1) Who are you? I am a grandma, mother, friend, and author. And we should put Christian in front of each of those titles. One of the things I believe is that we are called to be Christlike in all our cubbyholes, in every aspect of our lives. The endeavor to be like Christ is a goal not a given. Study of the Word, fellowship with the believers, and obedience makes walking that road much easier.
My mom used to read her Bible and read commentaries as well. She chose commentaries that lined up with and reinforced the doctrine she followed. She was an amazing woman. I've found that I read fiction with the same intention. One might call novels parables in long form. Or, one might say that good Christian fiction is practical application of Christlike qualities in a fictional world. Either way, novels by trusted authors can help a reader recognize and walk in a deeper relationship with our very real, one and only, true and living God.
2) What are you working on?
A new fantasy trilogy! The Realm Walkers is in an entirely new world that is great fun to explore. That means I'm having fun learning about this totally different universe. Physically different, that is. The trick is to create "real, believable, interesting, and appealing" characters in a world that supplies rather a bizarre backdrop. Then, the author has to add in reasonable conflict with an occasional insurmountable obstacle. Lots of fun.
3) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
My "stuff" is a lot lighter than much literature in the science fiction/fantasy genre. And mostly, the Christian aspect is subtle. I had a man tell me he was in the third book of The DragonKeeper Chronicles before he realized the books were built on a Christian worldview. He told me he bought the fourth book in spite of that and thought he would continue to read my work as long as I didn't try to hammer God into his soul. I hope the Holy Spirit has worked on him since.
The marketing department once told me my fantasy was less literary than Tolkien and more subtle than Lewis. I took that to refer to mean I don't include four page descriptions forests and am not forthright in presenting the gospel.
In the first book of the Realm Walker's trilogy, One Realm Beyond, one of the themes is living today as God has put it before you and not to be always yearning for the future where "everything will be much better."
The second book Two Renegade Realms deals with acting the part you have chosen and not forgetting who you are. Part of Rejoicing Always is being actively aware that you are in the presence of God at all times. It is easier to make Bible-based decisions from that standpoint.
4) Why do you write what you do?
Probably, because I like it. I never read fantasy as an adult until I was trapped in a recliner with my foot elevated above my heart for six weeks. My teen-age son brought me The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I think there were 6 or 7 at the time. I read them all, and at the end of the six weeks, I got up and said, "Well, that was interesting." Six months later, my mother challenged me to write something that was more of a challenge. So I tried fantasy. At first, writing DragonSpell was incredibly easy. As I learned more about the genre it gets harder. Ignorance can truly be blissful.
5) How does your writing process work?
Oh, dear. The answers to the above questions sound like I have it all together, but I don't. Not at all.
I get a seed of an idea and dive in. Either a character pops up in my imagination, and I follow him/her around until something interesting happens; or I see a scene, a backdrop, and I watch as people walk in and out until the one I want appears.
I pretty much instantly know what my main characters want and what their greatest fears are. I have to work a bit harder on the overall conflict. I usually don't know the theme until halfway or three quarters of the way through. Then I recognize it, because more likely than not, it's been there all along.
Deadlines make me sick, literally. I think it's because I'm always raising the bar, wanting to produce something stellar for my readers. I could use some lessons in relaxation, going with the flow, and relying on God. Don't you hate it when you're reading a series and you come to a dull book? I think, "Whoa! She should have quit while she was ahead." I try not to let that happen to my readers.
I have a weekly critique group, and these friends have saved my goose many times with their insight, encouragement, suggestions, and high standards of writing. Sometimes when I'm reading a book, I think, "This passage would never have gotten past my critters."
I have a fantastic editor and she pulls me through Writing a book is a lone endeavor with great kibitzers lurking in the wings. Now is your chance to move on to a friend I've had for years and years. She and her family are very special to me. Take a hop herevisit Shannon McNear. One more writer will be added within the next 24 hours. Check back to see who it is.