|What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
As an author, I face the same challenge I do as a mother, wife, grandmother, sister, friend, child of God—balance. Lord, I lay all these wonderful projects at Your feet. Help me sort them out. Point to the ones most in need of my attention at this moment. Show me what does not need to be on my to-do list today. Show me how to fit rest and recreation into this schedule in a way that doesn’t make returning to it that much worse after I’m rested.
Now, too, I face the unique, yet not-so-unique author challenges of both acceptance and rejection, good reviews and the other kind. I’ve adopted a habit that I pray will help me stay balanced as I move forward. Whether I receive an accolade or a rejection letter, I hold up a page of the Bible and attempt to read the words of the letter or the review through the page of Scripture. It’s almost impossible to see anything but the words of Jesus. I think that’s the only way to approach both the positives and negatives in the writing world. In any world.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
E. All of the above. Pressed to choose just one, I’d say watching the story unfold before me on the screen. Oh, there’s another layer I didn’t expect!
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)
In my early days of writing, a seed of an idea was enough to get me started. I actually have a file folder with more than 80 snippets—a snatch of a phrase, a title, an intriguing verse of Scripture—all with the potential to become radio scripts or books. But I’ve painted myself into many a corner, trying to write a novel with no plan at all. On the other hand, my creativity thinks living by a strict outline is like boarding school with an impossible curfew. So now I jot down a loose outline that assures me there will be a window to crawl through in every painted corner.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Although I discover things about my characters as I write, it’s not as if they “take on a life of their own.” I catch up to who they were all along.
What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
This fall, The Heart’s Harbor releases from Barbour Publishing as part of A Door County Christmas novella collection. It’s a romantic comedy, much more lighthearted than They Almost Always Come Home, but written in a similar style and with delightfully flawed characters who find ways of expressing the heart’s true condition and its Answer.
I’m working on four or five other projects that beg for attention and tug on my hem for an opportunity to tell their stories.