1. Can you tell us a little about your family?
Ah, my favorite topic. I’m a slobbery mom. I just love to kiss on my kiddos—the backs of their necks. Their sweet little feet—well, until they turn three. My son Erik is 19, and, believe me, I have nothing to do with his feet. His are clad in military boots as he is off serving his country in the Air Force. Natalie is 13 and Emily is 10. We’re doing a neat book together called Girl Talk, based off an advice column we have on my blog. Readers write in, and my girls and I answer their questions. Next year, those questions and answers will come out in a book.
I also have a set of three-year-old triplets. Oh, my…those babies (and yes, they are still and will always be babies to me) are a piece of heaven right here on earth. Logan, Megan, and Ryleigh. Ahhh. You’re making me want to go wake them up for some cuddles.
2. With six children, including triplets, how do you find time to write? (Definitely the top question I get asked. One friend wants to know where I store my cape.)
Well, I’m a work-at-home mom—which often means a retreat to Panera for some quiet. It’s not always easy, but my husband and I have committed to making sure I have certain hours to write or do other writing-related work. We try very hard to protect those hours. It doesn’t always work, and family comes first no matter what, but we do our best. So far, so good.
3. How long have you been writing? Please tell us a little about your writing journey, how you got started, what led to the sale of your first book, etc. (I get asked various versions of this question all the time so I’ll include links to some posts you can look through, too.)
I’ve been writing for publication since 2007. I began by submitting devotional readings to some books for women that Barbour Publishing compiled. I wound up contributing over 200 readings to seven books.
During that time, while I was also waiting for my triplets to come, I contracted and completed my first two YA books and haven’t stopped since.
Here is a bit more about my journey: OLD POST you may or may not want to check out.
4. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
Honestly, what comes to mind is the one thing I’m glad I didn’t know. I had no idea how difficult the process was supposed to be. I didn’t know about people enduring years of rejection letters. I didn’t know that many writers had unpublished manuscripts gathering dust in the corners of their offices. I hadn’t heard the stories of pitches and near misses. I just had some stuff to write. So I did.
I often wonder if the results—or even my efforts—would have been different if I’d known how rough it was supposed to be? I’m thankful I was protected from both the knowledge and the experience.
5. How does your faith play into your writing?
Everything I write handles a faith-based issue—usually dealing with teens and peer pressure whether I’m writing for the teens or their parents. I believe it’s my calling, but, since it’s also my passion, I couldn’t do it any other way if I wanted to.
There’s a lot of talk about too much faith in a book or too little evidence of a Christian walk in a character. Some people want sermons in their books, others want mere hints at anything religious. The way I see it, books are going to be different because authors are different. I write what God puts on my heart, whatever that might be, to please HIM, not the reader–not because I don’t love my readers, but because I couldn’t possibly make everyone happy. With this mindset, though, someone will benefit from the words I write because they came from the heart of God.
6. Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Remember those triplets we spoke about in the first question? LOL! I mean, really, I didn’t expect or plan to expel three human beings from my body at the same time. But, WOW, what a blessing!
Plus, six months of bed rest and six weeks of uninterrupted time in the hospital gave me a lot of time to think about what I needed to do. It was definitely a time of deep reflection and prayer that strengthened my faith as it destroyed my body.
Now, looking back, that time was such a huge blessing and those babies are three of God’s seven greatest gifts in my life.
7. People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?
Complete. Incomplete. Thankfully, my identity is who I am in Jesus Christ—not who I am as an author, mom, wife, etc. And my first love is my family. So, with or without writing, I’m me. But I say incomplete because it had that sense—you know when you work a job, but it’s not a passion? You put in your time and take home your paycheck—that’s what it was like. Since I’ve found my creative outlet through writing, and my passion for outreach and ministry to teens and families is being fed regularly. . .I just feel full.
8. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Everyone who knows me knew I’d say that. Lol It’s really difficult to carve out the necessary hours. I overcome it by being unrealistic and disorganized. I’m serious about that. If I were realistic, I’d panic. And if I were organized, I’d have too difficult a time adapting to the ever-changing demands of my large family. So, I guess it works.
9. Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) whom you rely on when writing?
I absolutely rely on my critique partner, Valerie Comer. She’s awesome, and I’d be lost without her. She has taught me sooooo much. I only wish I’d known her before my first two books came out. I honestly had NO idea how much I didn’t know. I’m so thankful for Val’s patience and honesty. I’m also thankful that she takes enough pride in my work to push me past “good enough” when I’m ready to throw in the towel on a scene or blurb. She’d pries better out of me every single time.
10. Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?
Did I mention my two-year-old triplets? Plus three other kids and a home rehabbing project. Oh, and I’m taking online courses toward a teaching degree. Oh, and I teach at the local community college part time. Oh, and… yeah, there’s a lot.
No, seriously, I love what I’m doing. I’m living my dream. I’ve given up a lot of outside things to give more time to my passion. How many people can say that about their work? I’m grateful to God for what he’s given me and I happily give my spare moments to my writing. I do exercise. Sometimes. Oh, and I speak at events, lead a local writing group, and teach a publishing course at the community college.
11. If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving or gifts to charities allowed!)
Can I say tummy tuck? Now don’t judge! Did I mention those triplets? Walk a mile, folks. Walk a mile.
12. If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
My grandfather? I know, you’re probably asking about war figures, past presidents, disciples of Christ. But, really, my grandpa was my hero, and there was no disciple who served their Jesus with any more vigor than my Papaw. I’d just love to be with him for some time.
Have something you’d like to know? You can post your question here in the comment section or email me.