Where do my ideas come from? What inspires me?
As far as ideas for a book's overall storyline, I never know when I'm going to be blindsided by an idea. Everything going on around me is a potential story. My mind is constantly rolling. Things I read, hear, see and experience are sparks for potential stories. Once I experience the spark I kick into my favorite mode, creating the spark into a full blown story line. This is when I zone in and out to the things happening around me and I become the “absent minded professor.”
The next step is a story's theme, the Christian thread that weaves throughout the story. My greatest inspiration for theme comes during Sunday services or while I'm reading the Bible. There is nothing more exciting than sitting in a Sunday service listening to my pastor, Tuffy Loftin, preaching on a passage of scripture and feeling the presence of God tune me into the next step in my work in progress. God leads this part of the book in ways which always amaze me. By the end of a project I'm giving God praise because He is sooo cool in the way He connects all the threads of the story. The reader gets to see the end product and hopefully be entertained and blessed while reading the story.
I love ideas, and the constant turnover of my mind. It's the neatest gift, other than my salvation and my family that God could have given me. Boredom is not a word I understand and my aim as an author is that it isn't a word readers ever associate with my books either.
How did I get started writing? And how did I finally make my first sale?
After years of thinking about writing a book, one Saturday morning in 1990 I did what every writer must ultimately do – I sat down and started writing. Soon after, with my first three page revision letter in tow, I joined the North West Houston Chapter of RWA. That wonderful group of ladies immediately took me under their wings. I also attended every conference I could in an attempt to soak up everything there was to know about creating a novel.
All the while my voice and story ideas were attracting attention, however, something wasn't right and eventually each book was rejected. Around 1996 the founder of Romance Writers of America, Rita Gallagher, was accepting students for a mentoring program. I sent her three chapters and was accepted into the program. For the next two years I spent one Saturday a month in Rita's home learning the art of story structure. Rita was a gracious and wonderful lady who taught me the importance of scene and sequel. It is that understanding that has taken my books to the next level. The Trouble with Lacy Brown is the book I wrote immediately after the class was over.
It took ten years from the time I started writing for my first book to sell, thirteen if you count three years I paused to concentrate on my family during my two son's busy teen years. THE TROUBLE WITH LACY BROWN was a 2004 Golden Heart finalist in the Inspirational category, and was bought by Steeple Hill immediately and its been nominated for RT Magazines Reviewers Choice Award for Best Inspirational in a Series for 2005. It along with my second book AND BABY MAKES FIVE were reissued together in March of 2011 as a Love Inspired Classic. I’m currently working on my 19th book and loving my life!
Since the sale of my first novel God has been awesome! — and so have you my readers! You have pushed Mule Hollow up the charts in sales and I just can't thank you enough. There are many more stories set to come out in the future.
The road to publication has been long and challenging, but I know God's timing is perfect and I'm so glad I didn't get discouraged enough along the way to quit. I pray that God continues to use my work.