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Popular author to speak in DL

Most writers talk about getting stacks of rejection letters before finally getting published. That wasn’t the case for Lauraine Snelling, though she said it really had nothing to do with her.

“Well, God put his foot in the middle of my back in 1980 and said, ‘now is the time,’” she said with a laugh.

That was 77 books ago.

Snelling will be speaking about her latest novel, “Wake the Dawn,” on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Public Library. It will also be for sale during her signing.

How she got her start

Snelling said she had dreamed of writing horse books for girls since she was in high school, and in 1980, she went to a writer’s conference.

But after high school, instead of writing, Snelling started college to become a teacher. She met a man, Wayne, and two years later they married. After she had children, they had decided that she would stay home and care for their children.

“Our dream was our kids would have their mother at home, and so they did. That was something we accomplished and we were really grateful for that.”

She did odds and ends things — like sewing and baking — to bring in some extra income while the kids were young. Once they hit their teens though, it was time for her to start writing.

“I did most of my writing from 10 at night to 2 in the morning. That’s when I had the time and I was a swing shift person, I always said. It worked well for me, though mornings were not exactly a joy and delight for me,” she said with a laugh.

Her first book was titled “Tragedy on the Toutle,” based on the Mount Saint Helen eruption. It has now been reissued titled “What about Cimmaron?”

She started writing between her children’s activities and learning to write.

“I was already a good writer, but writing for publication is a whole other thing,” she said. “I had always written newsletters and plays and Bible studies and Sunday school curriculum, but then I found out that writing for publication is a whole new ballgame.”

She said she was always a good storyteller, but creating characters and getting it all down on paper, that’s where the learning came in.

“God knows what a great starter I am and not a great finisher I am,” she said with a laugh.

A year later, she attended the same writer’s conference with the first chapter of her book. She took a class from Colleen Reece, who became a mentor. She asked Reece to take a look at her chapter.

“She said yes, of course, and then she bled all over it,” she said of marking up the sheets of paper. “I thought it was all over. If it needed this much help, obviously I’m really not listening to what God said and I’m in the totally wrong place. I wanted to crawl out of the room. And she said, ‘boy, this is really going to be a good story.’”

After the shock wore off that summer, she got down to writing and by that December, she was published.

“All I can say, God did it.”

Snelling has written numerous books and in a variety of genres. She’s written young adult, inspirational or Christian, soft romance, contemporary and historical.

“I love happy endings.”

The book tour

“We’re having a wonderful time. It’s really an amazing thing,” she said of her book tour. “I have not seen this part of the world before, so that makes this even more fun.”

Snelling lived many years in Vancouver, Wash., and then moved to California.

“Getting to meet new people and talk books is always a delight to me,” she said.

In the last week, she spoke in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota and North Dakota on this tour.

“I live in the desert and it’s definitely not green there. It is so green and beautiful here.”

This tour is to promote her novel “Wake the Dawn.”

She said it’s fun to get out and meet the people that read her books and share her story with them.

“I always do a Q&A because people have so many questions, and that’s wonderful. I love that part because I never know what they want to know.”

Snelling said she sees no retirement in sight because she enjoys what she does and the ideas keep flowing, so there’s no reason to stop.

“You never know where things are going to go. Hopefully I’ve learned do not tell God, never. It’s not too bright. It makes Him laugh every time.”

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.