How did you get started as a CBA writer?
I’ve always been a storyteller, even as a child. When I was in my mid-twenties I had three books published in the secular romance market, but gave that up when my life took some turns and I had to support myself. Rather than subject my then-5 year old daughter to the life of a starving artist, I gave up writing and returned to working outside the home. It took over fifteen years to find enough time to devote to writing again, but by then my spiritual life had grown considerably and I knew I wanted to write for the Lord. After going through the normal process: market study, critique group help, conferences, submission, rejection, submission, etc., my first CBA novel released in 2006. I’ve been writing for the Lord ever since.
How did you come up with the concept for Springtime of the Spirit?
Since this is technically the final story in my Great War series, I knew from the original inception that this book would be set at the end of the war. I’ve actually written five books with this war as the backdrop, the first two having been released from Kregel back in 2006/07. This Great War series from Tyndale gave each book a European slice of the war: Look to the East began in France just as the war broke out, Whisper on the Wind takes place in Belgium mid-war, including an Epilogue that announces the end of the war. Springtime of the Spirit begins immediately following the end of the war—and what spot on earth was more dramatic than Germany? I was eager to explore what went on in light of their defeat, and to finally have sympathetic German characters after working with so many rascally ones.
As a fan, there seemed to be an issue with one of the book publications, can you clarify that for our readers?
Thank you and thanks so much for asking! When Look to the East first released, the feedback regarding the cover wasn’t as positive as we all hoped. The story received favorable reviews, finaled in the Carol Award contest and even won in its category in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, but by then Tyndale had decided to take the cover art in a whole new direction for the following two books (Whisper on the Wind and Springtime of the Spirit). So we pulled the first book, Look to the East, from the shelves with the intention of giving it a new look to match the other two books. I’m happy to report Look to the East (with its whole new design) will be re-released this fall, of 2011. Thank you for letting me clarify this, because even though it’ll look fantastic I’d hate for a reader to purchase a copy and then be disappointed they’ve already read this particular story.
How many more books will be in The Great War Series?
This is it, 3 total. As mentioned above, Look to the East won’t be back on the shelves again until this fall, but at that time it’ll have a lovely new cover that will match the look of the other two books, and the set will be complete. Whisper on the Wind, Springtime of the Spirit and Look to the East.
Can each of the books be read as a stand-alone or must they be read in order?
Since I’m an avid reader myself, I think like a reader. I almost never read a series unless each book can be read independently or all of the books are available at the same time. I knew I didn’t want readers to wait, so I purposely set out to create independent reads. Although the chronology of the war was part of my initial inspiration, each book has a completely new set of characters that have little to do with the other books in the series. They can easily be read out of order without confusion.