While many of my lead characters and I share similar traits—faith and moral values, taste in music, etc., Glory Harper is actually the first character I’ve created that has more than just a passing resemblance. Glory’s sense of humor, her age, and the fact that she’s a grandmother are just a few of the things we have in common.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t know if this is considered quirky, but I’ve come up with an alternative way of typing when the hypersensitivity in my fingers/hands makes it too painful to do it the normal way. I’ve found that if I wear a pair of white cotton gloves and tuck a pencil between the index and middle fingers on each hand, I can continue typing. It’s awkward, and looks pretty silly, but it works.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was twelve and in seventh grade. I’d started a mystery called The Adventures of Christopher and Christina which got passed around during the study halls we shared with upper classmen. When people started asking for more of the story, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorites are suspense and mysteries, though I’m really open to most genres—except pure romance. A few years back, I read everything I could get my hands on regarding end times interpretations. These included Hal Lindsey, John Hagee, Marvin Rosenthal, David Jeremiah, and many others. It was a fascinating study that I hope to use some day in a future novel.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Confession time here…you know how I said I didn’t like romance? Well, back in the early 80s I tried my hand at writing for Harlequin America (I think that’s what it was called). The editor there was very encouraging, liked my writing, just wanted me to treat the subject matter more seriously—they weren’t into comedy at the time. Sooo, I have a couple of those buried deeply in a closet.
Mostly, though, I have several manuscripts ranging from mystery/suspense to the type of romantic suspense authors like Phyllis A. Whitney and Mary Stewart wrote. I’m also working on a Women’s Fiction/Contemporary about spousal abuse.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Um…that would mean that I was sane in the first place, right? So, I guess the answer to that is without a lot of prayer, I wouldn’t be able to do a thing.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
This is not a conscious thing for me. I mean, most of the time a name will just come to me and as time goes by, so will the story that surrounds the character.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My daughters—they are both incredible young women.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cat because their curiosity about things even surpasses mine!
What is your favorite food?
I’m looking for something that tastes good and doesn’t have any calories. I’ll let you know when I find it!
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Back in the middle 90s, I thought I’d finally made it. I had a New York agent with a well-known literary agency. My hopes were high and things were going well. But, after five years of disappointments and some personal issues not related to writing, the agent and I parted ways, and I stopped writing. Sort of.
It took several years for me to realize that I couldn’t just let it all go. But, after all the time away, I didn’t know where to start, what to do. By this time, I was reading as many Christian fiction books as I was secular, and ideas were forming that added to my confusion. I’d love to write Christian fiction, but what were my qualifications? What were the Christian publishers looking for? These questions and the thought of starting over scared me to death.
I’d just read Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins and dropped her an email. She led me to ACFW and my re-education began. Now, a few years later, my first novel is being published.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Even if you think you know all the ins and outs of the publishing world, keep reading; keep learning. And, above all, when you’re down and frustrated and think the world is against you…stop, take a deep breath, and reach out to the One who gives hope when all seems lost. Remember, through Him, all things are possible.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
The Case of the Bouncing Grandma is a cozy mystery with a hen-lit feel. The heroine, Glory Harper, is not your typical grandmother. While others may be baking cookies and smiling at their grandchildren's antics, Glory’s out with her seven-year-old grandson, joining in the fun. Their most recent adventure, skateboarding, resulted in Glory's broken leg and Seth's awestruck admiration. Affectionately called his "Bouncing Grandma," Glory hasn't been doing much bouncing these last six weeks with her leg in a cast and stuck in a wheelchair. But, things are about to change.
The first of the Bouncing Grandma Mysteries begins when Glory spies a foot dangling out of a rolled Oriental rug as it's carried into her new neighbor's house. Determined to discover what's going on, and undeterred by police officers who try to convince her it was simply part of a mannequin, Glory sets off on a new adventure with far higher stakes--those of life and death. With the aid of her sister, Jane, the occasional help of a police detective who is a dead ringer for Harrison Ford, a lot of prayer, and more twists and turns than even Glory could have dreamed of, fifty-two year old widow, Glory Harper finds romance when she least expects it...and a mystery to die for.
I believe that Baby Boomers and others will relate to Glory's escapades and the desire to be a fun grandparent, as well as her determination to stay young and active--in spite of a few mishaps along the way.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m at www.akawriter.com
Thank you so much, Lena. I’ve loved visiting with you today!
And I enjoyed having you.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of The Case of the Bouncing Grandma.