How did you become a writer?
As soon as I learned how to read, I devoured books. As a child I loved reading historical fiction and stories about horses. In Junior High I found “Gone with the Wind”, “The Good Earth”, and“That Jones Girl”. I couldn’t get enough. I wondered how the authors put those stories together.
My parents were born in 1909 and 1913. They told me stories about their parents and grandparents. My imagination went wild. Mom explained to me many times about the struggles of making a life on the prairie and the challenges of cooking and cleaning while living in virtual poverty. I realized that most people of my generation had never heard these things. I wanted to write, but didn’t think I was good enough.
As a young mother I read while my children were in bed. I found a lot of books to be predictable and lacking…something. I began thinking about how I would change those books up to be more satisfying to me. When I heard the statement that every person has a book inside them, I decided to write my book.
What inspired you to write the Nan’s Heritage Series?
I liked the Western era and chose it to be the setting of “the book I had in me”. I had no idea of writing a series until after Nan’s Journey was going through the publishing hoops and I realized it was really going to be a book and not just a stack of papers my sons would find in a drawer after I die.
What is the most challenging part of writing for you?
The most challenging part for me is to actually sit down and begin writing. I can easily get bogged down with research because I find discovery so interesting. Also, developing a good title can be challenging. As far as writing the book, my approach is thinking about a movie I would be interested in watching and then I write down what I see in my head.
Who is your favorite author? What books have influenced you most?
Living authors: Janette Oak and Francine Rivers. Those from the past: Grace Livingston Hill and Hilda Stahl.
Janette Oak’s “Love Comes Softly” series influenced me a lot because it begins with the start of a family and continues through the generations. I like that format. Hilda Stahl’s “White Pine Chronicles” had such unexpected twists and turns, I want to write like that.
How have you found time to write eleven books? When and where do you usually write?
I am an empty-nester and have quite a bit of time on my hands. I also have suffered with some pretty awful pain. Keeping my mind busy has made dealing with it easier. Now, I am feeling better and have the desire to keep writing. Eleven books is a testimony of the grace of God that got me through some pretty bad days. I am humbled that the Lord held my hand through it all and caused the pain to bear some fruit for Him.
I have a big double-wide chair with an ottoman in my living room. I sit there with my laptop and write. I tried sitting in my home office and it just doesn’t work for me. I write here and there all the time. I asked for a Dragon speech recognition set up one year for Christmas and got it. I thought I could do double-duty while writing a book. Armed with my sewing machine and quilt pieces, I began dictating. I proceeded with this for probably three hours and then closed the computer and turned off the sewing machine.
The next day I looked at my manuscript and couldn’t figure out what on earth I had said. The dragon had tried to understand my Texas accent, but it had gotten so much of it wrong, I had to start that part over. I still use the dragon, but I watch it as it types and fix the mistakes as I go. (I still have a pronounced Texas accent.)
How does your family feel about your career?They are very proud of me. I think it has given them inspiration to write their own books. My grandkids are also in the process of writing. None of them have finished a manuscript, but they will. I guess they think that if their mom can do it, they can, too.
Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Each book has an overlying theme, but the main thing each book carries is that God loves you. He has provided a way for you to overcome your struggles and He will never leave you in your mess when you ask Him for help.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Learn all you can about the writing process and how to write a strong story. Write the kind of story you would like to read. Don’t let trying to get published hold you back. God will help you find the right publisher at the right time. Do not be afraid to self-publish.
Thank you so much for doing this interview and caring about the story behind the books I write.