You've written both non-fiction and fiction. Which do you prefer and why?
I’ve asked myself that same question. Both carry deep appeal. When I sit down and think about my non-fiction I get excited because I truly believe that connecting to God through your strengths will change your life (which is what I write about). Then, I get thinking about my fiction and I get lost in the story of this woman stumbling toward God.
That said, when it comes to the actual writing – me sitting at my computer click-clacking away – fiction gives me the biggest yee-haw! word for word. It’s pure pleasure.
As a mum, do you find it hard to organize your writing time?
The best answer I have to that is found on my blog – you can read the post here: http://fictionmatters.blogspot.com/search/label/raising%20a%20family That’s the long answer. The short answer is: Heavens yes!
Any tips for other mum-writers?
Train your family to take your writing seriously. Turn them into your support team! Start by taking yourself and your craft seriously. Then, outline what you need each family member to do to support you. It’s surprising how cooperative children can be if they understand that their actions and behavior are “helping mom”. But they won’t what to do unless you tell them. And, if possible, work with your spouse to job share household tasks and ask him to help you guard your writing time.
You also write a blog (http://www.fictionmatters.blogspot.com/). Do you think this helps your writing career? How?
You bet! For me, blogging is connecting to people. I love being part of larger discussions, which is why I often have guest bloggers. It’s not just me blah-blahing away on there. Rather, I am privileged to facilitate a larger discussion about writing, fiction, reading, and books. Through the blog I’ve been able to connect with people in the publishing industry, which is great, but even more engaging and fun has been connecting with readers of fiction. Readers are fascinating people and I’ve learned so much from listening to and interacting with them. I’m a reader, so it makes sense I love to hang out with other readers. Does that translate to sales? I have no idea, and I don’t know if that’s even the point. The more I learn and interact with readers, the better a writer I become.
You recently wrote a book series, the first book of which 'Talking to the dead' is due out summer 2009. How did you work on the character development for this novel?
I took a non-traditional approach to character development for Talking to the Dead. Most great books start with a character who wants something, is prevented from getting what they want, and then, in time, gets what they want. This is understood as “motivation” in writing. The character is forced to grow or develop as she faces reckless circumstances. This formula makes for great reading, but it’s not the only way to get there. My character, Kate, doesn’t know what she wants. And circumstances thrust a false need onto her. In a traditional set up, the character gets wiser as the book moves forward. In my book, the second she thinks she understands something, the whole game changes and she’s scrambling for answers again.
I have to say, there were times I felt terribly sorry for Kate, as circumstances tossed her, but it’s reflective of real life. Sometimes life throws things at us and we are forced to figure out what to do – and there’s no manual to follow! At times like that, we discover new, important things about ourselves. Like, hey, I am stronger than I thought I was. Or, yes, I can overcome my fear. For me, character development is about exploring our humanity in all its strength and fragility.
Did you have to do much research? How and where did you research?
My formal training is in counseling, psychology, and theology and all three of these disciplines find their way into my work. Which sounds more technical than it is. I basically am following the adage: Write what you know. I take the reader into secret places, such as a counseling office, or group therapy or even into the inner workings of a mind in crisis because of my training. It’s one of the many deeply cool things about writing; you get to explore and share what you know with the reader through engaging stories.
Anything else to add?
My editor, Nicci Jordan Hubert has posted the book blurb as well as an excerpt from Talking to the Dead on her blog. Please stop in to http://www.niccijordanhubert.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2008/11/3_Word_to_Bonnie_Grove%3AI%E2%80%99m_Obsessed.html to read her thoughts about editing, my book, and to get a sneak peek at Talking to the Dead!