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 bringing you Jan Drexler. I loved Jan’s answers about her words glorifying God. AND – her story about writing her first book is so similar to mine! How exciting to have a testimony about how God brings the tools into our lives before we even know what he’s gifted us with! Please enjoy Jan’s interview and make sure you check out how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release, Naomi’s Hope!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota with my husband of thirty-five years, where I enjoy hiking in the Hills and spending time with our expanding family. I also love spending time with my rascally Corgi, any kind of needlework, and reading (of course!)
Tell us about your current release. Despite growing pains in her 1846 Amish community in Indiana, Naomi Schrock has settled into a comfortable life in her parents’ home with her adopted son, Davey. Surrounded by family and friends, she tries not to think about the fact that she’s not at the top of any man’s list of potential wives. Yet when Cap Stoltzfus moves into the area and befriends Davey, Naomi finds herself caught between the plans she has made for her future and the tantalizing thought that Cap might be part of a life she never dared to hope for.
When a couple shows up claiming to be Davey’s true family, Naomi and Cap must unite to make the decision that will determine the boy’s future as well as their own. How can she relinquish him to these unknown relatives? And can God somehow bring wholeness to her heart?
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, I would. As I see it, my job is to write the stories God lays on my heart. What happens to them after that is up to Him. If He chooses to soften even one person’s heart using a story I’ve written, I am honored and humbled.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Not at all. I believe success isn’t measured by how many books I sell, but if my words glorify my Lord.
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I doubt if I ever will! (I have the same problem with the list of needlework projects I want to do!) When I was younger, I thought I’d have time to do everything – don’t we all? But as I approach a big milestone of a birthday (60 – can you believe it?), I know I have to be selective. Choose quality over quantity. So some characters, as much as I might like them, will never make their way out of my head. But the ones that won’t let me go? They’ll have their story.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? After college, and for a few years off and on in our marriage, I worked in book stores and libraries. I learned to know the publishing world a little bit, and had a fair understanding of how it worked. When I started writing, I wanted to be part of it – to see if I had what it took to find my way in such a competitive business. So traditional publishing has always been my goal.
What made you take the plunge and finally do it? I had majored in English in college, with a creative writing emphasis, but never had the courage to submit anything, or the time to actually write anything. While our children were growing, I was up to my neck in homeschooling. Every time I thought, “Maybe now…”, God said, “Not yet.”
When our youngest children were in high-school, my husband gave me a computer for Christmas. It was a complete surprise. Until I opened that box, I had no idea my desire to write was so strong. When I started on another project a couple months later, God said, “Now.” A few years later, my first book was published by Love Inspired Historical.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Before I begin writing, and after I’ve done the pre-writing work of developing my characters and reveling in the research, I lay out a skeleton plot of my story. I determine what is going to happen at the beginning and at the end, along with a number of plot points along the way. But as I start working, the characters quite often surprise me with plot twists and connections I never saw during my pre-writing work.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? I tell all aspiring writers the same thing – If you want to write well, you need to read well. Read widely and deeply. Read within your genre and outside of your genre. Read well-written books, classics, fiction and non-fiction. Learn from what you read – What makes you want to throw a book across the room? What makes you want to stay up all night reading? How does one author write dialogue that makes you feel like you’re eavesdropping? How does another author describe the setting so well that you feel the sting when the book’s hero gets a mosquito bite?
I can’t emphasize the importance of reading too much. If you don’t have time to read, you won’t have time to write. Reading feeds your writing.
Find Jan online:
Find Jan’s latest release online:
At Barnes and Noble:
At ChristianBook.comNaomi’s Hope, Journey to Pleasant Prairie Series #3
By Jan Drexler / Revell
Win a copy of Naomi’s Hope! See how to enter here:
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