What led you to become a CBA author?
I never intended to be a Christian book author; in fact, I resist the label. I only ever wanted to write. As a believer, of course, I have a proclivity for themes of love, grace, and guilt. I often find my characters grappling with their understanding of Christ, their secret shames, or their persistent weaknesses because those are the things that I’ve dealt with in my own life.
How did you come up with the concept for Feeling for Bones?
Sitting in a lawn chair during an annual family camping trip, I finished a particularly impressive book and decided to write one myself. This was actually the second time I’d been struck by the inspiration. I began my first novel, Lost in Space, in the sixth grade (and was devastated the day I opened TV Guide to discover that someone had stolen my title). I always liked the idea of filling up a blank notebook, of having a difficult task of imagination tackle each day. When I began Feeling for Bones, I knew I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know what I wanted to write said book about. In obedience to the adage “write what you know,” I spent a month transcribing high school melodramas and dinnertime family conversations—all of which proved rather dry material for literary fiction. Then one evening I finally sat down and wrote about a recent trip I’d taken to the doctor’s office. I’d only recently found out that I had an eating disorder. Writing about for just those fifteen minutes left me flushed, ashamed, and invigorated. I knew I’d found the one story worth telling.
Is any part of Feeling for Bones factual?
Factual, yes, in the sense that I would profess there is a God willing and ready to comfort those who are suffering in the way fictional Olivia is suffering.
How closely is this Feeling for Bones based on your life?
Olivia is very much a compilation of my own thoughts and struggles. And several of the characters are approximate reflections (or distortions, I suppose) of people I have known. But it’s difficult for me to draw clean lines between what is “real” and what is “fiction.” In all my writing, each character is the product of a small insecurity, habit, or character trait I posses, blown into a full blown person, inspired with a bit of reality, and padded with a generous heaping of imagination.