Which character from A Rumored Fortune is most or least like you?
The heroine of this novel, Tressa, is a very artistic soul who connects to God through her art. That’s what writing is for me, so that piece of her came directly from my life. Her art also has a terrible habit of escaping the canvas and simply filling her world—she paints her surroundings from floor to ceiling, even her dresser, embellishing them with the color and life of her artistic heart. That probably describes the way my writing has become a backdrop for my days, leaking past the computer screen and into everyday life.
What did you find most useful in learning to write for publication? What was least useful or most destructive?
The most destructive trap when writing for publication is caring what people think of my writing. The most useful thing is caring what God thinks—but not of my writing as much as ME. My first contract came when I quit writing for publication and simply wrote a story for fun. It became a running conversation with God while my baby napped, something to really stretch our intimacy, and since I had no plans to publish it, I didn’t care what rules I broke or who I pleased. It’s amazing, though, how much a writer’s joy in a novel translates into a reader’s joy in reading it.
What are some day jobs that you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing?
I have always held nonfiction writing jobs in the past. I wrote for a newspaper first, then I became the token journalist in a pharmaceutical company and tidied up the prose of scientists. After losing myself in the language of clinical trials and risk analysis, my poor creative heart was parched. My imagination exploded with stories in the evenings. When I moved on to a nonfiction Christian publishing company, writing Sunday School material and doing content edits on heavy theological material, I used lunch hours and evenings to write novels. Then when my babies came and I became a stay-at-home parent, novel writing became my nap time project, and that’s been the most amazing season of my whole life.
What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?
My perfect writing spot is my actual writing spot, and that is a rocking chair in my living room. I used to think I’d want a closed-off space for privacy, or a beautiful view, but I’ve come to realize how rich real life is. My stories are a culmination of my personal experiences and thoughts, so what better place to create my novels than in the midst of the real life I love, the true life experiences that deepen my novels? Besides, all those tiny shoes and scattered toys and fingerprints are a better view to my heart than the most beautiful scenery you could find.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’ve always wished I could directly hear people’s thoughts and see their hearts. Being a quiet person has allowed me access into deeper parts of people’s authentic selves than I might otherwise have, but that only gives me a desire to go deeper and understand better.
What was the hardest part of writing A Rumored Fortune?
I’ve been excited about this story for years, when a family friend first told me the true story that sparked this novel’s mystery plot. I was in love with the concept of a man burying every cent of his fortune and then dying before he could tell anyone where he put it. What a disaster! It was wonderfully frustrating to figure out why a man would hide all his money, even from his family, and then to determine what had become of it and if they should find it in the end. I had so much fun fitting together the pieces of this puzzle, but it was very difficult to make it all come together in a satisfying way.