Today I’d like to welcome author Dena N Netherton, to share about her new release, High Country Dilemma.
Dena Netherton is the author of both Christian Romance and Christian Suspense fiction. Born and raised in northern California, she was educated at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, the University of Michigan, and the University of Northern Colorado.
Her many musical experiences as both a performer and teacher have provided her with delicious memories from which to draw when developing new characters and writing compelling stories.
Welcome, Dena! We’ll start off with some quick questions so we get to know you a little better.
What’s your favourite fruit?
Peaches. Definitely big, juicy peaches. Peach pie, peach preserves, peach ice cream. I could go on and on about peaches. Especially the ones you can get at a fruitstand near Palisades, Colorado.
Which is your favourite musical?
I’d have to say Fiddler on the Roof. The music is wonderful and the characters are richly drawn and authentic.
Where is your favourite place?
Bellingham, Washington. I’ve lived all over the country, and there are great things about each place. But the Pacific Northwest offers the San Juan Islands to the west, fun things to do in the city, and the Cascade Mountains less than an hour away. Seattle is only an hour south, and Canada is about fifteen minutes north. Love it here!
Sometimes there is no place like home. I love Oregon and Washington, because the hills and the trees remind me of my home, New Zealand.
What is your favourite Bible verse?
Gosh, there are so many. I think I’d have to choose this one: Colossians 1:13 “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in Whom we have redemption.” (NIV Bible) Kind of sums up the Gospel, don’t you think?
A fabulous choice!
What’s something funny or quirky that not many people know about you?
I was terribly shy as a kid. Whenever I had to give a report or speech in the classroom, I’d be sick for days beforehand. But becoming a musical performer, and later, a teacher, knocked that trait out of me. Now, my problem is closing my mouth!
Now, let’s talk about your book, High Country Dilemma. Here’s the description off the back cover:
Fallon Hart has landed her dream job–directing the annual melodrama, Miss May’s Dilemma. But when Fallon arrives in Pine Ridge, Colorado, she finds her new apartment in flames. To make matters worse, her manager wants her to sing an impossible solo. Her family wants her to give up the theater and join the family jewelry business. And her selfish, controlling ex-fiancé wants her back. The biggest dilemma of all, though, is trying to make everyone happy.
Handsome firefighter, Lucas O’Farrell, is searching for his soul-mate, a lady who’ll share his love of the mountains, small-town living, and kids. He knows exactly what he doesn’t want: a sophisticated city girl like Fallon. But when they are cast as sweethearts in the melodrama, the attraction is hard to deny. Before he realizes it, he’s falling for her—hard—and it’s possible she’s starting to love him, too. But is love worth the risk if the she’s planning to return to Denver at the end of the season?
I’ve heard melodrama used in connection to (bad) fiction, but not to theatre. What is melodrama? Does it have other names?
Yes, Melodrama (note, that the term is capitalized) as a literary and dramatic form has been around for centuries. Today, Melodrama typically refers to 19th century dramas with accompanying music in which the plot is sensational and designed to appeal to the emotions.
Characters are usually sterotyped as either heroic (the strong savior), innocent (usually a helpless maiden), or the big, bad guy. There is a strong moral lesson attached. We writers avoid using melodrama in our novels, but Melodramas are supposed to be melodramatic.
Fascinating! I don’t think I’ve ever come across this type of drama before.
You have an extensive background in music and performance. How did that impact on your decision to write a novel about musical theatre?
I have so many memories of performing and of working with other singers, directors, composers, and musicians. Most of them are wonderful memories. But I’ve worked with a few really difficult directors or temperamental actors.
And I’ve had my own difficulties. I once had to learn the violin in a few weeks so I could play it onstage in an opera. I hope to write some more stories involving the theater, drawing from some of those challenges, but in a light-hearted way.
That would be a challenge! I’m told the violin is a difficult instrument to play well.
Who is your favourite character in this book, and why?
I had so much fun writing Mike, Lucas’s sidekick. We all have a ‘Mike’ in our lives. You know, the funny, irrepressible, loyal, got-your-back type of friend who’ll still be around when you’re ninety years old. Mike’s conversations with Lucas made me laugh. He’s the best kind of friend to Lucas: truthful, yet encouraging.
The character of Mike was inspired by memories of my twin brother’s best friend, Danny, in high school. Danny was always at our house, swimming in our pool, hanging out with my brother, drinking up all our milk. He was like a brother.
What idea would you like readers to take away after reading High Country Dilemma?
The theme of High Country Dilemma is God’s faithfulness. Whether we’re in the theater or in some other kind of profession, we all deal with the kind of fear which can keep us from being the person God has called us to be. Lucas helps Fallon learn that God can be trusted to strengthen and guide her, especially when she feels the weakest.
What do you find is the easiest part of the writing and publishing process? What’s the hardest?
The easiest part of writing is writing. Before I was published, all I had to do was think, research, create, and type. That’s all enjoyable and rewarding. But now that I’ve got some books traditionally published, my time is no longer my own. Juggling the amount of time spent writing, editing, communicating, doing social media, and posting my blogs takes skill and discipline.
It sounds like a challenge.
Is there an overt faith thread in High Country Dilemma? How does this impact the characters?
Yes, there is a strong faith element. Fallon’s faith has been severely tested when God didn’t rescue her from a humiliating event on stage. She fears having to step on stage again. Lucas has a strong faith, and as he grows to love her, he yearns to help her see that God can be trusted and relied on. She must keep her eyes on the Lord, and not keep dwelling over a past mistake.
That’s a great lesson!
What impact does your faith have on your writing?
I have loved writing since childhood, and I know the Lord put that ability in me for a reason. I also loved teaching, and I found tons of opportunities to write songs, and poems, and short plays for my elementary kids. Later, when my own children grew up, I clearly felt God’s call to begin seriously writing. He has led me to write devotionals, stories, articles, plays, and, eventually, full-length novels.
I love to write realistic characters who struggle with the same challenges us real-life folk do. I hope Fallon and Lucas and their friends remind readers that God is intimately acquainted with our fears and doubts, and He will help and strengthen us if we trust Him.
What’s your favourite fiction genre, and why?
It depends. Sometimes I only want to read sweet romances. Other times, I’m in the mood for a toe-zinging thriller. Last year, I read a number of non-fiction books, including biographies. I guess I’m an omni-reader!
I think that describes me as well!
What book (or books) are you currently reading?
I just finished reading a suspense novel by Michael Koryta entitled, Those Who Wish Me Dead. That book had be hooked from the first page.
Where can we find High Country Dilemma online?
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Where can we find you online?
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Thank you, Dena! It’s been great to meet you, and learn more about High Country Dilemma.
Readers, what question would you like to ask Dena? Let us know in the comments! Meanwhile, you can read the introduction to High Country Dilemma below: