Writing Process Blog Hop
Posted June 2, 2014on:
What am I working on?
I’ve written two contemporary Christian romantic suspense novels in the Kate Neilson series and am working on the third. Based in Wyoming on a guest ranch, Winds of Wyoming and Winds of Freedom are about young women who became Christians in prison and are trying to walk the straight and narrow road on the outside. But of course, their pasts follow them and cause havoc. Winds of Change continues their challenges and adventures. I’m also editing a short-story compilation titled Passageways, which is scheduled for release soon and includes several of my own stories.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I haven’t run across many faith-based novels with ex-offenders as main characters. Also, I’ve been told the stories, which deal with heart-wrenching issues, are realistic and exciting without being graphic.
Why do I write what I do?
Years ago, I wrote an article about a relative who met the Lord while incarcerated. Through her, I learned how powerfully God works behind bars. Another relative was briefly jailed in our city before being transported to a federal prison. In order to see him, I had to leave my ID and possessions behind and pass through a series of locked doors guarded by unsmiling officers to visit for a total of fifteen minutes through a thick window, via telephone. Later, I had the unique opportunity to write a book for a prison ministry in Colorado called Freedom Fellowship. Interviewing inmates and ex-inmates who’d received Christ because of the volunteers’ ministry was an amazing experience. The book, titled On a Wing and a Prayer, has been republished and is available online or by order in bookstores.
But that’s not the end of the story. When we moved to Arizona several years ago, I joined with Along Side Ministries to provide Bible studies and worship services for women prisoners. I met many sweet women who were very much like me other than the fact they’d crossed a legal line I hadn’t encountered. Beth Moore describes human behavior (Jesus, Day by Day) this way: “Given the right set of circumstances and the wrong state of mind, each of us is capable of just about anything.”I also learned that a newly released felon is given a bus ticket and fifty dollars to begin his or her life over again. Oftentimes, the only option they have is to return to dysfunctional families and friends, who will more than likely drag them into the pit again. My books are about the difficulties individuals who’ve done time experience when they reenter the “real” world. They’re excited to regain freedom but miss the boundaries and safety of prison and need support and guidance to make healthy decisions and become productive citizens. That’s why I’m involved with a post-prison transitional home for women in Idaho, where I now live with my husband.
How does your writing process work?
Process, hmm… I’m amazed by our brains’ ability to not only string words into a sentence but to pull thoughts and concepts together into a story. I have no idea how that works, but it’s fun to watch a narrative flow from my head, through my fingers, into the computer and onto the screen. Although I don’t outline, I write out a basic plot and then fill in the blanks. First drafts are painful for me, but I joy in the rewriting process. If I can get the core story out of my head, then I can fix it. That said, I’ve been reading Larry Brooks’ books, Story Engineering and Story Physics, in the hopes I’ll create a great story from the get-go and not need to spend so much time fixing and rewriting. 🙂
Winds of Wyoming
Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will trail as close as a shadow and imprison her once again.
Winds of Freedom
Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.
Next in the Blog Hop —
I’ve invited the other board members from our local American Christian Fiction Writers group to be next in the blog hop because not only are they exceptional leaders, they’re all amazing writers.
Fireball Lisa Phillips has stormed the reading world with three—or is it four?—new releases in about that many months. She writes action-packed romantic suspense. Please tell us more, Lisa. http://www.authorlisaphillips.blogspot.com
Hilarey Johnson’s beautifully written YA novel, Sovereign Ground, was just released. Older teens as well as adults will enjoy her amazing story. I’m sure readers would love a brief synopsis, Hilarey. http://www.hilarey.com
Heather Woodhaven’s first Love Inspired novel, titled Calculated Risk, is due for release in January of 2015. Very exciting times, Heather. Please tell us about your story. http://www.writingheather.com