FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will there be a third Story book?
Not anytime soon. Someday I’d love to revisit the Land of Story. I like the idea of writing Thornhill’s Tale or some other adventure set either in the time of the Unbinding or several generations after Una’s Tale.
Are you a Christian? Are your books allegorical?
Yes, I am a Christian. I don’t consider my books allegories, although you will likely recognize Christian themes in my writing because I am a Christian who writes. The Gospel is Reality for me, and my relationship with Christ profoundly shapes my imagination.
When will your next book be out?
A SLIVER OF STARDUST will be out October 20, 2015, followed by the sequel in the fall of 2016.
Can you come visit my school? When is your next signing?
Any upcoming appearances will be posted on my Events Page. I am also available for Skype visits, so if that’s an option for your school or group, please contact me for details!
Do you have cats?
Alas! Right now, we are a cat-less family. I love cats and have had many wonderful furry friends over the years, including a trio of cats that may sound familiar to you: a little black cat, a feisty Siamese, and a lovable grey tabby named Samwise.
Who is Snow’s father?
I can’t post the answer to that online! :) I can tell you that I’ve included all the specifics I know in STORY’S END. Any missing details are part of Thornhill’s Tale, and it’s hers alone to tell.
Some of the characters in Storybound and Story’s End share names with characters in THE FAERIE QUEENE. What does that mean?
Nothing! Haha! When I was first writing STORYBOUND, I was wading through THE FAERIE QUEENE for the first time. It’s mentioned so often in L.M. Montgomery’s novels, that I was curious to read it for myself. Unfortunately, I never made it any further than the first few Cantos, but I liked the opening where Una and her knight discover the mother dragon. I decided that Peter and Snow’s initial examination would roughly parallel that scene. I also snagged the names Duessa and Archimago from THE FAERIE QUEENE.
Why did you put in that cliffhanger ending?
I know, I know, cliffhangers are horrible! I grew up reading mammoth fantasy series, and, as you know, cliffhangers are quite common in those books, so I think it seemed natural to me. It also seems right that the first book has to do with Una discovering her identity, and the second has to do with how she will write the rest of her Tale, and the cliffhanger ending comes right in the middle. Now that STORY’S END is available, I hope STORYBOUND’s cliffhanger ending won’t be so frustrating for you! :)
I heard of one sixth-grade class who were enjoying STORYBOUND as a read-aloud. Apparently, near the end of the school year, they had earned the special treat of a pajama party and day to finish the book. There was much groaning and gnashing of teeth when they got to the unexpected cliffhanger ending. If perhaps you are reading this and are a member of that ill-fated class, please accept my heartfelt “I’m sorry!” Sixth-grade me is groaning right along with you.
Your book reminds me of something else I’ve read. What books influenced your writing?
Books that have influenced my writing are too many to count, but the following easily come to mind: THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, anything by Scott O’Dell, L.M. Montgomery, and Jane Austen, the MANDIE books, Tad Williams’ TAILCHASER’S SONG, Robert Jordan’s epic WHEEL OF TIME series, several books by Terry Brooks and Stephen Lawhead, Joy Smith Aiken’s SOLO’S JOURNEY, and the writings of Carlo Carretto, Robert Farrar Capon, and George MacDonald.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I think all book-lovers itch to try their hand at writing, so that impulse has probably always been there. I’ve kept a journal for most of my life, I wrote thick stacks of angsty poetry and one short novel in high school, and I greatly admired literary heroines (Anne Shirley and Jo March in particular) who were writers. But it wasn’t until my late-twenties after the birth of my first son that I began to think seriously about writing and actually made the time to do it.
When do you write? Where?
The answer to this changes with each novel! I wrote STORYBOUND on the odd Saturday afternoon in our home-office, and, after six months or so, ended up with the makings of a novel. By the time I was ready to write STORY’S END, I had three children under the age of four, and I had a mad month of writing – mostly split between a corner booth in Panera and my dining room table - in order to meet my deadline. This time around, I’m trying to write 500-1,000 words five days a week, and that seems to be a bit more sustainable. I set up a little folding table in my bedroom and snag a quiet half-hour sometime during the day. It’s working well so far! I would encourage all new writers (particularly moms!) to not be discouraged about your seeming lack of time. A little bit each day really does add up!
Do you have a writing soundtrack?
No! I much prefer the silence of an empty house for creative work, but that’s a rarity around here. If there’s background noise, I’ll often put in earplugs or listen to classical music. Anything with lyrics is just too interesting and distracting. In the early days of writing STORYBOUND, I would work at a Starbucks, and couldn’t tune out the music. It was summer-time, but I only had a piano-Christmas playlist on my computer, so I suppose that’s the closest thing I have to a soundtrack!
Can you read my story? Do you have any writing tips?
I’m not able to read and comment on your writing, although I do love hearing from aspiring writers and want to encourage you along in your writing journey! My biggest advice would be to READ as often as you can and as widely as you can and to WRITE even when you don’t feel like it. I think reading outside the genre you’re writing in can be particularly helpful for honing your voice and technique. I am a big fan of regular journaling. Not only do you end up with a life-record, but it’s a great space to record character sketches or real-life moments that might develop into story ideas.