I'm currently working on book #3, yet untitled, due out 9/2011. We'll see!
Is any part of Divine Appointments factual?
When writing fiction, writers engage in lots of research, sometimes for the simplest things. Or we draw "a fact" from a real-life experience but then let it grow its own fictional legs. So, many tidbits are factual, including Garrett's Popcorn (yum), the Newberry Library, the economic climate …. All the characters are of course fictional, but quirks and pleasures, shortcomings and attributes of many people I know in real life (including myself), and strangers I observe along life's journey, work their way into the fictional folks.
How closely is Divine Appointments based on your real life experiences?
Emotional truths are always based on real life experiences. Like my characters, I have feared, laughed, lost, loved, and been loved. I write from my gut.
How long did Divine Appointments take you to complete?
I write at a book-a-year pace, which includes think time, writing, smoothing, editing, tormenting, celebrating, living life (how can I write about real life situations it if I'm not living real life?), more rewriting and more rewriting and editing. And filling out questionnaires.
What is the symbolism for the title Divine Appointments?
I didn't title the book. Folks at my clever publisher, Waterbrook Press, did. But I have a feeling we've all had those moments when we've known: this (this moment, the feeling that I know that I know that I KNOW—even when we don’t know WHY we know—God's hand is in this) is a Divine appointment!
Do you have a favorite character in Divine Appointments? Why?
I do not have a favorite character. I adore them equally for the different enrichments they bring to MY life, whether that be by good or bad example. Every time I'm writing a new scene, I'm glad for everyone in it—even if I'm mad at the way they're behaving. I weep with them, and I thank them for making me laugh. By the time I'm to the end of the story, I am utterly gobsmacked at how much they've each taught me.
If characters don't entertain me, push my buttons, surprise me, resonate within my soul, make me curious or furious, they don't show up in the book.
How much research did Divine Appointments take?
Medium amounts of making sure I got landmarks correct, Josie's job properly represented, and of course how much yellow wonderfulness ends up on your fingertips when eating a giant bag of Garrett's Popcorn, Chicago Mix, of course. (Had to test this twice. ☺) Although this is my eighth novel, it's the first one set in a real place, so I was on high "careful" alert with Real Places and Things.