|How do you think up your characters?
I really donít think I can pinpoint that. It doesnít happen all at once. Itís something that evolves as Iím plotting the story and thinking about who these characters are and what they would do and what they wouldnít do. I do plot quite a bit before I begin a story. If you think of plotting like a road trip, Iíd want to know my starting point, destination, and each city Iím going to stop at along the way. What routes I take on the way there is up in the air. I find if I do too much plotting, it takes away the joy of the journey. If I do too little plotting, I get lost on the way there.
Who was your favorite character?
I would have to say the main character, Natalie. Sheís just so human. Sheís been slapped around by life but she still wants to do whatís right, and she has all the doubts we all have. She usually tries to handle it on her own and she fails. Eventually she finds an inner strength to cope with it; a strength that doesnít come from her, but from God.
How did you choose the setting?
When I was plotting out book one of the series, ďMending Places,Ē I didnít know where I was going to set it. Iíd never been to Jackson Hole, so I did a lot of computer research. I was looking for a small town near mountains because I wanted the story to be set mainly in a mountain lodge. I donít know why I ended up in Jackson Hole but Iím glad I did. It was just the perfect place.
How personal is Saving Grace?
I think there are always bits and pieces of me in the characters. I also tend to confront my own fears in my novels. I may not have been through that particular trauma, but itís something I would fear going through. When I put my characters through it instead, I think it helps me explore the feelings that cause the fear and help me work it out in the novel. Hopefully, my readers get the same benefit.
Are there any new projects on the horizon?
Right now Iím finishing the third book, ďFinding FaithĒ, in the New Heights Series. Thereís a story thatís very clear in my mind and has been brewing there for months. Iíve been plugging away at Finding Faith, though, so I havenít written a word or proposed it to a publishing house yet.
Who is the person who most influenced you in your writing?
I would have to say my grandfather because it was him that inspired me to begin writing. My husband has been tremendously supportive of my writing, cheering me on and always thinking I can do it, even when I donít think I can.
What were your favorite books as a child?
I got hooked early on by the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Our school library carried them, and I read them all. I donít know how many times I read through them. In the 6th grade I discovered Jane Eyre, and that became my favorite.