What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
I love every part of the actual writing. I love the research. I love living with the charaters and concept for the time I'm writing. I even love editing. I'm not a great speaker, so I've always communicated through writing. It feels very natural to me.
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write ³by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in between?)
Outline! Outline! Outline! I am very methodical. Once I get an outline done, I'm set! After I do the outline, I will go back and make notes under the headings as idea occur to me. By the time I actually start to write, I pretty much know where I'm going.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Yes! Sometimes my characters will surprise me by doing something I hadn't intended. Or sometimes they will do something that is just perfect for them, but I hadn't really thought about it or planned it. In The Christmas Glass, the little girl, Laurie was constantly making me laugh. Also, I find that my characters sometimes "soften" themselves, and that makes them more human. For example, Filomena can be a pretty exasperating character, but along the way, I found her doing things that showed her humanity. In the chapter, Mark, when Serena loses her temper, that scene took on a life of its own, and at the end, she was a much more interesting character.
Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?
To be honest, I'd have to say the Bible influenced me the most. The rich story-telling, the themes that are inherent in every life, the language, the lessons, the various styles of writing and story-telling. It has everything you need to know about writing! I started reading it as a child ... and haven't stopped. Each re-reading teaches me something new.
What message would you like your readers to take from The Christmas Glass?
When it comes to family and close relationships, our first goal should be ... Do no harm! Seriously, I want readers to enjoy the humor, the sorrow, even the machinations of the characters, but to come away with the idea that God has a plan and our job is to figure out how best to fit into it regardless of what the people around us may expect. Also, that forgiveness is always necessary, again and again and again in families.
What is your greatest achievement?
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
To make the lives of my readers a little better, a little happier, a little freer. To give them a rest from their own lives. To help them trust God.
What do you do to get away from it all?
I'm still trying to figure that out! Actually, I seldom want to get away from it all. My life is really interesting and sometimes too intense, but I think that's what God wants from me for the most part. And He's given me an extraordinary affinity for solitude which allows me to get away from it all ... right in the middle of it all sometimes. My husband says I'm like a hedgehog ... I can hide right in broad daylight. Also, I walk seven or eight miles a day, and that helps with the writing and the spirit.