I met Jesse online through American Christian Fiction Writers. I'm happy to introduce her to you.
I think a little bit of me goes into every character I write. Truly, it’s unavoidable for me. In that same thread however, sometimes my characters are what I wish I could be. I’m very comfortable infusing novels with characters shaped by my own strengths and weaknesses. That said, I’m constantly surprised that the characters in each book stand on their own and have vastly differing and unique personalities.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
(Chuckling here) For about three years I had bright blue hair that hung down to my waist. On a whim I died it that way one day and liked it so much that it stayed lagoon blue for quite a long time! During that period of my life I had the wonderful opportunity to use this as a witnessing tool, believe it or not. You’d be surprised the doors that this opened for me, allowing me to share God’s love with people on the fringes of society who always started conversations with “Hey, cool hair!”
And that's what we want to do, reach everyone for the Lord, especially the disenfranchised. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In college. I was really struggling with what God wanted from my life. I remember getting up out of bed late one night, scrambling for paper and a pencil so I could jot down a story that had just come to me. When I put down the last word suddenly I realized that this was it.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love Christian fiction (of course!), but also enjoy biographies and books on archeological studies. I’ve also been known to enjoy a good Michael Crichton or Nicholas Sparks novel from time to time.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
A Rose from the Ashes, The Prairies Call Your Name, Captainess, Malika’s War, and my first novel, Finding Mann.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Making a very conscious effort to slow down is key. I know that sometimes this is easier said than done, but you’d be surprised how much you can actually cut out of your schedule if you really wanted to. One way to cut back on being crazy busy is to learn the proper use of the word no.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I keep a file of last and first names that I’ve heard or seen somewhere, and tuck that away for later reference. I also love to find out what their meanings are, because although a reader may never know what the name means and how it relates to the theme of my novel, I will.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
While being a novelist is incredibly rewarding, nothing quite compares to starting every day with your sweetheart! Marrying my husband and having a Christ-centered marriage is my proudest achievement.
Even after forty-two years with mine, I have to agree. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
No animal on earth lives better than our 4-year-old Labrador retriever. I would definitely want to be her!
What is your favorite food?
Have you had the Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup with garlic breadsticks? No? Then you have not truly lived, my friend.
Yes, those bread sticks are the best in the world. If I really need a treat, I order a dish of their alfredo sauce to dip them in.
Thank you, Jesse, for giving us a glimpse into your life. Readers, be sure and leave a comment for a chance to win A Rose From the Ashes.