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 am very excited to introduction you to fellow Inspy Romance contributor, Autumn Macarthur. I have known her online for some time now – moving in the Christian romance novelist circles – but I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her here a little better. I LOVE that she has a food garden that has the same footprint as her house. With a British/Australian sister-in-law and my brother’s family in Australia, I also felt further endeared to her. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did — and read to the end! She’s giving away an amazing 3-book bundle! AND: Look on for details on how to get her upcoming release for free!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Thank you for asking me to join you today! My official bio reads “Autumn Macarthur is an Australian writer of inspirational romance living near London with her very English husband, three spoiled cats, and a guinea pig with a dandelion addiction. She loves reading, cooking, gardening, and writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God’s love and forgiveness can be.
She tends to talk a little too much and laugh a little too loud, her sleep schedule is all over the place so you’ll often find her on the internet at 5am, and she’s grateful to be blessed with some good friends and a very patient husband. She’s also eternally thankful for God’s great love and mercy.”
I guess I need to tweak that!
Some things, like God’s love and my dear husband’s patience, never change. Others do. Sadly, our beloved Dandie Man the guinea pig died last month, but an extra cat moved in to even the numbers. I blame my husband, the Cat Magnet for that! I’m working to get into a less erratic schedule, but without much progress so far. Too many night shifts in my previous careers as nurse and midwife.
Other things about me that might be a little unusual- I live with my husband in a 450 square foot house with a 450 square foot garden, that I’ve filled as far as I can with food plants. Most successful is the cherry tree I planted the year we married, which gives bushels of cherries every year, least successful is the alleged “sweet almond” tree which has bitter nuts! However, the bright pink flowers that covers it in Spring are gorgeous, so it stays.
We live frugally but love to travel. We try have two or three trips a year to either visit my family back in Australia or travel within Europe, as much as my husband’s health allows (he can’t fly at present L). I’ve wanted all my life to learn to read the Cyrillic alphabet (as used in Russian, but actually invented by monks in Bulgaria to spread Christ’s teachings), and last year I did. Now to learn more than ten words of Bulgarian to go with that!
Tell us about your current release. Ack! *Blushes and swallows hard* The current release, Forget Paris, Book 4 in my Love in Store British romance series, set in Paris and London, was scheduled for release at the start of February. Unfortunately, things didn’t run smoothly while I was writing. A lot of challenging, testing things were going on. The good news is, that the whole experience has brought me into a far closer and more trusting relationship with God. All things happen for good according to His purpose.
So Forget Paris is still “coming soon”. Very soon, I hope!
As an apology for the delay, I’ll be giving away release day copies to everyone on my mailing list on the day, so if you’d like a free copy, sign up now. I don’t spam, promise! You can subscribe here- http://mad.ly/signups/116735/join
It’s a story with a sweet but grieving hero, and a stubborn, determined heroine. Here’s the book description-
‘American graduate student Zoe Gallagher doesn’t believe in romance.
She’s in Paris on Valentine’s Day doing research to prove that romance is an illusion and love based on it doesn’t last. When she meets New Yorker Gabe Ross, there to carry out his mother’s last wish by placing a lovelock on a bridge crossing the River Seine, even she finds it hard to resist the most romantic city in the world on the most romantic day of the year. A challenge to try a psychological experiment feels like more, much more, for both of them.
One wonderful day proves nothing, Zoe tells herself, only gives more evidence her theory is right. But on her return to London, she discovers she needs Gabe’s help to learn the biggest lesson of all, that love does last.
Especially God’s love…’
In the meantime, I’m making Book 1 in the series, The Wedding List, permanently free for readers. The Kindle version can be found on my Amazon Author page http://www.amazon.com/Autumn-Macarthur/e/B00N9KRHKY, or it’s available for other reading devices via D2D – https://www.draft2digital.com/book/82818
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? If I felt called by God to write that particular story, absolutely! It’s not for me to judge how many people my work “should” reach. We’d all like to hope we had a bigger impact, of course. I want lots of people to read and be touched by my books. But one person’s life changed for the better is an opportunity I wouldn’t want to miss.
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I don’t write fast enough! Many of my minor characters in the existing books want their own stories told, plus I currently have more than ten not-ready-to-publish books set in the USA and Australia with characters who are shouting out to have their stories completed! And then there’s a very long list of new characters and their story ideas. I want to write Books 5 and 6 in the current series before moving on, I have a summer novella scheduled for June release as part of a boxed set that involves some Scottish characters from Book 3, then the battle will be on for what comes next!
Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? (ie. Moon Walk, Watergate, Pope being shot) I remember all of those, but the very first news headline I remember actually being able to read myself is one most readers won’t know, as it had most impact in Australia. That was the disappearance of the then Prime Minister Harold Holt in 1967, while swimming in the sea. There have been all sorts of conspiracy theories about it, even that he was a communist spy who was picked up by a mini-submarine in order to defect! Most likely is that he simply drowned. American readers may recognize the name- he was the first foreign political leader to have a US warship named after them.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Ten minute timed writing. Get as many words out as I can in that time, without judging what the words are. No stopping, keep getting new words out. Write or Die is a useful tool for that, or simply set a timer to ten minutes and go! Changing the type to write in white on a white screen temporarily can stop the urge to go back and correct typos or change words. Writing something I know won’t be in the book can be very freeing too, so an incident for a character’s past, something that happens offstage. It turns off the internal editor when that pressure to write “right” is taken off. And praying always helps too!
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I always wanted to write, since I was a very young child. I learned to read very young, loved stories, and read voraciously and often inappropriately! Then once I could write, I wrote stories. If I wasn’t writing, I was making up stories in my head. While I worked at more “sensible” jobs, writing stayed something that was always part of my life, journaling, writing short stories and poetry, starting several unfinished books. I had a few articles published, but that was it. In 2009 I started seriously writing for publication, and wrote four or five practice novels that will NEVER be published.
Then two years ago God called me to write for Him, at the same time I was in the process of quitting a stressful Day Job. Everything changed! I decided to go for it and commit to writing my favourite type of story – sweet Christian romance. Now I have a bundle more unpublished but hopefully publishable stories, three published books, and a fourth soon to release.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? There are positives and negatives in each. I researched both, and aimed for traditional publication with Harlequin’s Christian romance lines, Love Inspired and Heartsong, with the intention that I would also self-publish other stories.
In 2013, my entry in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest semi-finalled, and the lovely Heartsong editor expressed strong interest in buying my Christmas themed story, Believe in Me, with a view to an October 2015 publication date. I did the required revisions, but something made me hesitate about sending the story back. I prayed, sought God’s will on the decision and ended up advising the editor that instead of resubmitting the story, I would self-publish. As it happens, that was true guidance, as in November Harlequin announced they’d be closing the line, and my book wouldn’t have been published! I thanked God so much over that choice He led me to make. This is a story that’s truly from my heart, which has been blessed with some wonderful reviews. Scary to think it could have wound up in some sort of limbo where it never reached any readers!
I love self-publishing, being in control of every aspect of the book production. I guess I naturally have a DIY type mentality and I’ve relished learning new skills and continuing to learn. I’m still open to traditional publishing though. I have another story waiting for me to do a second round of editor requested revisions before sending it back to Love Inspired.
Just as soon as I finish this next self-published book…
Which of your characters most reflects your personality? I think ALL my characters in some ways reflect my character and my experience. Especially their spiritual journeys. There’s a saying that we teach what we most need to learn. I seem to be called to write what I most need to learn. So when Beth had to learn to let go of past hurts, Cara has to learn to accept forgiveness for a terrible mistake in her past, Tiffany needs to learn to let go of her own plans and follow God’s will for her life, and Zoe needs to learn to trust in God’s love, I’m in there learning those spiritual lesson right along with them!
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? That would have to be skydiving! The first time I did it, I was living in the Outback, working in a job where I flew every day, at around 10,000 feet, in a small plane. To go up and fly over the same countryside in a similar small plane at 10,000 feet, then jump out of the plane was terrifying. Way more terrifying that I expected. I was so scared, I didn’t pull the ripcord to open the parachute when I should have done and the instructor had to do it for me.
Of course, being me, I couldn’t leave it at that. I simply had to do it again, next time a skydiving team came to town, just to prove I could. The second jump was wonderful. Fun, exhilarating, an amazing experience. But twice was enough! I think I can honestly say never again for that one!
Find Autumn online:
Autumn is giving away an ebook of a THREE BOOK box set Love in Store! Check out the Rafflecopter for all of the ways you can enter!
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I’m so grateful for your visit, today. If you’d like to receive a weekly email of blog posts and popular social media stories, sign up here. You would bless me if you added me to your feed reader or subscribed via email. You can also become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I would love to see more of you!