As we approach my favorite season of the year, I’m reminded that the cooler days and nights will bring more cozy, quilt-laden and cider-drinking evenings that I’ll spend with a book in hand. I so look forward to the changing of the seasons because it only calls more to my inner bookishness – the reading and writing side of me completely takes over!
As you can see, I’ve been tagged in the Writer’s World Blog Tour by fellow WWII author and friend Cathy Gohlke! Check out her blog post here: http://authorcathygohlke.com/writers-world-blog-tour/
As a guest on this tour, I’ll answer a few questions about what writing I can expect to do in the months ahead AND stay tuned — I’m sharing a few book recommendations at the end of this post!
1) What are you working on now?
I’m deep in edits on the second book in the Hidden Masterpiece series, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, on the art of the Holocaust. My heart is so wrapped up in research for the next installment of the series, that I sometimes forget I’m not living in 1940s London or Prague. Here’s the summary:
Today. With the grand opening of her new gallery and a fairytale wedding months away, Sera James appears to have a charmed life. But in an instant, the prospect of a devastating legal battle surrounding her fiancé threatens to tear her dreams apart. Sera and William rush to marry and are thrust into a world of doubt and fear as they defend charges that could separate them for life.
June 1942. After surviving the Blitz bombings that left many Londoners with shattered lives, Kája Makovsky prayed for the war to end so she could return home to Prague. But despite the horrors of war, the gifted journalist never expected to see a headline screaming the extermination of Jews in work camps. Half-Jewish with her family in danger, Kája has no choice but to risk everything to get her family out of Prague. But with the clutches of evil all around, her escape plan crumbles into deportation, and Kája finds herself in a new reality as the art teacher to the children of Terezin.
Bound by a story of hope and the survival of one little girl, both Sera and Kája will fight to protect all they hold dear.
A SPARROW IN TEREZIN is available for pre-order now, and will hit store shelves in April 2015. Stay tuned!
2) How does your work differ from others in your genre? I think this is an interesting question because my opinion is that every author will differ from other authors, despite the genre. I have a few author friends (of whom I read all of their work) and I can tell you that they have a very distinct voice. Their niche in the craft of writing is often one that a reader could pick out of a line-up of books without much difficulty. And that’s what I LOVE about reading – authors really put so much of their unique selves in their books that it’s natural for their voice to be identifiable.
Within the WWII genre, I’d be the new author on the scene with stories that tie in vintage themes of art history. And I find that even when writing contemporary work, my stories found a way to connect vintage themes in a classic European setting. Despite my deep American roots, I think my stories will always have some British or French tie-in, simply because there’s just so much to love about the history (and the connections to the art I love researching).
3) Why do you write what you do? Christian fiction is what I write because Jesus is who I love. It may be a simple answer, but it’s true. : ) He’s my motivation. Everything else on the journey is just a blessing and an honor to be a part of.
4) How does your writing process work? Here’s something I didn’t expect to say, but… The way I approach writing has dramatically changed — even in the last month!
For the last three and a half years, I’ve been very serious about pursuing publication in the Christian fiction market — blogging, reading, reviewing, writing and getting critiqued on my story ideas.What I didn’t have however, was the luxury of time. I had a full-time corporate career outside of writing, and three children to help with homework, shuttle to soccer games and get to church activities. That meant that my writing process had to be scheduled around whatever “margin” time I had in my days. Plotting was done while stuck in traffic on my drive to work. Chapter writing was done on my iPhone while at airports, waiting for business trip flights. And full-scale editing was often done in the middle of the night while the rest of the house was asleep. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it. : ) But now that my days have changed — I recently stepped away from my corporate career to focus on writing full-time — I can share the NEW world of writing for me…
- PRAYER – For me, the writing journey of every book has to start here. I have to focus on what God is calling me to write – the story, the setting, even down to the lyrical cadence to the words – they all have to begin and end with Him.
- TO PLOT OR NOT – I have several friends who are die-hard plotters. They’ll plot out their story down to the word count necessary for each chapter and scene. (Reminds me of a little J.K. Rowling awesomeness – Click HERE to see her plot maps.) I’m more of the unstructured “fly by the seat of your pants” writer, but I do storyboard my books. (I came from more than a decade of work as an instructional designer, so storyboarding is pretty much ingrained in me now.) And how do I storyboard? Why, with color-coded Post-it notes on my office wall, of course!
- RELISH THE RESEARCH – I spend a lot of time in research. If I have a free five minutes in a line somewhere, you can guess I’m probably catching some extra research reading. I also love hands-on learning so if I can take a trip or interview an expert on a certain topic, I’m going to dive right in.
One thing I’m always asked: Read any good books lately?
My answer to that is a resounding – YES! So with my favorite writing/reading season fast approaching, the next stop on the World Blog Tour will be to send you to a couple of authors’ sites whose books I’m currently reading and can recommend to you.
~ THE BRACELET, by Dorothy Love (December, 2014) — I knew to expect rich scene setting and in-depth characterization from Dorothy Love. This book however, takes that to a new level! If you’re interested in a bit of mystery in an exquisite setting of 1850s Savannah, you’ll fall in love with this book. (And that cover art? WOW! My art-loving heart swooned when I saw it. Doesn’t it remind you of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring?)
~ THE COVERED DEEP, by Brandy Vallance (October, 2014) — I’ve been raving about this debut author’s novel for months and I’ll continue to do so here. Exquisite writing combines with deep characters and a plot that kept me page-turning even while walking the tarmac to board a plane… This is on my list of top reads for 2014. A must-read!
~ STORM SIREN, by Mary Weber (August, 2014) — One of my secret loves? YA books. (I credit my teacher-sister for this. She’s always reading YA novels and passing the good ones on to me.) I’m just getting into this one and I am already so taken with the exciting story. If you like fantasy, a completely absorbing plot and a Christian focus, you’ll LOVE this one.
Happy writing, reading – and happy autumn!