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 start by telling us a little about yourself.
Born and raised in the Midwest, I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and still have a great relationship with my family. If I hadn’t been an English major in college, I probably would have gone for Zoology, since I’ve always loved animals. I particularly enjoy the study of animal behavior and get to practice my observational skills on our three big dogs and two cats.
Film studies would also have been an appropriate option for me, since I’ve always had a passion for movies. I had the opportunity to explore that passion when I worked in the local independent film industry as a director, producer, and screenwriter. This experience and my love of films led me to launch a movie review website at www.RedeemerReviews.com where I post critical reviews written from a Christian filmmaker’s perspective.
Why did you start writing?
Whew, that’s a big question! I’d have to say I started writing because, in a sense, I had to. God instilled in me a tremendous love for story. I seem to be drawn to stories in nearly every form and even understand the world around me in terms of story.
Everything and everyone in our world has a story and are part of a bigger story. I’m always fascinated by those stories and, when I don’t know the story behind something, my imagination will launch into action to invent one. Seems inevitable, then, that I would start writing and creating stories of my own at a young age and never stop.
How did you start writing?
I wrote my first stories when I was a little girl. I often bound these tales into books made with cardboard covers and drew colorful illustrations on the pages. Looking at some of those books now, I’m certainly glad I didn’t try to become an illustrator!
How did you select your genre?
I actually enjoy writing in several genres, since the story ideas that God brings to my imagination don’t seem to stick with only one genre. My first published books, the Sisters Redeemed Series, fall into the women’s fiction category. The next book that I have completed and hope to have published is a suspense novel. I’m currently working on a romantic suspense novel and hope to soon write an idea that I have for a futuristic (speculative) mystery/suspense, possibly for young adult (YA).
My personal leaning at this point seems to be toward writing suspense, probably since I imagine danger far more often than I should. But, ultimately, I let the story dictate what genre I’ll write. When God gives me a story to tell, I want to tell it, regardless of the genre!
What is your writing day like?
When I’m doing a good job fending off the distractions and outside obligations that always fight for my writing time, my work day begins after breakfast. I’m most productive when I resist the temptation to go online (for anything other than research), so I open up Microsoft Word on my computer and get to work. If I can get in a couple hours before dog care and lunchtime, I’m doing well.
I usually work while I eat (which I’ve read is a very bad habit, so don’t try this at home!) and continue into the afternoon. Days like the one I described here, though, are sadly infrequent. Life usually seems to require that my time be more divided than that, but writing in those intervals is always my goal.
How do you organize your writing (outlines/note cards/post-its)?
I’ve learned that I can write the fastest with the least amount of editing required when I first plot out the whole story in an outline. To organize the outline, I type it up in a Word document with numbered points for each scene or sequence. I’ve used note cards in the past, but I’ve found that the method of keeping the outline points all in one document gives me a more cohesive grasp of my plot’s continuity and organization.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?”
I find that I’m actually never surprised by my characters. Once I figure out who my character is and what his or her motivations are, then that character becomes fact, like a real person that I know very, very well.
My job from then on as the writer is just to show that person in such a way that is true to who he/she is. Usually, I don’t have to double-check that accuracy as I write, since I’m in the mindset of those characters while I’m writing. As long as I know the characters, no line of dialogue or action ends up being a surprise to me.
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters?
My favorite thing to do for future characters is to keep a list of names. I love to give my characters unusual, but meaningful names, so I have an ongoing list of such names. I also have a few characters on hold in my imagination that are each tied to future stories I plan to write.
What does your work space/office look like?
I’m blessed to have an actual office—one room of our house set aside for that purpose. Having my work space separated from other areas of the house has been very beneficial. I used to have a desk in my bedroom, but I became a good case study for the sleep experts’ theory that working in one’s bedroom could cause havoc with sleep!
What is your go-to snack when writing?
Chocolate! (And I “go-to” it far too often, I’m afraid.)
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?
To Kill a Mockingbird. I often say that all writers should read this novel at least a couple of times. Harper Lee’s writing is incredible and offers enormous learning potential when studied. I recommend the novel to non-writers, as well, since Lee’s story so powerfully communicates powerful, vital messages. Aside from all that, it’s just a great read!
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
The Flip Dictionary! Okay, so it may not technically be a “craft” book in the usual sense, but I love this book for the way it enables me to pursue my craft and make it better. For those who aren’t familiar with The Flip Dictionary, it’s an ingenious resource that groups words by subject and association rather than giving definitions. It helps me out of those annoying moments when I know there’s a word that says what I mean, but I just can’t remember the word!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Karin!
Thank you so much for appearing on my blog. Have a blessed day!