D-L Nelson: Devotion to the Written Word
By Ellen Hall
I talked to D-L Nelson in a café in Argelès. She was in her regular seat facing the door, red hair and wide-rimmed glasses over an impish smile. Her welcome rings with the flat “a”’s of her native Boston.
A professional writer and busy journalist, D-L is always generous with her time and advice. Writers, both established and those just starting out, have profited from her Wise Words on Writing website with its practical formula of examples, exercises, and encouragement.
She also gives writing workshops to small groups and offers editing services to individuals.
She believes in daily practice of her craft. Citing Horowitz, she says, “If I don’t write for one day, I know the difference. If I don’t write for two days, my audience knows the difference.”
Thoughts and observations on everything from wild asparagus to tame cats appear in her blog. She manages to write regular posts while turning out articles(1059 stories since October 2006) for her credit union newsletter. A news junkie, D-L is passionately interested in the world as seen by Al Jazeera, YouTube or the Boston Globe.
Although she now lives between Geneva and Argelès, Boston is very much present in her imagination. D-L’s latest novel, “Triple-deckers”, is about a Boston Irish family who live in a typical three-story house. After the son’s death in Iraq, the patriotic mother becomes a flag-burning activist. Talking about politics, D-L points out: “government or regime, insurgents, freedom fighters or terrorists. Which one chooses, plants your story.”
Her two previously published novels are “Chickpea Lover” in which a woman falls for a man dressed as a chick pea (who wouldn’t?) and ”The Card” about two women’s Christmas messages.
When I asked D-L which of her characters was her favourite, she said Diana from “The Card”, for her devotion to journalism. Also for her courage in the face of blows both physical(attacked in the 1968 Paris riots) and emotional ( gay father, husband’s cancer). Nevertheless “she finds the power to heal herself and change course. I would like to be as courageous as Diana.”
D-L wanted to be a writer from the age of four, walking along the street narrating her day to her grandmother. At 9 she started a school newspaper and at 16 became a reporter for a local daily. She went on to corporate writing work in public relations and advertising in the US before moving permanently to Europe. She has a degree in writing from Glamorgan University in Wales.
Ideas are everywhere: in the four or five news sites she surfs each day or simply something overheard, like “….our first date was his sister’s funeral.” D-L usually has stories going on in her head. After thinking about the story she writes it on her computer. Her favourite authors are Ann Beattie, Maeve Binchy and the Australian, Janet Turner Hospital.
Coming out in 2008 is D-L’s novel, “Running from the Puppet Master”, which takes place in New England, Argelès, Geneva and Paris. Asked about the future, D-L responded, “ More of the same. I’m excited about each day. I can write what I want and I live in two wonderful places. I have good friends. I can meet them in a café for tea. This is heaven!”
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Chickpea Lover Not a Cookbookpb