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Susan May WarrenSusan May Warren now resides in San Diego, California after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries in Russia. Susan has written several series which include the Deep Haven Series, The Heirs of Anton ( based in Russia), Team Hope Series and her newest series, Noble Legacy. 

Favorite Verse: Ephesians 2:8-9: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.

 Our Interview with Susan May Warren


 

What inspired the concept for The Great Christmas Bowl?

Motherhood?  Christmas?  Football?  Okay – the truth is that I looked up one day and realized that my children were growing up!  And that the days when I was able to create the “perfect” Christmas were slipping by.  Also, my middle son went out for football, and yes, I may have gone a little crazy.  This story birthed in my head fully formed – well, almost.  I saw a dedicated football mother who went a little nuts over high school football, a woman caught between warring factions over a Christmas tea at church, and a renewed relationship between husband and wife all set in wintery northern Minnesota.  The only thing missing was the mascot…until I asked my hubby.  His brilliant idea…make the mascot a lake trout, and The Great Christmas Bowl was born. I wrote it in ten days over Christmas break when the entire family came down with the flu.  Their gift to me?  They laughed when I read it aloud!  This is most definitely the book of my heart – and a merry Christmas gift to my reader friends. 

Is any part of The Great Christmas Bowl factual?  

Hmm…let’s go at it from another angle. Well, I was never a trout.  And I’ve never planned a Christmas tea.  And our church doesn’t have Mothers Day Out or Knitters.  But the rest….


How closely is The Great Christmas Bowl based on your life experiences? 

I laughed and wept my way through this book – seeing myself, my children, my hubby.  Yes, it’s the Warren family life, from the football frenzy, to the keepsake ornaments, to Christmas overseas (although not Cancun), to the crazy dog, to the magical town of Big Lake.  It’s close.  Very close.

How did you choose the location for the setting?

I live in a beautiful small town on Lake Superior, so I understand what it means to live lakeside.  I just moved it to central MN. 

How long did The Great Christmas Bowl take you to complete?

Ten days.  Seriously.  I was inspired. And the family had the flu.  And I had a captive audience who kept laughing as I read aloud…so I kept writing.  Sometimes, you just have to drop everything…and follow your heart.

 

Do you have a favorite character in The Great Christmas Bowl? Why?

I love the dog.  (Okay, I love Kevin.  And Mike.  And Marianne cracks me up, but really, it’s the dog, who is my pal during the cold winter days when the kids are at school, who has my heart…)

How much research did The Great Christmas Bowl take?

None.  Zip.  Okay, wait, yes, I had to do some research on heart transplants.  But everything else?  I just drew from experience….

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing The Great Christmas Bowl?

That it takes a lot of energy to be a trout.  Those costumes are heavy! 

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

Keeping my stories ideas unique and my writing ever better with each story.  A story like this one comes once in a lifetime, I think – it was so easy to write, it felt like I was singing.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Seeing a story come to life, molded by God in the telling.  I’ll write a phrase, or tie up a story thread and in that moment I’ll see how God put the entire thing together and gave me amazing words.  It’s humbling and thrilling at the same time.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)

I’m both – I do extensive outlining as I start…and then I see how it plays out as I get into each scene.  I think it’s important to have a roadmap, but let yourself then enjoy the journey. 

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Oh yes…that’s part of the discovery process of writing.  But, if I know them well enough, I don’t have too many surprises.  I am often surprised when they reveal something I didn’t expect them to, or when someone dies before I expect them to…  (hate that!)

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?  

I am currently working on Licensed for Trouble, book 3 in my PJ Sugar finds Trouble collection, about a wanna-be PI in Minnesota.  I sort of wrap up the love triangle between PJ, Boone and Jeremy, and of course, PJ gets into a lot more trouble!

 

 

What message would you like your readers to take from The Great Christmas Bowl?

That hospitably might mean going out of our comfort zone.  Sorta like…Jesus?  But that it is oh so worth it.

What is your greatest achievement?

Being a mom to four amazing kids.  And blessed enough to marry an amazing guy. (okay, none of those are achievements, really, but they are things I’m most proud of).

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To communicate truth and write stories that make people think about God’s grace in their lives. 

What do you do to get away from it all?

I love to read, of course.  But my latest passion is dancing – my husband and I are swing and lindy-hop dancers.  We enjoy dancing to the great tunes of the 40’s!

 

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