I was invited to this international blog tour by Nancy Bolton, author of the soon-to-be-released The Right Ingredients, published by Prism Book Group. This is her first book, a thought-provoking Christian romance about late bloomers (with a delightful sub-theme of baking), that I had the honor of editing in its earlier stages. How did I get that honor? Well, she’s my sister and I’m super-proud of her. Her second book, a fascinating historical tale about the Dust Bowl, is in development now. Check out her blog at http://boltonnancy.com/.
Nancy sent me these four questions (ah, the Four Questions!), which I have also passed along to three other fine writers to post when they can (see the bottom of this post to hear more about them).
What are you working on?
I finished my first novel about a 13-year-old girl’s head-on collision with her first serious crush. Right now, I’m focused on a YA/adult spiritual/philosophical novel about an unusual young man who just turned 18 and his vivid dreams about people in places on the other side of the world from his home in Chicago.
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
Maybe it’s not so different—I wouldn’t know because I don’t get a chance to read new fiction very much with my hectic schedule. I suspect there are trends in emerging fiction crossing over from sci-fi/fantasy to realistic character studies, but I haven’t found many contemporary writers who do that and also strive to wrestle with questions of faith as well. My favorite all-time author is George MacDonald, and if I could find a modern writer with his passion and insight, I’d dive right in. Let me know if you’ve found someone! Perhaps others also experiment with combining fantasy or other-worldly themes with a character’s interior journey, and I’d love to get my hands on some of it to see how they’ve pulled it off.
Why do you write what you do?
I’ve been fascinated since I was little with how powerful our perceptions are—strong enough to shape our reality and influence the events of our lives. When I write, I find myself exploring that dynamic. Nothing pleases me more than creating characters who take off with their own authentic worldview and almost start dictating their stories through me. It’s as if I abdicate my role as the creator and become a collaborator when I fall in love with them. I often think that’s how God feels about the potential we have in our souls to be with Him on a higher level.
How does your writing process work?
My writing process is pretty far away from a process. It’s more like primordial goop or something. I never know when I sit down whether I’ll be nitpicking at the edge of a scene until it pleases me or racing down the open right-brain highway full throttle in first-draft mode. I couldn’t tell you which I like more, so I’ve learned not to predict “what I’ll do today.” Since I have such precious little time to stretch out and write, I have learned to let it be what it is and not try to adhere to any sort of routine. When I read about writers who use writing software to organize their plot lines or keep index cards tacked to a wall, I’m in awe. My writing heaves along in unpredictable waves or trickles in sneaky little eddies with big gaping holes between sessions. But like an old friend, we pick up with ease where we left off and it just happens.
Here are three writers I know and greatly admire:
The most unique author I know, Deanne is a natural storyteller and a champion of small children, animals, forgotten people, and forgotten culture. Her Middle Eastern heritage makes her too hot-blooded for this world and that passion leaps out from the pages of her writing. She has written reams and reams of children’s religious curriculum that enlivens and enlightens both the Jewish and Christian worlds, but her ability to deliver a compelling story really shines in her book, Number 176520. This book is based on two years of interviews with the hero of the book, Holocaust survivor Paul Argiewicz of blessed memory. Now in its second printing, this engrossing tale of how Paul miraculously survived several death camps is packed with photos and historical details and is required reading in many middle schools for their Holocaust curriculum. Visit her at http://www.paulsstory.com/ and leave a comment.
Dr. Sadan is an intriguing and thought-provoking Israeli author whose most recent book is called The Concealed Light: Names of Messiah in Jewish Sources. From the publisher’s website: “In the Bible and other Jewish sources, the Mashiach is deliberately assigned various eye-opening and specific names. Each of these assignations offers deep insights into the attributes and expected roles of the person of Messiah—far beyond the watered-down concept of the Messiah that modern culture offers us.” Tsvi’s no-nonsense, passionate voice has the ring of authority, backed by over 20 years of research and writing on Jewish and Christian views of the Messiah. He now blogs for the Times of Israel. You can find him on Twitter @elyahba and here is a link to his latest blog: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/hate-from-the-right-and-hate-from-the-left/#.U5guR_eLpl8.facebook
Betsy is the author of the recently published Bright Lights of the Second City, a wonderful collection of 50 fascinating interviews with Chicago luminaries, including each interviewee’s favorite books, music, poems, movies, and places. Her book is an inspiring collage of spiritual, interpersonal, and philosophical wisdom from many different types of leaders. The interviews provide myriad views of being true to your passion and going the distance. Owner and principal of a small but mighty Chicago PR firm, she is currently working on her first children’s book. Catch her blog at her website, www.betsystorm.com, under “My Thoughts,” visit her at her author site on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBetsyStorm/app_173507912666342, or find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BetsyStormPR.