Q: Where did you get the idea for GHOST WRITER?
A: I had attended a writer's conference where I'd talked to a woman who was
a ghost writer. On my way home, I was stuck in Denver while
my plane was being de-iced. By the time I landed in OKC, I
had the story. It actually all stemmed from the word "ghost
writer." I thought that would be a great title, and I
formed the story around it.
Q: How did you
write three stories in one?
A: Very carefully! I've been
asked if I wrote them separately and then put them all together.
No, I started with chapter one and just wrote each story as
it came. I was worried about the flow, and I knew that would
be the best way to keep everything moving and concise.
Q: How did you
keep track of everything in each story?
A: I'm not a huge note taker, but I have to admit, I wrote
a few things down to keep things straight. Sometimes I would
forget Clyde's story was in first-person, and I'd have to
go back and write it that way. I tried to keep each "voice"
distinct with each story to set them apart from one another.
Q: Do novelists
write out of their own experience?
A: Sometimes, but not always.
Many readers assume that a writer is writing about a topic
that they've lived through. I think most of the time, novelists
write about things that interest them. They develop characters
they can both relate to and can't relate at all to. Our ideas
and inspirations come from many, many different sources. Sometimes
we do extensive research. Other times it's a small, insignificant
detail that can spur an entire book.
Q: How do you write
with a child at home?
A: By the grace of God! I
have many people who help me, including my husband, and some
pretty awesome grandparents! I write when I can, but I don't
obsess about having a schedule because when I start that,
then it's bound to get disrupted. I write during nap times,
on weekends and sometimes at night, though that's my least
Q: What makes your
A: That's a good question. I don't think it's any one thing.
There are many elements of the Christian faith, and my novels
explore many of them. Salvation, of course, is the most obvious,
and that's explored in GHOST WRITER. But I think when we try
to "make" our novels Christian, we lose the fine
art of story telling. Simply using Jesus' parables as an example,
we can see how many different things he showed us through
his stories. I tend to tell people my novels are Christian
because I'm Christian. I write from a Christian world view
and therefore my stories reflect that. But I don't feel the
need to make my stories blatantly Christian just so I can
feel good about myself. I'm comfortable writing a story that
reflects Jesus' heart and life with subtlety, because often
times, it's that still, small, subtle voice that is the most
powerful in my life.
Q: Do you have any advice for writers who aren't yet published but want to
A:Yes. First of all, study the business of writing. I know that sounds irreverent in
a way, bu t you must understand that publishing houses need
to make money, and therefore you must understand things like
the market. Novelists tend to be very selfish about our work
and our creativity, but when we balance that talent out with
the idea that a publishing house wants to not only promote
our work but to make money from it, then we'll have a better
understanding of how to approach them. Of course, another
tip is to continue to improve your writing. You must be able
to look at your work objectively, or let others do it for
you. Even published authors should have that same goal. I
HIGHLY recommend going to a writer's conference. You'll learn
more at those things than you ever thought possible. I credit
a writer's conference for my "break." There, you're
able to meet one on one with editors instead of waiting for
your manuscript to get to them by mail and then through the
slush pile. You'll also learn ways to improve your writing.
Most importantly, though, pray. The Lord will guide you.
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