Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won several awards including the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.
When did you decide to be a writer?

To be honest, I'm not sure I made an active decision to be a writer--it is a desire that was always a part of me. I told my kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out my books in the library. Of course, as a 5-year-old, I had no idea 40 years would pass before that dream became reality! But God did some amazing things along the way, and His timing was perfect.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

I still depend on my wonderful critique partners for advice and suggestions--especially in the brainstorming stage--but I've learned to let the characters take over rather than trying to inflict "myself" on them. I realize that sounds kind of strange considering these are made-up characters (as my daughter has pointed out, made up by, but if I follow their lead a well-rounded story with a spiritual message emerges. I just to go along for the ride.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I have to be a disciplined writer. I've been blessed with contracts, which means deadlines, and if I don't pen a certain number of words each week the story doesn't get done on time. I read a quote somewhere that said (paraphrasing), "I only write when I'm inspired, and I'm inspired every morning at nine o'clock." That's pretty much my routine. ;o)

What kind of activities do you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

Time with my grandkids always results in lots of laughter, and laughter is a great way to relax. I also enjoy scrapbooking or working on a quilt. Hubby and I love to take rides on his Harley, and of course eating ice cream is a pleasant diversion at any time.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

Although it's been more than 30 years since I read it for the first time, I still remember To Kill A Mockingbird. The characters in that story were so real, so painfully honest, that I lived and breathed the story. It changed my view of the world. I've read the novel at least two dozen times over the years, and it never grows old. That's special.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

In Every Heartbeat is a follow-up story to my 2009 release, My Heart Remembers. In that novel, one of the characters opens a school for orphaned children. In Every Heartbeat leaps forward ten years and features three of the school's graduates who are entering college and pursuing dreams. Pete wishes to become a minister; Libby harbors the desire to be a famous journalist; and Bennett just wants to grab as much fun as possible before the United States gets tangled up in the war waging in Europe. The friends' differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them. When Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete's family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?

Where did you get your inspiration for In Every Heartbeat?

Several readers requested a sequel to My Heart Remembers because they wanted to know how the three Gallagher siblings were faring. When I mentioned writing a sequel to my editor, she suggested using the Gallaghers as secondary characters and bringing some new characters to life as main characters. It was easy to choose the tow-headed orphan Pete as one main character, and he introduced me to his buddies Libby and Bennett. So I suppose, to answer the question, readers inspired this story.

Which character is most like you?

Although I didn't set out to write "myself" into the story, I did discover a lot of myself in Libby. She's a young woman with lofty aspirations--becoming a writer (much like me in college). Insecurity plagues her due to childhood events (another correlation between us), and she wants desperately to feel as though she matters. I can't say much more without giving away major elements of the story, but suffice it to say I truly connected with Libby, and I hope my readers will, too.

Did you know how In Every Heartbeat would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

Since I am very much a seat-of-the-pants writer, I never know exactly where the story is going to go--I just follow the characters. So yes, this story took me in several directions I didn't anticipate. I must say, I found it a delightful journey!

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

The theme that emerged for me was God has glorious plans for His children, but those plans won't find completion unless we're willing to heed His voice. I hope that message resonates with my readers, and I also hope, if they've been resisting setting out on a God-ordained pathway, they'll discover the courage to take a forward step.

Want more? Stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer.


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