Her webite is HERE.
1. When did you first start writing?
I think I was “writing” even before I could hold a pen. I made up characters and stories in my head. I’ve always written—which is a good thing because I’d hate to have to keep all those characters stuffed inside my head. When I was in high school, I wrote letters to the editor and got them published in newspapers and magazines. In college, I wrote articles for national magazines. Then I turned to books, first to grown-up books, then to children’s books and teen novels. Now I get to write for all ages.
2. Is life any different now that you're an author?
Hmm…It’s been a long time since I wasn’t an author. But I’m pretty sure that, even if nobody ever published my books, I’d still write them. That’s my calling, and I love it…most of the time.
3. How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish your first book? How long did the first draft take?
I took a year to write my first book—probably half on the writing, and half on editing it and rewriting.
4. Do you have any hobbies/things that you really enjoy doing?
I do! I love to ride and hang out with our horses, play with our dogs. I walk around our lake (5 miles) about 5 times a week, play tennis when I can. In the past, I’ve painted and done all kinds of craft, though I don’t seem to have time lately.
5. What/who most inspired your writing?
Inspiration is everywhere, but I do believe God is behind it. I think if we see what’s in front of us and around us, it’s not that hard to be inspired.
6. Are you working on any books right now? How many books do you have out?
Right now I’m working on a new horse series, BACKYARD HORSES. I’m also finishing a young adult novel, THE SILENCE OF MURDER, a middle-grade novel, DREAMS OF A DANCING HORSE, two picture books, LISTEN TO THE SILENT NIGHT and THERE’S A BABY IN THERE! I’ve written some I Can Read chapter books. And I’m “playing around” with another mystery, a new novel set in the sixties, an adult novel set in WWII, and ….
I’ve had about 450 books published. I know—it’s crazy! I feel very blessed.
7. Did you always want to be an author? What did you want to be when you were little?
I have always wanted to be an author, although I didn’t think I could make a living at it. So I’ve been a college teacher, too. I did toy about being a horse trainer at one point.
8. Do you have a favourite writing quote?
Here are a couple: Proverbs 18:20 20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction.
I John 1.4 joy We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.
9. What was your first reaction when you found out your first book was going to be published?
I called everyone I knew and told them I was an author! The funny thing is that I didn’t know enough to get everything in writing, and they never sent me a contract. Months later when I asked when the book would be out, I was informed that my editor had died of a heart attack, and the publisher wouldn’t be following through on the promise. Can you imagine? But I thought I was an author, so I’d gone on to write another book, which I’d sold as a proposal. And I was well into my third book. Later, that first book did get published and was much better than it would have been. The title was: When the Answer Is No.
10. Who is your greatest support in your writing?
My husband is my greatest supporter and cheerleader, and he’s also my first reader and editor. He writes adult nonfiction, and we’ve both edited professionally. So we’re lucky to have our own in-house editors.
11. Do you have a favourite book? Author?
I still love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. If you haven’t read it, you must.
12. What's your best tip for beginning writers?
Write your heart out. Don’t worry about what happens after that.
13. What's the best part of being an author?
For me, it’s picturing a reader at the other end of the process, reading my book and seeing something in there that connects, that will make a difference. And then best of all, it’s getting a letter or email from that reader.
14. Do you usually start your stories on the computer or on paper?
Although I usually do start stories on the computer, I’ve written entire books by hand when I had to—three books in the hospital, in fact. And I always keep a notebook on me just in case.