Thursday, October 31, 2013

Today we're happy to visit with Vannetta Chapman, author of Amish romance and mystery novels. Even though it's Halloween, you'll find nothing scary here. Read on without fear!

So tell us a little about yourself. Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, what made you decide to write, and how long have you been at it? 
I have always been a reader. I was sick a lot as a  child, with asthma and allergies. So I had a lot of bed time and a lot of reading time! I remember in 4th grade, begging my mom to go to the library with me so I could get an ADULT library card. We had two rooms in our small library, and I’d already read everything in the children’s section. I was thrilled when mom agreed. I’m sure my love of writing was born in my love of reading.

Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a combination? 
I sit down at the computer and make it up. I don’t have an outline, and I don’t have any idea where the story is headed. I do have my characters firmly in my mind. When I reach about a quarter of the way through the story, I stop what I’m doing and write the ending. This may be another quarter of the story. Then I go back and fill in the gap. This might not work for anyone else, but it’s definitely worked for me.

Do you write full time, or do you work it in alongside a full-time job? 
For 15 years I taught full time and wrote on the side. Then starting in the fall of 2011 I turned to writing full time. I could have kept doing both, but I was missing out on a lot of family time. I found myself working most weekends and many nights. So I made the decision to tighten the old family belt, and only work ONE job. It’s turned out fine, and I thank God daily that I have work to do.

What do your kids think about your being a writer? 
I went through a lot of rejections before I was published—picture several nails on the wall filled with rejection letters. I remember asking my son to go and get the mail. He was 10 at the time, and we had to walk down our front walk to the mailbox. He said, “Do you mean you want me to pick up your rejection letters?” He laughed and dodged out of my reach. I know he’s very proud of me now, and we can look back on that day and laugh. I hope I taught him to be stubborn and never give up.

How do you get your best ideas? 
From real life. The folks I know, the places we go, the news I read. All of my stories are based in something I’ve experienced or something someone around me has experienced. The current book I’m working on is my Murder, Freshly Baked. It’s an Amish mystery, but I have an Englisch guy in town who is a veteran and is suffering from PTSD. I live near the Ft. Hood Military base, and I see military personnel a lot. They have my abiding respect and gratitude.

What do you do to get past writer’s block? 
I don’t like that word at all. I don’t even SAY that word. Ack! I have a certain number of words to write every day (except Sunday when I rest). I write them no matter what. Even if they’re bad, stupid, impossible scenarios—I write them. What happens to me more often is I start feeling tired and grumpy. When that happens, I know it’s time to take an afternoon off and go for a walk or to the movies. But I do my word count before I go.

Do you like to listen to music when you write? 
Some scenes I want quiet while I’m writing. Other scenes, I need the energy of music. I have a lot of iTunes “lists” – and I’ll click the one that best reflects what I’m writing at the moment. Those lists include everything from gospel to classic rock to c&w to instrumental.

Writing is a sedentary occupation. What do you do for exercise? 
I try to go to the gym for 45 minutes a day, and also take another walk in the evening. I think it’s important to keep moving and take care of ourselves, and it does help keep the ideas coming.

What fun fact would you like your readers to know about you? I’m a little phobic about tall bridges … you know the flyover types? I’ll go FAR out of my way to avoid one. 

Vannetta Chapman is the author of several novels, including A Promise for Miriam and Falling to Pieces. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta won the 2012 Carol award for best mystery. She is also a multi-award-winning member of Romance Writers of America. She write Amish romance for Harvest House, Amish mysteries for Zondervan and Amish novellas for Abingdon. Vannetta was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas Hill country. For more information, visit her at

You can also link up with Vannetta on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Youtube.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Vannetta's latest release, The Christmas Quilt!


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