Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I’m so pleased to introduce you to Misty Beller. Misty is a fellow ACFW member and writes Christian historical novels. She hails from South Carolina, where my husband’s parents are from. I LOVE the blurb of her new release. Be sure to check it out, and I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so my Southern roots run deep. Growing up, my family was close, and we continue to keep that priority today. My husband and two daughters are the loves of my life, keeping me both grounded and crazy, sane and out of my mind.
God has placed a desire in my heart to combine my love for Christian fiction and the simpler farm life, writing historical novels that display His abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of my characters.
Writing is my passion, and my family – both immediate and extended – is the foundation that holds me secure in my dream.
Tell us about your current release. Leah Townsend, a recently orphaned heiress, flees Richmond after discovering her fiancé’s plot to kill her after their wedding. She needs a safe place to hide, and finds herself accepting a newspaper marriage proposal from a God-fearing young rancher in the Montana Territory. But when Leah arrives at the mountain ranch, she learns her intended husband was killed by a grizzly, leaving behind a bitter older brother and a spunky younger sister.
When Gideon Bryant finds a city girl standing in his log cabin, his first thought is to send her back where she came from. He’s lost too many people to the wild elements of these mountains––his parents, his wife, and now his brother. His love for this untamed land lives on, but he’s determined not to open his heart to another person.
But when an accident forces Leah to stay at the ranch for seven more months, can Gideon protect his heart from a love he doesn’t want? Has Leah really escaped the men who seek her life?
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? My bucket list. All my life, I’ve been a true book lover. Give me a good novel, and you probably won’t see me again until it’s finished. I’ve also always enjoyed writing, and tend to express myself best through my written correspondence. But I never seriously thought about writing a novel, until I was putting together my bucket list a few years ago.
I decided, it’s now or never, and made the commitment to write a complete novel and get it published.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’m a plotter, for sure, and have a pretty detailed process for my plotting. I usually mull the story in my mind for a few weeks until if feels like I have a basic story line. Then I create a Plot Overview—a 2-3 page document similar to a synopsis, that includes plot points, internal and external motivations, and spiritual arcs. After that, I create a chapter outline, describing each scene within the chapter in a paragraph or two. This document is usually between 15-20 pages long (single-spaced). Then, I start writing!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? There are two things I did early on that helped me immeasurably! First, read good books on the craft of writing. My all-time favorite is Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I read it again every time I start writing a new book. Second, join a writing organization, such as ACFW (my favorite!) or RWA. These groups offer incredible resources to their membership. So worth the investment!
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) Oh my… I read every single one of the Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard, many of the Nancy Drew books, and every book about horses in any of the libraries around our home—fiction or non-fiction!
I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper? I don’t have a huge backlog of stories in my head, but God gives me what I need when I need it. He plants the storylines in my mind, and gradually feeds more ideas until the framework becomes clear. Usually when I’m at least halfway through one story, God plants the seeds for the next one in my mind. It helps to keep me excited about writing, knowing there’s always something new on the horizon!
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