I’ve lost track of the people who’ve come up to me and asked, “How do you get it all done?” This always makes me chuckle because they actually assume I do get it all done! (They obviously haven't seen my house.)
First of all, my life was drastically simplified when we moved from Anchorage (where we had two or three scheduled homeschool get-togethers or extracurricular activities scheduled a week) to a much more rural setting. (Read between the lines: There’s not a whole lot to do here outside of the home!)
At the end of each of my novels, I like to thank the people who were involved in putting it all together. This almost always includes my editors (aka typo slayers), the members of my Facebook group (aka cheerleaders), and my family.
But sometimes I wonder exactly where I’d be if it weren’t for the prayers of one of my biggest fans, my grandma, who passed on peacefully to receive her eternal reward last summer.
Grandma grew up as a missionary kid in China. Her early days were filled with memories of war and terror when the Japanese bombed Shanghai. Later on in life, she went to smuggle Bibles back into China regularly … all the way into her seventies!
It's no secret that I put different aspects of my own personality, history, and self into my characters. For example, Kennedy's college experiences closely mirror my own (minus the constant danger and life-threatening situations, thankfully).
Sometimes I intentionally draw on my own experiences, like I when I set my romantic suspense novel Identity Theft in the same part of Alaska where my husband and I lived ten years ago. But often, I don't notice the similarities until the story is complete and I go back and reread what I wrote.
Let me tell you, sometimes my subconscious surprises me.
Four years ago, I published my very first novel, a Christian suspense story highlighting religious persecution in North Korea. Little did I know that book would begin a partnership between me and Liberty in North Korea, aka LiNK, aka the best charity in the world.
What makes LiNK the bomb? First of all, I love the fact that LiNK is on the ground in East Asia helping North Korean refugees find freedom. We're talking underground railroads. We're talking brave men and women risking fines, imprisonment, and sometimes even torture for the sake of freedom.
Is it any wonder that a suspense novelist like myself would fall in love with folks like that?
Writing Christian fiction is an intensely fierce calling, but so many readers never see the fight that goes into their favorite books. Many people think of writing as a very relaxing sort of job. Long, quiet hours to yourself. Getting paid to daydream. Communing with your favorite characters all day long.
Even if novel writing was 0.000002% as peaceful as that sounds, it's even less for the Christian author.
Thanks so much for letting me wrap up the next Kennedy book last week. God, you really helped me with that one. So I'm at it again, fresh start Monday afternoon, a blank document staring me in the face.
I confess that I'm scared.
It's NaNoWriMo time, which means hundreds of thousands of writers (myself included) are frantically working to get their 50,000 words written before midnight on November 30.
It's hard to believe that one year ago I was participating in my first ever NaNoWriMo and meeting Woong.
Woong is an orphan from North Korea whose story grabbed my heart and captivated my imagination.
For those of you familiar with my Kennedy Stern series, you know I don't shy away from controversial subjects. Underage abortion, racism, police brutality, mental health issues, all these are fair game.
I follow a few different Facebook forums for authors and readers of Christian fiction, and every so often someone poses the question, What do you want to see more of in Christian fiction? And you know what? Readers are looking for deeper, messier, grittier reads about deeper, messier, grittier subjects. Which is one of the reasons why I wrote Straightened, a suspense novel about a boy whose father kicks him out of the home when he finds out he's gay.
Great news! Last night I finished the first draft of my next Kennedy Stern novel. This is a video I filmed (at 10:30 pm in the bright light of day!) to let you know how I tend to celebrate milestones like this.
I'm so excited to get Kennedy Book 4 in your hands ASAP! Thanks for all the encouragement and prayers you all lifted up. For my last NaNo Note of the month, here's a short snippet from last night's draft:
If you want a chance to get ahead in the Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense Series before book 4 is released, Unplanned is currently free on amazon!
Marionette is the first book in my Agent Ko Spy Thriller Series, and let me tell you, this has been my most difficult writing project by far. To give you some perspective, I wrote the novel Flower Swallow in eleven days. I started my Ko series in February of 2015. That's a year and a half ago, and I'm just now getting ready to release the first two books.
Well, you can tease all you want for it taking me that long. I'm just thankful it got written at all. The entire ordeal was similar to a bad dating relationship, with me giving up on the project at least a dozen times only to pick it back up again (often against what felt like the better side of reason).
Why was it so hard? What was so different about this series that made it such a challenge?