Tell us about your beginning walk with the Lord
My story isn't intriguing. The earliest I can remember I accepted the Lord around age seven. So I've been a Christian most of my life. What marked a rise in my spiritual growth was viewing some Creation videos by Kent Hovind in 2002. It was then my husband and I realized God had a greater purpose for our lives.
How did you get started writing?
Around ten years ago I felt God nudging me to write. I sat down with pen and paper and wrote a rough draft of what I thought the gist of the story would be. However, I lacked the confidence to carry through with it. (After all, I never managed an A in any of my English/Language Art classes.) I soon learned God isn't concerned with our past failures, He sees what we're capable of today.
Some time passed and I remember asking God for a spiritual purpose that went beyond raising Christian children. Without mockery or sarcasm (He's better than me!) He again presented me with the gift of writing. This time I readily accepted.
It was then 2008 and I was reading paperbacks while nursing our youngest child. I realized I was holding manuals in the palms of my hands. That, along with God's blessing, was all I needed to get started.
What drew you to write inspirational suspense romance?
Honestly, I love romance. I'm always interested to hear other people's stories from how they met to what made them fall in love. What can I say? I believe in "Happily Ever After" and I'm living it!
I chose to include suspense because it creates a lot of action and relieves me of having to write a full length novel strictly based off drama. And because I enjoy reading suspense.
The decision to write inspiration came easily. When I accepted Christ into my heart I accepted the responsibility of being an ambassador for Him. As an ambassador it is my job to represent Him in all that I say and do.
Do your novels require research or do you focus on topics you're already familiar with?
They've all required a certain amount of research. For Abandoned Hearts I had to familiarize myself with the habits of mountain lions/cougars. That was tough, because many sites would pull up photographs of individual injuries sustained by cougars. They were gruesome and heart wrenching.
On a lighter note, in case you're wondering about the rum runners, their tunnels, or their product that I wrote about in Unexpected Kiss . . . the answer is no, I had no former knowledge of that. It all required research. (smile) Also, I did hold an extensive interview with someone willing to share her past. Only then was I able to capture the inner turmoil and struggles experienced when raised fatherless. I researched the statistics of this increasing problem to understand the impact of a father in the home verses a father's absence. The truth in what I found was staggering. It brought a real purpose to the story fueling a desire to make Carli as relatable as possible.
So you get the general idea. All my books have required extending my knowledge but none more heart wrenching than the research required for Cherished Stranger. Intending to simply draw awareness to the importance of child sponsorship and how it can improve the lives of families and communities, I was horrified to learn about sex trafficking––poverty's dead end that brothel owners don't want you to know about.
What leads you to choose the spiritual topics for your books?
I feel God directs the choice of topic and the message. It seems to work out that it will line up with the most prevalent need I'm seeing at that time. The subject of abstinence came about when mentoring a teen and emotional abuse when I saw a friend going through it, etc.
Of all your characters who's your favorite and why?
I would have to say Jacob Durham from Abandoned Hearts. He was the first hero I penned and is the most like my husband.
Do you have a favorite book you've written?
That's hard to answer. I find distinct qualities that stand out to me in each of them but if I had to pin it down I'd probably go with Abandoned Hearts. I love that the antagonist isn't a bad guy but a mountain lion. That makes it unique and gives it a quality all its own.
What goals do you have for your future writing career?
I'd like to write both children's books and young adult fiction.
How has writing changed you?
Writing has made me more aware of the needs around me. When I hear of someone's suffering I ask myself how many people suffer from the same affliction. And is there a way I can help them through the gift God has given me?