1) STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO ARE THE WRITERS WHO INSPIRE YOU NOW?
There were several writers who provided encouragement in my early, formative years as a pre-published author. They included Frank Ball, Lena Dooley, Kristin Billerbeck, and Colleen Coble. The person who most impacted my life and advocated for me was John Olson. He is the only mentor I’ve had to date and has been instrumental in so many areas of my writing life. I doubt I’d be published or where I am without the help and guidance of this incredibly gentle and skilled author who has a heart for up-and-coming writers.
Today, I am inspired by writers like Robert Liparulo and a few authors who have the grace and generosity in their personal lives as well as in their writing–Deborah Raney, Colleen Coble, Terri Blackstock, Robert Liparulo, Jim Rubart. It’s not so much that they’re directly speaking into my life (although a couple do) but that they lead by example. I learn from the way they interact with fans, new writers, and other authors, their professionalism and generosity. When I look at these writers, I want to be like that (not in terms of success but in how they act when not in the “limelight”).
2) WHICH OTHER WRITERS/STORYTELLERS WOULD YOU COMPARE YOUR BOOKS TO?
I really don’t compare my books to others because I see unique angles to styles and stories, and I feel there’s a certain level of audacity to say my books are like someone else’s. My stories will always have action and adventure. There is a lot of action and technology like what is found in Robert Liparulo’s adult thrillers, yet there is a solid dose of romance (you have heard of romantic thrillers, right?) like you’d expect in a Susan May Warren or Robin or Dee Henderson book. My stories are versatile enough and maintain enough action/adventure that men like them, but the ladies enjoy them as well with raw, realistic characters.
3) AFTER ONE OF YOUR BOOKS COMES OUT AND YOU SEE THE REVIEWS AND COMMENTS, DO THEY MAKE YOU RETHINK HOW YOU APPROACH THE NEXT BOOK?
You’ve hit a soft spot with me–my readers matter and so do their opinions, but a significant amount of time, work, editing, and proofing goes into a story. Sometimes, as a reader (whether you’re also an author or not), it’s easy to forget that. However, I think it’s important to remember–and I’m reminding myself here–that while a reader (or 10 readers) might not like a certain element of a book, there may be thousands who did. I’ve had the unique issue of writing more like a guy (loads of action/adventure), so I think the romantic elements in my books take some readers off guard. However, I don’t see this as a need for me to reformulate how I write. It is, however, helping me discover what readers like in my stories.
4) WHAT ASPECT OF GOD DO YOU MOST HOPE READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
A month or so ago, Eric Wilson and I are were discussing the different roles writers play in the war of good and evil. For Eric, he’s the front lines, warrior/evangelist. Me? I’m back in the medic’s tent, tending the wounded and encouraging them. That’s my mission in life–to help the hurting find healing and comfort in Christ’s loving arms. I want people to realize that yeah, God always cares. Always loves. The hurting are never alone, even though it often feels that way.
5) WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WRITING?
When I’m not writing, I am reading–either for research or catching up on the plethora of books that my friends and favorite authors have written. Outside the writing world, I am a homeschooling mother of four kiddos, and we try to take trips and do special things together as often as we can because when I’m on deadline, I’m buried in my office. My husband used to be a firearms instructor, so we sometimes go to the range. I love to decorate, so I’ll often paint or “remodel” a room in between book deadlines. That’s a great, physical outlet that keeps the right side of my brain active when I’m not writing.