Angela Arndt writes women’s fiction with a thread of romance, telling stories of strong, independent women in difficult situations set in small Southern towns. Her biggest hope is that she will show God’s immeasurable grace and renew joy in the lives of those on the back roads. She and her husband, Charles, live on a bee farm in the middle of a big wood with their furbabies: Beau, Harley and Buddy the Wonder Dog (we wonder where he came from).
Welcome to the blog, Angie! I loved meeting you at ACFW last year and I’m thrilled to have you here today.
So tell us… When did you first start writing?
I wrote my very first poem when I was six. It was about deer. When I was in sixth grade I wrote a “novel” of three or four pages, also about deer. At the time, I lived in the suburbs with traffic, a few bunnies, but no deer. Oddly enough, now I live in the woods and see deer all the time.
When I was in my thirties, I dreamed an entire book. A mystery, but I wasn’t a writer. It was interesting, but that’s not who I was. About five years later, I opened a magazine and as I turned the page, I saw, “Write Your Story.” It was an ad for the Christian Writers Guild and it tugged at my heart. I knew I was being called to write.
What are you working on right now?
Most writers finish a book within a year or two of starting to learn the craft. I’m trying to find a home for my very first book and I’m starting my second book. Book one is called The Beekeeper’s Daughter, about an injured big city firefighter who’s inherited her father’s bee farm in a small town. She’ll lose her inheritance unless she can keep the bees alive for a year. And of course there’s a hunky helper on the farm. When someone on Town Council tries to put bees on the dangerous animals’ list, she’ll fight for the farm, but is she fighting to keep it, or fighting to sell it?
Oh I love the sounds of that. You leave me intrigued! 😉
Can you tell us about one of your favorite characters you’ve written so far?
Sabrina, my firefighter heroine, is my favorite. She had to undergo several makeovers to become a strong character, but I think if I met her today, I’d like her. She reminds me of a bantam rooster: she has no idea she’s tiny. But even though she’s petite, she puts her whole heart into anything she does.
I like how you describe her. It makes me want to meet her too! 😉
What’s something you love about your home state?
South Carolina is easy to love. We’ve got mountains and the beach within a two-hour drive, no matter where you live. From the frigid water of Whitewater Falls to the historic waterfront of Charleston to the wide, sunny beaches of Myrtle Beach, if you like being near water, you’ll love South Carolina.
It’s on my bucket list! 😉
What’s one of your favorite books?
Besides the Bible? I’m not sure. Any book that draws me in and makes me hate to turn the back cover is my favorite as I’m reading it. Francine River’s The Last Sin-Eater is one of my favorites, but I really enjoyed Beth Webb Hart’s Moon Over Edisto, too. Almost any book I’m reading is my favorite.
What is one of your favorite Scripture verses?
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy heart.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 (It’s in the King James Version because that’s the way I memorized it when I was a child.)
It’s simple and yet so powerful.
Can you share with us a special moment from your writing journey so far?
Like my favorite books, I’ve had so many special moments in my writing journey, but I guess my favorite is when I had a fifteen-minute mentoring session with Beth Vogt at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference that ended forty-five minute later. That session helped me envision the ending for my manuscript, but it also marked the beginning of a sweet friendship with Beth that I still have today.
I love reading this. The writing community is so special. What a blessing you two have in each other.
What’s been one of the most challenging aspects of writing?
Because I have a long list of chronic illness and I’m also co-caregiver with my eighty-nine-year-old mother, it’s hard to find stretches of “good times to write.” As with anyone, I can’t wait for blessed openings in my calendar. Instead, I have to get up early, while the house is still quiet to write, or write through the times when my body is wracked with pain, or snatch bits of writing time while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office (for either me and my mom).
Sounds like you are faithful in the work He’s called you to do. Such an inspiration and a reminder to all of us to make our time count. Thanks for sharing!
Name a few authors who inspire you.
Beth K. Vogt, Sharon Hinck, Mesu Andrews, and Gayle Roper are at the top of the list. I’ve just started reading Charles Martin’s books, too. Each one of those award-winning authors has “pushed through” and kept writing, in spite of what life has thrown at them. That’s what I want to do “when I grow up.”
Can you share a word of advice to other writers out there on the road to publication?
Here’s my top five pieces of advice for any writer:
1) Never stop learning about the craft of writing.
2) Invest in a subscription to Grammarly or ProWriting Aid to help you with the mechanics.
3) Go to as many writers’ conferences as you can afford. It’s best to attend one every year or at least every other year. If you can’t afford it some have scholarship programs.
4) Write ever day, whether you feel like it or not. Put your writing time on your schedule and keep the appointment!
5) But most importantly, pray over your writing. I keep a tiny beanbag pillow beside me, so that I drop to my knees before every writing session.
Ahhh, I love the beanbag pillow idea! 🙂
Is there anything else you want to share?
Readers who sign up for my newsletter will receive my e-devotional, Joy on the Back Roads: Devotions for Detours, to thank them for subscribing. I’ve written twelve anecdotes with Scripture and photos from around our state to encourage you to keep going, even when times are hard. That’s my goal with my newsletter, too. Here’s the link, if you’d like to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/cVSJFj
Thank you SO much for joining us today, Angie! Many blessings on you and your stories. I look forward to reading your books someday! 🙂