What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
I’m a charter member of Romance Writers of America and have learned a great deal from that organization, in particular from its monthly magazine. A few years ago, I joined ACFW and continue to find its email loop to be a wonderful source of information. But, like most writers, I need personal contact with other writers. I get that from my local group, Front Range Christian Fiction Writers. As several of our members have said, it feels like family.
When you meet someone who has a passion for books and writing, what advice do you give them?
I have three pieces of advice. The first is to read extensively in the genre you want to write. That’s the best way to learn what publishers are buying. Secondly, join a writer’s group. ACFW is wonderful for writers in the Christian marketplace, and Romance Writers of America is excellent for anyone interested in writing romance. A writer’s group provides support, networking and so many other resources to the aspiring writer that I can’t over emphasize the importance of joining one. And lastly, never give up. Rejection is a fact of life. I won’t sugarcoat it: rejection hurts. But if you let it defeat you, if you stop sending out your manuscript just because it was rejected, you’ll never be published. Believe in your book and in yourself. Oh … that was four pieces of advice, wasn’t it?
What were your favorite books as a child?
I was a great fan of Louisa May Alcott’s stories, especially Little Women and its sequels, and of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne books. Hmmm… Do you see a pattern here? Both heroines wanted to be writers.
Are there any other new projects on the horizon?
I love Christmas stories, and so I’m delighted to tell you that I have a Christmas novella due out in September 2012. Like Summer of Promise, it’s set in Wyoming, but it’s a stand-alone story of an itinerant carpenter searching for his father and a widow who’s worried her daughter’s future. That will be followed by the second and third Westward Winds books, and after that, I’m scheduled to write three books set during World War I.
What message would you like your readers to take from Summer of Promise?
One of the themes of Summer of Promise is the fallibility of first impressions. Abigail and, indeed, all the key characters, learn to look beneath the surface. I hope that message will resonate with readers.
What is your greatest achievement?
My prayer each day is that my stories will touch readers’ hearts and deepen their faith, and so when I receive a note from a reader, saying that I’ve helped her through a difficult time or that my story brought her a measure of peace, I know that I am following the path God has planned for me.
What do you do to get away from it all?
For me, reading is the greatest escape, and so it’s rare to find me without a book or an e-reader in my hand.