Who is your favorite fictional couple, and why?
That is a tough question! I love Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy because of the dialogue. I tend to like couples who have that kind of sharp banter, filled with misunderstandings, that they have to overcome. So much of romance is communication and, so often, we are our own worst enemies.
What inspired you to write a story?
Excellent question! When my oldest daughter, Megan, was 12 she and I went on a mission trip to Prague. It was an incredible adventure and we both fell in love with this beautiful city and the kind people there. When we came home, she really wanted to read about missionaries, but most of the books we found were biographies about missionaries from a century before. She wanted to learn about people like the teenage girl we met who was serving with her parents in Prague. That gave me the idea – what if there were stories that were filled with action and adventure, but had a biblical worldview, and incorporated some of the culture, folklore and traditions of the exotic setting? I thought that would be a great idea for a series of books so I started writing CzechMate!
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Because of my busy life, I haven’t had this problem YET! Usually, I have so many ideas that I don’t have time to write down because I work a full-time job, am a mother of four, and serve in our church, that when I have a moment to sit and write, my fingers can’t fly fast enough to get it down. What I do struggle with is duct-taping my inner editors mouth shut so I can get the ideas down and edit later rather than laboring over a single word choice for ten minutes.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
For me, the most wonderful thing has been to have a reader say, “I laughed, I cried, I loved it!” It is hard to describe the joy of hearing that you’ve created something that connected with someone. I can only liken it to Sally Fields standing onstage, weeping, and saying, “You like me! You really like me!”
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
The best advice I could give an aspiring writer is to attend a writers conference. This is not something I would have probably done, but a good friend talked me into going with her and it is the single biggest key to getting published. You will learn more in three days at a writers conference than in years of classes, online courses, or critique groups. Personally, I love the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference because it is big enough to offer a lot of variety and some excellent faculty, but small enough to not be completely overwhelming and the atmosphere is incredibly warm and encouraging. Some of my very best friends and most essential prayer partners are those I met at BRMCWC.
What are you currently working on?
I almost always have several ideas bouncing around at once. I will set one aside for a bit to focus on another, and then come back to the first as time allows. I’m currently toying with the story of Slane, a minor character in CzechMate, who shows up again in BoliviaKnight. I’m hoping to craft a novella that will be available only as an e-book that tells his story. I also have several works in progress that are not related to the International Mission Force series.
How do you get inspired to write?
Most of my inspiration comes from a question that occurs and my curiosity won’t let me rest until I tease out the possibilities. With CzechMate and BoliviaKnight, the question is, “What struggles do missionaries face in this country?” Other questions that I dive into are, “What folk stories are part of this culture? What historical events are central to the lives of people there?”
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
After my daughter and I took our first overseas mission trip together when she was twelve, she was fascinated with the lives of the missionaries we met. She wanted to know all about living in different countries as a missionary. But when we looked for books on the subject, we found mostly dusty biographies of missionaries from a century ago. She wanted to know what it would be like to be a teenager living on the mission field today. The idea of a series about teenage missionaries all over the world intrigued me and I began writing CzechMate, set in Prague, the site of our first mission trip together.