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! This week, I’m thrilled to have Nancy J. Farrier as my guest. It’s always fun to have guests who are my friends. Nancy and I served together on the Romance Writers of America Faith, Hope, Love chapter for many years. The last time we were at a conference together, we were able to have dinner together. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I do! And, Nancy is giving away a copy of her latest release! Read on to see how you can enter to win.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am a best-selling, award winning author of historical and contemporary Christian fiction. I grew up in the mid-west, moved to the Southwest to be close to the mountains and never looked back. I love the people, culture, plants, and animals found in the desert and surrounding areas. I love the sunshine because rainy days are depressing for me, and most days I enjoy the heat—maybe not when it’s over 110 degrees and humid. On my down time I enjoy early morning hikes, spending time with my family, reading, going to church and my plants. I have five children who are all grown, six grandchildren, several cats and a dog.
Tell us about your current release. My upcoming release, The Richest Knight, is a novella set at the Grand Canyon in the early 1900’s and highlights the Harvey House. The Richest Knight was inspired by my grandfather who raised eleven kids on a small, rocky farm in Indiana. He always said he was a millionaire because God blessed him with so my kids—very ornery kids I might add. I wanted to explore the idea of true wealth and what that looks like. Below is the blurb for my book.
She wants the security of riches.
He’s turned his back on the demands of wealth.
Lillian Robinson is determined to marry a man of means. She’s had enough of living in poverty and seeing her family suffer. As a Harvey Girl at the Grand Canyon, her opportunities to meet the man of her dreams should be plentiful. So, why does the lead mule skinner makes her heart race every time he comes around.
Franklin Knight turned his back on his family. He refused to fall in line and bow to their need for money and power. He chose to work at the Grand Canyon as a muleskinner, a place where he can live out his faith in God.
When Lillian catches Franklin’s attention with her beauty and bright smile, he doesn’t count on her clumsiness, or on her desire to marry into the very society he spurned. Still, he can’t forget her. Will Franklin be able to show her the true meaning of love? Will Lillian recognize the value of a heart of God before she makes the worst mistake of her life?
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes. Yes. Yes! I am a writer because I have to write. Not only do I feel God placed this call on my life, but the stories and characters clamor to get out when I take any sort of a break. Plus, every story I write has a message I need to tell, something God placed on my heart. I would write that story even if no one else ever read the words.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I am a multi-published author and after I had several books published, I had a couple of publishers approach me to see if I would write in a genre. It was one I felt didn’t belong in the Christian market for reasons I won’t go into here. I politely refused. I feel that refusal hurt my writing career but I would not compromise my beliefs to do something that would bring monetary profit. I couldn’t do that and still be the Christian I needed to be. God has still richly blessed me and I am comfortable with His approval.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? My writing is a calling, or a work God has given me to do. It’s not about me. It’s not about fame. It’s not about wealth. For that reason, I have no problem submitting to a publisher or self-publishing.
I do sometimes struggle with how people see me. They are impressed that I’m an author and they shouldn’t be. I am only doing a job. I am not better then or more special than anyone else. My job is not better than any other. I have told people before that if they do the job God has given them to do, they are on the same level with me. He loves them and sees the work they do, no matter how menial the job is, or how others see that job. Doing what He calls you to do is what counts.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? Books were always treasures to me. My mother read to my sisters and I from the time we were born. She took us to the library every week and that was a favorite time for me. I still love our hometown library and visit when I go back to see family.
My fascination with books led me to write from an early age. I wrote stories, poems, songs—anything that came to mind. They weren’t well written, but I still wrote.
By the time I became a Christian, my life had spiraled down and wasn’t very pretty. I gave up everything of my old life, including my writing. At that point I had never sought publication.For the next fourteen years, I raised a family, did gardening, worked hard, but not once did I write anything.
Then story ideas and characters began to appear in my imagination. I fought them. Tried to keep from thinking about writing because I thought that was the old me I had put away. I got to the point where I would wake up crying in the night from the need to tell these stories.
Finally, I begged God to take the ideas away. When He didn’t, I asked him to make it clear that He wanted me to write. If He allowed me to publish something in the next year (this was January) I would write for Him. I sent out two small devotions that year. Two. In December, I received a check in the mail for one of those devotions that was published in a book of kid’s devotions. I knew then my writing was a call from God and I’ve worked hard at it ever since.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write. Practice. Enter contests that give feedback, but only take what is positive and helps you to improve. Read books on writing. Write.
Don’t be discouraged, although that’s very difficult. Still, if you have a gift and a calling, work at it. Don’t write for fame or fortune because most writers don’t receive either. Write because you can’t quit. Write to give your characters a voice. Write because you love having written, even when the process is like ripping your heart out every time.
Also, join a writer’s group. Go to a writer’s conference. Don’t push yourself to do too much, but relax and make connections. Those connections are a valuable tool to keeping your sanity as you write.
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I write on my computer. Scrivener is the program I prefer because I can have all my notes and pictures all in one place. Once I’m done writing the story, I put it in Pages or Word to do the editing and uploading.
When I am writing, I have a table leaf on the arms of my treadmill and use that as a desk. My husband set me up with a large monitor that plugs into my laptop so it’s easier to see. I walk for three or four hours a day as I write and do writing business. I don’t like sitting down, so this works best for me. I walk at a slower pace and it’s pretty easy to type.
I always have my water nearby and usually a pack of gum. I rarely eat snacks. And, I can’t listen to music while I write. I know many authors do listen, but as a musician, I can’t shut out that music to concentrate on writing.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? I am not much of a plotter. I have the characters down. I know where they came from and have an idea of where they are going. I usually know the end of the story. However, there are a lot of events that take place between page one and the end.
There have been so many times, I’ve had characters come on scene and I didn’t realize they would be there. Or, my main character is different than I originally pictured them. If that happens, I have to make the decision to let them express themselves or force them back into the mold I already had. That isn’t always an easy choice.
A few times, the end I had in mind does not make sense by the time I get there. Then I have to reconsider what events have taken place to lead up to this point and the best way to bring everything to a sensible conclusion.
This means, writing isn’t cut and dried. I don’t like over plotting a book because I love the discovery along the way. That makes the writing so exciting. You are on an adventure with your characters and every day you wonder what will happen next. I am so blessed to be able to do this work.
Here is where you can find Nancy online:
Nancy is giving away a copy of The Richest Knight to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway