WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE DEADLY TIES?
I’ve been concerned about human-trafficking for a long time and watching it grow to a significant problem in the U.S. Yet it doesn’t get as much attention as one would expect. When I spoke about it to people, most thought that this challenge was one that only happened elsewhere. That’s definitely not the case and I wanted to write a story to bring attention to that but also to show that when awful things happen to us, God does indeed turn what we learn from them and use it for good.
I also wanted to share that God is with us always, and He is aware always. Sometimes we get mired down in life and think He’s forgotten us, and then something happens that shows us He not only hadn’t forgotten us in a dark hallway, He’s been with us all along, preparing the way in our future.
The magnanimity in that awes me, and I hoped it would awe and comfort and reassure readers, too.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
I have eclectic tastes in books and have drawn inspiration from authors across the spectrum. Some with whom I agree, and some with whom I do not. The people who most inspire me now are children. I love their curiosity and honesty, their blunt conversation and unguarded reactions. They sing and look at you with pure joy and acceptance. I love how the bigger kids automatically watch over and assist the smaller ones. There’s so much to learn from children and to appreciate in them. One of my favorite things to do is to watch them interact. I’m seeing far less innocence in them, and that concerns me, but there is much to admire in children and much to learn from them.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
In every way. I don’t believe you can separate your faith from your work. It’s such an intricate and interwoven part of you that it impacts all you do and all of what you are. It changes the way you see things, the way you react to them. The way you see and react to others, to events and situations. So faith permeates everything in and about you. Even when you write dark villains—and I often do—I believe that it is faith that makes you look at the act the villain is committing as evil, but you see the villain through eyes that grasp the same God made you as that villain. That forces you to look at why this villain behaves as s/he does and it fosters an interest in what events or experiences led that villain to be this person s/he has become.
Regardless of what type of novel I write, they’re all healing books. In them, someone who is broken inside, faces his/her darkest night or greatest fears, seeks constructive solutions to challenges and heals. That’s entirely about my faith. Whether the books are Christian fiction or ones I wrote years ago for the general market, they’re all healing books permeated by faith.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
I started writing very young. Political essays, at my father’s suggestion. We used to discuss the stories on the front page of the newspaper every night at dinner. I discovered writing could be enlightening. You learn what you think. You also learn how to think for yourself. Later, a friend was assaulted, and I turned to poetry and wrote about the stages of healing after violation. From there, I progressed to books. I wanted room to sprawl and explore all kinds of things about people. I’ve always been fascinated by people. Yet I chose a different career path and followed it for a time. Business. Those skills have come in handy. But my heart was in writing and so I returned to it over two decades ago. I’ve been writing ever since. It’s funny because, looking back, I can see how God started way back in my childhood preparing me for writing. It took a long time for me to notice it, but He’s been guiding me in it all my life.
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
My personal philosophy has been “I serve” all my adult life. I trust that those who need the healing in my books will find them. I believe that those God intends be touched by them will be touched by them. That’s most significant to me. To that, I pray that those who are broken, lost, feeling helpless or hopeless or forgotten will read my stories and see that if my characters can find constructive solutions to their challenges, then constructive solutions exist and the readers can find them, too.
Beyond that I choose subjects and topics to raise awareness and I hope that they do. And I write to entertain.
Some make light of entertaining but I’m not among them. I remember sitting beside my mother’s hospital bed for hours on end, knowing that the end was nearing. Sometimes she knew me, sometimes she didn’t. Sometimes she talked to others who had passed on years ago as if they were standing in the room. I’d get upset of course, and then she’d rest and I’d read. I know how valuable just five minutes of getting lost in a story can be. I hope that my stories can give someone else that five minutes’ respite when they most need it.