When did you realize that you wanted to write?
I have no memory of before I wanted to write. I have always been a writer, even before I knew how to spell or could form letters. I made up plays for my family and told bedtime stories before I could write things down. As soon as I had any idea of spelling, I would scribble out stories. I made up stories for my children when they were younger. Since I homeschooled my five children I also wrote personalized curriculum for them when I didn't like what was out there.
Are you successful enough to writer full time?
I need a bigger following of people who actually buy books to earn enough to be considered a full time writer, but I write pretty much full time. I believe that God's timing is perfect and since He gave me this talent and I have given it back to Him, I don't worry too much about success as the world sees it. As long as I am following His leading, not quenching the Holy Spirit, I am satisfied with what I am doing. I am always in the process of working on one book or another. I keep a notebook handy even when backpacking or biking because I never know when an idea will come to me.
How many other books have you written?
I have 29 published so far. I hope to have the 30th done this summer. I have more than 10 waiting on illustrations and am working on others. Besides adult fiction, I write for young adults, children, and poetry. My daughters, Heather and Autumn, illustrate for me. Also the three of us are working on a series called Living Naturally in the Northwoods. We live naturally, eat organically as much as possible, and use natural healing. I have prayed for wisdom when I've needed answers for health issues, and God has always led me to the information I need, and the direction I need to go. So I have quite a bit of information that many people have found handy, and since I am a writer, it makes sense to put that into books. The girls will add illustrations and recipes to the mix of information.
Do you plan out the entire book before you begin writing? Or do you just sit down and write?
No, I don't plan out an entire book before I begin. Something starts a book, an event, an emotion, a dream...and I begin. Some stories continue on into a book, some are set aside for later. Soaring Free started out as one book. It became a series, but on the way I thought it would be a trilogy. When I wrote the third book in the series, A Fatal Blow”, I wrote it three times without an ending. I did not know what choice she would make and I really had to thrash it over and over and over. It came to me in the 4th draft, after writing all night, right at the break of dawn. In my books people have died whom I did not want to die and people I have wanted to kill right off are still hanging around. Weird, you would think a writer has more control over that, but you really don't if you stay true to the story, even one you are creating yourself.
Do you have a set time that you write each day? Or do you wait to be inspired?
I write in the morning, throughout the day, and late at night. I don't have a schedule as I do a lot of other things as well. I am on call to God and to my family. I believe if people wait to be inspired they will not accomplish much of anything. Inspiration comes in the doing. Hey, I think I wrote a poem by that title.
How long does it usually take you to complete a book?
Usually a year or so. But since I am writing more than one book at a time, it can take quite a bit of time to finish. Then life enters in. When my mom was diagnosed with scleroderma in 2007, my life basically shifted to help her as much as I could. She was always so much of a help to everyone and so vibrant, to be struck down so speedily was really hard on her. I was working on Arch of Discovery at the time and had to put that on hold. The Soaring Free Series requires long hours, late nights, and almost being handfed by my family to make sure I eat. When I am working on it I have to be shut away in my office, and I only come out for breaks. I couldn't spend that kind of time on projects when I needed to help my mom also. So I wrote some more children's books, books of poetry and did the 10th Anniversary Edition of Soaring Free which kept me in touch with the series, but didn't require the long hours. Heather had been wanting to add illustrations for so long, so we added the chapter illustrations to it. My mom died unexpectedly in August of 2011 and that really shook me up. I have written about it, but not in anything more than journals and poetry now, though I know God will use it later in books, He always does.