Now on to the interview!
When I was about four, I told my grandpa that I was "anticipating" getting a ring the next time we went to town. And about that same time I told my dad (who was big into baseball) that I had "captured" the ball--they still give me flak about that one. So I've had a fascination with words all my life. In second grade I wrote a story about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and my teacher (who hung the moon) said it was so good I was going to be a writer. So of course, that was it. Sr. Adrian said it. I was going to be a writer!
Ah, encouragement. What a boost to our morale. What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
Contemporary Christian Romance. However, my stories swing around a wide arc from inspirational (great message but no preachers or sermons) to full-on Christian. I also write young adult, college age, and adult as well as short non-fiction and Bible Studies. I pretty much write what the Spirit tells me to write.
Sounds like a perfect plan. How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
My "writing days" would normally be called "chaos." I have a husband, three kids, a house, two businesses, two schools, a church, and two large extended families. I teach Sunday School and VBS, and I serve on retreat teams. I do fundraisers for both schools, and I keep all of the finances for both of our companies as well as for our family. I edit, supervise book cover design, market, and publish. I have three blogs, and I'm the founder of an author group, Grace & Faith Author Connection. When do I write? Good question.
I've finished 30 full-length novels, 3 short story collections and several Bible Studies. Over Spring Break when my husband took the kids skiing, I spent 2 days watching movies and in the next two days I wrote 80 pages. Then about 2 weeks ago, I finished my latest novel in two days... after it had sat there for 5 months. Don't ask me. I write what God tells me to write when He tells me to write it. I've had some books that I wrote in a month or less. Others that took me 7 years or longer. Mostly, I just follow what God tells me to do at any given moment, and I do everything else about the same way. Somehow He gets it all to work.
You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?
My newest book is called "To Protect & Serve." It is the story of Jeff, a Houston firefighter, who is committed to saving everyone--no matter how much danger that puts him in. It is also the story of Lisa Matheson, an ad-exec and complete control freak, who falls for Jeff, and then realizes she can't control him or the death wish he seems to have.
You can buy "To Protect & Serve" for Kindle at Amazon:
And for Nook at B&N:
You can read first chapters, excerpts, and reviews for all of my books at:
Love the sound of it. What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?
Love is sometimes really tough because it means letting the other person work out their stuff in their own way. It's not all wine and roses, and real love is learning to stick it out no matter what. I think there is also an underlying theme of letting the mistakes of the past go, learning to let go and live rather than having to have everything in a clinch-grip of control.
True. Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?
Oh, through the years, many times I've thought, "That's it. No more stories. I don't see how this is ever going to work out, how more than a handful of people will ever read or care about my stories." But God just wouldn't let me give up. Rest. Reset. Recharge, but never give up. The truth is, all along, He was putting pieces into place that I couldn't even see. I'm so glad He didn't let me give up on my dream, on my desire, on my vision. However, there were A LOT of times of "faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the substance of things not seen" because I had no solid evidence that any of this would come to fruition. Now I see how blessed I am in that I have enough material to publish one book a month from now until 2015! All of that work, even though there was no evidence it was working, is finally paying off in a big way. I credit that to God for keeping me sane and focused all those years.
Who’s inspired you the most?
The Holy Spirit. When I was 34, I saw God in my life as a duty. Then the Holy Spirit stepped in and opened up this whole new world for me--a world of learning and living and being and growing. It was a world of joy and yes, of sorrow too. Most of all, it was a world of just being me. Once that happened, I no longer had to hide or try to be something I wasn't to gain approval. I know now that God loves me just like I am--just the way He made me to be. In fact, I tell my kids, "Only two people get a vote if you're okay and loved--you and God, and your vote doesn't count." Being unchained from other people's expectations inspired me to breathe and live and learn and grow in a way that nothing else ever has.
Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
Well, I chose and God chose for me to publish myself. The first publisher I had gave me an editor who proceeded to edit me right out of my story. Fortunately, I had about 100 readers already by that time, and they all said the same thing, "Well, it's a good story, but it doesn't sound anything like you." The truth is, I like the way I write. Yes, it's unconventional, but I don't think the Holy Spirit's too much into everything sounding exactly the same. He created how many different kinds of flowers in a myriad of colors--why would He create all authors to sound exactly the same?
On the second question, no. Once you're published--traditional or indie, the real work is just beginning. You then have a whole new set of things to learn--marketing, writing, editing, cover blurbs, blogging, websites, social media... And it all has as steep or steeper learning curves than getting published did.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
I'm not big on travelling. Too much stress--the packing, the travel, the problems, the unpacking and washing everything. I would much prefer to sit in my chair and watch movies. That's my idea of relaxing!
I like playing Wii snowboarding. I love that even though I'm horribly uncoordinated and scared to go fast--that I can fly down this mountain and do these tricks, and if I completely crash and burn, my little Mii guy gets up, dusts himself off, and here we go again. No pain or hospital bills!
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
My website is currently in the remodeling stage, so my Christian living blog is:
http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com and my site for my novels is: http://ebookromancestories.com
Thanks so much for having me, Carole! It's been a pleasure!
And thank you, Staci, for being here. It's been a pleasure.