How long have you been a member of Inspire Christian Writers?
Hmm, tricky question, because I count myself as having joined twice, the first before you had official membership. After about a year in the group, I took a two year hiatus due to working with someone on copy edits for both my short novel and current full length novel. Seeing as how my novel still needs a lot of work, I recently joined again.
What prompted you to join Inspire?
Knowing that iron sharpens iron and the value of being in such a group, and how it increases the learning curve, after hearing about Inspire from Chris Pedersen at church, I started attending the El Dorado Hills group facilitated by Joanne Kraft. No disappointment there, Inspire was just what I needed. I’m ecstatic to be back and love the group of gals in our group. But I’ll really miss Joanne!
When did you first know you were a writer?
That first inkling came while in Jr. High. My English teacher gave us an assignment to write a poem and I got an A. She posted said poem on the bulletin board for parents’ night. Then in high school, another English teacher had us write a short story, my first. We all had questions about how you go about it, and she said something to the effect, “Take a situation from life, real or imagined, and think, ‘what if’ such and such were to happen, and write a story.”
I got an ‘A’ and not only that, she read my story to the class. I remember Gary sitting next to me asking, “How’d you do that?” I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know, I just did what she said.”
The teacher urged my parents to get me to take journalism in college. Go ahead and laugh … I had no idea what journalism was. And I had no inclination to go to college. To shorten an already long story, let’s just say, while laid up with a badly broken ankle (a whole month!) in my forties, I felt the Lord calling me to write for Him. Shortly after, a friend told me about a writing correspondence course through Long Ridge Writers Group. I took the test and they accepted me into their program. I’ve since graduated two of their courses.
It must’ve been during the first course that I realized I was a writer. Sounds like I’m talking about the first course of a meal…
Describe your writing career high point and low point.
My career high happened at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2010. I pitched Kellen’s Hope to Rachel Kent with Books and Such Literary Agency and she asked me to send her the complete manuscript and synopsis. Career low point, when I could no longer concentrate to write due to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. To learn more about that story, you’ll have to read “What to do with Those Lemons” in the new Inspire Trust anthology.
How did you react when you received your first acceptance or publication?
Bubbling over with joy! My first is in Inspire Trust, which just became available. I pray those who read my story (as well as the others stories) will be … well, inspired, encouraged and uplifted by the greatness of our God.
What project of yours is gathering dust?
I’ve heard writer’s say your first novel is trash—good learning ground—but I believe my first story has merit, and with a lot of work, could be publishable.
What’s next for you?
I’m still reworking Kellen’s Hope, but I also started a sequel. I’m not sure if I have enough to make it work, so we’ll see. I’m also attending the Christian Communicators Conference this summer in hopes of launching my speaking ministry.
What does it mean to you to be a writer?
It’s a privilege, a high calling to write for the Master Creator. Wow! And how wonderful that He not only calls and equips, but the joy I receive in the process. I can hardly find the words to describe how it makes me feel.
I hope to make a difference with my novels by creating a world that reins my readers in and causes them to care about the characters, to evoke emotions that leave them breathless, whether anger, joy or tears—to touch their hearts. But most of all, to tell a compelling story with nuggets of truth scattered throughout in hopes that God will use it in some way to affect them on a spiritual level.
Writing a story that captivates a reader’s heart is a wonderful process, but it takes perseverance, hard work and many rewrites. I’ve learned to love the process. Tightening and finding just the right word, and making a sentence sing, is a joy. And having the Holy Spirit as a writing partner is awesome.
I’ve often come to the end of a scene and didn’t know where to go next. After talking to Him, not more than a few minutes later I have an idea. We serve an incredible God!
Was there a book that changed your life?
Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness opened my eyes in a deeper way to the workings in the spiritual realm. I wanted to write that kind of story even before I felt the call to write. My short novel Where Darkness Dwells is along those lines. I also love Oswald Chambers’ devotional My Utmost for His Highest, which brought deeper insight into scripture and increased my faith. It brought more depth in my walk with the Lord.
Describe your writing environment. Or better yet, include a photo.
I’m blessed to have two writing environments, but I’ll only share a photo of my home writing space. The other, where I now am, is our condo on Bainbridge Island, WA. I’m sitting at the kitchen table facing the windows enjoying a lovely view on this clear, crisp, sunny day. I love my home space, too. Outside past the patio and grass to the right is our Koi pond and straight back beyond the lawn, above two terraces on the hill, a grand 150 year old black oak rests. We built our dream home, a country Victorian, on 1.2 acres almost ten years ago on a deer trail.
Last week while online, I looked out the window and saw a doe laying on our lower lawn not more than a foot and a half from our porch chewing her cud. It wasn’t until a couple days later I went out to feed the Koi and saw that she had nipped off almost all the flowers on my potted plants, the little darling.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Linda Hall, my first writing instructor, said, “Lose the Christian jargon and don’t write down to your readers.” It took awhile before I got what she meant, but I’ve gained a better understanding. I don’t want to lose readers because of Christianese, a language they won’t get if they haven’t been raised in the Church.