Can you believe there's less than two weeks left until Christmas? Perhaps you are still looking for gift ideas for the book lovers on your list. :)
Welcome, Barbara. I'm so glad you could be with us today.
Thanks for having me on your blog!
How did you develop a 'love of story'?
I taught chapel to elementary school students for several years. I had 150 students staring at me bright and early on a Friday morning. I had to make the Bible story I was teaching interesting, so I wouldn’t have a mutiny of sleepy kids. Diving deep into Scripture for life applications made me ask a lot of “what if” questions, and “why is this story here” questions. Teaching helped me see the big picture and little picture in stories.
That's intriguing. Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book?
Scripture inspired me. I had taught the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem in Vacation Bible School and Sunday School, but I missed Neh. 3:12 which lists the daughters of Shallum as helping Nehemiah rebuild the wall. How did I miss these girls? I wanted to write what it might have been like to be a girl working alongside men during a dangerous time. Bad guys show up to thwart Nehemiah’s plan, but my characters are ready for them.
You have my interest already. :) Where do you get ideas?
Besides the Bible, I have set two Young Adult novels in places I have vacationed. Alaska and Hawaii are the settings for two of my teen adventures. These states are gorgeous. The natural beauty is inspiring, and it’s fun to have characters navigate the scenery.
I haven't seen Hawaii, but I agree that Alaska is gorgeous. What does your writing space look like?
It’s messy—or as I like to say, it’s organized clutter. Because I write Historicals, there are maps, and diagrams strewn across my writing space. I write my stories on a notepad and then type them into my computer, so notepads are stacked on my desk. I have a printer next to my desk as I edit my stories on paper. I use a daily planner to write down every writing related task I accomplish—and that is on my desk as well. So far, I have been able to find everything I need.
Chuckle. I can picture it. What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your story?
The theme for “Jerusalem Rising” is ‘Be strong and courageous and do God’s work.’ Adah recites this when neighboring armies come and try to scare Nehemiah into abandoning his building project. Nehemiah and Adah follow God’s leading even though they face trials. They pray often and stay the course to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall.
Sounds like a great book. What advice would you give to new authors?
The best advice I received as a new writer was to join a professional writing organization and to attend writing conferences. Publishing is a business best done in community. An author needs a lot of support to launch a book into the world, and a publishing journey can take time. My journey took nine years. Publishing is full of rejection. I received over 200 rejection letters before I finally sold a book. Writing buddies encouraged me through the difficult times. I belong to the American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. These organizations have been a tremendous help to me on my journey to becoming a published author.
Those are some great ideas. Where can readers stay in contact with you?
Readers can find out more about my Biblical fiction on my website, or on my Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter pages.
Thanks again for being with us. I pray you have a blessed Christmas.