Welcome, Nancy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I have to admit there’s a little bit of me in every protagonist. I mean, how can I help it? I arrive at the idea for the book from something that’s pressing on my spirit, so naturally I’m going to melt into characters like Allison. In The Reluctant Prophet, she has my sarcasm and my independent streak, both of which sometimes serve us well and sometimes don’t!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
It would be easier to describe the un-quirkiest thing I’ve ever done! I think in terms of this book, it would be that I took the Rider’s Edge course to try to learn to ride a motorcycle and fell twice in the first hour. (You’ll find a full description in Chapter 3)
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was ten years old and closed a Nancy Drew book I’d read for the thousandth time (only a slight exaggeration) and thought, “I don’t want to BE Nancy Drew any more. I want to WRITE about girls like Nancy Drew, for girls like me.” I started in immediately. It didn’t matter that I never finished The Mystery of Eleanor Village. I knew I was a writer.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love the word “range” because that definitely describes it. My To Be Read pile currently consists of biographies (just completed American Bloomsbury), books of a spiritual nature (I recently read Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God), mysteries/legal thrillers/detective stories, (I love me some Randy Singer and Tim Downs), and just plain great fiction.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I do it first and foremost by refusing to “run, run, run.” I spend at least an hour, if not more, every morning journaling, reading Scripture, and praying, which helps me center myself for the day. I try to be realistic about what can actually be done in a 12-hour period, and I balance work with other activities I enjoy, like reading, boating, spending time with friends and family, and being with my dogs. I think most important of all, I don’t commit to anything that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of my ministry of authenticity, especially for girls. You won’t find me volunteering at a soup kitchen, for instance, but I do like to donate time to the Girl Scouts and Girls, Inc. I try to be humble and admit that I can’t do it all – and that the world doesn’t need for me to.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I take the most holy satisfaction in the raising of my daughter, my only child. She has turned out to be a marvelous young woman, and whatever I had to do with that makes me beam.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would definitely be a Labrador retriever in my house. They are so good-natured and loving and forgiving. At our home, they get so much love and attention it borders on funny-middle-aged-couple-who-treat-their-dogs-like-children.
What is your favorite food?
Potatoes, in any form except French fries (unless they’re sweet potato fries – then bring them on)
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Way back in the beginning I tried to write women’s short fiction for the general market and it just wasn’t going anywhere. Then it just occurred to me (via God, I’m sure) that, du-uh (a) I was a high school teacher and (b) I was a Christian, so why wasn’t I writing for Christian teen publications? It grew from there, without stopping, actually.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Reluctant Prophet is a novel that tackles the question: Do I truly do the Jesus thing – or do I stay safe? For Pete’s sake, what does it actually MEAN to follow Christ?” It’s not a finger-wagging treatise, but a distinctly personal tale that can help any reader look at those questions in the context of her (or his!) own walk. In obedience to a divine Nudge, 47-year-old Allison Chamberlain buys a Harley and waits for further instructions. Those instructions turn her into a reluctant prophet who points out the narrow fears of her church group and take her into the darkest parts of St. Augustine to bring home drug-addicted prostitutes. The result is not only the healing Sacrament House, but the bringing together of an entire community – into the real work of a nitty-gritty Jesus.
Sounds really interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Nancy, for spending this time with us.
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