Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I have to admit I often write myself into the characters – male or female. In Give Us This Day, Jess has a food addiction. He eats to console himself when he's under stress, a regrettable habit I battle at times. In As We Forgive which comes out in September of 2012, Roxanne wears makeup as a mask to hide her imperfections. Yup, me again. But my characters didn't just inherit my faults. Tim, in As We Forgive, loves to see Christians restored through God's Word when he's able to put his counseling skills into practice. That's me. And Holly in Give Us This Day experiences the peace and joy of the Lord at the lowest point in her life and realizes it's not circumstances, but God who's accomplished it. That's happened to me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I would have to say living in my RV. At least my daughters think it's quirky. There are mornings when I wake up and ask myself – where am I? Like what town and what state. The question is momentary, and the answer generally comes after a few minutes reflection. We travel so extensively this has actually happened several times. We donned sweaters at the end of summer in
Seattle and ten days later, dressed in shorts
and t-shirts in Palmetto .
There is no such thing as "seasons of the year" in our lives. Florida
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I had written academically in college and during my teaching career but never fiction. I can't say, like many writers, that I'd always known I wanted to be an author or had invented characters as a youth. But about seven years ago, I realized a tale lurked in my mind. I played with it in my memory assigning a few details to the plot and the characters. All of this in my brain. In November of 2009, I happened to mention the story to my daughter, and she asked me to tell it to her. As I did, more details emerged that weren't there before. Then she made a statement. I'll never forget it. "Why don't you write it, Mom?" Her words were like a spark. It was at that moment I knew I was to write. Not any kind of writing, but fiction. Stories about Christians with problems. I began my writing journey that next January, 2010, when I began to read the "how to" books, joined ACFW, and filled up pages on my Microsoft Word 2007 program.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Since I became a Christian, wow has it been 36 years, I bought my books at the Christian book store. At first I read mainly non-fiction – books about growing in the Christian walk. I loved fiction, too, but mainly read end-time prophecy novels. Of course I devoured Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHay's Left Behind series. I didn't read romance until after I started writing it. Why I don't know. A few of my favorite authors are Latayne Scott, Allison Pittman, Mildred Colvin, Gayle Gaymer Martin, Tim Downs, and Athol Dickson and my wonderful critique partners.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I'm blessed as I have fewer responsibilities than a lot of writers. My children are grown, it only takes 45 minutes to clean my RV from top to bottom (really). I write full time, and I have a husband who loves to cook and do laundry. But mostly I have a God that tells me to cast all my burdens on Him. PTL.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
For the hero and heroine, I choose names I like. In Give Us This Day, I chose Holly's name because I wished I'd named my daughter Holly because she was born near Christmas. I generally give the villain a name I don't like. Two names of characters came from names of restaurants in places where we visited. In Ryan's Father, Ryan's was the name of a buffet. In Give Us This Day, Jess's last name was the name of a steak restaurant in
Kentucky, 's. Colton
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That's a hard question to answer. I've been so blessed by the Lord through the years. I was proud when I received my BA and MA degrees. I'm proud I stuck it out teaching kids for 34 years. Most of all, I'm proud that the Lord allowed me to write His stories and see them accepted for publication.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I think I'd choose to be a dog. Dogs are so loyal and know how to love unconditionally. They don't care what you look like but love you for you. If I've ever seen a humble animal, it's a dog. These are traits I believe God would want us humans to have.
What is your favorite food?
I have to say Mexican food. After all, I grew up in
on enchiladas, tacos, and burritos. Que
rica. El Paso, Texas
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I find plot development and layering difficult. I wouldn't say I've overcome it, either. James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure and the LOCK system has been a god-send. In addition, I have a wonderful friend and freelance editor who is so helpful, Fay Lamb. Not to mention my wonderful critique partners who don't let me get by with anything.
Tell us about the featured book.
Give Us This Day is the first in my Bellewood Series set in the
Pacific Northwest. The names of all three
books come from the Lord's Prayer.
can earn a PHD in computer science but can’t manage his own life. Colton
Reared by a doting mother and controlling father, Jess battles his addictive nature. When Jess becomes a Christian, he trades one addiction for another—alcohol for food. His doctor warns of the consequences of his poor health as his weight soars past 300 pounds. Jess is baffled when the beautiful Holly Harrison comes into his life and declares her affection for him. What could she possibly see in him?
Holly Harrison has a past. But it catches up with her when she loses her leg and her unborn baby in one night as a result of a motorcycle accident. At this low point in her life, she finds strength through God and a relationship with Jesus Christ while she works as a dental hygienist. But now, no Christian man would want her so she avoids serious relationships. She doesn’t plan on falling in love with Jess Colton. She sees past his rolls of fat to the godly, tender man inside. When Jess drives a wedge between them, she loses all hope of a future together.
Can Holly overcome her handicap? Does Jess find control over his eating and his life? Only God can provide the answers they need.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The heavyset man leaning against the mirror in the corner of the elevator caught Holly Harrison's attention, not because of his girth, but the kindness on his chubby face. Embarrassed she'd stared too long, Holly turned and faced the closing doors. She pushed five, and the quiet hum of the motor whirred. The floor beneath her lifted for a second or two then ground to a halt. She punched her apartment floor number again but nothing happened.
A chill crawled up Holly's spine. She'd never liked confined places. Now she was trapped.
The man moved to the panel and poked a few more numbers then craned his neck to glance at the ceiling. "Hmm. I've never had this happen before."
Holly tried to breathe but could only take shallow gulps of air. Things like this happened on television. They didn't occur in the real world. A knot formed in her stomach. She jerked her head toward the man. "Are we stuck?" She fought to control the rising tone of her voice.
The man pressed his lips together as his gaze fixed on her then he looked about the small space. "Could be. Don't worry. We’ll get out."
His assurances brought no relief. Holly's heart pounded harder.
He fingered the panel, pushing the Door Open and the Door Closed buttons a couple of times. Still nothing. "I think we better ring the alarm."
An alarm sounded in her head.
The three mirrors around the perimeter of her prison scoffed at her. She hadn't suffered from claustrophobia for a long time, not since that horrible afternoon she lay bound to a gurney in the back of an ambulance.
"Oh dear God, I need to get out of here." Holly sank to the floor and drew her knees as close to her chest as she could. Her rocking motion did little to soothe her jangled nerves.
"Look." The huge man opened a metal compartment. "Here's the emergency call button. Relax. I'll get help."
Holly wrenched away from his kind eyes and hugged her knees tighter. The walls threatened to squeeze the life out of her. She gulped for air.
"Hello, hello. Can anyone hear us?" The sound of buttons clicking drifted down to her.
She glanced up as he placed his mouth close to the panel. "Help! We're stuck in the elevator."
He settled back against the mirror appearing calm as his lips moved, but he didn't make a sound.
Holly pressed into the corner. Her reflection in the mirror blurred.
"Hey, are you okay? Let me try something else." He punched another button and
the shrill sound grated on her ears. The emergency alarm. Still nothing. The elevator was
a dead thing suspended in space. Holly slumped against the wall as everything spun. With
a groan, the broad man bent down beside her and patted her arm. "I'm going to keep
trying. But before I do, let me pray for you. I find it helps in all situations." His warm
hand caressed her shoulder. "Dear Lord, I trust You for our safety today. Please provide
us with the way out of here. But until help arrives, I ask You to bring this lady Your peace.
In Jesus name."
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a blog: Life in an RV, the Roving Writer http://junefoster.blogspot.com and another blog I share with 4 other writers. http://infinitecharacters.comI'm on Twitter, Face Book, Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers, ShoutLife, and my email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, June, for spending this time with us.
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