Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Darlene Foster

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you a new author, at least to me, Darlene Foster. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

First, please meet my guest, Darlene Foster.

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends.

Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”. She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people.

She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul. “Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel.

Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Amazon Author Page

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.

Hi, Darlene. It’s fabulous to learn more about you and your books. So, tell me… Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

I do it all the time. My novels are set in places I have visited so I use my experiences to inspire my stories and include many of them in the plot.

For example, when I was in Barcelona, my backpack was stolen, but I got it back when a woman found it under her car in the shopping centre parking lot. In Amanda in Spain, Amanda’s backpack gets stolen in Barcelona and she gets it back. The outcome is a bit different though. You would have to read the book to find out what happens.

My aunt and I stumbled upon a derelict building on the prairies when we were kids. It was as if whoever lived there, just up and left. Food was still on the table and sewing in the machine. It was quite creepy. I included that house and experience in Amanda in Alberta.

As adults, that same aunt and I visited a hotel in New Mexico that is supposed to be haunted. I incorporated that experience in Amanda in New Mexico. My books are full of things that have happened to me in real life!

I love how you manage to fit in some reality with your fiction. How does your family support your career as a writer?

Do they ever. I am so fortunate. I come from a very close, huge, German-Canadian family and we all support each other in our endeavours.

I did a reading at a library in Calgary, Alberta which was well attended. I was related to over half of the attendees. Others that I didn’t know said they came because a relative of mine told them about the event.

I sold out of books that day. Most events have some relatives attending. They buy my books and tell everyone they know about my books. My family knows how to network.

One cousin used my books for reading assignments when she was homeschooling her son. My 90-year-old mom keeps copies of my books in her room at the retirement home and the staff often read them to the other residents.

My children and grandchildren are great supporters and I’ve been invited by my grandchildren’s schools to do readings and workshops. My husband is very patient with my writing activities and spreads the word to his friends and connections. He is also the photographer at my events.

I certainly appreciate all the support my family has given me over the years and attribute much of my success to them.

Having the support of a family is such a gift. But what makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

I love writing for tweens, kids from 7 to 12. This is my favourite age group. Tweens are not babies anymore but not yet teenagers. They are curious, eager to learn about new things and enthusiastic about life. They have concerns and fears as all children do but are still positive for the most part and not tainted by teenage angst and broken hearts. I believe they possess a sense of adventure that makes them eager to read about other worlds, both real and imaginary. If I can help them dream about travelling to other countries one day, I have done my job.

Do you think public libraries have lost their charm in the last decade?

Not at all. As long as they contain books and readers they will be charming. I recently visited a new library in Calgary, Alberta. It was amazing. A very interactive, vibrant place for the entire family to enjoy.

I loved watching families looking at books together and engaging in activities. The wonder in the children’s eyes was reflected in the adults.

Darlene Foster reading to children

Last summer I facilitated a workshop in the downtown Vancouver Public Library during their summer book and writer’s camp. What a wonderful opportunity. The place was buzzing with creative minds and budding authors.

In Liverpool, England, I visited the main library and found a Harry Potter room with children dressed in Hogwarts cloaks waving wands. The positive energy was contagious.

Children learn differently now and I am so pleased to see that libraries understand that and have adapted. They are no longer the quiet, solemn and sometimes dull places they once were. That is a good thing because if they don’t change with the times, young people would no longer go there. And libraries are the best places in the world to hang out!

I’d love to hear about your your current projects. Can you share your progress?

I have a couple of projects on the go right now. The seventh book in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action, is completed and with the publisher. There will be a few more edits with plans to release the novel September 1, 2019.

In Holland, Amanda gets involved in searching for a missing gardener, rare tulip bulbs, and a home for an abandoned puppy, all while seeking clues as to why her great-uncle didn’t return from the second world war. I am excited about this book as I love how it all comes together in the end. The cover will be revealed soon and it is a cracker!

I have written half of book number 8, “Amanda in Malta – The Sleeping Lady” and plan to finish it by this summer. I also have a rough idea for book number 9, Amanda in France. I am also busy promoting the series whenever and wherever I can. There is no rest for the wicked a writer!

How exciting. It’s been a pleasure learning more about you and your books. Thanks for the visit.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to answer your excellent questions. The only difficulty was choosing which ones to answer as they are all great!

How to contact Author, Darlene Foster

Amazon author page

k luv u bye

 Thanks for stopping by to meet 

76 thoughts on “Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Darlene Foster

  1. A “super-mega-woman-supreme” post, Darlene and Colleen. Great interview and so nice to learn more about Darlene and her books. I’m totally in agreement that libraries are happening places. What a wonderful gift of free reading! Thanks for sharing and I wish you fantastic luck with Amanda and her travels. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It goes to show that even the unpleasant things that happen during travelling can be used in a story. In fact, my dad always said, “If things always went well on holidays, we would have no stories to tell.” I’m glad you aren’t bored with my interviews, yet.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I notice how life becomes art as you adapt real life experiences to your stories. And what a network you have, especially the support of family in your recent Canadian foray. You show us how it’s done, Darlene!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Marian. It’s really all about writing what you know, isn’t it? I know what it feels like to have my bag stolen and to tour a haunted hotel. I am so lucky to have the fervent support of my family and friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent interview Colleen. What a great idea to invite Darlene on your blog. I loved your questions and enjoyed Darlene‘s answers. We are so fortunate when family supports and understands our passion for writing and publishing books.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Patricia. There were so many great questions to pick from. It probably took me longer to decide which ones to answer than to compose the answers!! I enjoyed this interview a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Enjoyed reading this interview, and surprised that you were related to over half of your attendees at the book signing! Growing up on a ranch in Medicine Hat seems wonderful to me, although I expect the reality was rather different?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was a pretty amazing life. We did work hard but that paid off for us later as adults as we were never put off by hard work. I found it a bit lonely but made up stories in my head to offset the loneliness. That paid off later too for me.

      Liked by 2 people

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