About the Author
Jane Kirpatrick is the New York Times, CBA, and Pacific Northwest bestselling author of more than twenty-seven books, including A Light in the Wilderness, a 2015 Spur Award Finalist, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book Award, and Reader’s Choice awards, and have won the WILLA Literary Award and Carol Award for her Historical Fiction. Many of her titales habe been Book of the Month, Crossings, and Literary Guild selections. You can also read her work in more than fifty publications, including Decision, Private Piolat and Dailey Guideposts and in her Story Sparks newsletter. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I always loved words, their sounds and strangeness such as "butterfly." I lived on a dairy and butter did not fly so I remember laughing about that. In my professional life as a mental health clinic director I wrote letters to congressman and others and I'd get calls back so I knew that words had power to move people. When we moved to our remote ranch leaving professions behind, it was the story of our risk-taking that became my first book. After that, reading about historical women drew me to try fiction because so little could be found about them. I could locate information about their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons but not much about them. I wanted to know their stories.
2. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I'm just releasing a book entitled This Road We Traveled, which is about a woman of the 1840s who has touched three generations by choosing to go west to Oregon even though her adult children thought her too old and too lame to make the trek. She headed out anyway at the age of 66 and over a hundred years later was named "the Mother of Oregon" because of what she accomplished -- all after the age of 66.
3. What does your writing process look like?
It's very cyclical. During "writing months" I'm up at 5:00am and write most of the day with breaks for breakfast and lunch with my husband and ending around 4:00pm Then I research and I read other people's wonderful work. Once a book is submitted, I'm preparing to help promote the book coming out. It seems I have a book due each September and another being released that month. During the promotional months, I'm traveling, getting back to my editor about the manuscript I submitted, revising and researching the next book. I start the writing months about 6 months before the book is due.
4. What are some of your favorite books/authors?
Oh, so many! I love Louise Penny, Sandra Byrd, Molly Gloss, Jacqueline Winespear, Susan Meissner, Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Daniel Silva, Frederick Bueckner, Brian McClaren, Sadie Smith, Mary Oliver, William Stafford. How much time to you have?
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
The 1800s and yes. Having "homesteaded" 160 acres myself, that time period resonates with me. I knew one day we would have running water, electricity, a phone, a house (instead of living in a small trailer with three dogs and two cats) or I wouldn't stay there. But the women I write about didn't know it might get better so they found ways to either make it better found the strength to persevere. I find exploring how they did that inspiring and educational. I have come to believe that historical novels can help readers in a contemporary world, perhaps even more than say a contemporary self-help book because readers (me, too) can have a blinder on with a contemporary story but in a novel, enter and live the story and through it discover how others made their way in a difficult time.
6. When did you write your first novel? How old were you?
My first novel came out when I was 49. My current novel is about a woman who really began her amazing contribution to the world after she turned 66.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
I remember writing an essay when I was 13 about what I wanted to be. Three things: a secretary, a missionary and a journalist. I figure being the administrator of a clinic counts as the secretarial part; being a clinical social worker and speaking around the world about the importance of faith and story counts as the second one and writing non-fiction as well as fiction lets me count the journalist part at least a little bit. I'm very fortunate to have had several lives.
8. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Walking with our two dogs, a wire-haired pointing griffon and a cavalier King Charles Spaniel. And reading. I reward myself at the end of a day of writing with a good book and even bribe myself saying, "If you stay in this room and get that story problem worked out, you can read a chapter in that book you so love." I'm also passionate about indigenous people, especially the Batwa of Burundi. Raising funds for them and their future isn't exactly a "hobby" but a passion.
Recent Books by Jane Kirkpatrick
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About the Author
Johnnie Alexander is the award-winning author of Where Treasure Hides and Where She Belongs. Johnnie is an accomplished essayist and poet whose work has appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren, and taking road trips. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee.
1-How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
Even though I’ve wanted to write for about as long as I can remember, I put that dream on the backburner while raising my family, working full-time, and taking college classes off and on throughout those years. I dabbled with writing, read lots of writing books, and jotted down ideas for nonfiction topics. But I rarely submitted anything despite early success with poetry and a couple of essays.
Then in 2003, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I wrote my 50,000 unedited words and ended the month with two things: a gloriously messy draft and a strong belief that I could write fiction. I loved creating characters, watching the story grow as they took over, and being surprised by what they did.
As much as I loved the process, I was still busy with kids and a job though I’d finally graduated by then. In 2007, I attended my first major writers conference and clicked with a few other women who became my critique partners. It was still a long journey till my debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, released in 2013. But definitely a worthwhile journey.
2-What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m very excited about the release of When Love Arrives, the second story in the Misty Willow Series. The third story, What Hope Remembers, is in the editing phase. It releases next May. Though the series has ended, I’d like to write a collection of short stories about the characters and the ancestors. I’m not sure that will happen, but it would be fun.
My imagination is occupied with a couple of other unfinished drafts for historical novels these days, so I’m busy with research and brainstorming. I also have a heart-tingling idea for a screenplay. Since I’ve never written one, I have some studying to do!
3-What does your writing process look like?
This has changed over the years. My first two published novels started out as NaNoWriMo messy drafts. Very messy drafts that required rethinking, revision, and polishing before submitting to a publisher. I had a shorter time frame to write my latest, already contracted stories, and the “write fast, no edits till you’re done” method didn’t work for those.
I begin by writing notes and answering questions in a small artist’s sketchbook. Throughout the writing, I jot down ideas, note certain details, and keep track of the timeline.
As for the writing itself, I evaluated how I completed a polished story and now I’m more deliberate about using that process. I write about a fourth to a third of the book—till I get stuck and don’t know where to go next. Then I start over, editing and refining and fixing the glitches/contradictions that have occurred and I keep writing till I’m between halfway and two-thirds finished. And yes, usually stuck again. Then I start over. I may make it to the end this time or I may need to start over one more time. And I always re-read the completed manuscript two or three times to make additional minor changes.
A story begins with a lot of unanswered questions and a broad width of possibilities. But as the story progresses and questions are answered, the possibilities narrow. So I spend much more time on the earlier chapters—getting them just right—then I do on the later chapters which seem to reach their natural conclusion.
4-What are some of your favorite books/authors?
I like the old stories—ones by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Earlier this year I read Middlemarch and Silas Marner by George Eliot and loved both stories.
Once Beyond a Time is my favorite Ann Tatlock novel, though I love everything she writes. I’m currently reading the Poldark series of books by Winston Graham, The Knight by Steven James, and The Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn.
A few of my favorite all-time books are Les Miserables, The Secret Garden, and The Silmarillion.
5-What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
I’m fascinated by World War II. Browsing through my small-town library several years ago, I found a book called Hitler’s Soldiers in the Sunshine State about German POWs imprisoned in Florida. Astounded by this unknown history, I delved into that aspect of WWII then into the Allied spying operations which led to the Nazis’ massive art looting.
My first WWII story, still unpublished, includes the imprisonment and spying; my second centered on protecting art (Where Treasure Hides).
6-When did you write your first novel? How old were you?
As I mentioned above, I wrote my first novel in 2003 for NaNoWriMo. My age? Well, my oldest child was engaged and my youngest was a brand new teenager. Let’s leave it at that!
7-What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
When I was a toddler, I wanted to be a dog when I grew up.
Seriously, about the only thing I ever wanted to do was write but I wanted it so much I was afraid to pursue it as a career. Because of fear, I let decades go by while I dreamed and dabbled. I wish I’d had more courage though I also appreciate the experiences I had in the job I kind of fell into—I worked for two different Members of the Florida House for several years each.
8-What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Only about a month ago, I was bemoaning to anyone who would listen that I had no hobbies except writing and reading. A lot of unfinished needlecraft projects—oh, yes! Plans to scrapbook all those photos stored in boxes—you bet!
But in recent weeks I’ve returned to something I enjoyed as a kid. My year-old collie, Griff, and I are attending classes so we can participate in obedience and agility competitions. He’s a quick learner and it’s a lot of fun.
Books by Johnnie Alexander
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About the Author
My Father’s House is Rose’s first novel. Her devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments won the Georgia Author of the Year Finalist Award in 2014. It was also awarded the Selah Finalist Award in the same year. Rose enjoys writing for her blog, Write Moments with God and engaging with her readers. A native Georgian, Rose has lived in a suburb of Augusta for the last thirty years. Before retiring from Georgia’s public school system, Rose taught English, French, and ESOL. She is currently an adjunct English instructor at a community college. In addition to reading and writing, Rose enjoys cooking, sewing, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their growing families. And yes, sweet iced tea is her beverage of choice.
1. Tell us a bit about how the story came about:
I wanted to write a story about a young woman who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness after reconnecting with family and faith. I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, go with her through some of the hardships, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose has an indomitable spirit and warm heart that is endearing to readers. Her father believed that she would be alright; the reader wants to know she will be too. With my roots firmly planted in Georgia, the setting had to play a critical part in the story. So, I modelled my fictional town after so many small southern towns and I set in some of my love of nature and gardening. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright mean, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm.
2. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a child, when I was no more than eight or nine, I wrote plays for my two sisters and brother and I to perform in a large back room of our house. I can’t imagine why they always listened to my directions. My stage name was always the most beautiful actress’ name I could think up at the time – Sandra Blake. Later, in high school, I dreamed of being a writer one day and started writing in college.
3. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Naming a character is a big decision. A name has many associations, ethnic and national, to name a couple; therefore, I do put some time and thought into choosing names. But, basically, I go with what sounds suitable and fitting for the heritage and personality of the character. Lily Rose could have only been a southern girl named after the flowers in the spring.
4. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’m still working on the greatest roadblock, which is managing my time to write. My family has always been my priority, so I have to work very hard to carve out time to write. Often I have to give myself permission to make writing time for me.
5. Tell us about the featured book?
One reviewer called it “a triumphant story of hope.” I think that describes it. I am reminded of the verse Psalms 27:13: I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
6. When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?
In spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, and mistakes, God has a good future in mind for each of us. I want my readers to feel the joy and hope expressed by Lily Rose.
7. What are you working on next?
I’m working on two projects – a devotional and another novel. The devotional is coming together nicely. It’s written in the same format as my devotional, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea. I’d put it aside for other more pressing demands, and now I’m ready to complete it. I’ve started doing the research for my next novel and developing my main characters. They have to become real to me; I have to know them inside and out, before I can make them come alive for my readers.
About the Author
Paulette Bogan admits she was bossy as a child. She is the author and illustrator ofVirgil & Owen, which was chosen as one of Bank Street Best Children's books of the Year 2016, Virgil & Owen Stick Together, which won a Mom's Choice Award Gold Medal for Picture Books, and Lulu The Big Little Chick, which won a Children's Choice Book Award. She lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs. They ALL think she is STILL bossy. But they've never told her to go to her room!
1.Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
My childhood, my children, and things I see on the street or the park. Everyday life! I always carry a sketchbook or post-its with me. I jot down a note or, more often, do a quick sketch when I see something or a thought crosses my mind. I never worry if it’s a good idea at the time, I just capture it on paper!
2. Do you have any writing or illustrating rituals?
Yes! I always listen to music. Classical if I’m writing. Rock if I’m illustrating. I keep art samples propped up on my art table. I love Matisse, great inspiration for color, Edward Hopper, for his sense of light and dark and contrast, Maurice Sendak for his genius text and spareness of line. I also have samples of whatever else is inspiring me at the moment! I always look at lots of picture books.
3. Do you use a notebook or Journal? If so, how?
I keep a sketchbook/journal with me so I can jot down ideas, thoughts, and sketches. But sometimes my purse is too heavy! (I’m prepared for all emergencies: hunger, make up, body odor, hair), you name it! So if I can’t carry a journal, post-its are my go-to!
I love post-its. They are so small and colorful and you can always fill a post-it with an idea or a drawing. (Much easier than writing a whole book.) Just like you break a story down to beginning, middle, and end, post-its break everything down into little bits of the story, or the character, or just my to-do list. And they stick!
4. Do you revise a lot? How many times did you revise Bossy Flossy?
Oye, do I revise a lot! The first draft of Bossy Flossy went through five or six edits on a legal yellow pad. Then I typed it on the computer, and made many more revisions. Next I printed it out and edited several times more.
After that I started over again with Simone Kaplan, my freelance editor and my other brain! (I say my because I’m bossy.) She had lots of revisions. (She is pretty bossy too. And rather brilliant.) We went through eight or nine revisions before I finally showed it to Sally Doherty, my editor at Holt.
5. Tell us an interesting fact about Bossy Flossy.
My youngest daughter, Lucille, did a children’s book for a high school bio project in Ms. Serpagli’s class. The white blood cell was named Detective Albus (Latin for white), who searched the systems of the body for a bacterium on the loose. When she did the art she cut out Detective Albus and the other characters leaving a white border around each of them and then glued them onto colored paper. I loved the contrast and thought it looked cool, so I decided to try it in Bossy Flossy!
What I didn’t realize was how long it would take to cut out all those pieces! I think it was worth it!
To find out more about Paulette Bogan, download cool activities and to check out new books go to www.paulettebogan.com
About the Author
Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She is the author of The Restoration Trilogy, The Georgia Gold Series, romantic novella Redeeming Grace, and numerous magazine articles about the Northeast Georgia region. She's also a wife, a swim mom of two daughters, and for many years directed a group of mid-1800s dancers.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
Growing up, my parents were history buffs who took me to historical sites across the Southeast. My active imagination would try to determine what kind of people lived in those old buildings and towns and what their lives might have been like. The living history villages proved best of all! I was one of those strange tweens delighted by columns, log cabins and the scent of boxwood. I also found that whole scenes and conversations popped into my head from nowhere! I started scribbling my stories in spiral bound notebooks in the back seat of the car and reading them to my mother, who encouraged me to develop that talent.
2. What is your current WIP (work in progress)? What can you tell us about this project?
My two most recent writing projects have been novellas, one Christmas and one Colonial, in collection with a number of other authors, currently under review. Working with these other authors has been such a treat! And I’d fully recommend writing a novella to anyone who struggles with overflowing description and detail (ahem – pointing to myself here!). I felt like I was back in journalism class, cutting those words to the bare bone.
3. What advice would you give a potential writer/author?
Several things, I guess. Everyone’s path to publication is different, but almost all are liberally sprinkled with setbacks and disappointments. The New Living Translation of Zechariah 4:10 gives us excellent advice: “Do not despise these small beginnings.” If you know God has given you a writer’s voice, always be willing to put your writing on the altar, but unless He says to, don’t give up. Prepare yourself to be a public speaker and salesperson once you’re published – both in person and online. Learn from other authors, network, blog, conduct Facebook parties and giveaways. The evening and weekend hours required to connect with readers will be opposite of what family members and friends may work.
4. Do you write full time or part time?
Part-time when I look at my hours, full-time when I consider I don’t hold another job besides that of wife, mother of two teenage daughters (isn’t that a job in itself?), keeper of the home.
5. What inspired the idea for Widow?
The Restoration Trilogy (White, Widow and Witch) had its physical birth in watching my parents restore an old house and apothecary shop that they later learned belonged to a famous line of doctors. I thought, “What if a man inherits family property he knows little about, and he and the historic preservation grad he hires uncover secrets of the past in the buildings they restore? And what if those stories of his ancestors happen to have a divinely ordained lesson of heart healing the two modern characters need to apply in their own lives?” I added a log cabin to create a trilogy and pull a back story from three different centuries.
The series had its spiritual birth in the concept that house restoration can mirror spiritual restoration. Our pasts often leave us with broken places and decay that The Master Renovator longs to fix, to make us whole and into His image. My characters, Michael and Jennifer, both need God’s healing touch before they can be effective – and fall in love – in their modern lives! Their story is couched in a warm, quirky Southern community where humor and friendship lighten the deeper spiritual concepts the trilogy explores.
6. What authors do you enjoy?
Wow, the more I connect with other authors, the more names are on that list! I’ll just name three of my early favorites. Kristen Heitzmann’s Secrets series did a great job of applying the past to the present while showing God at work in her characters’ lives. Laura Frantz made me feel I was in Last of the Mohicans when I read her debut novel, The Frontiersman’s Daughter. And of course Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion Series and Redeeming Love provide examples of God’s anointing on powerful fiction all Christian writers should strive for.
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
For many years my husband and I led a mid-1800s living history and dance group, before writing and teenage daughters took all the weekend time. :) That provided some lovely memories, friendships, and writing inspiration! Now, I spend my extra time with church friends, going to dinner and a movie with my husband, cheering for my girls at swim meets (I really DO try not to embarrass them, LOL), or visiting a quaint town, coffee shop, or antique store with my mom.
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