Today I’ve got a treat for you – an interview with the author of the CSFF featured book this month. Some writing trivia about her and her books, some just plain fun trivia and more – keep reading to see it all.
1) Who do you want to meet and why?
Beth Moore and John Eldredge. Their writing has profoundly impacted my own faith walk, and therefore my writing. I don’t get “star struck” very often anymore when it comes to Christian writers, but these two might rend me mute. Amazing thinkers…but still so warm and friendly, you can imagine hanging out with them for the evening and having a blast. I wanna be like that when I grow up.
Most of the time I choose my reading for entertainment purposes but when I do hit the non-fiction aisles those are two of the names I often look for.
2) Whatâ€™s your favorite comfort food?
Anything served with mashed potatoes or pasta.
3) What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve been thinking a lot about vacations because my husband and I are about to launch a site called FamilyTripster.com, which shares “road stories” with other families who’ve dared to take their kids outside of the home. Last night we saw a very cool Discovery Channel special on the Ice Hotel in Iceland. I think taking the kids there and then to the hot springs–which are in the middle of a vast, icy landscape–would be very unusual and fun! If not there, I’ve been fantasizing about Ireland and Patagonia.
4) Is there anyone who has influenced / encouraged you to write other than God who ultimately gives us any talents including creativity? Who and how / why?
I was an average student in high school, but my English teacher, Ms. Derr, convinced me I had talent. She was the one who got me into AP English and talked me into taking the exam for college credit. It was an “aha” moment for me…and ever since, I’ve been fascinated with reading/writing. It led me to getting my English Lit degree, publishing…and writing.
5) Can you give a brief synopsis of your journey to publication with your first novel?
At the time, there wasn’t much out there other than Oke and Thoene and MacDonald, so it was a much easier field for a newbie. I began with contemporary romance, because the genre rules made me feel comfortable, hopeful that I might be able to do it. Refuge, my first book, was placed with Multnomah the same day I got a job with them–I had been pursuing an editor there with the proposal (it was a banner day!)–and then, when it was published, it did really well, eventually launching a whole Christian romance line called Palisades. I moved on to historical women’s fiction, then contemporary general fiction, then these latest–medieval supernatural suspense.
I remember reading many of those Palisades romances as a teen. I’ve always been a romantic and for now I live vicariously through the characters I read about until God brings me that special someone He has in mind for me if that is part of His plan.
6) What else have you written / are you currently writing (including unpublished works)?
Like most writers, I have a zillion ideas in my head. I’ve also written 8 children’s books (God Gave Us You et al, and the recent How Big is God?), a women’s Bible study with my friend Rebecca, called What Women Want, and a devotional titled The Busy Mom’s Devotional. I’m in the middle of my rough draft for a Colorado historical suspense, and am concepting books on an Irish pirate queen and the love of a Renaissance sculptor, both stories based on true accounts.
What Women Want is in my TBR pile at this moment. I’ll be sure and post a review here when I’ve gotten to it. I’ll have to check out these other novels when they make it to print they all sound so interesting and since I love historicals and romances they would all fit into my usual reading choices it sounds like.
7) What first gave you the idea for the Novels of the Gifted?
I read Da Vinci Code and was enthralled, and irritated by the heresy. I wanted a biblical mystery to explore and yet stay true to Christian theology while pushing the envelope…friends recommended the “missing letters of St. Paul” and since they’re to the Corinthians, led me to spiritual gifts, which in turn led me to the most difficult time in history for such gifts to appear in a dramatic way…pre-Renaissance, pre-Reformation.
8) What else would you like to share with readers about yourself or the Novels of the Gifted?
This is a grand, epic story about a cast of characters all seeking to do God’s will in a world set against them. “Classic battle of good and evil,” is how Publisher’s Weekly put it, which I like. I was also profoundly influenced by the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on film, so I think you’ll see some of that in my writing as well. If you like heroic battles, drama, suspense, you might like these books.
9) Share with us one of the craziest things you’ve done or that’s happened to you?
I was thirteen when an armed couple, drug addicts, came to our home and robbed us at gunpoint. It was the first time that I recognized true evil…I could feel the chill of them, the “other-worldliness” of people who’ve been overtaken by Satan’s power, as well as the warmth of the Holy Spirit and God’s own protection that night. It awakened in me the understanding the realities of the unseen world.
10)What five books would you take with you to a desert island?
NIV Study Bible, Beth Moore’s Believing God, John Eldredge’s The Ransomed Heart, a notebook computer with solar charging batteries so I could write, and some book on building your own raft/sailboat so I could escape.
Not only do you play by the rules and stick to only five but are resourceful and determined to make those choices worth the sacrifice of all the books left behind as well. I’m a rules girl most of the time but picking only five books would be hard for me unless all my favorites were rolled into giant anthologies – the more pages a good novel has the more likely I am to pick it up.
11) What concept or scripture is God revealing more deeply to you in this season of your life? And how is that revelation influencing your life?
God’s working on me to explore just how wide, deep, and long his love really is, and how I can best reflect that to a hurting, aching world.
12) Why did you start writing and when?
I’ve always loved to write and when I was eight, I won a local magazine’s poetry contest for some dorky poem I wrote about my brother and mom. Give me a little encouragement and I’m like the Energizer Bunny. “You like it? You really like it? Okay, well, good then, there’s more where that came from! Here I go-o-o!!!”
13) How do you choose names and get to know your characters?
I use a International baby name book which gives me meanings. I need to be able to pronounce the names and they have to “fit” the character I’m imagining by matching in tone what I know about their personality. I give them a little background, things they’ve dealt with in the past that is part of making who they are today, and then just let it roll out from there.
14) Whatâ€™s your favorite character / scene from the Novels of the Gifted so far?
Daria continues to rise to the top. I thought it would be Father Piero or Gianni, and they’re certainly important, but I think as a woman, I just feel Daria’s pain and glory more.
I also found myself drawn to Daria but to Tessa as well perhaps because as you said they are females and for me Tessa’s role and responsibilities at such a young age resonated with something inside me.
15) Do you have any teasers you can share for Book Three?
If you were here, you’d hear me sigh. The Gifted go through some major trauma in book 3 in order to follow God’s call and reach a point of triumph. But that’s what it’s all about, right? Continuing to put one foot in front of the other, in order to do what God has called us to do? Regardless of the cost? Always hopeful, always faithful? The Gifted are definitely heroes in my mind…I want to be like them, emulate them in my own faith walk. And for you readers who love the supernatural aspect, the unseen world becomes even more a part of the story than in book 1 or 2.
I noticed some of the Spiritual Warfare elements in the first two books and your writing really brings to life the unseen not only in the spiritual realm but also in the emotions and experiences of the characters as they face all these situations they are thrown into. I am impatiently awaiting the 3rd book.
16) Are there any closing remarks youâ€™d like to share?
I love quotes and the one I’ve been drawn to lately is this: “Life is short, but wide.” For the last decade of my life I’ve been a little too captivated by the idea that life is so short, that it can end at any moment. Now I want to focus on how deep each day can be, if we just pay attention. God is calling each of us, his Gifted ones, to do as he asks. What will we do with that call?
Thank you for taking the time to share with my readers and I.
Readers you can check out my review of The Begotten and don’t forget about the other CSFF bloggers posting this week and my giveaway of The Begotten (links and contest details are in Monday’s post links for the tour are also in the CSFF blogroll in my right sidebar ). There’s more about the author and her books at her website (click her picture). Finally I’ll be posting a review of The Betrayed very soon.