Author Interview: Karen Wiesner PART I

Plug time. What book or project is coming out or has come out that you’d like to tell us about?

My first inspirational was the contemporary inspirational novella, A Home for Christmas in SMALL GIFTS, the first Jewels of the Quill Christmas anthology (Whiskey Creek Press, available now). Wayward Angels (which contains the hero’s brother in A Home for Christmas) is a full-length inspirational women’s fiction, the fourth novel in my Wounded Warriors Series. It’s actually my first inspirational in this varied series. It’s a gritty story that will probably cause a few waves because I didn’t follow CBA guidelines in writing it—though it has received consistent 4 and 5 star reviews since its release. I was more concerned with capturing reality than making sure no one was shocked. But I do hope Christians and those who just love a gripping, emotional story will embrace it.

Michelle Therese recently gave it a compelling review that I think captures so well the essence I was striving for:
“Long story short, this story has grit and guts. It breaks all the rules. They curse, they kiss with passion (though they never actually do more than that but their thoughts are very spicy) and they are real people with insane problems.

The hero is a former music star and a new Christian. He opened a shelter for teen boys on the streets and is a real Prince Charming with a huge heart. I can’t believe he actually held off until they were married based on all of the temptation out there. But that’s an aside.

The heroine is bipolar and a brand new Christian (literally) who decided God was going to heal her since she got saved, so she stopped taking her meds and, boy, did she turn up the heat. I’ve never seen a better portrayal of someone who is flagrantly bipolar than this one. They (off meds) tend to be highly sexualized when in a manic state so you can imagine some of the antics. However, she was in a sad place because prior to being saved she was raped and the guy had AIDS and shot himself (while on top of her) so she feared being pregnant and having AIDS for most of the book.

See, I told you it was in-your-face grit. Since I work with intense people, I’ve seen this upfront and it isn’t pretty but it’s real. Even with new Christians who have horrible backgrounds. Anyway, this story kept me up until 2:30 AM and I got very little sleep last night (no I’m not bipolar thank the Lord) until I finished.

We talked about symbolism in Louise Gouge’s class in Nashville and Karen did a masterful job with the pet cats. Amazing. So if you don’t mind an intense read with grit and an occasional cuss word, this might work for you. At any rate, I found it fascinating. The Christian piece of the story was so much more real and deeper than many CBA novels. You hear (in their heads) their doubts and fears and struggles and its so REAL how the enemy works on them. This book has made me think about my walk with the Lord and I like that. So be warned, this ain’t for Grandma unless she has major grit in mind.

But the message is clear. Faithful obedience is worth it.” WAYWARD ANGELS is available in trade paperback and electronic formats [0-7599-4418-0 (trade paperback); 0-7599-4417-2 (electronic)] from Hard Shell Word Factory. Visit my website for more information: www.karenwiesner.com (Fiction).

Tell us about your journey to publication. How long had you been writing before you got the call you had a contract, how you heard and what went through your head.

I wrote my first book when I was 10 years old. A few years later, I started brainstorming thriller/mysteries in my head. By the time I was 16, I’d written almost a dozen books, short stories, and countless poems. Unofficially, I had my own fan club in high school and had a dozen publishing credits to my name (all poems). Eventually, I moved into contemporary romance novels—my first eight published novels were romances, with LEATHER & LACE, Book 1 of the Gypsy Road Series published in June 1998.

Ironically, I’d just made the decision to quit trying to get published when I received the call (in this case, the e-mail) that provided me with my first contract. And, strangely, my first thought was, I just had a baby. We put off having kids until my career finally launched, gave up on that ever happening, and now I have a baby and a career. It was then that I knew I had to figure out a way to discipline my horribly erratic writing method. The results of what I learned are in my first book with Writer’s Digest Books, FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Well, “still” implies that I had self-doubts at any point. I’ve always thought that there was a market for my books, which are all gritty, realistic to the point of being starkly graphic (though never gratuitous, in my own opinion), and powerful. However, I’ve never felt any call to write Christian material, though I have been completely open to Him drawing me that way.

Even now, I don’t feel called to write Christian novels exclusively. But after years of leading me so subtly (He knows me so well; knows just what I can handle!) in that direction, the Lord gave me something of a wake-up call.

Over a year ago now, I felt strongly that I could write Christian novels without losing the realistic edge that I’m so grateful to the Lord for giving me in my writing. I’d worried that if He ever nudged me in that direction, I’d lose that. I worried that my writing would become so ‘tame,’ it would lose its emotional power. I honestly don’t see the point of writing if that emotional power isn’t there—it wouldn’t be worth it for me to continue without it. God showed me that He could use me in this way without taking away the very thing that makes writing worthwhile to me.

Wayward Angels is the first example of that. Writing it was an experience unlike any I’ve gone through before. It was like having God sit down with me every morning and guide my figurative pen. When the book was done, I also felt like I hadn’t written it. It almost didn’t feel like my own writing, and I did experience some self-doubts about it when it was released.

I worried how Christians would react, if they’d slam me left and right for it. Yet the reception so far has been beyond what I could have ever imagined. Earlier this week, I took the plunge and dared to read it myself again after so long away from it, and I have to admit I was stunned. This time I recognized my own realistic, powerful edge that I never want to lose, but I also recognized that God had been leading my hand while I was writing it. While reading it this time, I experienced in an overwhelming way His incredible ability to take a life that seems beyond redemption and turn it into something not only worthwhile but beautiful.

It’s always amazed me how He can use those who started out so far from Him—we’re so blessed by that on its own, yet He always adds to the blessings as if it wasn’t enough! I don’t doubt that I can write Christian fiction now that can both glorify Him and change the life of those who read it.

Do you have a scripture or quote that has been speaking to you lately?

After reading Wayward Angels this past week, I thought again of how Romans 12:1 and 2 cover everything in life. When I first accepted the Lord, my every question was, “What’s God’s will here? Should I do this? Or this? Or not? What does He want me to do?” It was a constant struggle. I’ve learned that Romans 12:1 and 2 are the answer to every question every single time. What I do or don’t do beyond that isn’t the point.

The point is my submission. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God… Then you’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is…” God’s will in every circumstance I face is for me to submit myself to Him. The question: Should I confront this person? The answer: Submit to Him, offer myself to Him. The question: Should I teach Sunday School? The answer: Submit to Him, and He’ll reveal the answer to me based on my obedience in offering myself to Him. These verses are just such a peace to me after so many years of struggling for His will.

If your authorial self was a character from The Wizard of Oz, which one would you be and why?

LOL, no doubt Dorothy. I’m such a homebody, my first thought in getting to Oz would be, so when do we go home?

Can you give us a view into a typical day of your writing life?

Considering the number of genres I write in and publishers I write for (currently 7), I’m extremely disciplined. Everything is planned well in advance, and I keep tweaking my schedule to make it as productive as it possibly can be. For my novels, once a story has been brewing for a considerable amount of time and I’ve amassed the necessary research (which is done between books and well in advance of a project), I start with an extremely detailed outline, which is, in essence, the first draft of the book.

The outline can take anywhere from a day to week to work out, depending on the complexity of the book. Because of the way I’ve worked my schedule, I’m able to set my completed outline aside for a month or more, then come back to it and make sure it’s as solid as I thought before I set it aside. As soon as I’m ready, I can begin writing. In general, I’ll write 2 scene per day (regardless of how long or short—this and the outline itself inevitably prevent burnout and/or writer’s block).

My annual goal sheet can then include accurate time-tables for researching, writing, and revising outlines and novels. I also use project goal sheets, so I can know down to the day how long it’ll take to finish a book. Completing a 100,000 book generally takes me a month or so. Once that “second draft” is completed, I again set the book aside for a month or so before I begin revisions. Depending on the project, revision amounts to minor editing and polishing. In this way, I alternate my time between novels in various stages of completion, and I can write at least 4 outlines/books per year.

This year in particular has been very productive for me. So far, I’ve written 3 full novels, 4 novellas, 7 proposals, 6 outlines, and will have at least 6 books published by the end of the year. As you can tell, I believe momentum is a powerful force in any career. If I stall because I have done a good job of juggling my tasks, I can only blame myself. And, lest anyone wonders, I do plan my vacations from writing carefully, too, to help avoid burnout or writer’s block.

How much marketing do you do? Any advice in this area?

These days, I promote almost exclusively through the promotional writing group I created in July of 2003. Jewels of the Quill www.JewelsoftheQuill.com is a group of women authors. I believe the future of author promotion is within groups. Many of the 12 members of Jewels of the Quill share a mutual geographic location (or pretty close!) so that we can assemble for booksignings and other promotional junkets.

We offer readers who love to discover unique small press books (and the occasional mass market published!) in a variety of fiction genres. Because we recognize the need to spotlight authors individually as well as promote the group itself, our group website spotlights one member per month and this includes a Q & A with her on the homepage and a giveaway for a signed copy of her book. Our newsletter, Fans of Jewels of the Quill, goes out each month to a large membership (500+ strong).

We offer our loyal readers incentives to stay with us for the long haul, such as our annual Christmas Books-Galore giveaway and our anniversary giveaway in July. Advertisements include 1/3rd page ads in Romantic Times BOOKclub featuring just 2 instead of all 12 authors, but the group is also prominently promoted in each ad we run.

Everyone contributes a little each month to advertising rather than paying a lump sum, yet there are no group membership fees. Members volunteer to create bookmarks, brochures, etc. Jewels of the Quill was featured in the September 2003 issue of Romantic Times BOOKclub. We also do two anthologies together a year as a group (published by Whiskey Creek Press)—one holiday and one “regular” with stories featuring our chosen jewels. We promote all of our group anthologies ads in Romantic Times as well as monthly anthology giveaways. Our first anthology received 4 ½ stars and was Top Pick upon release.

You’ve published non-traditionally. Can you give us some pros and cons about publishing with a small press?

First, I don’t believe it’s ever a good idea to pay someone else to do what you could do yourself and quite possibly do better with some research and hard work. If an author wants to publish a work of her own which has been professionally edited, then more power to her. That said, I do believe that mass market publishing offers authors “the best deal.” Nine times out of ten that’s the top of the line choice.

If the author has a work that’s proved a very hard sell (strictly because the material is deemed a hard sell to consumers by traditional publishers in terms of subject matter or length, not because it’s poorly written), then I highly recommend reputable, non-subsidy, royalty-paying small press and/or electronic publishers. Non-subsidy electronic publishing offers writers what mass market publishing can’t and/or won’t—a way to get legitimately published in order to build a resume. Since for the most part, small press and electronic publishing don’t focus on what will sell, the publisher is free to accept the books that they and readers love, instead of only those which might reap financial rewards. For those who need print formats, be aware that most e-publishers now offer print formats alongside electronic, so authors can have the best of both worlds. A resume full of rave reviews, awards, nominations and good sales is something that mass market publishers look at closely.

I could quote you sheer numbers of authors who have started their careers with small press or e-publishers and ended up with a big fat contract from a traditional publisher. It’s an excellent way to show them what you can do—something that you really can’t do if you’ve never had anything published before.

With the state of publishing coming down to a bottom line of money, it’s essential to have that something extra to make publishers willing to take a chance on you. Make sure you do your research, though. Ask the authors at a particular publisher you’re interested in submitting to whether they’re good or they have solid drawbacks. You might be surprised by what you learn. It’s definitely better to hear it before than after, so do your homework first.

The downsides are obvious:

Your sales will no doubt be small, possibly nonexistent, and you truly are on your own with promotion (though you’d probably be anyway, as even most traditional publishers also leave promotion up to the authors). Most small press publishers can’t afford to do even company promotion, but the fact is they can’t afford not to either—whether they grasp that or not.

It is a great thing that many small press publishers do offer print versions of their books. Most are in trade paperback, which is expensive for the consumer, but again, traditional publishers are also going this route because trade paperbacks can’t be stripped and sent back to the publisher only to become landfill.

Some of the trade paperbacks are poorly made and the copy isn’t good. Some are beautiful. Do your homework—buy some books before you submit to a particular publisher and/or talk to their authors about this.

Some small press publishers have poor editing, that’s true, but with some there’s no difference to a traditional publisher. You will probably work harder on this count yourself. Chances are, you’ll be given multiple opportunities to provide your publisher with the cleanest possible copy before the book is published, and sometimes even after. You can ask your friends to help you or hire a professional. Most small press publishers do have a stable full of editors—some professional, some not. Again, it’s up to you to do the proper research.

Many e-publishers only offer the print option if the author pays the set-up fee (usually around $100 per book). Is this vanity publishing? I don’t think it is, considering the fact that a vanity (or subsidy) publisher will charge you and collect the money for themselves for this service. This is profit for them, so they’re definitely going to inflate the cost to you.

When you’re working with an electronic publisher who wants to help you to sell your work to as many consumers as possible, they don’t profit by helping prepare your books for print. A hundred percent of the money goes to the printer for the set-up fee. Having a print version will help sell your book, and most of these e-publishers will do their part by making sure the print version of your book is for sale as many vendors and online bookstores as possible. This also applies to small press publishers, but many won’t charge you the set-up but will absorb it into their own costs.

It’s hard to get reviews of small press published books, but it is possible and some small press published books are receiving reviews that are even better than those for traditional books. There is an advantage many times to taking chances with subject material that traditional publishers won’t touch for a variety of reasons.

The bottom line is that the lines between small press/e-publishers and mass market publishers are becoming blurrier every day. I’ve worked with both, and I don’t see much difference in the process or the outcome (although there’s definitely a lot more money involved for the author with mass market publishers!). You will be expected to know the business through and through—and can’t blame a publisher if problems arise because you haven’t done the necessary research beforehand. The authors with the most problems are though who don’t take the time to become informed about all aspects. It is your job. You can’t expect to neglect such an important task and come away without some problems. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Don’t expect anyone to do it for you.

You will have a harder road to getting your name and work out to the buying public with a small press publisher, but I believe the advantages of working with a quality small press publisher far exceed the disadvantages. I’d rather be published, multi-published, and have readers love my work and beg for more than languishing as I wait for a mass market publisher to come over to my side enough to publish a single book.

Ask yourself what matters most to you. If you decide small press publishing is right for you, it all comes down to you doing the necessary research on any publisher you submit to. I’d also highly suggest submitting to several quality small press publishers if you can’t get noticed by traditional publishers. See where your “babies” have the most success.

My books ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING The Definitive Guide as well as WEAVE YOUR WEB (The Promotional Companion) have a ton of information on advantages, disadvantages and the best small press publishers to work with, and how to promote once you’re published. (See my website www.karenwiesner.com for more information, but also please note that I’ve ceased updates on both of these books.)

All this said, don’t look at small press publishing as “the end” of your career. Once you’ve got a fine resume to present, mass market publishers will show more interest in you. You’re only helping yourself by proving you have what it takes to make readers sit up and take notice. Another benefit is that agents (which are absolutely necessary to even submit to mass market publishers) will also be more willing to take a chance on you if you’ve got a solid resume that proves you’re worthy of closer inspection.

Many authors who start out with small press publishers can go on successfully to have a profitable career with mass market publishers. You just give yourself an incredible head start by taking the alternative route.

What was your experience with a POD publisher?

I strongly believe that people are confused about what a “POD publisher” is. First of all, POD and vanity are not synonymous. POD simply means print on demand. Isn’t it much smarter to print only the books that are going to be purchased rather than printing thousands of copies that will either languish in a warehouse somewhere or, if they don’t sell as expected, have the covers torn off and sent back to the publisher where they can’t be used and therefore will be fit only for landfills?

POD isn’t a publisher—it’s a means of printing books. Instead of large print runs, books are printed as they’re ordered. A publisher who uses POD technology isn’t necessary a vanity publisher. They’re simply a publisher that can’t afford a large print-run or the warehousing to hold the books. POD is a legitimate way of doing business. I truly believe it’s going to be the only logical way to do business in the future where our resources are becoming depleted.

Parting words?

In case anyone’s interested (I’m going to assume you are ) in what I’m working on for the rest of this year: I’ve completed the first pass of Baby Baby, the first book in a new inspirational women’s fiction series I’m writing called the Family Heirloom Series.

My agent is currently shopping the proposal around to mass market Christian publishers. I’ll be doing the revision in November. I’m working on the revision of a probably radical idea for a book—a contemporary gothic with inspirational flavor—called The Bloodmoon Curse.

I’m also in the process of completing the outline for Book 5 of my Wounded Warriors Series, Until It’s Gone.

In between these tasks, I’m brainstorming on a second volume of case files novellas for the popular Falcon’s Bend police procedural series I write with Chris Spindler (Hard Shell Word Factory).

My promotional group Jewels of the Quill will be putting together proposals for 2007 group anthologies, including the third volume of TALES FROM THE TREASURE TROVE and our first Halloween anthology. I plan to have novellas in both. So the rest of my year should be busy!

Because it matters to some, most of my novels and novellas aren’t CBA approved or even Christian (though I expect at least one of those to change in the future). In my mind, that really doesn’t mean anything, but to those who are sensitive, feel free to write to me about any of my stories at KarensQuill-owner@yahoogroups.com.

Tomorrow we’ll be discussing Karen’s non-fiction book, FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS (Writer’s Digest Books).

S’up Saturday

We’ll be reviewing, Don Brown’s, Hostage at the end of this post.

Okay, by popular demand, is “S’up Saturday”. So The Weekend Wire is out. Give ’em what they want, I say.

We’ve got a lot that’s up this weekend. First of all, I want to mention our line-up for next week. And a contest!

We’ve got a two part interview with Karen Wiesner. On Halloween we’ll air Part I. This interview will be our fiction author questions.

Part II on Nov.1st, she gives us a lesson from her exciting new non-fiction book put out by Writer’s Digest, First Draft in 30 Days.

We will randomly draw a name from those who log on and comment to win a autographed copy of First Draft in 30 Days.

Next week we also have a couple of authors you may have heard of:

Robin Lee Hatcher and Alton Gansky. The following week we’ve got Robert Liparulo (Comes a Horseman), Colleen Coble, and new author Ginny Smith.

We’ll have a few guest bloggers coming up. Talented writers I’ve invited to write commentary on some of the issues writer’s deal with. Great subjects I think you’ll enjoy.

Other news: Alton Gansky launches a blog on his web-site: www.altongansky.com He calls it Blogtopia. Funny guy. He’s not sure yet where he’s going with it, but for now it’s a place to interact, ask him questions, etc. Pretty cool.

Brandilyn Collins is running a contest you may be interested in:
You can win one of her novels by signing up for her newsletter. You get extra entries by referring others. You put the person who told you about it in the e-mail. Her books are awesome. Go to her web-site for further details. http://www.brandilyncollins.com/wol_arc_contest.html


This is from fellow Penwright, Rob McClain:

I’m not certain y’all have this link, but I came across it and have been tinkering with it. Seems to be quite a tool. [from Gina: you gotta check it out, pretty neat. Who needs a critique group when you have auto crit. Not really but it’s interesting]

http://www.autocrit.com/Processtext.cfm?

And a short book review:

I just finished Don Brown‘s second novel, Hostage. I read it in a day and a half and it kept me from writing my own book. So, that says something.

If you liked his first novel, Treason, you’ll like this one too.

I personally, loved Treason, put it on my list of favorites.

Don writes in short, action packed chapters. The premise of the book is:
“A kidnapping, an ultimatum…and suddenly, Zack faces an impossible choice. If he loses this case, the world could explode into war. If he wins, the woman he loves will die.”

As a woman, I found myself wanting to skim some of the legal discussions and terrorist interaction and get back to Zack’s pov. To delve into his soul and connect with him. The love story, though not able to be on stage much in this book, was still very satisfying and sweet. Made me cry, actually.

Don is an excellent writer and the thing I love best about his work is that it’s not formula. I thought this book was going to be, but as is always the case with Don’s writing, I guessed wrong. We talk about edgy not getting through the publishing boards in CBA, let me tell you, Don’s stuff is edgy.

I’d love to see this hero have a wart in the future. Something a little quirky, but that may just be me. Though the character did suffer from a bit of depression for good reason, so that was a nice, realistic touch.

The book will surprise you. I can pretty much guarantee it. I’m annoyingly good at guessing how a story will work out. I can tell you the ending of the movie in the first five minutes, usually. I try to do that with Don’s novels and neither in Treason, nor this one, was I right. And that’s delightful!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Don’s, both as a writer and as a person. Don is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. Smart, very, very, kind, funny and humble. He’s also one of my mentors. He’s encouraged me maybe more than anyone else. Though my mom runs a close second.

I highly recommend Hostage. Everyone I’ve given his work to read has said the same thing, “This guy’s really good.”

Yes, I say, I know. He really is. Check it out.

Author Interview: Roxanne Henke

Plug time. What book or project is coming out or has come out that you’d like to tell us about?

My newest book, and the last in the Coming Home to Brewster series, With Love, Libby, will be released in January. I’m so excited about this final book in the series. The theme of it is purpose, something I think most people are searching to find.

Tell us about your journey to publication. How long had you been writing before you got the call you had a contract, how you heard and what went through your head.

Oh goodness, how long do you have?

I wrote in some form or another for thirty YEARS before my first novel was published. That’s a long time!

I’m going to give you the “fast-forward” version…I went to the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference, met an editor from Harvest House there and ‘pitched’ my novel. About three weeks later I got a phone call saying they wanted to publish After Anne, and they wondered if I had ideas for more books.

To say I was excited is an understatement. I know now, that all those years of waiting, hoping, dreaming, praying, were all part of God’s plan. Having to wait so long to see my stories in print only make the accomplishment all the sweeter!

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Everyday. It goes like this: What should I write today? What should happen? If “this” happens now then what about “that?” Is this any good at all?

I think self-doubt is the plague of most writers.

What’s the best advice you’ve heard on writing/publication?

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of your pants to the seat of a chair.” I don’t know who said it, but they knew what they were talking about.

What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve heard?

You have to be inspired to write.

Baloney…writing is a “job,” and it doesn’t happen unless you show up and work at it.

What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

I’ll tell you what I’m glad I didn’t know…how hard writing is. If I had known how hard it would be from day-to-day, and book-to-book, I think I would have been too scared to actually write my first book.

Do you have a scripture or quote that has been speaking to you lately?

Here’s a quote I have hanging by my computer: “A job should not be your identity. It should be an environment to exercise your gifts.” T.D. Jakes

Is there a particularly difficult set back that you’ve gone through in your writing career you are willing to share?

I quit writing at least three times over the years. It was simply too hard, too frustrating and I prayed that God would remove the desire to write from me. He did…but never for long. I’ve learned when God calls you to do something, it’s best to do it.

What are a few of your favorite books? (Not written by you.)

Most recently it’s, Levi’s Will by W. Dale Cramer. I wish I’d written that book. Anything by Francine Rivers or Deborah Raney. I keep a list of my favorite books on my website: www.roxannehenke.com Click on the “Roxy Reads…” page to see what I’ve enjoyed lately.

If your authorial self was a character from The Wizard of Oz, which one would you be and why?

Oh, it has to be Dorothy. Like her, I live in a very small, rural community and always had BIG dreams of going off somewhere else to find “fame” and “fortune.” It took awhile, but I learned there really is “no place like home.”

What piece of writing have you done that you’re particularly proud of and why?

My first book, After Anne. I dreamt of writing a book for as long as I can remember…to finally do it was a dream come true. Also, my third book, “Becoming Olivia,” is the fictionalized account of my struggle with depression. It’s my most personal book and the reader mail I get, thanking me for telling that story, is amazing!

Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?

Marketing can drive me nuts. I always thought a publisher took care of all that sort of thing. But the fact of the matter is, there are SO many books out there these days, that unless an author pitches-in and gets the word out about a new book, it’s much too easy to have it simply evaporate on a bookshelf.

I don’t like comparing myself to other authors. Wondering what their sales are like, etc… I often remind myself that I am not writing for the money, I’m writing for the message. But, bottom line, if a book doesn’t sell, a publisher won’t want to publish more…and there goes the message. It’s a vicious circle.

See what I mean??

Can you give us a view into a typical day of your writing life?

I’m at my computer by nine a.m., write until twelve-thirty, break for lunch. In an ideal world I will have written four-or-five pages by then and can putz for the afternoon, usually I need to write another page, or two, before I can call it quits for the day.

There is also reader mail to answer, speaking engagements to line up. There is so much more to this than I dreamed.

If you could choose to have one strength of another writer, what would it be and from whom?

I’m not sure who it would be, but I would like to write faster. Much faster.

Do you have a dream for the future of your writing, something you would love to accomplish?

As long as God keeps giving me ideas, I plan to write. When He calls me to do something else, I hope I have the fortitude to know it’s time for me to step aside and let someone else tell the stories God wants told.

Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?

I did quit…three times. Every time I start a new book, I wonder whether I can do it again. Then I start writing…

What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?

My favorite part of being a writer is knowing I am doing what God created me to do! I also love reader mail!

My least favorite part?

Staring at a blank computer screen, knowing I have 400-plus pages to fill and wondering HOW that will ever happen??

How much marketing do you do? Any advice in this area?

I do a lot of speaking about the stories-behind-the-my-stories. Each of my books is about an issue I’ve dealt with in my own life…issues we all deal with. (Friendship, contentment, depression, aging, finding purpose.) Speaking is a good way to connect with readers and let them feel a personal connection to my stories.

It’s easy to get caught up (and driven nuts) by the constant pressure to make people aware of my stories. I like to remind myself that God is the Ultimate Marketer. If He wants someone to read my books, He will make sure they do.

I do what I can, then let Him do the rest.

Parting words?

There are many stages in a person’s life. I talk to many young women who have the desire to write, but they have to work and/or have small children at home. They struggle with finding time and energy to do it all. My advice is to do what you are called to do right now. If you have kids…now is the time to raise them, nurture them. They will grow up and leave…you will have plenty of time to write later. (Believe me, I’ve been-there-done-that.)

If God has called you to write…you will. His timing is perfect. Trust Him.