Hi, and thanks for your willingness to appear on my blog! I’m looking forward to sharing your knowledge and advice with the rest of the world (at least with the small portion of it that follows my blog).
Please tell us a little about yourself. I had the unique privilege of growing up at a Bible camp in Wisconsin, much like the setting for my tween novels. I still love the camp ministry, maybe because it combines my passion for kids, families, and faith. My own three children are grown and I love spending time with them. But I still have a Golden Retriever at home who does his best to distract me from writing.
Why did you start writing? I’ve always expressed myself better in writing than speaking. After college, my job required me to write a monthly newsletter, which people actually told me they enjoyed reading. Several coworkers encouraged me to try writing for publication, but I waited until I became a stay-at-home mom to pursue that dream. Christian fiction was starting to become popular then, and that gave me a goal.
How did you start writing? I took a correspondence writing course to learn how to write non-fiction first. I managed to get a few inspirational articles published in Sunday take-home papers and several Christian magazines. Then the Lord provided an opportunity to write a Christmas play for my church’s women’s ministry. I felt rather proud of myself when I accomplished that, until I saw it performed. Seeing my words literally brought to life was incredibly humbling. From there, I decided to work on writing a novel.
How did you select your genre? I didn’t set out to write for kids. That wasn’t at all what I wanted to do. I wrote the first draft of my first novel, Hear No Evil, aiming it at adults, but when I started rewriting, my critique group convinced me it was really a young adult novel. I knew they were right, but still resisted because I wanted to write for adults. I guess I’d have to say the genre chose me.
What is your writing day like? I’m an early bird, usually up at five every morning. Some days I have my quiet time and do a little writing. Other mornings I go out and walk/jog around a neighborhood park. That’s when I seem to get my ideas for writing. I try to spend a couple more hours late morning or early afternoon working on writing, but my mind is working on the story throughout the day.
How do you organize your writing (outlines/note cards/post-its)? I’ve tried several different ways. Currently, I’m writing everything in one spiral-bound legal pad. Once I get most of my scenes planned out, I’ll put them on notecards and tape them to the wall so I can see the pacing.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?” While writing Speak No Evil I spent a whole week trying to figure out the scene where the mentor explains the gospel to my hero, Taylor. I was so frustrated because it absolutely refused to come together. Finally, Taylor told me he simply wasn’t ready to hear it yet. Made sense!
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters? I have a few characters for different stories, but they’re only in my mind. I haven’t done any development on them. I also have a title that I’m dying to find a story for.
What does your work space/office look like? It varies. Early mornings I’m in a comfortable armchair in an upstairs bedroom where I can watch the sky lighten as the sun comes up. I use a lap desk to write on or to hold my computer. Other times during the day I may be at the kitchen table or, if the weather is nice, I’ll take my work outside on the patio where the dog usually entertains himself a little easier.
What is your go-to snack when writing? Caffeine seems to stimulate my aging brain, but I don’t like coffee and I’m not a big tea drinker, so I like to sip a little Coke. I only allow myself that treat a couple times a week, though. Sometimes I’ll substitute a few dark chocolate chips, but most of the time I try not to eat anything while I’m writing.
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why? Oh, that’s a tough question. It might be Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford. I love the variety of characters that populate her Mitford series and the atmosphere of a small town setting. It inspired me when I was writing my first novel, Hear No Evil.
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why? Another tough question. Jeff Gerke’s Plot Vs. Character is one book I return to over and over when I get stuck. His method for developing characters is how I start out learning about the people in my books.
Thank you so much for letting me join you and your readers today. I’d love to connect with your readers. They can find me here: