I’ve been excited about introducing a new feature to my blog this year. In the coming weeks and months – along with my usual author interviews and book reviews – I will also be introducing aspiring authors who are still on the road to publication.

I thought it would be fun for you all to get to know some of these great writers before you even pick up their books. πŸ™‚ Their dedication to the craft and their calling have blessed and encouraged me. Hope you’ll love meeting them too!

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Writer Behind the Words

A friend suggested I start off these aspiring author interviews by introducing myself and sharing my own journey with you all. It feels a bit strange to be on this side of the questions, but hopefully it will give you a better idea of where I’m at in this process. πŸ˜‰ (These are the same questions the upcoming writers will be answering here too.)

When did you first start writing?

Growing up, I always loved writing letters in the mail and keeping a diary, but it wasn’t until around 2006 that I wrote my first book. I remember sitting beneath a big oak tree one summer afternoon at home with my trusty notebook and I started penning this romantic tale. πŸ˜‰ That story has been since tucked away, but it fed something inside of me I hadn’t even realized I’d been looking for. I began writing my second book and started submitting freelance articles. When my first article was accepted, I was jumping up and down. That’s the moment I first thought, β€œHey, I can do this.” I had no idea the road that was still ahead of me, but it was a fun beginning. The start of a dream.

My hubby Andrew and me

My hubby Andrew and me

What are you working on right now?

I just finished my third book, but in many ways it feels like my first official book. It’s much longer, for one. And I’ve carried the initial idea for this story around with me for 6+ years. The last year spent writing it felt more real, more serious, more affirming than anything I’ve written before. It marked a turning point in the way I viewed my writing and my hopes for the future as an author. It changed me in many ways. Now I’m currently diving in to the editing process. This is new territory for me. Prayers are appreciated! πŸ˜‰

Can you tell us about one of your favorite characters you’ve written so far?

It’s gotta be my hero from the book I just finished. Ever since I first heard about the bushwhackers fighting from the woods here in Missouri during the Civil War, I was intrigued. I knew my hero had to be one of those men. I wrote to figure out what type of man would join such a group, why or who he was fighting for, and to watch him find love and redemption of the truest kind.

What’s something you love about your home state?

I enjoy a lot about Missouri and these Ozark hills I call home. One thing my hubby and I have enjoyed recently has been the hiking trails. We may not have the big mountains they do out west, but give me a day in the fresh outdoors and the scenery is still breathtaking.

Me and Sarah Ladd at ACFW 2014

Me and Sarah Ladd at ACFW 2014

What’s one of your favorite books?

Several of you probably already have a good guess. πŸ™‚ Let me pick a couple…. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and The Butterfly and The Violin by Kristy Cambron. I have so many favorite authors, though…. Julie Lessman, Sarah E. Ladd, Lori Benton, the list goes on and on.

One non-fiction book I read every year is Morning & Evening by Charles Spurgeon. It’s been with me for years and I’m blessed every time I pick it up.

What is one of your favorite Scripture verses?

There are so many to mention, so many I love. How about I share one that encouraged me lately when I was feeling overwhelmed?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I repeat that to myself when I find myself worrying and stressing over things and the peace it breathes into my heart is unmistakable every single time.

Can you share with us a special moment from your writing journey so far?

Again, there are so many things I’d love to mention. Starting my blog and meeting readers like you! Getting connected with my two sweet critique partners. There are two others that really impacted my writing:

One moment in particular that stands out is my ACFW conference I attended. To this day, I remember so much about it. I was so far outside my comfort zone and yet God touched my life through so many moments and people. I’ll never forget how I learned and grew through the experience. It left a HUGE impact on my heart and outlook as an author. I cannot wait to go back someday and hug a few more dear authors!

Gettysburg 2013

Gettysburg 2013

The other was visiting Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary of the battle. My story isn’t connected to Gettysburg, but it is tied to that time period and that long road trip will always be a very special experience for me. To walk the ground, see the monuments, watch the reenactment. It was unreal and unforgettable. I hope I can convey what I felt there into my stories. It’s a special place if you ever get to go.

 

What’s been one of the most challenging aspects of writing?

For me, there always seems to be something distracting me. Whether it’s the distraction of something else that needs my attention, such as work or family, or it’s the pressure of time, or lack of. There always seems to be that tug pulling me away. It’s taken several years – and I’m still learning – to find the balance between my life and writing and how to ignore the distractions and doubts in order to be diligent. It’s a continual pursuit. One I doubt I’ll ever have perfectly mastered.

Name a few authors who inspire you.

Awww, there are so many and I’ve had lots of them as guests on this blog. πŸ˜‰ I’d have to say the first Author ever is my greatest inspiration. No one tells stories like Jesus did. They never get old and they each have something to teach me. He’s the author I look to for encouragement and hope and strength as I continue down this road. If my work is not for Him, it will be in vain. I love writing knowing that He’s a writer too.Β  Just one more thing we share.

Can you share a word of advice to other writers out there on the road to publication?

You guys know I’m still a work-in-progress myself and I’m far from having this writing thing figured out. πŸ˜‰ I just want you all to remember that it’s a journey. To pray your way through each day and find joy in the process. Keep reading and writing – always. And don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone. It can be hard, but in those moments you often find your deepest strength – in Christ.Β  I wish I could give you each a hug! Hold to hope in all you do. Whatever He’s called you to do, I’m praying God will bless the work of your hands.

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***Watch for next week when I get the opportunity to introduce a good friend and fellow-author to this new feature on the blog. Can’t wait for you to meet her!

GIVEAWAY!!

I’m giving away a SURPRISE giveaway of 2 Christian Fiction books from my shelves to one winner. Enter below and it could be you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering!Β Contest is open to US residents only and ends February 23, 2016.Β  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!