1. Hi Sarah! I've heard you've had some unusual contest experiences. Can you share them with us?
Actually, I've only entered one contest. In 2008, I entered the Genesis, American Christian Fiction Writers' contest for unpublished writers. I had scores all over the place, from, "I can't wait to see this in print," to--and I'm paraphrasing--"Don't quit your day job." I was concerned because I'd already submitted the same chapters at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference to Vicki Crumpton, at Revell. I'm very thankful Revell agreed with the I-can't-wait-to-see-this-in-print judge and offered me a three-book contract.
2. I loved the characters in, "A Distant Melody." Will some of them be showing up in your second book? Can you give us a short blurb?
Walter Novak and Allie Miller, the hero and heroine of, "A Distant Melody," will appear as side characters in, "A Memory Between Us," which focuses on Jack Novak, Walt's brother, and Army nurse, Lt. Ruth Doherty.
"A Memory Between Us" is the second book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.
Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets Army nurse, Lt. Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the Army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?
3. Plotter or SOTP? How do you flesh out your characters?
Big-time plotter. I'm rather left-brained for a writer, and I need to know most of the details before I start the rough draft. It saves time during editing too. I do encounter surprises when I write the actual story, but never major plot-changing surprises.
My favorite part of writing has to be getting to know my characters. And being a rather left-brained writer, I adore character charts. Long, detailed character charts. My master chart for hero and heroine has questions about appearance, health, family, friends, childhood, education, career, romantic history, home, talents, hobbies, religious history, goals, secrets, etc. Then I give the main characters personality tests. On the back of the pages, I scribble down important incidents in their pasts. It's amazing how a seemingly mundane question on a chart can open up backstory or motivation that makes the character come to life.
Sarah and I will continue our interview next Wednesday. She'll give us the lowdown on her research methods.