Today we have the pleasure of talking with Della Strickland. Della has written a number of books, including both adult and children’ genre. Welcome Della, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
Picture this: a rural, sunshiny area created with a small town surrounded by communities of side-by-side small farms, strung together by shady, dirt roads dissecting forests and open fields. In rural South Carolina, this was my life where everyone basically knew everyone. You couldn’t get away with anything, because your parents knew all your friends’ parents. It was a place of hard work, safety, and numerous adventures with brothers, sisters, cousins (who were like more brothers and sisters), and friends.
It was work and school during the week, long Sundays with fried chicken, homemade biscuits, and long, cool glasses of iced tea, front porch swings with chatter, love, and sometimes fights. But it was all good, and those memories are always alive and fresh, coloring my world with the gladness of those times. Notwithstanding, my life today is filled with much the same: husband, children, a grandchild, some of those same friends and family. Trying to create some of those times with my family is always fresh fun, sharing their heritage; giving my children a deeper and wider foundation of who they are.
What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?
My very favorite genre is romance, short or long, contemporary and historical. I also like detective novels, murder mysteries involving lawyers and the law. I have a long list of favorite authors,
What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?
I began to love books before I actually started to school. My older sisters thought it would be a hoot to teach me to read before I started school. I’ve loved books ever since, and began to cut my reading teeth on all sorts of library books all through school and beyond; even today.
Oddly enough, when I was in high school, one of my English teachers, a young woman, held in the clutch of hold-over-hippy days, told me I should pursue writing, as she thought I was good at it. I brushed it off. I only wrote seriously for fun, if you can imagine that. But later in life, married with two children, I began journaling, which led to the idea of becoming a published author.
Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
In To Love Thine Enemy, a story of fatherhood, abuse and betrayal, and a war of words to redemption and abiding love, my characters begin to discover a deeper meaning to life, expectancy, and a love that builds a bridge of hope to eternal things…salvation, joy, and the blessings of God. Once antagonists, based upon others’ hatred and lies, J. P. and LaBelle forge ahead, and deeper into their hearts, as they begin to understand the way ahead, their future, will begin when they resist hate and finally surrender to love.
I learned, through my characters taking me through their stories, that at some point in our lives we all are searching for someone to lovingly confirm us; that is, to let us know their love is unconditional, no matter our flaws and failures. This builds a bridge of trust where two lives can forge ahead and truly live and grow in the freedom that love has always longed to afford us.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I usually start with something burning in my heart, and then I get alone and start imagining. Usually, the characters appear first. No outline, just mostly a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of thing. For best results, I go old-school, ink and notebook, as I can get into the characters and their stories better without electronics.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I like to write at my computer spot, or a nice, secluded, and cozy spot where I can be alone and not distracted.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
After I finished writing To Love Thine Enemy, something wasn’t right. I couldn’t figure it out. The story seemed lacking in something deeper. So I began to explore my characters again. Then I discovered the soldier’s voice. When I put that voice in the right perspective, the whole book unfolded, and perspectives I had been searching for came clearly into view. I can’t explain it, lest I give the story away, but when you read To Love Thine Enemy, you will understand. Can’t say I liked one character better than the others, to be honest.
What advice would you give a new author?
Believe in your work, and just do it: write, publish and promote! Write, no matter what you put down on paper. Write from the heart, and let it spill out into words. Then come back and read it. Write what you love, and love what you write. You will find your voice as a writer, and author. Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard, and promote yourself and your work.
What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?
I’m still working on the Snowflakes Series. I’m working on book #5, A Witness to Love, Carolina Snowflakes with 4 more to follow.
Where can we find your books?