Welcome to Christian Writer/Reader Connection, Tamara. I've looked forward to sharing this interview with readers ever since we first connected.
1. I understand you wrote Medieval fiction but switched over to Chick Lit/Contemporary Women's Ficton. What were some of the challenges you faced making the transition?
In 1994, my writing career was launched in the secular market with the publication of "Warrior Bride." Six more medieval romances followed, over the course of which my faith grew and worked its way into my writing. Eventually, this became a problem for my editors who wanted more love scenes, not "religion." And that, in a nutshell, is why I started writing inspirational stories.
As for the challenges inherent in the switch from secular to inspirational, the first was learning that medieval fiction doesn't have much of a following in the Christian market. Thus, publishers asked me for "something different." That caught me flat-footed since I only wrote medieval fiction. Or nearly so. During one of my earlier "I'm done writing" phases, I had penned a "chick lit" story to relieve my pen and paper craving. So I pulled it out of its drawer (or was it under the bed?), polished it up, and gave the publishers "something different." Thus, "Stealing Adda" (NavPress '06) served as my entree into the world of Christian publishing.
Another challenge--and perhaps the greatest--was pulling from my depths a clear message of faith that could be conveyed by my characters, and their struggles. Whereas the primary focus of my medieval romances was to get my hero and heroine past obstacles to "happily ever," now I needed to get them there in such a way that faith played a major role. A wonderful side effect is that the exploration of my characters' issues in light of their beliefs and willingness to rely on God has helped me grow in my own faith and better vocalize and cement my beliefs.
The last challenge that comes to mind is the size of the readership. The inspirational market is smaller than the secular market, and so print runs and advances are smaller. Which means, of course, it's harder to make a living at writing. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
Thanks, Tamara. We have two more questions in this interview that I'll save for next Wednesday.
To celebrate Tamara's visit, I'm giving away a copy of her book, "Leaving Carolina." The drawing is open to residents of the U.S. only. Leave a comment and your email address in the spam-busting format. Example: susanjreinhardt (at) _____ (dot) com. I won this book in a blog contest, and I'm passing it on for your enjoyment. You'll have a chance to enter again next week (maximum two entries per person)if you leave a comment on that post also. The winner will be drawn on Sunday, March 7, 2010. Contest void where prohibited. No fee is required to enter this drawing.