Many of you have shared your dreams of one day becoming a novelist. Others have shared how they sense God’s nudge to begin stepping toward that dream. Still others of you have shared how you’ve been walking for some time but are hungry to learn more, to see how others do this storytelling thing. Of course, we’re all different, and as such, God will lead us each down a different path in this journey to publication. But even so, we can learn from one another, taking what we find helpful, storing away the rest.
So now, with no further ado (don’t I sound Shakespearian? lol) Here are the questions posed to us along with our answers. 🙂
1. What are you working on?
Jennifer: Um… A lot. Always. 😉 I just turned in my substantive edits for my debut novel, Beyond I Do, (currently available for preorder here at a discounted price). I’m very pleased with how the story has grown, thanks to help from the gracious, encouraging and insightful editors at New Hope Publishers. I’m waiting for edits for my sophomore novel, When Dawn Breaks, also releasing from New Hope in 2015. I’m conducting research for my next Crosswalk article as well as for a nonfiction proposal and a sequel (#3 in the proposed series) for my debut. As I said, A LOT, which necessitates a fair amount of prayer asking for God’s wisdom on what to work on when and for clarity and guidance as I write. And for a healthy dose of self-control to stay off Facebook! 😉
Carole: I am plotting out a book about one of the first judges. I just finished my third, and I’ll be looking for a home for it soon.
(As a fun aside, Carole’s sophomore novel, By the Waters of Kadesh, is currently available for free! Get it here! It’s a great book. One of the better ones I–Jennifer–have read this year!)
Tanya: I’m currently working on the first novel in my “All Roads Lead to Texas” series. It’s called The Rescue and it features a Boston woman, Rosalind, who is betrothed to an abusive man she doesn’t love when Trent, her childhood sweetheart returns. Although he is no longer a boy, he is the same person she remembered … almost. Never would she have thought to be in love with a cowboy from Texas.
2. How do your novels different from others in the same genre?
Jennifer: Often romance novels are equated with brain candy or fluff reading. Not that there’s anything wrong with stories written purely for entertainment purposes, but I’ve never been a “fluff” kind of writer. My passion is to see readers grow in freedom as they surrender fully to their Creator and grab hold of His perfect plan for them. Therefore, my novels always have a strong missional slant–a call to the characters which in turn, I hope, translates as a call to my readers, because I believe true and lasting joy comes from resting firmly in the palms of our Savior’s hands.
Carole: Unlike some other Biblical fiction authors, I don’t like to write about the big names—David, Esther, Abraham. I like to write about little-known characters in the well-known stories.
Tanya: One of the differences is that I write for two different genres, Contemporary and Historical Romance. I find when I write both genres, it quenches my thirst for creating stories that deal with issues that pull at the reader’s heart. Since I’m dealing with issues such as infidelity, loss of a child, physical and emotional abuse, PTSD, depression, or cancer, I walk a fine line. My stories give readers hope and an assurance that the Lord is near at all times and He is working behinds the scenes to give them a hope and a future like my characters. Also, I love romance and cowboys, so except for Unconditional, my novels include cowboys in the military or in the Wild West.
3) Why do you write what you do?
Jennifer: Because God is awesome, and I believe His power is most awesomely displayed in lives transformed. 🙂 Also, because I was–and at times, still am–a mess before I surrendered my life to Christ. I remember the pain, fear, deep, deep loneliness that comes from living life outside of His will, and I’ve experienced the intense, healing freedom that comes from surrender. I long to see others experience this. So I guess you could say, it’s personal. It’s also what I was created to do. 🙂
Carole: Because I have to! Because it’s fun!
Tanya: For me it’s simple. I write so people may know the unstoppable love of God, and the length He will go to offer grace and mercy to all of us. Regardless of how unworthy we feel about ourselves, what we’ve gone through in this life, or what we’ve done, nothing can separate us from the love of God.
4) How does your writing process work?
Jennifer: I’m a visual person, so often, a story will begin with a visual, sort of like a movie clip. A scene will run through my brain. Sometimes many scenes, and often, one character will rise to the forefront of my mind. Soon, others will join her, and a beautiful story of grace and redemption will unfold. As the images grow more vivid and the characters more real to me, an almost uncontrollable urge wells within me. This urge can only be satisfied by one thing: writing!
Carole: The basic story is in the Bible, but the characters are usually mentioned only a few times, so I get to create a whole life for them. The big names are secondary characters. My books take a lot of research, and I usually write and research at the same time.
Tanya: First, I set a word count goal for the week. As a writer, I heard time and time again that I needed to write every day to be successful. I used to beat myself up when I couldn’t meet that goal. It took two years fighting with this idea when I finally gave up. I decided to do something different, I set a word count goal each week, and it’s worked. Some weeks I write 2,000 words and others 5,000 depending on
Thanks, Mary Hamilton, for the invite, and thanks to you all for giving us an opportunity to share one of our greatest passions with you.