1. Where do you get your ideas?
From stories about the past and from struggles I see around me. I believe people are the same as they’ve always been, dealing with life changes, grief, falling in love, struggling with relationships. I believe God is the same as he was in the past and will be in the future. Therefore, we can learn from the stories of our ancestors, and these stories and memories are truly meant to be remembered. God told the ancient people to
“Remember the days of long ago;
think about the generations past.
Ask your father, and he will inform you.
Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you.” ~Deuteronomy 32:7 (NLT)
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
This question is not as easy to answer as you might think! Usually ideas bounce around in my head for some time. When I actually do plan out a book it takes anywhere from 5-9 months to complete it, but it’s far from done at that point. There is rewriting, and then more rewriting requested from my editor.
3. I have a great idea for a book, but I’m not a writer. Can I tell it to you and have you write it?
Really, this is a frequently asked question. I’ll bet most of the people who ask it would be surprised to know that. No, I can’t write your book for you, sorry. I have plenty of ideas of my own and I would need another lifetime to write them all into books! There are such things as ghostwriters, but that’s not me, at least not at this time.
4. Can you introduce me to your publisher/agent?
Again, no, probably not. There are no shortcuts to publishing novels, at least not with traditional publishing houses. I’m afraid I don’t have that much pull. You will need to go to writers conferences, and network, and make your own connections. That’s what I did.
5. Will you endorse my book?
Gee, I hate to keep throwing cold water on folks. I am only able to endorse a small number of books, really small, as in almost never. I must focus on writing my next book.
(Let’s get back to more fun stuff!)
6. When do you write?
I write most days because I’m fortunate to be a full-time writer (supported by my husband!) I write during regular business hours usually, but when deadlines approach the schedule goes out the window.
7. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. Well, maybe yes. It’s complicated. 🙂
I always wanted to be a teacher. And I was for nearly 20 years. But I’ve always liked to make up stories. Storytime for my kindergarteners was my favorite time of the day! I wrote stories during my study hall in junior high school, but I can’t remember a thing about them. I do remember one friend telling me they reminded her of O. Henry’s because of the surprise endings. I think she was just being nice. I’ve continued to have trouble with plotting and that sometimes makes for an ending you didn’t expect. But truly I don’t think I ever thought being a writer was something obtainable. (Here’s some trivia, though. O. Henry and I share a birthday.)
In 2000, after a move, I did not have a job and that’s when I wrote in my prayer journal that all this time I had been suppressing a desire to write. Maybe that was the direction God wanted me to go. Then I got a part time preschool teaching job and then the next year a kindergarten job. That was also when I began to get serious about writing. In 2003 it was obvious the private kindergarten was not going to have enough enrollment to continue so I started writing full-time.
8. I would like to be a writer too. How did you get started?
My love of genealogy started it all. There is only so much you can define through genealogical research, and I kept wondering who these people were, what they went through, what happened in history that defined them. So, I made it up and put it into a novel. That one, and couple others after it, have not been published as yet. I went on to other subjects. Then I joined writers groups, such as The Historical Novel Society, and American Christian Fiction Writers. I went to writers conferences, met folks, and began writing magazine articles and short stories. Then I got an agent. And a few years after that my first book was published.
If you want to be a writer, write. So many people talk about it, but never do it. It’s a lot of hard work and commitment. If you’re not up for that, save yourself a lot of trouble and do something else. But if you truly must write, then do it. You know, the Nike commercial. I know it can be discouraging. I’ve been discouraged a lot. Just ask my husband. Or my agent. But if you keep working at, and keep improving your craft, you’ll get there.