I've known Tina Scott for about ten years. She made me welcome when I joined American Night Writers Association (ANWA), and I loved being around her because she's one of the funniest ladies I know. One of her early children's books, Coyote's Grand Adventure, is still a favorite of mine.
Tina (writing as Tina Peterson Scott) has a new book out, My Sweet Danish Rose, and I was eager to talk to her about this new arrival.
LIZ: How did you come to set this book in Denmark?
TINA: Many of my ancestors are from Denmark. Years ago when I was reading some of my family history, I came upon my great-great grandmother’s story. She talked about some of the things that happened on her voyage to America and I was intrigued. When I had the opportunity to visit Denmark, I felt an undeniable connection.
LIZ: You’re using a character you used in Farewell, My Denmark. Tell me how/why you came to do that?
TINA: The main character in My Sweet Danish Rose is the sister to the main character in Farewell, My Denmark. I had originally planned to make the stories into one book. However, since the timelines were a little different, I thought it was best to separate their stories. In this way I was better able to develop their characters.
LIZ: Your book starts out with a bang in the conflict department and continues at a steady pace. Do you consciously plot that way, or are you a seat-of-the-pants writer?
I like to have a clear idea of the story’s beginning and the ending before I start. Other than that, I am more of an organic writer.
LIZ: What is Berta’s story arc? What does she learn, or how did she grow?
TINA: I think that the biggest thing she learns, other than how to trust her own heart, is that God loves us all no matter the mistakes we make. She starts out as a timid and sheltered girl who thinks she’s in love. Throughout the story, she develops the gumption she needs to survive.
LIZ: The book takes place in the 1860s. How did you prepare to write about this era?
TINA: I visited a lot of places in Denmark that helped me prepare. The poorhouse left quite an impression and I knew I had to write it into the story even though it wasn’t in existence at the time of the novel. Another helpful place was Den Fynske Landsby (The Funen Village). It’s an open-air museum that has many historic homes and buildings from around Denmark. Some of the Danes I met while in Denmark told me stories of the area that I’ve tried to include, and I also did a lot of research online.
LIZ: Your writing is vivid and tight. How did you acquire that level of skill?
TINA: I appreciate your compliment. Thank you. My skill came from lots of trial and error, and from reading a lot of books – some in the historical romance genre, others on writing. And I’ve attended a lot of writer’s conferences. The ANWA conference in Arizona is an exceptional value, both in price and content.
LIZ: What are your future plans? Will you continue to write about Berta’s family, or do you have something else in store?
TINA: I do have plans to write another story set in Denmark. The characters won’t be related to Berta, though it will have bits of family history included.
I am currently writing a mermaid story. I’ve wanted to write one for a long time—The Little Mermaid was written by a Danish author, and mermaids are actually mentioned in my first book. It wasn’t until we (my husband and I) visited Alaska this past August that I felt the inspiration to begin.
LIZ: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about this book or about your writing?
TINA: I like to write about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Leaving your home and traversing the Atlantic to start a new life, or being alone at a young age are both extraordinary circumstances. I also believe that meeting a mermaid would qualify as an extraordinary circumstance. Don’t you? It’s during these trying and difficult times that we can discover our true character.
My novels are like a good dessert. They have layers—there’s a smattering of adventure, a dose of history, and a measure of romance.
LIZ: Thanks, Tina, for taking the time to 'talk' to me. I put the link above where people can buy My Sweet Danish Rose, and I put a link to Coyote's Grand Adventure, too.