Monday, September 17, 2007

Grace Bridges

Let me introduce you to Grace Bridges. I first met her at Shoutlife, the Christian online community.

Grace, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

That depends on the story. Faith Awakened is my first “real” book, and it’s been going around in my head for 14 years – so there’s a lot of me in there. With other current projects, it’s not so extreme – but in any case, I love to write my own real feelings and sensations into any character, whether he/she is like me or not. I love to stand outside in a brewing storm with a notebook and write down what it feels like, and use that as a backdrop for a scene. Going through really bad days has equipped me to describe the depths of desperation, too.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Besides getting stuck in Timbuctu in 2001? LOL. One time I was bored and published a music CD on Lulu. Is that quirky? It’s the soundtrack for Faith Awakened and you can visit that here:

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I was 9, my Nana gave me a hardcover notebook. It looked so much like a real book that I decided to write a novel in it – even back then I had a thing for science fiction. It was all about this married couple who colonized a new planet, and it had little green men in it and everything. Complete with illustrations! But there was no plan to it. I wrote by the seat of my pants, and climax followed climax for dozens of pages. I never did come to a conclusion. In later writing, I’ve always liked to plan out what happens to a certain extent, to avoid sheer endless drama! There’s a wonderful article on novel planning here, written by a Christian sci-fi author:

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Wow, that’s hard to put in a nutshell. Tell you what – you could go to my Goodreads reading list at – pretty much everything is on there. It ranges from Pride & Prejudice through Peretti and Lawhead and ends up in the Lost Genre Guild.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

When I was 14 I wrote a 40,000 word novel, sort of a children’s adventure thing. No sci-fi, but it’s based on an urban legend from the part of town I grew up in on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. It was fun to write. I also wrote a partial autobiography four years ago with a print run of 150 copies, all about moving to Germany. There’s a children’s picture book called Dad’s Duds, and I’m currently working on a contribution to Frank Creed’s Underground project – a novel entitled Lost Zone, the sequel to Flashpoint, which is described here:

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Seriously? I stop. I have a very low tolerance for stress, and there are times when I do just stop the world and get off for a while, whether that means a lazy day on a sunny ruined castle, or a cheapo last-minute flight to flee the country for a week... a strategy I’d recommend to anyone!

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Faith is called Faith because I’m Grace and she’s a copy of me. In other situations it’s not so easy. I look up baby name websites and try out the sound and feel of lots of names before picking one. A name has to fit with the character and ethnicity of the person, and I have to be able to imagine someone being called that. And it has to be realistic. I can’t stand it when novelists go to so much trouble and actually invent a name no one ever heard of before – though it would be more acceptable in sci-fi.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Teaching myself computer literacy from scratch – from text formatting through HTML and graphic editing to making videos and MP3’s. I’m no expert, and there’s so much more to learn, but I make all my own websites and audio/video material, as well as my book cover text. I’d be a bit stuck without all that I think.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A cat. No doubt about it. For one, they sleep most of the time (Yeah! Pick me!), and for another, they radiate such a wonderful contentedness. And they know how to have fun at the right time.

What is your favorite food?

Anything with chocolate. I also have a thing for mincemeat pies, but they don’t sell those in Germany, so I have to make them myself.

My husband and I love mincemeat pies, but the children never did like them. So James and I get the whole pie at holiday time. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

For years I was caught up in church ministry. I led worship and Bible studies and all sorts of things. But there was no time to write. Sure, it was all good stuff, but it took up every hour of every day, just about. After cutting that right back to an absolute minimum (=zero), the creativity began to flow again. I’m definitely not saying everyone should do this. Of course church is important. It’s probably because I can only focus on one thing properly. I do have many symptoms of ADD.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Read as much as you can. It improves your style and extends your expressive abilities. Get in a critique group where you are required to crit at least one short piece a week. Picking out what you don’t like in someone else’s work will give you a new perspective on your own writing. And the others will help you out with feedback too. Take it seriously, but keep hold of your own style. And learn the Snowflake method I mentioned earlier.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

It began as a childhood fantasy where I often imagined my life wasn’t real, but rather a kind of re-run provided by God. I liked to think I was in heaven already. Eventually this idea grew into Faith Awakened – where virtual reality is a place to experience God’s blessing and fulfilment, and enriches the lives of those who go through it. They don’t know this before entering it though, and only do so to escape a great danger in the real world. I explored a whole bunch of “what ifs” – What if God can influence a computer system? What if you woke up to discover your childhood friend is now twenty years older than you? What if you could go back and do things differently? What if you did already? Finally, I set the story in Ireland because I have deep family roots there.

Oh yeah, and I’m not getting any royalties on sales. At present you can buy it for cost price only. After all, I’m just a newbie author – can’t really say how my work will go down with the public – and I also have two other jobs to live from. Call it an experiment.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I’m all over the place. The easiest portal is probably, which is all about the book, and there are links from there to my author homepage, my personal homepage, my blogs, and various other places. I’m also on Myspace, Shoutlife, Goodreads, Amazon, Lulu, Second Life, Bebo, Xianz, and the Lost Genre Guild. If you want to go directly to the complete list of these links, visit – my Hang Out page. Thanks very much for your attention!

And thank you, Grace for spending this time with us.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Faith Awakened. And check out the other interviews.

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Christina Berry said...

I've read part of Grace's WIP and fell into the story. She created such a different--yet believable--world.

I'm sure readers will react favorably!

ForstRose said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Please enter me in the drawing. forest_rose[at]yahoo[dot]com

Melissa M

Cherie J said...

Sounds like a great read. Love the unique plot.

Kim said...

I would love to read this book, please enter me in the drawing!

Kim L.

Tina Helmuth said...

Ah, my new friend Grace. Nice to see you featured here.

Great interview, Lena.

ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed the interview Lena and Grace.
The book sounds great!

Anonymous said...

I wright also, i love wrighting. anyways im much curious bout this book! im prayin for u! Thats so awesome

THE BRU said...

Hi. I enjoyed the prelim draft- very creative. I am sure the improvements will make it sing more!
Don't know what U mean about "snowflake" method. PErhaps Thunderstorm is more like me!

Readers who like imaginative stimulation, fasten ur seat belts!

cathikin said...

This was a really nice interview with Grace. I have read Faith Awakened and written a review on it (not yet published anywhere). It is really a good read with some thought-provoking scenarios. I love her abiity to describe places. She made me wish I could walk along the shore near Belfast right beside Faith.

Anonymous said...

This sounds interesting! Count me in the drawing.

John G. Pierce said...

As a writer myself, I am always
intrigued by how other writers
do their work. Grace sounds
like an interesting young lady,
one I'd love to sit down with to
discuss writing for a few hours!

Mama Zen said...

Great interview! Sounds like a fascinating book!

Melissa Markham said...

This looks like a great book. I enjoyed reading the interview!

Kathleen Morphy said...

I know a librarian at a Christian school who is looking for books to start up their library. I'd love to win a copy of this to donate!

Deena said...

I would LOVE to win a copy...but I'd also love to REVIEW a copy as well:-)

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview so count me in!

Abi Buening said...

New author to me was just introduced. I'm finding out about all these new authors. Yes, I'd like to win her book. Count me in.

Hope Chastain said...

That sounds wonderful. I'd love to read it! Please enter me! Thanks!

hope_chastain [at] (no spaces) :-)

Lesha said...

Sounds interesting!

Anonymous said...

Sound like a superb book. Please enter me in the contest.

Doreen said...

Would love to win this book!

Norma said...

I would love to win this one!

SuseADoodle said...

Eerie because some of the topics this book tackles are things I've been thinking about tossing into a story. Sounds really interesting! Please count me in for this drawing!

suseadoodle [at] gmail [dot] com

Joyce said...

So many good books and authors! Oh I love to read! P:Leasae enter me for the book!
God Bless!

David said...

Wow! Thanks Lena for the interview and your help with CFRB. You seem to get a lot of traffic. At least you get a lot of comments.

Grace knows she can leave me out of the contest, because I already have a copy. If I received a 2nd, I'd probably donate it to the library.

David Brollier