Longings of the Heart is book two in the Sydney Cove Series. The year is 1806 and John and Hannah Bradshaw, who originally sailed to New South Wales as prisoners of England, have settled on a parcel of land they can call their own. They have hopes of starting a family but their dreams are clouded with trouble. And secrets from Hannah’s past threaten to destroy their relationship. I dare not tell you more. :-)
CB: Tell us a little bit about your family, but I must ask, what is "pollywog hunting"?
First off, pollywogs are tadpoles, those little fish-looking things that grow into frogs. Around here we have lots of frogs and so in early summer the pollywog hunting is good. And it’s always fun to watch the critters grow legs and lose their tails.
Aside from writing working with the elderly and handicapped was my all time favorite job. I transported people to and from a dining site here in our small town, took them on shopping trips twice a month and on an outing, just for fun, once a month. I also delivered meals to the homebound. While working for the county, I met some of the most wonderful people.
I think the story was the reason The Journey of Eleven Moons became a best seller. I was novice writer. I look at the book now and I want to take a red pen to it. However, the story is captivating and it’s placed in an interesting location and time.
CB: Are all your published works part of a series?
All but one is part of a series. A Sacred Place was originally intended to be part of my first series, but when Thomas Nelson went through restructuring I ended up with another publishing house. I wanted to tell the story, though, and so when I moved to Broadman & Holman they contracted for the single book and published it as a stand-alone.
A lot of what’s in the book is true. The idea came from my grandparent’s story. They lived in
Alaska in the early 1900’s. I loved writing about them and their adventures.
Read a variety of books. Taste different authors and their techniques.
Study the art of writing and attend seminars & conferences.
Invest in your craft—any new business requires an investment of time and money.
Attend a critique group regularly.
Write and rewrite. Our writing always needs refining.
Throw out the clichés. Be original.
Believe in yourself.
Send stuff out. You won’t sell your work if it’s sitting in a file.
CB: Only a small percentage of authors speak or teach writing workshops. So tell us a little bit about how you entered into that phase in the literary world?
I believe it began when I was asked to speak to a local writers’ group. I had such a great time, so after that I spoke or taught whenever I was asked.
I love to teach, especially beginning writers. So often students come into a class unsure of themselves and not even certain they ought to be there. And then a few hours or days (depends on the workshop) later they walk out, excited about the possibilities and believing they can write a novel. It’s wonderful to be part of that.
CB: What other awards have you won?
I wish I had a list to give you. I don’t. I’ve never been one to enter contests. This year I made my first attempt and submitted a book in two competitions. I didn’t final in one and I haven’t heard back from the other yet.
CB: One question a lot of authors ask each other is where do you get your ideas or story plot?
A lot of my ideas have come from my family’s history. My ancestors have lived interesting lives.
Other stories emerge from personal experiences and passions. While others simply pop into my brain. It’s a mystery. I keep a file with my ideas. I doubt I’ll ever get to write them all.
CB: Another one asked a lot is how do you conjure up your characters?
Characters come to me in all kinds of ways. Generally when I’m working on a story idea, I consider what kind of people I’ll need to tell the story. I jot down my character ideas and then create a profile for each. New characters often introduce themselves to me as I move through a story.
I keep files of people photos and when I’m ready to create my characters I go there to begin the process of developing an individual. I begin with a picture because it gives me a three-dimensional image to work from. I’m very visual so this helps. I begin by writing down the physical characteristics, then go on to build a creed, personality traits and character traits as well as external tags(things like perfume, mannerisms, etc.) and I create a history (their family, where they grew up). I also think about their goals and aspirations and what kind of losses or loves they’ve had in their past.
CB: What are you working on now and when can we expect a release?
While working on a project, I usually don’t know the exact release date. I do know when the manuscript needs to be in to the publisher—the infamous deadline always waits. Generally a book ends up on the shelf about a year after the deadline. My present project, book one in a series, is expected at the publisher’s October 1st of this year.
The book begins in late summer of 1935. My protagonist is Kate, a young woman with hopes of becoming a bush pilot in Alaska. This is a big dream for a woman during her era. Kate makes the move and is met by challenges and surprises.
The male protagonist is a man named Paul. He lives in the bush and although he seems to be a fine person, he’s a mystery. He keeps his past a secret even to the readers, at least until it’s time for them to know. Of course I’m not going to give that away. :-)
The series is fun, full of adventure and drama. I’m having a great time writing it.
CB: Of all the novels you’ve published, which was your favorite to write?
My first book, The Journey of Eleven Moons, was my favorite to write. I had no deadline, something I sometimes crave these days. Plus it was my first experience creating a novel. Every step was an adventure. I loved the research and discovered the magic of story development. I’m still startled by the way a story comes together. It’s a mystery.
here is so much emotion that goes into storytelling. I had my first experiences of crying through scenes while I wrote or laughing at something going on, or feeling the tension of a scene.
It was a wonderful experience.
CB: Where are your books available and are any of them out of print now?
Sadly, books go out of print. Although many of mine are now listed under that status they are still available on the web. The Matanuska Series is still in print as is The Sydney Cove Series.
I believe you can buy copies of all my books on Amazon or you can Google my name or a book title to find what you’re looking for. Plus the out of print books can be found in used book stores.
And those still in print can be ordered through local bookstores if they don’t have them on the shelves.
CB: In parting, what one essential piece of advice would you like to offer unpublished authors?
Write because you love it. The road to publication can be long and arduous and when you publish it doesn’t mean there will be a big paycheck waiting. Most writers work hard for little pay, but we can’t imagine doing anything else.
I love Shoutlife. It’s a great place to meet other writers. I’m also part of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). It’s a good organization with lots of fabulous writers, published and unpublished. It’s a super place to connect with fiction writers, ask questions, get prayed for, or to pick up writing and promotional tips. I’ve learned a lot since joining two years ago.
And have fun. Don’t get too serious about all this. We’re only stopping off on our way to heaven.