Why do you write the kind of books you do?
When I first started out, I wrote books like I was reading at the time. Romantic suspense and mysteries. As time went on, I started to realize that it was really about the stories that bang around in my head. I like to tell a good story, regardless of genre. A character gets in my head and I want to tell his or her story. Strong characters and daunting challenges to be overcome—those are my favorite stories. Oftentimes as the story is revealed to me, the inspirational “take away value” is also revealed. As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I quite often don’t know what is coming. I love it when the moment arrives and God lets me in on that critical piece of information that makes the story more than just a story. I write the kind of books I do because they entertain while at the same time giving readers the opportunity to know the comfort of being close to a living God.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’ve been married for 23 years and have a daughter, 21, and a son, 19. Every day since I married and then gave birth to Erin and Nicholas has been the happiest day of my life. We have our ups and downs like any other family, but I never lose sight of how blessed I am to have an “average, regular, normal” family. Not everyone gets that. My own childhood was not like that. So I love the barbecues and movie nights and Costco runs and arguing over who will change the litter box. This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it is a verse I keep close to my heart.
How has being published changed your life?
It’s given me confidence. Even though I wrote nonfiction as a journalist for years, I never wanted to tell people I was a writer. I didn’t use that term. Or author. It seems that publication gave me the affirmation I needed to stand up and say this is who I am. I still get embarrassed when people ask me about it, but I’m getting better.
What is your current work in progress?
I just finished the second manuscript in a two-book contract with Harvest House for Amish romances. I haven’t landed on a title yet, but it’s a story about the power of faith to give us hope even in the face of tragedy. The first book won’t come out until September 2012 so now I’m contemplating where to go from here. I have a concept I’m kicking around with my editor. We’ll see where it goes . . .
What would be your dream vacation?
That’s a tough one. I’ve never been to
Europe. I’d love to travel through Spain, Italy, France, and England in a leisurely visit, but my daughter is a history major and she wants to tour I’ve never been and it would be great to see all those wonderful historic places that relate to our country’s roots in democracy together with her for the first time. I guess the bottom line is any time spent with my family away from work would be a blessing. Washington, D.C.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
So far, they’ve all been places with which I’m familiar. It helps not to have to grapple with those details and be able to focus on plot and character instead. In A Deadly Wilderness, parks played an important role in the story—a murder occurred in
San Antonio’s only wilderness park and then the murderer is caught and killed in another well known park that is recognizable to most of my readers. I know San Antonio South Texas. I know . In No Child of Mine I use both. I don’t have a lot of time for research or travel, so, for now, I’m sticking to what I can easily create from my own experiences and memories. Kansas
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why? I’d like to buy Christian author Dee Henderson dinner and thank her for writing the O’Malley series. I checked out The Healer from the public library eight years ago. It was my first experience with inspirational fiction and I realized I wanted to not only read more Christian fiction, but I wanted to write that kind of book. The experience made me realize this was how God intended for me to use my spiritual gift. I’d love to pick
Dee’s brain about writing and the ups and downs of the publishing business. Mostly I’d just like to thank her for giving me hours of reading pleasure and characters I still consider friends after all these years.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Honestly, I don’t have time for any other hobbies. The other thing that I do everyday is exercise. I wouldn’t call it a hobby, because it’s pretty much a necessity. Running on the treadmill while watching DVDs of old TV shows is the best stress reliever I’ve found and sometimes it helps me clear my head so I can solve a writing problem. When I’ve gotten a rejection or bad news, it helps me to run it off.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Number one, don’t give up. It took me seven years to publish my first novel. Join a critique group, go to writing conferences, hone your craft, and write everyday. Every craft worth learning requires practice and dedication. You don’t just pick up a violin and become a virtuoso from one day to the next. Be willing to take criticism and rejection—it comes with the territory. That’s not to say you’re not allowed to cry about it. I’ve cried buckets of tears over the years, but when you’re done, wipe those tears, plant your behind in the chair, and get back to the keyboard. Publication is the best medicine.
Tell us about the featured book.
I’m proud of this story. It’s the most complicated one I’ve ever attempted in terms of combining two plot lines (two crimes involving children are committed and my police investigators must figure out how they are related), using two distinct settings, and finessing two romantic entanglements. No Child of Mine is a reflection of the huge challenges faced by society today in protecting our children from people who should love them and take of them. Child Protective Services in
is overwhelmed as I imagine is every similar agency in states all across the country. Good foster parents and “forever” families are desperately needed. I hope No Child of Mine encourages readers to perhaps consider that option. Having said that, here’s the flap copy: Texas
On a blazing
South Texas day dozens of law enforcement officers, family, and friends gather to celebrate a wedding. Detective Deborah Smith is happy for the couple, but she’s fighting a loneliness that makes her long for her best friend—whiskey. Then the unthinkable happens. Colleague Daniel Martinez’s foster son, Benny, disappears during the reception. Deborah is assigned to team up with Detective Alex Luna to search for the missing boy. Instead of finding Benny, they make a horrifying discovery on the groom’s property: the skeletal remains of a small girl.
Torn between salvaging his marriage and trying to save a child he’s grown to love, Daniel fears both are slipping beyond his grasp; and Deborah struggles to hang on to her newfound sobriety in the face of the pressure of her job and her past, while Alex chips away at her resolve not to trust him—or any man.
The team of investigators travels from the seamy underside of
San Antonio’s drug-dealing gang territory to the back roads of rural where secrets fester in peaceful country homes. Their investigation rips off the Band-Aid that covers the cracks in an overburdened foster care system and reveals the painful reality that children are all too often are battered, terrified victims of the people who should love them the most. America
As the two investigations become more and more entwined, Deborah, Alex, and Daniel must risk everything—even their lives—to bring a little boy home safely and unmask a child’s murderer.
This fast-paced follow-up to Irvin’s debut romantic suspense novel, A Deadly Wilderness, will keep readers turning the pages long after it’s time to turn out the lights.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Benny Garza tore down the gravel road like a bunch of gangbangers were chasing him.
He was used to that.
If Mom could see him now, she’d laugh. Always forgetting stuff. Stupid.
As he ran, he bit into the rolled-up tortilla and fajita in his hand, chewed, and tried not to choke. A hawk soaring over the trees caught his gaze. In
, he never saw stuff like that. He’d like to soar, too. High and far away. San Antonio
His shoe hit something hard. Benny stumbled, arms flapping like a chicken trying to fly, and fell smack in the middle of the dirt. The taco flew. His nose scraped gravel, and he bit his lip. “Oh, man!”
He rolled into a sitting position, gasping from the sting. He clapped his hands to his face and rocked back and forth, working through the pain. He was used to that, too.
Dirt smeared the white church shirt and black pants Mr. Daniel had bought him special for the wedding. He tried to brush it off. The stain darkened and spread. “Oh, no, no!”
That’s what he got for rushing to get his jeans and tennies from the Jeep. That’s what he got for being in a hurry to have fun at the party. Like Mom always said, everything came with a price.
Mr. Daniel might get mad. Sure, he never got real mad like Mom. He didn’t yell or hit. He just looked sad, and his voice got soft. Benny’s stomach would feel funny then, like he might puke. He didn’t want Mr. Daniel to be mad at him. Ever.
Maybe he could ask Marco to show him how to use the washing machine. Maybe he could wash the clothes before Mr. Daniel saw them. Benny struggled to his feet, fighting tears. Eight-year-olds were too old to cry. That’s what Mom said. He trudged to Mr. Daniel’s Jeep and grabbed his clothes from the back seat.
He turned to shove the door shut. A giant man loomed over him, blocking the sun. He had a big smile plastered across his face. “Hey, buddy.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?www.kellyirvin.com
Thank you for dropping by, Kelly.
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