What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
The writing itself. I love the process, the development, the “journey.” I also love creating an overview of a new idea—in fact, I get excited about new ideas. And hearing from my readers is a special treat for me.
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)
I can’t outline. Tried it on my first novel years ago, and it was a dismal failure. At that time, there was a very strong push to “always” outline. But it simply didn’t work for me. I’m strictly a character-driven writer. Finally, a very wise editor honed in on my frustration and told me to stop trying to outline, that I was obviously a s-o-t-p writer and should follow my instincts. So I did.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Oh, definitely. They’re all free spirits and sometimes downright rebellious. I know some folks question how this can happen—but trust me, novelists know that it does happen, and we’ve learned to go with it. I don’t pretend to know how it happens, but I do know it’s best not to fight it. Some of my favorite characters emerge from their shells when I resign myself to letting them take the lead.
What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
First off, of course, I’ll be finalizing the riverhaven trilogy with the third book. I’m contracted for two new series after that, as well as seeing some of my earlier historical novels rereleased. I’ve learned, though, not to think too far ahead, no matter how many books might be waiting, but to concentrate on one at a time—the one I’m writing now.
What message would you like your readers to take from Where Grace Abides?
That’s a really difficult question for me to answer, because I try not to ascribe any kind of message or “takeaway value” to my novels, but instead let the story emerge and grow naturally through the characters. I’ve learned that if there are any particular elements of a story that especially touch readers or which they find memorable, these elements will almost certainly vary from reader to reader I believe God can work through me to make a story stronger and any theme or message more significant if I don’t start out with my own specific concept in mind as to what I want readers to glean.
What is your greatest achievement?
My family. They’re also my greatest gift.
What do you do to get away from it all?
Reading, music, and time with my family are my “great escapes.”