How much research did The Lady of Bolton Hill take?
Ever since I read Edith Wharton in high school, I have been happily marinating in the gilded age, so writing about the era came pretty easily. One of the research tricks I use is to read old editions of the New York Times from the year I am writing about. I glean the most interesting insights into the mindsets and current events of the day, which I have great fun weaving into the story.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
My knee-jerk reaction is to say “not enough time to write,” since I work a full-time job in addition to creating fiction, but this sounds too much like whining! Students on the campus where I work sometimes bemoan how difficult it is to find time to write. “The demands of college have robbed me of the energy I need to be creative,” they say. Ahem. In the history of the world, almost all writers crammed their writing in on top of outside employment, struggling to get crops harvested before an early freeze, or while a thousand miles from home fighting a war. These are the challenges that enrich our writing, not something to be shunned. So I have no complaints.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy everything about it. The research, dreaming up new plot twists, playing around with language. I love the chance to find and research interesting settings. Even the business aspects of marketing and promotion have been a fascinating adventure for me.
What clubs or organizations are you involved with that help in your writing?
I have found the American Christian Fiction Writers to be essential. I am a pretty shy and introverted person in real life, but every day I look forward to spending some time reading through the conversations in the ACFW online groups, which are a constant source of inspiration and practical advice.
What do you do to get away from it all?
Every summer I like to go running with the bulls in Pamplona. I also sky-dive, scale tall mountains, and enjoy an occasional marathon through the Serengeti desert. Just kidding! I’m afraid I am a hopelessly mild-mannered person, and usually unwind by doing a little yard work while I let my over-active imagination run free. An occupational hazard.
What message would you like your readers to take from reading The Lady of Bolton Hill?
Although I did my best to weave some pretty weighty themes of forgiveness and redemption into the book, what I really hope is that people simply enjoy reading it. The characters in this book have huge dreams and are willing to risk everything in order to make them happen. When they fail, they do so in a spectacular fashion. When they love, it is with both hands stretched out and no holds barred. Whenever the drama gets a little heavy, I try to inject some glimpses of wit and joy into the mix. I want this book to be a delight to read, despite the sometimes weighty themes.