An Interview with Indie Authors Ruth Van Dyke and Yvonne Doll
For Ruth Van Dyke and Yvonne Doll, the bond they have with their fictional counterparts is genuine because they lived these character’s lives. Together, these combat-warriors-turned-authors infuse the heroines of their books (Refined by Fire and Trailblazers) with true-life military experiences. It is an honor to speak with these pioneering women about their amazing careers and how they are tackling the challenges of writing an ongoing fictional series, Guardians of Peace.
Tell us about your book series.
Van Dyke: It focuses on the first women to be commissioned through ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs and who attended the United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point. People don’t realize that before 1972, a woman could not graduate from high school and be a part of the ROTC. Women did not enter West Point until 1976. The book series is about those early days when everyone was getting used to women being at West Point and preparing to go into combat. It is about their struggles and successes.
What motivated each of you to write the books?
Yvonne Doll: It is really Ruth’s vision. She brought me on because I am a West Point graduate, a retired military police officer and I interviewed 23 active duty female generals for my dissertation. I can tap into all those stories to use as material for our books.
Van Dyke: For me, I had experienced so much in my 22 years of active service. I want readers to understand what the women in the military go through, both professionally and personally. It is a story that wasn’t being told. To say that women weren’t warmly welcomed in those early days is an understatement. We want to share the triumphs and the trials of being a woman in the military during the 70’s and 80’s.
How does it feel to be published authors?
Van Dyke: It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. Until you start the writing process, you don’t realize the amount of work that goes into publishing a book. There are so many challenges along the way. You must believe in yourself and remember there are people waiting to enjoy your story.
Are your books finding their target audience?
Doll: The first book started slowly but it is finding its niche. Many of our readers are retired military women who love the book. Going to conferences, conventions, and speaking engagements has helped market them to a wider group of people. Many fans say they read the first book and are hooked. Marketing the second book was easier, since we knew our core audience. Now everyone is waiting for the third book.
What is your experience like working with Dog Ear Publishing?
Van Dyke: I’ve been very happy with Dog Ear. They are a personal company that is there when you need them. I liked that you can choose from one of their pre-packaged plans or customize one to fit your needs. You get to decide their level of involvement.
Doll: Oh, I agree. I am very pleased with them. They are always friendly and helpful. Our editor gave us great feedback. His suggestions were spot on for how to make our narrative flow smoother. The Dog Ear folks created a terrific book cover and video for us. We’re still using the video to help us promote the series.
What’s your advice for authors thinking of trying the self-publishing route?
Van Dyke: Pay attention to the details, whether proof-reading your copy or selecting your publishing package. Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Yvonne and I learned a lot about the entire process with our first book, Refined by Fire. Our second book, Trailblazer, was easier because we put what we learned into practice.
Doll: Writing and publishing a book series takes discipline. I enjoyed the writing, but the toughest part is marketing your book. It is an ongoing process.
Strong Women Role Models. Inspiring Military Service.
With their third book, Ruth Van Dyke and Yvonne Doll are confidently sharing more amazing experiences through their fictional characters. The success of this series proves there is a market for empowering stories with strong female characters who continue to forge their way into the male dominated world of the military. Thank you both for your service, for providing readers everywhere with inspiring female role models.
Why Dog Ear?
Helping authors like Ruth Van Dyke and Yvonne Doll produce a successful book series is what Dog Ear Publishing is all about. With over 50 years of traditional publishing experience, we can help you create a quality publication that will reflect who you are as an author. If you are ready to share your work with the world, check out our website at www.dogearpublishing.net.