, in only twelve days?

Back Cover Copy:

Malcolm MacGregor is a descendant of Scotland’s Clan MacGregor and a successful young businessman in Fort Worth, Texas. Alanza Cantalamessa works at a gourmet pizzeria owned by her Brazilian artist mother and her Italian Poppa. Both of them are smitten with each other but Malcolm is too reserved to do much more than make small talk—until a promotion at work that will send him away to Australia for six months. It’s December and he has to do something—fast.

Praying about the situation, Malcolm decides to give her twelve gifts leading up to Christmas. Their families and friends think they are moving too fast. And a gold-digger who tossed Malcolm aside in the past has now decided he’s the man of her dreams.

Can Malcolm and Alanza overcome their obstacles before he has to go abroad? Or is it really not meant to be?

Here’s the first page of the book:

Malcolm MacTavish glanced around the dining room of Cantalamessa’s Gourmet Pizzeria on Highway 10 in Euless, Texas. Each time he’d eaten here, he’d chosen to sit an out-of-the-way table, separated from most other patrons. With the major project he had nearing completion, he often worked through the lunch hour even when he went out to eat. This was the perfect place to do it, and the same table where he’d sat the other times he came was empty. He took a seat, opened his briefcase, and pulled out his Surface laptop. With a few keystrokes, he was where he’d stopped at the office.

This was the third time he’d come here since a co-worker told him about the establishment last week. He’d never been fond of the typical American pizza with too much cheese, too much sauce, and way too many greasy spiced meats. But the pizzas here were works of culinary art. The flavors and textures teased his palate and satisfied his desire for keeping fit. He’d tried a couple different kinds, and each was delicious.

“Mr. MacTavish, glad to see you back.” The same cheery waiter, who’d helped him before, handed him a menu. “What will you have to drink?”

“Thanks, Ignazio. Dr Pepper, please.” He smiled at the young man.

“Should I start calling this your usual?”

Malcolm laughed. “I guess so, since I’ve ordered it three times in a row. Good catch.”

“I’ll be right back with it, ready to take your food order.”

Malcolm watched him walk away, then turned to the all-important file he had on his screen. In one worksheet, the figures weren’t adding up. He had to find the discrepancy, so he could move forward.

Before he expected him, Ignazio set the soft drink on the table. Malcolm looked up from his laptop.

“What can I get you to eat? You didn’t order the same meal both times you were here.”

Malcolm liked waiters who remembered repeat customers and their preferences. “I’m going to go off menu today and ask for a pizza with spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and basil.”

Ignazio made note of the choices on his pad. “Sounds good. Maybe we should put one like this on the menu. Would you like anything else on it? Maybe mozzarella?”


As the young man headed toward the kitchen, Malcolm went back to the figures. Correct numbers were crucial to the deal. He started going through the columns with a fine-tooth comb. When the glitch finally jumped out at him, he wanted to shout, “Yay!” Probably not the place to do that. There were quite a few patrons here, even though he waited until after one pm, so he’d miss the lunch crowd. Cantalamessa’s probably didn’t have the usual crowd from twelve to one like many eateries. There was a nice-sized crowd whenever he came.

Thanks for a wonderful look into your novel.

Readers, Mrs. Dooley has offered one book to a lucky commenter. The winner will be picked next Wednesday at noon (CST), and announced in next Thursday’s blog.

If you don’t want to wait that long, please check out these links for the book:

Christian Book Distributors
Barnes and Noble

Happy reading,


3 thoughts on “Interview with Lena Nelson Dooley

  1. This sounds like a wonderful book just from the first page 🙂 I can’t believe it’s almost time for Christmas books to come out!

    Thank you for the giveaway chance.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Trixi. As for Christmas…I know. Someone posted the countdown on their FB page today. Not fond of anything Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but as writers, we have to have it ready for you to read. 🙂

      1. I’m the same way about Christmas! I want to savor each holiday as they come, not be rushed through. Our tree doesn’t go up until two weeks before Christmas and then comes down the day after New Years. Sad to see decorations up in September or earlier! To my thinking, by the time Christmas does come, I’m so sick of seeing the commercialism surrounding it. Like I said, I want to celebrate and savor each holiday as it comes. 🙂 I do understand about books though, you have to have them available for readers in time for Christmas.

        Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way, lol!

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