It's hard to get a whole team together for an interview. Today, we only have three of the authors, but I knew you'd want to learn about this wonderful book. The authors are:
. . .and Kelly Eileen Hake, who couldn't be here.
How did your story for the collection come about?
Vickie -- I wanted to help a friend who wasn’t published in fiction to propose a Christmas collection. I recruited two other authors and we started brainstorming ideas. We came up with A Bride by Christmas, which is a collection of four novellas about four people who must marry by Christmas or something bad will happen.
Therese --Vickie McDonough had done some Christmas novellas for Barbour before and they sold really well so she encouraged us to do a Christmas story.
Linda -- Brides, Christmas, and prairies are very popular topics with Christian readers, so as a group, we started tossing other thoughts around to incorporate all those hooks. (Vickie McDonough came up with the original idea about characters who must, for some reason, wed before Christmas ) The concept for The Cossack Bride just popped into my head. Most of my story ideas are this way. Other than saying they are gifts from the Lord, they just come to me.
What are you reading right now?
Vickie --I’m reading Family of the Heart by Dororthy Clark. It’s a Love Inspired Historical.
Therese--MaryLu Tyndall’s The Falcon and the Sparrow.
Linda -- While at RWA I picked up a number of books I wouldn’t normally buy, and I’m glad I did! At the moment, I’m reading Last Dance at the Jitterbug Lounge by Pamela Morsi, a single title with parallel story lines, one in first person and the other in third person, about a couple who’ve drifted apart that go to visit the husband’s "cracker" family back in Oklahoma when the grandfather he barely knows has a stroke. It’s full of heart-tugging surprises, and I’m really liking it. A few days ago I finished Jillian Hart’s Love Inspired Historical High Country Bride, a lovely, gentle, lyrical read. It’s the first in the new LI historical line that I’ve picked up and if it’s an indicator of how good the line will be, I’m very excited about it!
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Vickie —You can visit my website(www.vickiemcdonough.com ) for a complete list, but here are some of them. I have several books I’ve written that haven’t been published, but here’s a list of the published ones:
Oklahoma Brides - An Oklahoma historical trilogy which comes out in October
Spinning Out of Control – an Heartsong Presents novel that appeared in Virginia Brides
Wild At Heart – Book One in a North Dakota historical series comes out this fall
The Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner
Kiss the (Cook) Bride
Lone Star Christmas
Brides O’ the Emerald Isle
A Stitch in Time
Therese -- I have written many historical novels set in England/Scotland as yet unpublished and have just sent a contemporary (with an English heroine of course) to an editor at Barbour—my fingers are crossed!
Linda --I have written more than 25 books, so I won’t list all of them here! But they include the multi-award winning Brothers’ Bond series, A SEASON FOR GRACE, which won ACFW BOTY last year, the RITA award winning A TOUCH OF GRACE, and THE HEART OF GRACE which won RT Reviewers’ Choice and is a finalist for ACFW BOTY. These are all Love Inspireds but I also write for Harlequin Romance. Please check my website www.lindagoodnight.com for a complete listing of all my books.
In addition to the Bride by Christmas collection, my newest Love Inspired, A TIME TO HEAL released in September in which a burned-out physician returns to her home town to rethink her future and encounters the high school sweetheart with whom she shares a painful secret. I hope the secret will surprise you.
What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
Vickie --Some novella collections are very closely related—same town, same family, etc. It’s a challenge to have characters in my story who appeared in stories written by other authors and to keep those characters true to their personality. Also, it can be challenging making sure I’ve portrayed the town or ranch setting the same as the other authors have done.
Therese -- Having other author’s opinions weigh so much.
Linda -- I really don’t find anything difficult about it, especially when the other authors are as delightful to work with as these were.
How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Vickie --This team was especially fun because I worked with three other authors that I know. Also, it is Therese Stenzel’s first fiction sale. It was fun seeing her work through her first novella and then to be able to celebrate her first sale.
Therese --Linda Goodnight took me under her teaching wing and really worked with me—I am forever grateful. And working with three very talented, award winning, creative authors made me very humble!
Linda -- The fact that I genuinely like and admire the other women in this collection made it special. And I was absolutely thrilled to be part of introducing a promising new writer, Therese Stenzel, to readers.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Vickie -- It varies. For first names, I tend to use names I especially like. I try to find one that suits the character I’m writing. For last names, I usually determine the character’s heritage and find a surname that fits.
Therese -- They just come to me, so I would say the Holy Spirit names them.
Linda -- As a team we had decided to make each heroine a specific ethnicity and to include Christmas traditions native to her country of origin. I had chosen Ukrainian because I have some experiences with Ukrainian people and customs. From there I searched for a name that could easily be understood by Americans while still conveying the eastern European flavor. So I came up with Anastasia Federov, called Anna. She’s a feisty little Cossack with a singing voice that curdles milk. :-) I hope you like her as much as I do.
Vickie -- I want my readers to be able to get into my books, to relax, and have a fun time reading while also being inspired in their faith. I want to take them away from their problems or family for a while and let them delve into a fictional world.
Therese -- The concept that God knows where you are and the flavor of the soup you’re in! He cares about the details of our lives.
Linda -- My books are written primarily to entertain in a wholesome, positive manner, but it’s always lovely to me when the story touches a deeper cord within the reader. Emotional healing and learning to trust in the Lord are such common themes for me and both are present in this story.
Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Vickie --Yes. I first joined ACFW when I was a newbie writer. I’d heard about the group at the first writers’ conference I attended, and it sounded like something that I needed. I’ve been a member for seven years now, and it was the best investment I have ever made in my writing. I do not believe I’d be published—or even writing now—if not for ACFW.
Therese -- Yes, I have learned so much from the members. I’m always amazed when a multi-pubbed author whose writing I admire takes the time to answer a question I post to the loop.
Linda -- Yes. I thought it would be a good place to network with other writers who are also Christians and to keep abreast of the Christian market.
What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Vickie -- I think something Chip MacGregor shared at the ACFW conference a few years ago really inspired me. He said every writer needs a Paul, a Barnabus, and a Timothy in his life. This is a reference to three men from the Bible. What Chip went on to say is that every writer needs someone who is further along than them to help them with their writing. You also need peers who are at a similar level and who understand the isolation and rejection that writers face. Lastly, you need to be giving of your time and helping writers who aren’t as far along as you.
Therese -- Vickie McDonough has been a writing mentor and a friend and God has used her so many times to speak into my writing life. She encouraged me to get connected to other authors because that is how you’ll get published—and she was right!
Linda -- Don’t stress yourself trying to follow some other writer’s process. When I first began to attend conferences and workshops I tried all the techniques I heard about and drove myself crazy doing highlighters, index cards, outlines, etc. Finally, a wise, wise woman told me that no two writers work the same way, to take the good from each class I attended and then figure out what worked best for me. There is no ‘right’ way to plot or not plot or otherwise write a book. Whew! What a relief!
Vickie, Therese, and Linda, thank you for spending this time with us. I know the readers will love your stories as well as the one written by Kelly.
Readers, you know how much I love Christmas stories, and many of you have told me the same thing. So leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of A Bride by Christmas.