Dawn Rasmussen’s personal slogan is “Always keep an eye out for magical spots.” This is her way of life. She finds magic, spontaneous adventures, great books and great swimming spots in nature. At dawn, she began writing TWELVE FOR TWELVE as a voluntary treatment assignment, encouraging her to record her unresolved emotions and then burn. Rather than embarking on a bonfire victory, Dawn one day she continued to write until it became her novel. Her great hope is that what she writes will ease a person’s loneliness.
Here is an interview with author Dawn J Rasmussen
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in southern Utah, but have lived the life of a wanderer, including some time overseas and living on a boat. I love sunshine, the sea, the redwood forests, fields full of wildflowers, and great swimming holes. I enjoy long road trips and I’m a connoisseur of taking naps on whatever sunny rock I can find. My wordsmithing ways are intimately rooted in a love of books and a hope that those who read my work will feel less alone in the world.
How many hours a day do you write?
Sometimes 15 minutes, sometimes 15 hours. It just depends on the time and season and how deep I’m getting into a project.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have written three other books, and many scenes that belong to no story at all. Stephen King once said that the first million words a person writes are practice, and I tend to agree. Those stories are rightfully stashed in a hidden location, never to be disclosed. I also have a YA (Young Adult) book published under a pen name.
I keep a file full of book ideas, collections of eclectic jobs, ideas for secrets that future characters might want to protect, etc. I’m always collecting ideas for when it comes time to write something new.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The bones of the first draft usually takes a few months. Editing can sometimes take several years. Finding the right literary agent can be an involved and lengthy affair, and then finally a publisher…let’s just say that the cogs of the publishing industry can be instrumental in developing patience.
How did you develop your plots? How do you select the names of your characters?
I use many, many plot boards. I write out basic scenes and align them in order and then the characters get minds of their own and begin to veer off the set course. When this occurs, I’ve learned to just run with it and re-think the plot. I once deleted thirty thousand words after trying to force my protagonist do what I thought she ought to do, but the story wasn’t working out and I had to scrap it. The moment your character develops voice, you must get yourself out of the way and respect the wild inspirations that take them in different directions than originally planned.
As for names, I really agonized over my character’s last name, and was inspired by Cactus Jack Slade who does crazy and silly things reminiscent of my protagonist. That is how Camden Slade came to be. Barcelona was also a fun name to come up with for a character. She’s named after the city in which she was conceived.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I’m afraid, at present, I fall into that category of writers who daylights as other things. I’m a CPA. In the spirit of this question, I don’t think I could stop myself from writing. It’s a compulsion that can’t be denied. If I didn’t write, I don’t think I could happily exist.
How did you get inspired to write “Twelve for Twelve”?
My story began on a critical day when I went to the library and found a book that recommended recording all of my hurt feelings and burning them afterward. This struck me and caused my inner angst to silence. I checked out the book and went home to test out the process. Instead of engaging in bonfire triumph, I kept writing until one day it turned into a novel.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
I think every book I have ever read makes me think differently about fiction. I’m super into old works that precede the last few centuries. For whatever reason, they really feed my soul at the present time. I love the writings of Alexandre Dumas. The only way to be tutored by such greatness is to study their methods. Reading is not the same for an author. It’s a combination of absorbing technique while feasting on the story.
What are you currently working on?
Tax season! Haha! Actually, I’m working on deciding what to write next.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I surely do! I read all the good ones and allow them to fill me up. Readers who take the time to let others know how they feel about a book are kindred spirits and deeply appreciated. I received a professional review from Readers’ Favorite, awarding five stars with the following comments:
I highly recommend this novel for its edgy anticipation, compelling characters, and a winding path of justice. Woven within this excellently written book are humor and intense love. The mysterious stages play out in fascinating and unpredictable ways. The plot unfolds while characters come to live in your heart as deeper meanings to life develop.
I’m friends with many authors and when we have time to workshop together it’s pretty fantastic. I’m always attending writer conferences and improving my craft. There’s nothing better than a great piece of insight offered by another writer with different experiences and wisdom.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Wait until your work is immaculate before querying or publishing. Each and every scene should be treated as if it’s the most important part of the work. Also, never give up. Never stop improving. Find a critique group. Join a league of writers somewhere. Never give up on yourself.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Fees to attend writers conferences. Some of my best learning came from these classes and some amazing connections were made.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Articulating what your soul wants to say in just the way it wants to say it. There is little else to rival such satisfaction.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
My book, TWELVE FOR TWELVE, was just released on February 9, 2022. Check it out and if you love it, please leave me a review.
Thank you for asking! ALL OF THE ABOVE:
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