I’m excited to introduce you to my writing colleague from the Church of the Open Door fiction writing group, Kathryn (Kathy) Dahlstrom.
What are some memories you have of that area? I grew up watching wildlife – from muskrats to moose and from sparrows to mallards to bald eagles. I had the run of our thirty-eight acres of woods and river.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher and a writer, which I have done in that order.
What do you love about living in Minnesota? What are you not particularly fond of living here? Think about how many shades of green there are in a Minnesota woods, meadow, and field. And how much blue there is in our lakes and our sky, and how many other colors there are in our northern natural world. My husband Tim and I lived in dingy, camel-brown Los Angeles for five years and I suffered a depression that I fought bravely because Christians are supposed to, except that now I know the Lord gave Tim and me Minnesota fever because He intended to bring us home. We own fifty-five acres of woods, peat, and a pond that we keep wild. I could do without mosquitoes and ticks, but I put on repellent and love the outdoors anyhow.
Tell us about your writing journey. I loved to read and loved to run around my place pretending everything I’d just read. I’d be Templeton the Rat from Charlotte’s Web, Tinkerbell from the Disney comics version of Peter Pan, one of the Hardy Boys, and so-o-o on. Written phrases would run through my mind as I played: “She turned with a start.” I got A’s on everything I wrote in school from kindergarten to my senior year. However, college term papers gave me the idea that writing was torture whether I was good at it or not, so I shrugged off writing for a “practical life” and “practical ministry.”
I was a preschool teacher for the first seven years of our marriage. Then Tim’s job sent us from St. Louis to Los Angeles for a two year assignment. I didn’t need to work, so I led a Bible club for inner city kids at a government housing community. But the Lord also put the desire to write back in my heart, since I still loved to read fiction and realized that if it’s fun to read it must also be fun to write.
A church friend told me about a Christian writers’ conference in Los Angeles. I registered. It began on a Sunday afternoon. That morning in church, the pastor preached on Revelation 3. The Lord flagged out verses to me that I knew He meant for my writing life: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Revelation 3: 7 and 8.
Does this promise mean I became an overnight success? Nope. I had to work hard at learning my craft and I had to learn perseverance. See the next question.
What is a lesson you’ve learned during that journey? What was something that surprised you? PERSEVERANCE. I’ve been a professional writer for twenty-two years. It took four years for my writing to reach magazine article and story level. Another year after that, I landed my first contract for my six-book children’s fiction series, the Good News Club, published by Child Evangelism Fellowship Press and based on my inner city ministry. The series stayed in print for five years.
Meanwhile, the Lord surprised me by turning my writing toward screenplays. I wanted to see my books on the big screen. That craft took five years to learn and more beyond that to develop God-ordained connections in the film industry. The Lord has kept His promise and has opened door after door for me.
Tell us about your current work. My latest, published last year by WinePress, is a tween fantasy novel called Children of Angels about a boy who develops angel powers. It’s the first in the New Nephilim series. I have a friend who is a producer and screenwriter. I adapted his family fantasy script “Beyond Belief” into a tween novel. Not only is he interested in turning Children of Angels into a film, but he’s starting his own small literary press in order to publish Beyond Belief as a novel. He’s also negotiating contracts for its film production. I’ll be his publishing company’s main marketer, which is an ooh-ah way of saying I’ll sell our co-written books along with mine at tradeshows and book festivals.
You just attended a trade show, didn’t you? Tell us about that experience. The last week of June, I attended the International Christian Retail Show in St. Louis. God blessed the time so richly, I was astonished! I put my book in the hands of 350 + bookstore owners and ministers from America and around the world, and received two requests from film company representatives for my screenplay adaptation of Children of Angels. One of them was Amick Byram, the singing voice of Moses in the animated classic “Prince of Egypt.” The best thing that happened: a boy from Hungary won my Kindle giveaway!
What are your future plans and goals around writing? To help get my friend’s small publishing company off the ground, to write the second book of the New Nephilim series, and to do whatever I can to help a film company bring “Children of Angels” to the big screen.
What is something you’d like to experience in Minnesota that you haven’t yet? The ferry boat trip out to Isle Royale on Lake Superior, which is technically in Michigan, but the trip would begin on the Minnesota side. Lake Superior is a favorite place for me, Tim, and our grown daughter.
What’s something most people don’t know about you? Most people who know me know that I love to sing as much as I love to write and that I have a Bachelor of Science in Vocal Music Education from Bemidji State University. What most don’t know is that my great-great-grandmother was a renowned opera singer in Norway.
I didn’t know you like to sing (I guess we don’t sing much in our Open Door writing group!). How cool to have a famous relative! Thanks for coming by, Kathy, and sharing some of your amazing story.
Leave a note or question here for Kathy, or stop by her websites. You can also chat with her on Twitter and Facebook.
Websites: www.kathryndahlstrom.com and www.childrenofangels.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathryn.dahlstrom and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Children-of-Angels/223072121068778?fref=ts
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6erqlrNBPXg