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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spotlight on Dennis Bates and Under the Burr Oak Tree

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DENNIS BATES - "Getting older but feeling younger by the minute." That’s how Dennis Bates describes himself since he retired from his job as a government attorney. And this father of two daughters and husband of 39 years, credits following his dream to write with a good part of that. This is his second publication following "Under the Burr Oak Tree" which was released earlier this year by Spirit Light Publishing.

All his stories involve three things: a Christian world view, although admittedly from the edges sometimes, where he feels real people live; one or more love stories at least partially from a male perspective, and some tie to his home state of Iowa, where he and his wife live.

With an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, he frequently uses Iowa City as a setting and a source of inspiration and almost always has something to say about the small Iowa towns that he both loves and can't resist poking fun at on a regular basis. "Iowans are special people to me," he says, "but we have our quirks, and I'm thankful for all of them because they give me an endless supply of things to write about."

His Second Calling Author website can be found at dennisbates.com, which features a page about his latest books and a link to a blog at www.spirtlightbooks, where he writes about whatever happens to come into his mind every Tuesday and Wednesday. He invites you to visit his website and the blog site often.

UNDER THE BURR OAK TREE
by Dennis Bates
Published by Spirit Light Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOK

Under the Burr Oak Tree is a story of forgiveness, the grace that allows it, and the love that can grow out of it. Full of the hope and strength of a young woman who dares to dream of a better life, and laced with the humor she uses as both a sword and a shield to rescue her sister, her mother and ultimately herself, the story argues that good guys still exist, and the don't always finish last.

Buy Your Copy of Under the Burr Oak Tree Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Originally it was a reaction to a book written by Susan Meissner. I didn't like the way she left one of her characters at the end of the story, so I was going to give a similar character a better fate. However, as most of my stories do, it morphed into something very different and that character ended up being Lindsey.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Most of my stories take place at least partially in Iowa, which is my home state and where I live now. For that reason, most of my settings are very familiar to me. There are elements in all my characters that are based to some degree on my experiences, but a good part of everything I write deals more with themes that interest me and I let the characters talk about how they feel. I use a very limited outline and write to a large degree from the seat of my pants, recording the situations and conversations wherever the characters take me. All of my characters seem to develop unique traits because of that.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Ice cream? There's a whimsical question. I like it. There are two heroines (sisters) and two heroes. Lindsey is a dreamer so she would be whatever flavor you dream about whenever you think of ice cream, but she would be the purest variety and definitely homemade. Candy would be quite different and definitely covered with hot fudge, but underneath she would be pure and rich. Hank goes with Lindsey but he is definitely vanilla, pure and everybody's favorite. William, a former attorney, would be something that started as Praline Pecan because it's pretentious, but ended up being fairly basic and solid like butter pecan.

4. What themes exist in Under the Burr Oak Tree that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Ice cream? There's a whimsical question. I like it. There are two heroines (sisters) and two heroes. Lindsey is a dreamer so she would be whatever flavor you dream about whenever you think of ice cream, but she would be the purest variety and definitely homemade. Candy would be quite different and definitely covered with hot fudge, but underneath she would be pure and rich. Hank goes with Lindsey but he is definitely vanilla, pure and everybody's favorite. William, a former attorney, would be something that started as Praline Pecan because it's pretentious, but ended up being fairly basic and solid like butter pecan.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I know that this sounds strange, but this story almost wrote itself after I turned it over to the Holy Spirit and really listened. Before that I ran into one road block after another. The credit for turning it over really belongs to Staci Stallings, who liked the basic story and told me to listen to the story that had already been written in heaven and write it down. That doesn't mean I don't get choked up sometimes when I see what I was been given. My two favorite scenes: William's proposal to Candy under the burr oak tree in Door County, Wisconsin, and the group prayer Candy, William, Lindsey and Hank have under the burr oak tree in Iowa. I don't want to say more than that or it will ruin the scenes.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book is coming out within the next month again through Spirit Light Publishing and the title is Sharon's Song. Here is blurb from the back cover.

With a blizzard making all roads impassable, all Sharon Winston wants is for her brother to be safe.. Sharing a prayer with a simple truck driver and a group of his friends at a truck stop, she gets an answer that is much more than she asks for, and it involves her brother, the woman who finds him, dozens of local residents, the truck driver and Sharon herself. However, God's answer to that simple prayer reveals mysteries of the past mingled with miracles of the present and future in an hundred year old love song written just for her. All she has to do is listen to it play in her heart forever.

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Thank you, Dennis, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Under the Burr Oak Tree.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

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10 comments:

Debra Ullrick said...

Hi Dennis and Tiffy!

I just wanted to say ... nice interview!

I already have an autographed copy of Dennis's book, but I had to stop by and post a comment.

Dennis is a very gifted writer. His stories are filled with passion, not just the romantic kind either.

Keep up the awesome work!

Debra Ullrick
The Bride Wore Coveralls
Déjà vu Bride
Dixie Hearts
www.DebraUllrick.com
christianromancewriter@gmail.com

ChristyJan said...

Both UNDER THE BURR OAK TREE and SHARON'S SONG sound like wonderful reads!
Thanks for introducing me to a new author!

hawkes(at)citlink.net

Anonymous said...

I loved reading the interview, and loved the sound of this book.

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky C.

rec(at)hiwaay(dot)net

windycindy said...

I am glad that he is getting to do what he wanted to do-write. His stories sound wonderful! Please enter me in your delightful book drawing. Many thanks.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Staci Stallings said...

I've already read each book about four times and have my own copy, but I will tell you this about them...

First, I am extremely honored that God allowed me to be a small part of these two stories. They are now a part of me. Secondly, it would be a VERY good idea to buy some Kleenex before you read either one. There is one scene that I will not give away that just cracks me right open every time I think about it. God definitely has a plan to change lives through these books!

Carole said...

Thanks to your blog, I've discovered another author I'd like to read. Thank you so much for the interview and giveaway!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Carolynn W. said...

I have not had the chance to read anything by this author but both books sound fantastic, I look forward to reading them. Thanks for the chance to win!
carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

Pamela J said...

I may be getting behind in learning about new (to me) authors, but I've not heard of Dennis or his books until now. I am very interested to learn what the theme or themes are brought out in this book. I also expect to love the scenes that are Dennis's favorites and look forward to reading the book some day.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Dennis said...

First, thank all of you for showing an interest. As most of you know, writing can be a solitary thing so it is great to actually connect with real people.

My stories aren't for everyone. I know that. I also know that this is the way I get them and I have to be true to that. All I ask is give them a chance.

Also, Staci is far too humble. If it weren't for her I'd still be trying to figure out which way to turn. She is a joy to work with and a true friend to newbies like me, no matter how old we are. She is also a tough editor, but in a good way. I have learned a lot from her and hope to learn more.

I have the proof copy for Sharon's Song now and have a few glitches to work out yet, but it will be out as soon as they are worked out.

Please feel free to contact me through the spiritlightbooks cite or my own. I'd love to hear from you and answer any other questions you might have.

Dennis

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:

BECKY C.!

Congratulations! I've sent your mailing information to Dennis so he can send out your book.

Everyone else, check out interviews with Nancy Moser and Candice Speare to see if you've won.

As always, thanks for your continued support.