January 15, 2016
Good morning friends,
The day began much as it did yesterday. The temperature is 54 and we will reach the 70’s here in the Houston area. We also expect rain.I walked in the neighborhood yesterday and was happy I made myself do so. And that massage I received? It was wonderful.
I have a special treat for you today. Danele Rotharmel stopped by. She’s my friend and a fellow author at Prism Book Group. Danele is an interesting lady and all of us are excited about her debut novel. It released today, and I bought it a few minutes ago. Here's a transcript of our interview.
I want to welcome Danele Rotharmel to Gay’s Days. She is a true friend, a Prism Book Group author, and a natural cheerleader. She has a word of encouragement for all of us on staff, and we couldn’t do without her. She's pretty too.
Danele grew up with a love for reading, and by age five decided to become a writer. However, life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. A low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in the home slowly poisoned her. The event triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.
During this time, she faced a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. Unable to write or drive, she could barely remembered who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. During a lengthy illness, she reexamined her faith and came to the firm conclusion that God is real, He is good. He’s interested and involved, and above all, God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.
The illness grew severe and she was quarantined—only speaking to friends and family through the glass of a window. The confinement lasted seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles. The first book in the series, Time Tsunami, releases today, January 15, 2016 by Prism Book Group.
Okay, Danele, tell us a bit more about you. What did you do before becoming a writer?
Thanks Gay for asking. I love telling the stories of my varied background. Before I became ill, I held several jobs—both paid and unpaid. I was a substitute teacher, a church secretary, the director of a small food bank, a nursing home minister, and a Bible Quiz coach. I enjoyed each of my jobs, but the ones I liked the most were the ones associated with my parent’s farm. I drove a tractor, milked cows, and fed the calves. Working with the baby animals was so much fun! I loved every moment of it! …well, most of the moments. Cleaning up after the animals could be a little smelly at times.
Yuk! I’ve done a variety of jobs too, but I’ve never cleaned up reeking manure. Don’t think I’ll try that one. How did you get in to writing?
That’s funny, Gay, and I hope you never need to clean a barnyard. In answer to your question, As you said, at age five I wanted to be a writer. Jotting down stories and horrible snatches of ghastly poetry was something I found entertaining. When I became ill, my ability think creatively shrivelled and vanished. I tried to write, but the words felt flat. Losing my creative outlet really hurt. After a few years in quarantine, isolated from perfumes and other chemicals, my mind seemed to “unfreeze.” I began dreaming in color again and seeing “shapes” in the clouds outside my window and I knew my ability to write had been restored. I sat down at my computer and began spending 8-18 hours a day writing Time Tsunami. When I was finished, I wrote its sequel, Time Trap. I finished four more books in The Time Counselor Chronicles. I was in quite a bit of physical pain, and I used writing as a way to distract myself. On the days the pain hit the hardest, I would lie in bed, look up at the ceiling, and think up devious plot twists. Instead of groaning through painful days, I’d end up chuckling. Isolation was lonely, and my characters became my “friends.” They were literally my window to the outside world.
Would you describe yourself as a panster or plotter?
I’m a bit of both actually. I have a general idea of where my stories are going, but I have a blast when my characters “change things up.” As I penned my novels, some of my characters actually transformed in front of my eyes. I’d think I knew them, and then they’d do something totally unexpected. I can still remember my shock when William was getting ready to jump through the GAP beam to rescue Gil. Suddenly, Director Matthews grabbed William’s arm and said they needed to contact the Facilitator. *** (?????) *** When I wrote that sentence, I was shocked. I can remember blinking at the screen in utter confusion. Who was the Facilitator? Why did William need to contact him? LOL! The introduction of the Facilitator ended up being one of the coolest aspects of my story. I can’t imagine Time Tsunami without him.
3.99 on Amazon Kindle Also available in print.
Besides the introduction of the Facilitator, my other biggest surprise surrounded my character Zara. When I started writing Time Tsunami, Zara was a soft-spoken woman with a southern accent. But as my book progressed, Zara slowly transformed. She grew spicy, plucky, and brave. And then, out of the blue, she started talking with a Jamaican accent. When I write, I “hear” my characters speaking their lines, and Zara was definitely morphing into an exotic island beauty. It took me tons of time to give Zara her Jamaican accent, but I’m so happy I did. I loved bringing her to life. She’s one of my favorites!
Did you find getting your work published hard?
I wrote my books while quarantined and didn’t have the ability to seek contacts. I felt God saying that the publishing would be even easier than the writing. Waiting was difficult to do, but I believed God had a perfect plan for me and my books. As my seventh year of quarantine drew to a close, I received a flyer from the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park, Colorado and knew I needed to go. The thought frightened me. I was still extremely sensitive to chemicals and became ill easily. For months before I went, I prayed for one specific sign—that the representative from the publishing house that God wanted me to join would take my hands and ask to pray with me. When I arrived at the conference, I wasn’t well enough to attend any of the classes. I went to the interviews and then returned to my room for recovery. It seems strange, but during the entire conference, I had a feeling of peace. At my interview with Prism Book Group, the acquiring editor, Susan Baganz, listened to my testimony and then she smiled, took my hands, and asked to pray with me. It was the sign I’d been waiting for. I knew that if Prism offered me a contract, I would accept it. And months later, I became a part of Prism Book Group. Waiting on God’s timing proved best but it’s against my nature.
Your testimony is an inspiration. I too don’t care for waiting—especially as I age every day. I hate the thought of time running out before I see my goals met. What kind of books do you like to read yourself? Any favourite authors?
I really love reading—especially since there was a time when I couldn’t do it very well. During the first part of my illness, I couldn’t concentrate on long books, so I only read children’s books. As my partial amnesia cleared up, I began to enjoy the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson. Right now, I’m reading my way through Prism Book Group’s catalogue of titles. I really enjoy the variety that Prism has to offer. And as far as my “favourite” authors, you’re one of them, Gay! I really love your “Sarah” books!
Thanks Danele! Sarah loves hearing that, and so do I! Tell us a little about your series. Is there a certain number of books planned, and if so, do you have them already plotted?
The Time Counselor Chronicles consists of eight novels all revolving around the same cast of characters. The books are Christian romantic suspense, and they contain time travel twists engineered to keep my readers guessing. The first two books, Time Tsunami and Time Trap, are currently under contract with Prism Book Group. I’ve already written the next four books, Time Search, Time Awakening, Time Inferno, and Time Nightmare. I’m brushing them up and getting them ready to submit to Prism for review. The final two books in the series, Time Flashback and Time Resolution have been outlined. Once I finish writing the last two books, I have another book series that I am plotting. The NewGen Chronicles focuses on the grown-up children of the The Time Counselor Chronicles’ characters. I’ve had such a blast writing my books! I hope that people really enjoy them!
They sound exciting. I’ve considered having Sarah do a bit of time travel. Can you imagine my bumbling angel going into times past or the future? As she would say, “Merciful Heavens.” Where do you get the idea for time travel and preventing a future event from taking place in the present?
While earning my teaching license, I worked as a cadet teacher at a local middle school. At the same time, I also took a creative writing class. On one of my teaching days, I broke up a fight between two students, and I remember thinking that one of the students was headed for serious trouble unless something changed. I talked to the student, but it didn’t seem enough. I wondered if there was anything else I could do to put him on a better path. That same week, I had to write a short story for my creative writing class. My questions from cadet teaching swirled around and morphed into the idea of time-traveling counsellors who surfed time waves to stop people from becoming hardened criminals. When I received my story back from my professor, he told me that I had a “sellable” idea. Years later, when my writing ability was restored during quarantine, I pulled my dog-eared short story from a cardboard box and turned it into Time Tsunami.
I have a new book coming out in March too. Sarah works with teenagers, and one of them started on the wrong path at an early age. Too bad your time traveller couldn’t have helped him. What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I’m polishing my third book, Time Search, and preparing it for review by my editor. I had a blast writing the books, and I’m also enjoying editing them. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it takes me an hour to edit each page of my manuscripts. Considering the fact that I go over my manuscripts several times, you can see how time adds up. I’m also working on articles for my blog https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/ I open up about my illness and the struggle I had reconciling my faith with my pain. At first I felt intimidated about sharing my faith journey, but the reception my articles have received has been so encouraging. Some of my journal articles have literally gone around the world. They’ve been seen in places as far off as Mongolia and Taiwan.
The path my life has taken isn’t a normal one. I never could’ve predicted the twists and turns that I’ve encountered. But every step of the way, God has been by my side helping me. Every day, I regain a little bit more of my health. I feel blessed when I sit down to write.
Thank you, Danele for joining me as my guest. I’m looking forward to reading the series. Although the book was available on preorder, I waited until today to buy it--fresh off the press, as they say.
I want to thank you, Gay, for the opportunity to be on your wonderful blog! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you over this last year, and I’ve had such a great time talking with you today! Thank you!
Check out Danele’s blog, and her books. You won’t be disappointed.
You can also find Danele's book on Barns and Noble and other fine online retailers.