What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
If you have a number of contracts to fulfill, that is, books to write, you have to stay fresh and entertaining with each new project. To do that you have to keep on feeding yourself spiritually and emotionally through various means – church and God and worship; reading books and watching good films; getting out and enjoying people and sports and nature; sticking close to family; finding things that give you joy and that replenish you. The writing life is a solitary and sedentary life and I really have to balance that with family and church and social events on the one hand and exercise and fresh air on the other.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
Storytelling has always been important to the human race whether those stories have been true, made-up, or parables meant to show us something deep and important. Film and TV and print books and ebooks are all part of that great tradition that has spread over thousands of years. I truly thank God he has brought me into that tradition and let me join the ranks of storytellers who not only tell wonderful tales but who seek to honor God while they are doing it.
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)
I outline to start but I am well aware that once I start writing characters take on lives of their own. What was plausible on the drawing board does not always pan out in the actual writing. Characters morph into other than what you planned and to wrench them back to the outline risks doing violence to the story itself. So I start with an outline but I keep things very fluid – if the story and people in it dictate I veer from the plan and develop a new plot or approach, I do it.
What other new projects do each you have on the horizon?
I start working on the follow-up novel to Ashton Park this fall. This new novel in the series takes place from 1924-1931.
I just finished the sequel to The Wings of Morning – Whispers of a New Dawn occurs 20 years later and brings back characters like Bishop Zook, Jude Whetstone, Lyyndaya Kurtz, and Jude’s friends Billy Skipp and Flapjack Peterson.
Finally, I’m also doing a book where successive chapters are published online for purchase one month at a time. The chapters will be sold over a period of 12 months and then packaged as a complete book. The first chapter goes up in September and it’s an Amish romance.
What message would you like your readers to take from Ashton Park?
How important family is, including extended family; how important faith in God and Christ is and what a difference it makes in the harshest storms of life; how essential growth is, especially growth that takes us beyond our prejudices and narrow-mindedness; how critical it is to nourish relationship with even just one or two good friends.
What do you do to get away from it all?
Walking my Alaskan Malamute. Hikes in the wilderness – we’re blessed to live by the Rocky Mountains. Vigorous exercise – we have a very well-equipped home gym. A good book, a good movie, a good CD of music – all this blesses and revitalizes. Friendship with God is the most important means of renewing myself and that friendship is nurtured in many different ways.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s a real pleasure to be a full-time writer. I can thank my agent for that, my senior editors, the people I work with in marketing and publishing – all of them are part of making a holy dream come true. And I can thank God.