Dear Readers, tiny houses are a new concept. They’re featured on a TV show, and there’s a lot of buzz about them. Now this tiny house romance collection is available. And Mike Ehret’s novella is his debut book. So I’m interviewing him about the book and introducing you to him. I've known Mike a long time and worked with him on the ACFW Journal.
Bio: Michael Ehret has accepted God's invitation and is a freelance editor at WritingOnTheFineLine.com. In addition, he's worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). He pays the bills as a marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star.
How did your story for the collection come about?
How did I come up with the idea? You’re asking a Seat Of The Pants (SOTP) writer how he came up with the idea? I sat down at the computer, opened a Word document, and started writing. Okay, so there’s a little more to it than that.
When we knew we wanted to do this novella collection idea centered around tiny houses, my wife and I had just finished touring the Tiny House Road Show when it stopped here in
On a subsequent weekend trip to Cincinnati,
we brainstormed a couple ideas about how it could be approached.
What if? What if the man in the story was a writer for an architectural journal who thought himself too sophisticated to do a story on tiny houses? What if the woman was the president of a company building tiny houses with the idea to use the proceeds to battle homelessness (and who also provides tiny houses, at cost, to those who need a place to live off the streets)? Then, what if both of these people had experienced homelessness in different forms and it had drastically affected their lives, but in different, opposite ways?
But I still couldn’t seem to get the story started in a way that fired my imagination. Then one day, I’m driving around the Northside of Indianapolis (where my place of work is located) and I spot a street sign for
Timberly Drive and
the voice of my female character just pops into my mind and starts talking.
I’m just going to put it out there. My name’s Timberley. Yeah, Timberley. Get over it; I did long ago, okay? What can a girl say? My father the dealmaker cut what he called a “win-win” with my mother. Trouble is, there were three people in the deal and only two of them “won-won.”
From there the story began to unfold.
Homelessness expanded her world and constricted his. Now she needs his help, but he only remembers the pain. Can they find big love in a tiny house?
Are these stories connected in some way? If so, how?
The only thing they have in common is that all involve a tiny house in some way.
What are you reading right now?
James L. Rubart’s The Long Journey to Jake Palmer.
I loved that book. How many other books have you had published?
This is my first.
What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
Truthfully, finding the time to write is the hardest thing. My job is very demanding, and I have other commitments that are important to me. But when God personally invites you into “a new season of writing” it’s hard to say no.
How did collaborating with this team impact you?
It was interesting. Particularly being the only male in the collection. My story definitely fits in the collection, but it is also definitely different. One great thing about the collaboration is that all of the other authors are great encouragers—and good friends.
What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Two things. Don’t let the world define your life. Don’t find your identity in the things of this world. Second, the importance of personal integrity.
Please give us a peek into your story.
(This is a bit from the middle that’s part of my favorite scene. To set it up just a little, Rafe and Berly are about to have their second “date”. They are still feeling each other out and looking for common ground. There is attraction, but they’ve only just met so there’s also tension.)
Rafe saw Berly pull into the parking lot. Honda Accord, newer model. It looked like the Touring version, so a confident V6. He rose, trashed his cup, grabbed the notebook, and headed for the door. He didn’t want her and Carl coming into contact. Carl’s too chatty. Though he had seemed rather intimidated by his encounter with Berly and her determination.
Still, better to not risk it.
Ah, but Berly’s no-holds-barred confidence was a primary driver of his own interest. After the curly auburn hair, fair skin, blue eyes, and that laugh—the one that started in her eyes and ended in his heart.
He had to make this work.
He popped down his shades as he exited the shop. The sun was bright—plus he was feeling a little exposed.
“Nice car,” he said as Berly stepped out of the vehicle and closed the door.
“Oh, you startled me!”
His laugh must have amused her, because she looked at him sideways for a moment, as if measuring him. It seemed her glance lingered briefly on the notebook. “Thanks, it’s the touring model.”
Rafe nodded and walked around the car, checking her tire choice, running his hand over the hood. Trying to think of how to start.
“It’s not for sale,” she said.
“I’m not in the market … for a car.”
Was that a step too far? Maybe, but he didn’t think so.
“Some days I live in that thing, traveling from site to site,” she said, choosing to ignore the line.
Rafe nodded. “I’ve found you can tell a lot about people by the cars they choose to own. This one tells me you’re safe, reliable. Close to staid, but not quite. Not with the six. You have your lead foot moments.”
Her hands on her waist issued a challenge of their own. “And yours?
“Black Beemer.” He tilted his head to her left.
“Ah. Well, to me that screams, Ostentatious. Overrated. Overpriced.” And after a brief pause, “Compensating.”
Rafe fought down a laugh and forced a frown. “You didn’t even look, Ms. Charles.”
I love that scene, too. What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
It came from Allen Arnold: He taught me the importance of writing with God and not for him. His class on this was a turning point for my writing.
Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I have a rather inactive site for my freelance editing business that I now need to revamp. You can look for me there (https://writingonthefineline.com/). Alternately, I’m really active on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/michael.l.ehret.7) and fairly active on Twitter (@WritingFineLine).
Thank you, Mike, for sharing this new book with us.
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