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Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Bestselling author Dynah Zale
Here is our conversation.
We're talking with Dynah Zale, the bestselling author of DRAMA IN THE CHURCH. Dynah, first of all thank you for taking out the time to speak with Conversations. For those who might not be as familiar with you, why don't you tell them a little about who Dynah Zale is.
Well, I was born and raised in New Jersey. This is my first published work and I love to tell stories through the gift of writing. In my spare time (Which isn’t a lot) I like to stay in shape by jogging. I just completed my first playwright and I’m in the process of establishing my own production company. My first stage play Down & Out is scheduled for release in September.
Dynah, did it surprise you at all how well your book was received, not only by avid readers but critics well?
The success of my first novel was overwhelming. I never thought so many people would relate to the things I addressed in the book. I’ve received numerous e-mails from individuals thanking me for addressing the issue of teenage pregnancy in the church. Plenty of women were stigmatized by how the church treated them because they became another statistic for teenage pregnancy.
The idea about writing a novel that was based on faith and the church is not always an easy one. Were you at all concerned at how it would be received by staunch people of faith?
I had absolutely no reservations about writing a faith based book. Since, this book is loosely based on my life; I wanted to share my experiences with others. When I began this project I honestly thought our bible study group was the only one of its kind in the world. There are more Tressies’, Vals’, Olivias’ and definitely more Danyelles’ in this world then we think.
Tressie, like many of us, is some who believes in God but allows her personal desires and wants to get in the way sometime. With a book like yours, was part of the message how you can be a Christian and still not always make the best decisions?
Tressie loves the Lord, but like most young Christians it’s a challenge for her to be obedient to God’s word. I wanted to depict how all Christians (those who are still growing in their faith and those who have devoted their entire lives to Christ) can succumb to sin.
We all have challenges to our faith. Take the scene when Payce finds Reverend Kane at his--let's say--place of business. Do you think episodes like that will make some jaded and even resentful towards God and religion and general?
That’s a good question. If I was in Payce’s shoes and found my pastor working at the Doll House I’d have to look at her with a crooked eye. I think the problem arises when people give church folk, pastor’s and those committed in doing the Lord’s work God like characteristics. Society expect pastors to never stumble in their walk they must represent themselves as holy with no faults. Everyone has hang ups. God loves all people even scandalous homosexual pastors that live life on the down low.
You dedicated the book to your mother, someone who you also refer to as your best friend. Was she surprised at how your writing evolved from the time you initially showed interest in it to the novel that was eventually published?
My mother is not only my biggest supporter but also my biggest critic. I call her My Meticulous Mother because she is the kind of person who doubles checks everything. Every ‘I’ has to be dotted and every ‘T’ crossed. I have to admit I was nervous of what her reaction would be once she read DITC, but like most mom’s she sung my praises at my accomplishments.
Tell us about the writing process for you. When did you know this is what you wanted to do and what led you to Mark Anthony and the Q-Boro Books family?
My cousin (who is portrayed as Olivia in the book) confided in me about how members of our church treated her after she got pregnant. It took her fifteen years to get the courage to tell her story. Appalled, her story plagued me for weeks until I finally started writing about it and that process materialized into Drama in the Church.
My connection with Q-boro books was a unique blessing. They were looking for writers and fortunately I happen to be in the right place at the right time. They requested a short synopsis of my story. I submitted it, they were interested and I as made an offer.
In the dedication you call the book Christian Fiction. What does that mean to you?
To me, the definition of Christian Fiction is any novel, play or ensemble of words that forces any person to pause and look for a deeper meaning to life. I want to challenge all my readers to take off the rose colored glasses and see the real meaning behind the words. Critics nearly crucified me because this wasn’t what they would call Christian fiction. This book gives real life application to people who forgive for unforgivable sins.
Can you tell us about how your writing has helped you in your own faith?
I think my faith and creativity go hand in hand. I can’t have one without the other. No one can write without having faith in what their doing. Every writer needs to believe in what they do. Every idea that is conjured up in my head is a present form the Lord, because I pray everyday for creativity. If I didn’t write then I wouldn’t have peace of mind that what I’m doing places me in the center of God’s will for my life.
Again Dynah, thank you so much for this time. As we close, please feel free to speak to your fans and let our readers know how they can keep in touch with you.
Cyrus, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking with you. I want to thank your readers for their interest in me and my books. If they would like to contact me they can do so at Dynah.Zale@comcast.net