1) How did your writing journey begin?
I ADORE books and read voraciously as a child. As a teenager, I told my boyfriend (now my husband) that I was going to be a writer someday. I worked on the school newspapers, won some poetry contests, but then got sidetracked being a wife and mom. After becoming a Christian at the age of 26, I went back to school, studying journalism at USC and taking a three-year Bible course at a local college. In the meantime I worked on church newsletters and became a newspaper columnist and string reporter. Eventually I made the switch to Christian publishing by landing a job at Gospel Light/Regal Books in my hometown of Ventura, CA. The rest, as they say, is history.
2) I see you write both non-fiction and fiction. Have you found this difficult in terms of developing an audience? What kinds of marketing efforts are working for you?
Great question! It is quite a balancing act, I’m afraid. It’s a bit easier to establish a fiction audience, though even my novels are varied in scope and focus. But the nonfiction is really tough because I’m not an “expert” in any particular field. I do a lot of radio interviews and am currently getting ready to do an extensive TV tour, but primarily I use the Internet—book trailers, blog tours/interviews, posting related articles on Crosswalk, etc. Without a doubt, Crosswalk is one of the most effective means of staying visible on the net, and my book sales are always boosted by a new Crosswalk posting. Speaking at women’s groups, writers’ conferences, libraries, and civic groups are also excellent means of exposure and book sales.
3) Is there a common theme that runs through your fiction and non-fiction?
Yes. Though there is always an evangelistic thrust in everything I write, I also have a desire to “preach to the choir,” meaning I desperately want Christians to move beyond being satisfied with a comfortable existence in this life and fire insurance in the hereafter. Whether I’m writing a serious discipleship book like Beyond Me or a humor book like, "How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons," or even my upcoming, “Extreme Devotion,” fiction series, my heart is to encourage Christians to “take it to the next level.” As expressed in my, “Beyond Me” book, there is so much more…beyond self!
I am currently busy marketing my two recent releases (mentioned in the previous question) and the two releasing in April, a novel titled, "My Son John," and a gift book titled, "Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today." In addition, I am under contract for five novels, all to release between January 2010 and January 2011. Four of them are a series—the first venture into fiction for New Hope Publishers—with each book loosely based on the real-life story of a believer in another land, who is persecuted and/or martyred for his/her faith. The fifth novel is a stand-alone historical book to be co-authored with Susan Wales (wife of movie producer Ken Wales of “Pink Panther” and “Amazing Grace” fame) titled “First Allegiance,” scheduled to release in Fall 2010 from Abingdon Press. I also write articles for various online and print publications. All of this makes for a very busy 2009!