When did you decide to be a writer?
I first thought about writing in 1993. A friend from church, Cindy Martinusen told me
about her aspirations to become a novelist. My first thought was . . . real people do that?
She invited me to attend Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference with her. I was new as new can be. I was also 22-years-old and pregnant with my third child, but I learned enough at that conference to start off on the right track. And I’ve been actively working at my writing ever since.
At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?
Oh, that's a good question. The best thing that happened to me was getting my first book contract ... and I didn't have the novel written yet. I had a deadline, and I had to write the complete novel. I didn't have time to keep getting suggestions or critiques. I didn't have time to second guess myself. I just had to write the story. I recommend every author does that. Just write the story.
Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?
I'm a very discipline writer. I wrote five books last year and I have to give myself daily word counts (sometimes big word counts) other wise I'll never get it done. There are many days I don't feel like writing—for sure—but with prayer and trust that the story is there it's amazing what shows up on the page.
What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?
I have a newborn baby. Alyssa is almost two months old, and she is so fun and relaxing. I love when she wakes up from her nap and I get to feed her and hold her. She's my biggest non-writing activity right now.
What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?
I would have to say Love Comes Softly by Jeanette Oke. It was the first Christian novel I read, and I've read it many times since. It's a story that sticks with you.
How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
Reading books by others help me to see what works and what doesn't work. I've also tried different styles of writing because I've thought, “If he/she can do that I want to try!”
Tell us a little about your latest release:
Life, In Spite of Me is a true story of Kristen Anderson and her suicide attempt.
Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression.
One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.
But Kristen's story doesn’t end there.
In Life, In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival, the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living.
Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured.
Where did you get your inspiration for Life, In Spite of Me?
I have a friend, Margaret McSweeny who connected Kristen and I. I hadn't heard of her story until Margaret connected us, but once I heard Kristen's story I knew I wanted to write it! I was so amazed by the joy and hope Kristen had I knew that many could be blessed by her story.
Your book deals with some pretty intense issues: loss, grief, suicide. Considering the content, what is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
The number one thing I hope people walk away with is the truth that with Christ we can find joy and peace in even the most difficult circumstances. Kristen has told me that she wouldn't want her legs back if it meant loosing Jesus. That really touched me.
Was there ever a time in your life when you wish someone would have shared the tips found in this book with you? Can you tell us about it?
I had a very difficult time in high school. My senior year I got pregnant and dropped out of school. I was very depressed during that time. My boyfriend dumped me and my friends went on with my senior year. I felt very lost, but thankfully some women from my grandma's church reached out to me. I found Christ during that dark time and He transformed my life!
What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?
I've done very little to market this book. Kristen's story just catches the attention of readers. My assistant Amy did help with the blog tour … and I think that's important. Each blog has it's own readership and I think of bloggers love a book then that can go so far.
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
I'm working on a three-book Amish series for B&H Publishing. The first will be out Spring 2011. I also have a new book coming out in July … Love Finds You in Victory Heights, written with my friend and co-writer Ocieanna Fleiss.
Do you have any parting words of advice?
If you're interest in writing consider what you are passionate about. I get lots of ideas, but I only write the ones that won't leave me.
Bloggers, Tricia is giving away a copy of her fabulous book Life, In Spite of Me. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win! Below is word from Kristen Jane Anderson...