Tricia is a fellow blogger, a fellow member of ACFW, and a thoroughly nice person. I love a person who writes interesting historical novels with such authenticity. You'd almost think she actually lived during the time period. I know you'll love getting to know her, as much as I have.
You know, I never really thought about “me” being in my characters, but my close friends and family tell me I do. I have two books, where the main characters are especially “me.” The first is From Dust and Ashes. Helene is a Nazi officer’s wife who is abandoned near the end of the war. She is forced to raise two children alone, and she has many regrets from her past. One of my friends, called after reading it and said, “It was like reading your story only in historical form.” I hadn’t thought about it until then, but as a pregnant teen I was abandoned by the baby’s father, and I suppose a lot of those emotions spilled out.
The other book is Arms of Deliverance, which is just out. In that story, Mary is born to a single mom. She later discovers who her father is, but has a very formal relationship. Through the story she learns about the heart of a father in a special way. Like Mary I was born to a single mom, and I always felt I wasn’t good enough to be worthy of a relationship with my biological dad (who I didn’t meet until I was 26-years-old. Again, those feelings and emotions came out in the story. Of course, real life often doesn’t have the same happy endings.
One of my daughters got pregnant and was abandoned by the father of the child, so I understand many of the emotions, too. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m a very stable and predictable person . . . but I am quirky every week during our children’s church program. My husband is a children’s church leader and I volunteer every week, dressing in a variety of costumes, using puppets, acting out Bible Stories and skits. We have a blast, and my three kids are involved too!
How fun, Tricia! I have a drama background and have also done puppets. We have a lot in common. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I first started writing in 1993, when I was pregnant with my third child. A friend at church was writing a novel and something clicked when she told me about it. (Cindy Martinusen now as five novels published!)
Looking back, I realized I had the heart of a writer before that. I LOVED to read. I made up all types of stories in my head. I won a few essay contests in high school, but it took a friend’s encouragement to “click.”
So why haven't I featured Cindy with an interview? Have her contact me. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love a wide-variety of books. I mostly read research books—memoirs, battle summaries, etc. But I also love Chick-lit, a good suspense, and historical novels, of course.
That's one reason your books ring with authenticity. What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Believe it or not, From Dust and Ashes was the first novel I ever finished . . . and that was only after I had a contract. (Yes, I’m only of those blessed people who sold my work on proposal alone.)
My novels with Moody are: From Dust and Ashes, Night Song, Dawn of a Thousand Nights, and Arms of Deliverance—which I got to hold in my hands just a few days ago!
I’ve also written Mealtime Moments (Focus on the Family), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Tommy Nelson), Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan), and Generation NeXt Parenting, which released in September.
In the next few years I'll have three more novels hitting the shelves and a marriage book for Gen Xers.
Wow! That's some list. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
There is only one way . . . by turning to God. In the past ten years or so I’ve made a habit of morning quiet time with God. I wake up before anyone else in the house and read my Bible, work through Bible Study books, journal and pray. Alone I can’t go through life with an eternal perspective—it’s impossible. Alone I could never remain sane. So I lean on Christ. In my weakness HIS strength is complete. I still run, run, run . . . but I strive to run after the things He’s calling me to focus on—family, church, writing, mentoring. He helps me to run than race with endurance and keep my eyes on the prize. He shows me what Real Life in Him is all about.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually, I have names that seem to pop into my heads the same time as the stories do. I have to be careful though, I have my favorites! In Night Song I have a Daniel. Then Dan popped up in Dawn of a Thousand Nights. I didn’t realize this until I was in the middle of writing Arms of Deliverance, and I realized on of my main characters was Danielle. No joke! I had to change her name, of course.
Overall, I pick names for the “sound” they make. My female characters are very driven and accomplished, but I balance that with gentle-sounding names that evoke an inner softness. Libby, Evie, and Sophie are a few . . .
On the other hand, I like short and powerful names for my male characters: Peter, Nick, Dan, Philip.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Without a doubt my kids. I love how they place God, church, and family in the center of their lives. They are ages 17, 14, and 12 now and I adore hanging out with them. In addition to that, I work very hard at having a strong marriage too. It’s paid off and our home life is full of love and care for each other.
I know what a blessing that can be, since my marriage is very strong and long-lasting. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
What a question! I’d like to say a dog. My little dog is the sweetest thing ever. She follows me everywhere, lies at my feet as I write, enjoys our walks more than anything, and peers up at me with the most adoring eyes. Sometimes I pray that I’ll learn from her, “Lord, make me as devoted to you as this silly dog is to me.” I desire to follow God everywhere, lie at His feet, enjoy our walk more than anything, and peer up at Him with adoring eyes.
What is your favorite food?
That’s easy. My grandma lives with us and she’s a great cook! Coming from a Hispanic background, she makes the best homemade enchiladas and tamales. I beg her often, but since they are both so much work, usually only get them on holidays.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Arms of Deliverance takes place in Europe 1944. Katrine, a Czech Jew, is so successful in her attempt to pass as an Aryan that she finds herself dating a Nazi officer. Having convinced him of her genetic purity, the officer sends her to stay at a Lebensborn home—a Nazi breeding program in which children are raised and indoctrinated by the state.
Meanwhile, rival American reporters Lee and Mary land assignments on the frontlines of war-torn-Europe—Lee joins troops sailing for Normandy, while Mary’s destiny lies in the cramped quarters of a B-17 bearing down on Berlin. Before the presses roll, their lives will be indelibly marked by a caring American navigator, brave French resistors, and a maniacal Nazi officer. Mostly, it’s a story of unexpected redemption.
It’s a page-turner, if I say so myself!
Of course it is. I can hear the scurry of feet heading toward a bookstore to pick up a copy, accompanied by clicking keys as other people order the book online. Of course, one of the readers will win a copy on this blog. Tricia, thank you for visiting with me today.Readers, be sure and leave a comment for the chance to win a copy. Also, there's still time to leave a comment on Janet Spaeth's interview, too.