|How long did it take you to write Ten Thousand Charms?
In terms of its first little germ of an idea, close to five years which is far too long. It’s been a huge challenge to get the next one done when I don’t have the luxury of time.
What is the title of the second book in the Crossroads of Grace series?
I’d like it to be Give to the Wind. In Ten Thousand Charms, the title and the hymn, Come You Sinners Poor and Needy, played a huge role in coming up with the story. It has that one lyric in there that says if you tarry till you’re ready you will never come at all. That’s another part of her personality that she would never come to God because she would never feel that worthiness.
The second book is Sadie’s story and there’s another old hymn called Give to the Wind .
How many books will be in the series?
Right now there’s just three. There’s Sadie’s story and Biddy’s story. They’re not sequential because Give to the Wind is Sadie’s story back when Sadie is a very little child in New York City and how she got to Jewelle’s. There’s a part in the second book where we’re revisiting the same scenes from “Ten Thousand Charms” though it’s from Sadie’s point of view.
When will the third book be released?
The original contract said May of 2008 so we’re just looking at one a year.
Do you have a favorite character? Why?
It has to be Gloria. I just love her. She came out so fun and so frustrating.
Who is the person who most influenced your life?
I have to say, I’ve often said, Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve always loved the fact that she was 65 years old when she started writing. That concept spurred me on and got me onto writing historical fiction.
I also have a fantastic writing critique group here in San Antonio. We meet every week. I have a little group of six people who read every single page of “Ten Thousand Charms’ every Monday night for years as it was getting on its way to getting published. It’s wonderful to have that kind of prayer support system, because we pray for each other and they are people who will catch things.
What were your favorite books as a child?
I completely remember reading Christy. That was my first big book. I loved that story.
What message would you like your readers to take from Ten Thousand Charms?
The message I want them to take away is that God is there. There’s a line that one of the characters says where Gloria said, “If God loved me, why would he let me have this kind of life?” Maureen said to her that just because that’s the life you had, doesn’t mean that’s the life He wanted for you. God wants so much more for us. It’s not like He wants more of us, but he wants us to have more in our lives. He wants us to have a blessed and beautiful life. It’s never ever too late to have that. And it’s just a matter of knowing that you want it.
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
First and foremost is that I want my readers to be entertained by my stories. I think that the spiritual side is impacting and important but I want them to enjoy the reading experience. Way too often, back in the day, it was like reading a Sunday school lesson. I want them to enjoy my stories and enjoy my characters and love the characters and reading experience and not feel like they’ve been smacked in the head with the message. I want first them to say “Well Gloria came to see a need for God, maybe I need God too.” I’d love them to experience whatever my characters experience spiritually. I want them to get it through the characters first then see it for themselves.