Author Interview with Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author of Memories

Memories by Deanna Lynn Sletten is an emotional and gripping read. Michael DeCara came home with physical and mental scars from Vietnam. After a failed marriage he lost himself in caring for his daughter and a string of short term relationships.  Danielle Westerly has lost herself in work and a few close friendships, ever since a relationship that left her deeply wounded. How could a mutual friend know that the cause of Danielle's pain and Michael could be related? After they are back in each other's lives they each need to come to terms with the past, and just maybe look toward the future. They each journey through heartache, tragedy, and understanding. See my review and enter to win a signed copy here. Friday is the last day to enter!

1. Was there a specific moment or idea that inspired writing Memories?

Not really. The idea for this love story rattled around in my head for quite some time until I actually sat down and started writing it. That is usually how my stories start, as a small idea that grows the more I think about it. I knew that I wanted to write a story that included a man who had returned from the Vietnam War and was struggling to get back to being "normal". The rest of the story just blossomed from there.

2. As a reader I felt like I was joining the characters of Memories on an emotional roller coaster, did it feel the same as you wrote and edited the book?

I know it sounds odd since I'm the one who wrote this book but there are parts of it that still make me cry when I read it. I wanted the readers to feel what the characters were feeling and I wanted Michael's war experiences to be heartfelt and even heart-wrenching. Even though this book makes me cry, I was still surprised when readers responded so strongly to the emotions in this book. It's rewarding to know that the readers are feeling how I did when they read this novel.

3. Do you see bits of yourself, your family, your friends, or your life in your characters that surprise you?

There really aren't any characters in this novel that are a reflection of me or people I know. These characters really are just from my imagination. Although I did do research, reading true stories of soldiers who were in the Vietnam War, I didn't base Michael's experiences off of any one person. I read their stories to get a feel for what the war was like and how the soldiers felt and then created scenarios for Michael's nightmares. And of course, as a child of the 1970s, I have known many Vietnam War Veterans, but I didn't base Michael off of any one person I knew.

4. Did you always want to write, did your characters or a particular story just need to be written, or were you brought to writing in a completely different path?

I have always loved reading and the idea to write a book did cross my mind many times while I was growing up, but I never really thought of it as a career path. When I was in college, I had two separate English teachers tell me that I should be majoring in writing and this was enough encouragement for me to start writing my first book. Of course, I didn't publish it for years, but I was on the right path. For many years I was a freelance writer and wrote non-fiction articles for magazines, blogs and websites and in that time I completed three novels and started several others. I don't choose my stories, they choose me. When characters and stories start rattling around in my head, I have to write them down.

5. Do you have any set writing routine or rituals, or do you work as inspiration strikes?

I think if I waited for inspiration, I would never actually sit down and write. So instead, I make myself sit down at certain times of the day and night and I write. I usually write a couple of hours during the day and then between 10 and 2 at night. My only "ritual" is to re-read what I had written the day before so I can get back on track with where I have been with the story and where I am heading.

6. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

In Memories, my favorite parts to write were Michael's nightmare sequences. Not because I liked torturing the poor guy, but because they had to be descriptive and as true to life as possible. I think the nightmare scenes showed why Michael was traumatized and really gave readers an insight into why he had acted the way he did in the past.

7. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Generally, when I am finished with a novel I feel I'm done with those characters and that situation. However, I do have another idea for a novel which will be set in the 1960s and involves another Vietnam War Veteran. I also plan on finishing another novel I've started that includes the real-life characters of Etta Place, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (characters from my kid's novel, Outlaw Heroes). This one, however, will be written for adults.

8. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of writing Memories or getting it published that you would change?

No, I love this story exactly as it is. If I could have found a traditional publisher for it, that would have been nice (I have dozens of rejection letters, but that is another story), but I am very happy with being able to self-publish my novels.

9. What do you do when you are not writing?

Lately it feels like all my spare time is spent on promoting my writing when I'm not writing. But that's okay; it's all part of being a self-published author. For fun, I like getting outside and walking the forest trails with my beautiful Aussie, spending time out on the lake in our boat in the summer, going to the movies and reading. Now that winter is coming, I will certainly be doing less outdoor activities and, hopefully, writing even more!

10. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

First, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read my novel and sharing your wonderful review of Memories with your readers. And also for the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers during this interview. I'd like to thank all the wonderful readers who have read my books and left reviews. It is so great to know that people are reading my books and enjoy them, and I appreciate each and every one of you.

About Deanna:

Deanna Lynn Sletten is a novelist who writes women's fiction novels and also has written one middle-grade fiction action/adventure novel. Deanna started her writing career as a freelance writer for parenting publications in the early 1990s and transitioned to writing for blogs and websites until she made the leap to novelist. Deanna's latest novel, SARA'S PROMISE, will be released December 10th in paperback and on Amazon Kindle. She is currently working on her fifth novel.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, Deanna enjoys walking the trails around her northern Minnesota home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd.

Connect with Deanna:

Twitter: @DeannaLSletten

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