Welcome, Kristen. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I’m not sure I’ve been asked this question before! After some thought, I’d say maybe twenty percent of parts of my personality make it into my heroine’s character traits. Eva, from my first Moanna Island Book,
is an English teacher who loves to read. Ryan, from Time and Tide, uses her
morning jogs to pray and chat with God. Addie, from the third book in the
series, is the oldest in her family and leans heavily on the bossy side, liking
to be in control of everything going on in her world. I guess some of my good
and some bad traits make their way into my stories. Safe Harbor
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I drink everything with a straw, including my coffee. Someone told me once that it helps keep stains away on your teeth, and I guess I really took that advice to heart!
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote stories and made up characters in my head as a child, but it wasn’t until my children’s ministry job I discovered there were stories inside me that God could use to draw people to Him. I led (and still do once a month) the kids’ ministry on “stage,” teaching and helping the Bible stories come to life. During this time, I also had a friend say I needed to write down a particular story flowing in my head. It was then, being open enough to hear, that I felt Him tell me I was a good storyteller. I decided to spend time writing and learning, and eventually, I had a publisher for my romances.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy contemporary romances the most. I almost always limit myself to Christian or Inspirational ones. I also love a good women’s fiction or historical novel. I used to read a ton of thrillers or mysteries, and I still like them, but it’s hard for me to find ones where the concept intrigues, yet the language and circumstances don’t turn me off.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I definitely need my alone time, and during the school year, I get it during the week. I’m able to stay home and write while the kids are at school and the Hubs is working. I make effort to give them my time when they get home, but that’s when life gets crazy! I’m basically a taxi every evening to the kids’ practices, so keeping my day free seems to work in helping me stay sane.
When my daughters were in that period when their activities multiplied and they still couldn’t drive, this was a popular bumper sticker: “If woman’s place is in the home, why am I always in my car?” How do you choose your characters’ names?
I actually look up meanings for every single main character, and I put a ton of thought into this decision. In each book, the reason for their names is revealed in a special way.
The heroine in the story I’m writing now is named Addie, which means noble. Noble means having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. Addie absolutely portrays these character traits. She’s a gem. J
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
We aren’t perfect and drive each other crazy, but my husband and I have a strong marriage. I don’t necessarily think anyone who met us in college would have ever guessed that we’d still be going strong after eighteen plus years together. And when you add in the fact that both of us had divorced parents, it seems even more like an accomplishment that we’ve survived so long.
In many ways, we became adults together and instead of growing apart, grew closer. We also added God into our relationship many moons ago, and both have the same desire to grow stronger in our relationship with Him. Each day is different and challenging, but we’re always on the same page by the end of it, and that’s something I’m proud of.
James and I married 3 months and 3 days after we met on a blind date. Many people said it wouldn’t last, but we celebrated our 53 anniversary in November. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A lap dog, for sure. They’re basically treated like a human infant, so how bad could that be? Pampered, loved, fed, doted on—it’d be a sweet life.
What is your favorite food?
Oreos and French fries. (A sweet and a salty!)
After more than 3,000 interviews, that’s a first for that combination. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure I’ve overcome it, but my greatest challenge in each story has been with what I call the “filler scenes.” They’re the ones which are important because they move the story along, move the character to a different location, or fill the reader in on someone’s past, etc. I tend to have the major scenes/plot lines downloaded easily into my brain. And usually I pray and the scene will naturally move forward and smooth, but sometimes it doesn’t. I get stuck—knowing where the story is heading but having a hard time getting there.
When this happens, I stop, review the characters and what they’d “do” in the situation, or work on some editing in the previous pages to get back into the character’s head. I sometimes ask my brutally honest critique partner for ideas. And I pray … usually after a time out session, I have inspiration, and the flow seems to work again. J
Tell us about the featured book.
Time and Tide is about a former drug addict and an island local, dealing with her own family hardships, who find love in the strangest of circumstances. They have a few chance run ins- but are they really by chance? God has implemented His plan to bring them together, and in doing so, bring
doesn’t have any sort of belief system, except to be a better man than he was
before his addiction almost caused the death of someone else and himself during
a terrible car accident. He’s still recovering when he meets free-spirited Ryan
(my heroine). She’s a Christian and helps Chad open his eyes to God at work
around him. It’s a beautiful mess.
Please give us the first page of the book.
September wasn’t supposed to be as hot as the middle of July in
North Georgia, but the sweat dripping down
my face told me something different. I zipped the last window onto the frame of
my fire-engine red Jeep Wrangler with my shoulders burning, both from the
strain on my muscles and the sun on my skin. I left the top off every season
except winter and parked it in my garage. Which meant I only took the top off once
a year and put it on once a year. And now I remembered why. The sleek exterior
of my BMW coupe crept into my mind. I shook it away as fast as it came. I never
allowed my mind to go there, to such an unsafe place.
I opened the backseat door and pushed my last two suitcases up against the ones I’d already placed on the other side before I got distracted with my soft top. My suitcases weren’t only full of clothes, but also a random mix of items from my life in
Atlanta I still wanted to remember, which
didn’t amount to much.
The squeaking sound of the gate at the end of my drive sounded. Few people knew the gate’s code, so I knew it was Tony driving up behind the Jeep. I shoved the door closed and watched him put his truck in park. His engine was off and his feet were on the pavement so fast it seemed they happened in unison. “You better have not been about to leave for
Savannah before I got
here.” He walked to me.
“I told you I was leaving at noon.” I glanced at my watch to disguise my smile. “So I would have given you four more minutes at least.”
Tony laughed before saying, “All right then, I’ll keep it short.” He gripped my shoulder. “I’ll miss you.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Kristen, for sharing this book with us. I’m eager to read it, and I know most of my readers are, too.
Readers, here are links to the book.Time and Tide: A Christian Inspirational Romance (Moanna Island Book 2) - Kindle
Moanna Island (2 Book Series) - Two book series
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