WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR A GOOD EXCUSE TO BE BAD?
1- I covered an investigative story about a church scandal eight years ago for a newspaper I once wrote for, but we had to kill it. It was too sensational for our core readers and some advertisers had relationships with the focus of the story. We didn’t run with the story, because the main parties involved were too big for our little paper to take on without some detrimental consequence. However, I couldn’t get the story out of my head. It made me wonder what other truths the press has held back from the public. Most importantly, were we being spoon fed a reality that didn’t exist? What is our world really like? I still can’t sleep thinking about that.
2- The other thing was how can I successfully raise my daughter into a happy, well-adjusted, spiritual, and healthy young woman? This keeps me up long hours at night. In the books, movies, and television shows I’ve experienced, I rarely see a main character who has to tackle that issue on her own. I wanted to write a character in a real setting, with real issues, who has to surrender to her faith at times when she can’t solve her own problems.
3- Growing up in the South and in my grandmom’s house, I often heard a phrase that tickled me: “… gonna make me lay down my religion.” I would hear that all the time and everyone would nod in agreement when someone used that phrase. “So and so made me so mad I almost laid down my religion to smack them in the head.” or “If so and so doesn’t watch out I’m gonna lay down my religion and…” …this phrase has always stuck with me.
What can we get away with? Why are we laying down our religion? Is there ever a good excuse to do bad things? Or leave our faith behind to accomplish a thing? We live in a world where there are so many excuses to compromise our ethics and morals, so I’m playing devil’s advocate for a minute, to spark discussion.
I took that question and tidbits from that story we killed to come up with a compelling argument. If I had to save my family, what would I not do?
WHO ARE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRE YOU?
Anne Lamott, Chuck Palahniuk, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Hardy, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Nella Larsen, Tosca Lee, Sharon Ewell Foster, Kate White, Walter Mosley, Sidney Sheldon.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
I write mainstream books for a mainstream publisher (Kensington). However, my writing is considered Christian to Christian readers, and mainstream suspense to the rest. My writing aesthetic is similar to Dean Koontz and James Scott Bell.
Christian readers think it’s Christian perhaps because there isn’t any cursing, sex, or graphic violence. However, I would like to think it’s because my main characters are Christians. They try to solve their challenges because of their Christian worldview, sometimes in spite of their worldview.
I intended for my main character Angel to have a very current and flawed view of what organized religion is. In fact, other characters in the series share different views on faith and our responsibility to the community at large, and laity concern. I wanted to show a realistic view of the challenges and the enormity of our faith without beating readers over the head with it (if you know what I mean).
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
Writing was forced on me, because I was in the gifted program in secondary schools. After fifth grade, the AP English students in our school district ran the school newspapers and literary review. By the time I began my undergrad education, I naturally gravitated to writing a column for the college newspaper—submitting shorts for the literary journals, writing literary criticism and essays for the local paper, and taking college-level creative writing classes. Surprisingly, I never thought I would be a professional writer. I was going to be an architect. I wanted a profession that could guarantee financial stability for me and my family. However, my life changed a few months after I finally got my dream job. I call it divine intervention, because I know I wouldn’t have had the experience to write the stories that I write now, let alone become published.