What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
For me it’s not having enough time to develop all the ideas I’d like to see become books. I’m overflowing with what I consider “good ideas,” but I have to stop and isolate the “best ideas” and then pursue them with passion. Then, of course, I must balance the writing demands with marketing, which has become such an important part of our job description in the last decade. Above all, my challenge is to keep my time with the Lord and my family above what I spend on my work.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
I adore writing, though I’m not thrilled with research—one of the reasons Susan and I were such a good match on this project. I’m just a word person, period, so anything to do with the actual writing/editing/rewriting of a book is something I thoroughly enjoy.
What writing clubs or organizations do you belong to?
I’m a member of and serve as spiritual adviser to CAN (Christian Authors Network); AWSA (Advanced Writers/Speakers Association); ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers); ICFW (International Christian Fiction Writers); CWFI (Christian Writers Fellowship, Intl.); The Christian PEN (Proofreaders/Editors Network); OCCWF (Orange County Christian Writers Fellowship; The Writers View.
What were your favorite books as a child?
I adored Little Women by Louise May Alcott, and a series called The Boxcar Children. But overall, I just loved to read anything I could get my hands on. I was a regular at the library!
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)
It depends a lot on the type of writing I’m doing. I’m a bit more meticulous with nonfiction, coming close to outlining before I write. But fiction? I have a very brief and basic synopsis to go by, and that’s it. I basically know where I want to start and where I want to end up; everything in the middle surprises me as it unfolds.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Absolutely! I have to arm wrestle them at times to make them behave. They have a tendency to want to run off and do their own thing, but I remind them (and myself) that I’m in charge. On occasion, though, they’ve actually strayed off and done something I liked, so I find a way to work it into the story.