Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! I’m always excited when I have a friend as my guest, and this week I’m so happy to introduce you to my friend Heather Greer. Heather and I met at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference several years ago, and since then we’ve worked together on the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. I really enjoyed her book Love in the Squared Circle (which she’s giving away – see below!) I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. (And I seriously love the cover of the novella collection she’s in – season are my jam!)
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m never sure how to start the answer to these questions. Hi, my name is Heather Greer. I’m a wife and mother of four adult children with one grandson and a granddaughter on the way. It always sounds like those “what I did on my summer vacation” assignments in grade school! I am all those things though, along with being a preacher’s kid and a pastor’s wife, a lover of baking and crafting, an avid reader, and a fan of cheesy holiday movies.
Tell us about your current release. Though I’ve published several full-length novels, my first novella just released at the end of September. It’s called Sugar and Spice, and it’s part of the Love in Any Season novella collection. The book is a collection of four seasonal stories, set in small towns hosting local festivals.
Sugar and Spice is the final novella. It’s set in the fictional town of New Kuchenbrünn, Missouri. With German heritage and fairy tale architecture, I knew this town’s winter celebration should focus on more than Christmas. This town needed the Gingerbread Festival. Too bad the town’s baker had a humiliating gingerbread experience in her teens that spurred a life-long hate of gingerbread! Making the stuff for weeks on end is hard enough any year, but this year Emmie is surprised with the return of the high school crush who broke her heart to photograph the event. And Ryker seems determined to win her friendship. With gingerbread and Ryker together, how will Emmie survive this year’s Gingerbread Festival with her mind and heart intact?
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Definitely.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? When I imagined writing Christian fiction in the beginning, I dreamed of one day having one of my stories chosen by a certain cheesy romance movie channel to make into their latest film. I was excited to learn they opened a publishing company too. I had the perfect story in mind.
In researching, I found they don’t want faith in their stories. At first, I thought I’d submit anyway. I could write one story without faith included. I mean, it wasn’t like I was compromising for a larger audience by adding in bad language or explicit romance. My characters would still be Christian people. They just wouldn’t talk or think about it.
As I worked on the story, God made it clear that I needed to stop. I knew His plan for me was encouraging and challenging people in their faith through entertaining stories. Though mine wouldn’t contain anything bad, it also wouldn’t contain the faith that makes my life what it is. I couldn’t finish. I’m not saying it’s wrong for other Christian authors to write clean fiction without faith. But that’s not what God put in my heart to do, and as much as it disappointed to give up that part of my dream, I have to be true to His dream for me.
Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? The Challenger exploding. I don’t remember more than watching it happen on tv and being sad for the families and wondering if they were Christians. And I’m pretty sure I naively questioned whether anyone would ever travel in space again.
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Either Greg Evigan from BJ and the Bear or Michael Damian as Danny Romalotti on The Young and the Restless. And no, I don’t think it’s appropriate for a child to watch that show. But my great-granny babysat me when I was little, and she never missed her “stories”.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? Finances and prayer. I’m a firm believer in self-publishing in a professional way. That means investing in experienced editors and cover designers to put out the best book possible. Unless God provided it through ways only available to Him, I didn’t have the money to do that. Traditional publishing was the route I needed for publication.
Is there a book you wrote that you didn’t think would do well and it did? Or a book you thought would do well and it didn’t? I have one that I knew would be a hard sell to my audience. Love in the Squared Circle released this summer, so I can’t tell you if it’s going to do well or not at this point. The hero is a professional wrestler. Not the typical job of Christian fiction heroes. But that’s the point. A major theme is getting past our expectations of what a person of faith should look like to see their heart. Blane needed to be unexpected. Now, nearly all of the book’s reviews start with, “I’m not a fan of professional wrestling, but…”. To me, that means I’ve done my job well.
I often wondered….when you sit down to write that first line/paragraph in a new book/novella, is it difficult to get that started or do the words flow easily? I don’t know how it is for others, but the beginning and ending usually flow fairly easily for me. It’s in putting the two together that I find my pace slowing. On occasion, I’ve written in reverse to help me get a handle on how to move the story through the middle.
Find Heather online:
Find Heather’s books online:
Heather is giving away a paperback copy of Love in the Squared Circle! Here’s how you can enter to win:
I LOVED the book! I already have a signed copy, too!!
I admire Heather’s commitment to be faithful to her personal calling to write Christian fiction. Her choice to stop writing a clean fiction book without including faith was a testament to her own personal faithfulness and desire to be obedient to God in her work.
Very uplifting interview! So proud of her for staying with her convictions!
What a cool author! I will have to look for a book of yours!
Good info! I especially like that God kept her from writing books with unacceptable content. I try not to read those.
I love that you listened when God said, “You’re doing what now? I don’t think so.” I have a bad habit of ignoring that. I’m doing better, but still.
I am so glad that you listened to God’s direction and didn’t take the faith element out of your stories for a movie.
Love your books!