What made you interested in writing Christian Historical Fiction? Do you write any other genres?
I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ before I began writing with a hope of seeing one of my stories published, so it was natural for me to include a spiritual thread in that first novel begun back in 1991. In my stories, characters have always been challenged by and grown and changed in relation to the God of the Bible. Even so, for a few years I wasn’t sure if the Christian market was where I belonged. Books like I was writing weren’t being published back in the early 90s, or few of them were. Boy howdy, has the market ever expanded in the last 20 years, much to my delight. Most mainstream genres are embraced now and I’m happy that frontier stories set in the 18th century, like my debut, Burning Sky, are among them.
Are there any other Christian Historical Fiction authors that you think your readers would enjoy?
Absolutely. Laura Frantz, Liz Curtis Higgs, Susan Meissner, Joanne Bischof, Deeanne Gist, Jody Hedlund, Siri Mitchell, J. M. Hochstetler, Roseanna White, Lynn Austin, and Lisa T. Bergren all spring readily to mind, but there are many others.
Are there bits and pieces that were cut in editing that you might ever share with your readers?
A bit or two, possibly. The largest change in editing Burning Sky came when I combined two characters into one (at the wise suggestion of my editor). So there’s a whole character who once existed in the story and had a part to play who no longer appears. He’s an interesting character in his own right and I’ve tucked him away in hope that a story more suited to him might come along.
What is your favorite scene from Burning Sky?
I enjoyed writing all the scenes for one reason or another, and all of them were hard and demanding too. So many are dear to me that the second I try to pinpoint just one, I think of half a dozen more I liked just as well. There is a scene that still makes me teary-eyed every time I read it. I won’t describe it, because that would be giving away too many spoilers. It’s in Chapter 24.
How would you relate your writing experience and research to some Creative Madness?
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t absorbed in some creative project, and while I can recall the first story I wrote, it was so long ago that writing feels like part of the fabric of my being now. It doesn’t feel like madness to me. It’s just the way God wired me. But there are those conversations I’ve had now and then with people who aren’t writers, or don’t know any writers and aren’t avid readers themselves, when I’ve seen a reflection of myself in their uncomprehending looks, especially when I’ve talked about how I live with my characters doing and saying things only I can hear and see—pretty much all the time; it’s perfectly natural to have a whole other world playing itself out in my head while I go about living in this world—or the amount of research I need to do for each book, or the long hours I write, or waking in the middle of the night with an inspiration that has to be set down in pixels right away, or how much time I spend in solitude yet how much I still crave more time alone—the whole writing way of life. I usually walk away from those conversations convinced I sounded just a little mad. Which is why I value the writing community on line. They help me remember that I’m normal (for a writer).
What is something that you have never told anyone in an author interview?
Hmm. That would be most things, since I’ve done very few interviews to this point. How about this: my favorite color is brown. I’ve never met anyone as enamored with brown as I am. I love all the shades of autumn best, from reddish brown to ochre. It’s one of the reasons why, in Burning Sky, Neil MacGregor describes Willa Obenchain’s hair as being the color of oak leaves that linger over the winter. My second favorite color is green. Any wonder I love being in the out of doors, particularly in a forest?
What is the one thing that you want to leave readers of Burning Sky pondering over?
Again, hard to pick just one, but this is one of those things at the top of that list for me: that God is good. That He has our lives well under control, no matter what that looks like on the ground. He delights in giving His children blessings, but that doesn’t mean He’s concerned primarily with our present earthly comforts. His canvas is much bigger than that and stretches into eternity, and sometimes it’s through trials that we come to know Him most intimately.
Please, please tell us about your next planned project…
I’m very happy to! My next book, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, will release in spring of 2014 from Waterbrook Press. It’s set on the North Carolina frontier, west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, against the backdrop of that region’s fight for separate statehood during the 1780s. In short: With a murdering stepfather and a spurned suitor in pursuit, Tamsen Littlejohn bargained for hardship, rough-living, even mortal danger in her Overmountain flight to freedom with young frontiersman Jesse Bird. But falling in love? That wasn’t part of the plan.
Tell us about your blog and participation in other blogs…
Frontier Faith & Fiction, my website/blog, is the place I natter on about the 18th century (particularly what was happening on the frontier at that time) faith (my own and that of my characters and historical figures), and (wait for it…..) fiction writing.