Tell us a little about yourself: I started making up stories for my children back in the late 70s. I’d encourage them to pick a few characters, which included playmates, animals, and (often) inanimate objects. Once the cast of characters was set, I’d have them pick a setting and tell me what they wanted the characters to do—a goal. Little did I know a passion for storytelling had been birthed while spending time with my two little loves.
The desire to tell made-up stories continued, but with adult children I no longer had an audience, so I began to pray about what God wanted me to do. I believe God directed me to ACFW via an online search for Christian writers. I’ve been a member ever since, and blessings too numerous to count have been poured out on me, one of which includes contracting with my publisher, Chalfont House’s fiction imprint HopeSprings Books.
The genre I chose to write, Women’s fiction with a focus on marriage, is close to my heart. My husband and I are passionate about placing God at the center of our marriage and encouraging other married couples to do the same. Thus the title of my debut novel, Marriage Takes Three.
What is your writing day like? Most days I’m up at seven and I spend some quiet time with the Lord. Once my hubby is awake, we share a joint prayer time. Afterward we have breakfast with my mom, who lives with us. While enjoying a second cup of decaf, I typically check Facebook and make a couple posts, then get down to writing. I don’t set a word count for myself, but I do set a number of hours per day that I work. The interesting thing about the number of hours I set for myself (Monday – Saturday, 6 hours per day) is that I generally exceed the hours because I love what I’m doing so much.
How do you organize your writing (outlines/note cards/post-its)? I’m a SOMP (seat-of-my-pants) writer, which means I don’t plot my stories out in a literal way. I visualize the story in my head, like a movie, and take off on the journey with my characters. I do create character profiles, which I refer to as the bones for my characters. The bones includes the obvious (date of birth, full name), but I also include everything from what they carry in their wallet or purse to their favorite foods, music, movies, religious beliefs, political afflation, fears, and pet peeves. Granted, much of the information never (directly) makes it into the storyline, but it helps me “get inside the head” of each character.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?” That he/she didn’t like the way he/she was being portrayed and refused to show up. Yes, I dialogue with my characters apart from the story, and yes, they answer back (and for that I’m grateful).
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters? Depending on how the protagonist in my debut novel is received by readers, there may be a novella in store for Jack Collins, a country music artist in Marriage Takes Three.
What does your work space/office look like? We recently moved to a larger home, which has afforded me an office that I’m blessed to share with my husband. The space is huge, but it’s unorganized. I prefer things to be orderly (my clothes closet is separated by season and color coordinated), so I’m working on it a little every day and enjoying the process. God is teaching me patience every time I reach for something and it’s not where it should be.
What is your go-to snack when writing? Licorice, hands down, but it must be Red Vines. I like the “old-school” stuff, none of that Twizzlers stuff for me. LOL.
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why? Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry is my favorite novel. The author makes you believe the fascinating characters really exist. I walked away from the book feeling as though Aurora Greenway was actually off raising her grandchildren.
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, not crocheting), what would it be? Why? Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. There are many great books on the mechanics of writing fiction, but this book also teaches you how to fearlessly up the ante for every character in your novel.
My debut novel, Marriage Takes Three, releases April 2. The story involves Darla Connor, who is struggling with whether to stay in her troubled marriage or walk away. Maintaining a long distance friendship with an old sweetheart isn’t making that decision any easier, especially when that sweetheart, now a famous country music star, declares his love for her, even though she is married. Randall Connor is a recovering alcoholic and wants to heal his broken marriage. As a new believer, he is counting on God to help him. When Darla rejects his ultimatum to sever ties with her old boyfriend, he’s in for the battle of his life.
Will Darla follow promises of a better life with her old boyfriend, or will she surrender to God in time to save her marriage?
Karin, thank you for having me on your blog, it’s been my honor and pleasure. I look forward to responding to any questions or comments that your readers post. I’d also like to invite your readers to visit my blog at For Better Or For Worse (http://eghamlin.com/Gblog/) and find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/virginia.johnsonhamlin.