What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing All for a Song?
I loved watching some of the silent movies, looking for certain films to include in the story. And then, when I found the first air-conditioned theater in St. Louis, I was fascinated with the idea of what it would be like to feel air-conditioning for the first time. Most sad, perhaps, is the idea that the Hotel Alexandria, this beautiful, lush center of Hollywood’s elite, has fallen into disrepair. But then, there’s another reminder of the words of King Solomon, “Meaningless, meaningless . . .”
Many of your books revolve around the turn of the century to the Roaring Twenties. Is there something special that draws you to this time period?
It’s just more fun. And, for me, more interesting. I am not a country girl, but I love history, and I just can’t make myself deal with farms and crops and livestock. I appreciate those who do, but whenever a story revolves around losing the ranch, I always think, Great! Lose it and move to the city! About the ’20s specifically, I like dealing with the aspect of faith in the context of a world where Christianity—or even the broader idea of “Christian principles”—is no longer the given in society. In the years after the Great War, the moral compass shifted. Things that would never have been tolerated before were now encouraged. Even celebrated. The shackles of shame were lifted. To me, that means that the idea to follow Jesus Christ was a more thoughtful choice. For the first time, that meant going against the societal tide. It makes for a more interesting character study.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Writing. Seriously, I’m a very slow writer, and sometimes it’s like the words are being pulled out of me. Then when other parts of my life are in full swing, it’s like I can’t type them fast enough. And then the blogging, the promotion, the connections—it’s super hard for me to promote myself, no matter how much I love my stories! I kind of wish I could just live in a basement apartment and write among the mushrooms, then hire somebody to be a charismatic “me” on the outside!
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
Writing. Yes, I know that seems to contradict the previous answer, but seriously, when the writing’s good, there’s nothing better. That moment when your character says something more clever than you ever could. I love meeting other writers, working with unpublished writers, talking about writing, writing about writing. It’s the most frustrating, fascinating, unforgiving, and fabulous profession.