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. 🙂 Their dedication to the craft and their calling have blessed and encouraged me. Hope you’ll love meeting them too!
Natalie Monk writes historical romance full of laughter, love, and redemption. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Natalie is represented by the Steve Laube Agency and is currently plotting her third novel. She is a home school graduate, gospel singer, portrait photographer, devotional speaker and former post-hole digger. She loves sweet tea, book talk, porch swings, and watching musicals and action movies with her family.
For more, visit her website at http://www.nataliemonk.com/
Welcome to the blog, Natalie! I’m so excited to have you join us today! When did you first start writing?
Let’s see. I wrote a partial story about a newborn pony named “Flower” going around to meet all the other farm animals. It fizzled out after about three sentences. I was always one to avoid conflict, and that showed up in my stories—even up in my teen years until I learned you can’t have a story without conflict. 🙂 I thought, who’d want to write about that? I hate the stuff. Now, of course, I see how conflict makes us grow to overcome obstacles, and the same holds true for our characters as well. 🙂
What are you working on right now?
I’m plotting a project in hopes of submitting to Love Inspired Historical, about Ellie Stratton, a destitute farm girl whose elderly father suddenly marries the mother of a handsome cattle baron—a man who just refused Ellie’s plea for help. The plot’s still in need of refining, but there you have it. 🙂
Can you tell us about one of your favorite characters you’ve written so far?
Jesse Roeper is the hero in my trade-length manuscript Lead Me Home, and right now my favorite. He’s quiet, efficient, good-humored, and self-sacrificial, (think James from the movie First Daughter) but Jesse’s far too concerned about his reputation. Imagine his bewilderment when his runaway bride shows up after seven years without word. And she’s brought a deadly scandal along with her.
What’s something you love about your home state?
Ah, my beloved Mississippi… there’s no lack of Southern warmth or historical richness here. Also, the dirt roads, small convenience stores, and country landscapes I grew up with…there’s a peacefulness about them that brings back sweet memories.
What’s one of your favorite books?
Choosing a favorite book is like choosing which of your body parts you’d prefer NOT to be amputated. 🙂 But one I’ll always go back to is To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer. There’s also Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Those authors’ works have majorly influenced in my writing.
What is one of your favorite Scripture verses?
Psalm 139:7-14. There’s such comfort in the thought that wherever we must go, God’s already there.
Can you share with us a special moment from your writing journey so far?
One special moment happened January 15 when my agent called to offer representation. I actually MISSED HER CALL!! I was in Texas working on a missions project and helping my dad put siding on a building when I checked my phone and saw a strange number. When I heard the voice mail my heart cut a flip and I floated around a few minutes until I asked my family to “pray for me, I’m fixin’ to call her back.” Despite all my apprehension about saying something goofy that would cause Tamela to change her mind, that phone call went off incredibly smooth, mostly due to Tamela’s expertise and professionalism I’m sure.
What’s been one of the most challenging aspects of writing?
Getting precise emotions onto the page, especially for characters with whom I don’t have lots in common. To dip the pen in deep emotion one must first pierce his own heart.
Name a few authors who inspire you.
Through their fiction and their friendship, and in no particular order, Tina Radcliffe, Karen Witemeyer, Brandy Vallance, Nancy Kimball, Pam Hillman, Kate Breslin, Francine Rivers, Elaine Manders, Piper Huguley, Courtney Ballinger. Agh, I know I must be leaving some out. All the cool people at ACFW.
Can you share a word of advice to other writers out there on the road to publication?
Be teachable, no matter your level of skill or years in the business—something I learned from watching Francine Rivers sit in a writing class full of beginners like me. When questioned about it later, she said it’s always good to keep the basics fresh in your mind.
Also, when someone makes a suggestion about your writing, try it on for size. Keep the adjustment or not—your prerogative, but the change may be more beneficial than you thought.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Natalie. I’m so excited to read your work! 🙂 Have a blessed 2016!
Let’s spread the love, reading friends! You can help encourage and support Natalie’s writing by connecting with her on the following sites.
Natalie is giving away a “surprise” Christian historical romance book to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be you!
Thanks for entering! Contest is open to US residents only and ends May 10, 2016. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!