Interacting with my readers, whether online, at a bookstore event, a conference or workshop is very rewarding. When readers e-mail to tell me how much a story has meant to them or how it helped them through a tough patch, I feel blessed and grateful to have this work to do.
What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
I’m a member of the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I don’t have as much time for it as I’d like, but I attend the annual conference every year and learn from the speakers. Last year, I attended Stan Williams’ class on Moral Premise and found it very helpful. I’m already looking forward to this year’s conference.
What new projects are on the horizon?
The third Hickory Ridge novel Every Perfect Gift will be out this November, concluding that series. I’ve just signed with Thomas Nelson to write three more Southern historical novels to be published each November through 2015. These will be stand-alones, as opposed to a series. Two of the books are set in the beautiful South Carolina low country and are inspired by the lives of actual women living there in the mid 19th Century. The other is set on a Texas ranch modeled after the famous King Ranch. I’ve just returned from meetings with the editorial staff at Nelson, and I’m thrilled and excited to begin writing these new novels.
What message would you like your readers to take from reading Beauty for Ashes?
I’m asked this question often, and I’m hesitant to tell anyone what they should take away from a story. Once an author defines for the reader what the book is about, it’s then hard for the book to mean anything else. Each reader brings her own experiences and perceptions to the novel and makes her own meaning from it. To me, that is the beauty and the purpose of literature. Some will read Beauty For Ashes only for the romance between Carrie and Griff. Others will see it as a book about duty to family and to God. Still others will see it as parallel struggles for a common goal. My hope is that my novels meet readers where they are, that they entertain and edify, and cause readers to draw closer to their faith.
What were your favorite books as a child?
Oh my goodness. I read everything I could get my hands on, beginning with the Little Golden Books and Mother Goose, Black Beauty, Dick Whittington and his Cats, Little Women. Daddy gave me Robinson Crusoe when I was nine, and To Kill A Mockingbird when I was twelve. I loved them all.
What is your greatest achievement?
To be writing novels that have the potential to lift others up and affect their lives for the better.
What do you do to get away from it all?
Head to the beach. We live about two and a half hours from the Gulf of Mexico and get there, or to another beach, as often as we can. My soul feels at home there. I grab a cup of coffee and take a long walk on the beach as the sun comes up. It clears my head, restores my creativity, reminds me of my Creator as nothing else does. Many of my novels are “born” at the beach.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers. I hope they’ll enjoy Griff and Carrie’s story.