Who was the person who most influenced you in your writing journey?
I’d have to say novelist and short-story author Richard Bausch. When I was in college, he was a visiting author under whom I studied short-story writing. Besides writing his own fiction, he’s currently the editor of the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, which makes absolute sense to me. The man writes tightly and beautifully. I write nothing like he does, but he taught me to study good authors and then write with my own voice.
What message would you like your readers to take from The Perfect Blend?
I never start out with “a message” when I write a novel, but a message always emerges through my heroine’s experience. In The Perfect Blend the concept that arose was the importance of embracing Christ’s acceptance of us, rather than depending upon acceptance from anyone else in our lives in order to feel valued. We humans often let each other down, and we often let Christ down. But He will never let us down—His love is constant and unconditional.
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
I want my readers to be entertained. I love when a reader writes to me, telling me she was moved, spiritually, by something in one of my novels. But if the book isn’t entertaining to begin with, no one is going to read what God has put on my heart. So my goal, after prayerfully listening for His guidance, is to draw the reader into a fictional world she will find enjoyable and uplifting. That’s my calling.
What do you do to get away from it all?
If it makes me laugh, I’m there. Whether it’s getting together for dinner and conversation with girlfriends, watching a funny (or just fun) film with family, or reading a book that makes me laugh out loud, I get amazing relief from laughter. What can I say? I have simple needs!