Writer’s World Blog Tour
Dear friend and author, Carrie Turansky, invited me to join her on a Writers World Blog Tour—perfect, since Carrie and I recently traveled together touring faraway England and Scotland to research new books!
Carrie writes moving historical and contemporary Christian romances, rich in faith and character development. She’s currently immersed in a compelling Edwardian Brides Series similar in setting and time period to Downton Abbey:
The Governess of Highland Hall, the soon-to-be released The Daughter of Highland Hall, and an exciting third book, A Refuge at Highland Hall, that will release next year.
Carrie’s World Tour Blog post went live on August 11. You can find it here: http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/writers-world-blog-tour/
To learn more about Carrie and all her inspiring books, visit www.carrieturansky.com
For this Tour, I was invited to answer these four questions:
This summer I’m visiting libraries and bookstores to share research and the story behind Saving Amelie: Rachel Kramer, daughter of a Long Island eugenics scientist, and her ally, foreign journalist Jason Young, determine to save a deaf child from elimination at the hands of the Nazis. Influenced by the work and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer concerning costly grace, they risk their lives, and ask others to do the same for those they barely know, but come to love.
At the same time, I’m putting the finishing touches on my first time-split novel, Into the Valley of Secrets (working title): Hannah Sterling, a North Carolina high school teacher, unearths shattering secrets from her German mother’s WWII past—including a Nazi grandfather she never knew existed. Seeking her family’s redemption, and the road to forgiveness lead her places she could never have imagined.
My novels reflect my heart’s concerns for our world today. Sometimes, that concern is shown in a story reflecting Jesus’ sacrificial gift to us, and our response to His invitation and charge—as seen in Promise Me This, my Titanic through WWI novel.
Sometimes it’s to raise awareness for an urgent cause the Lord lays on my heart–like human trafficking–to ask what would Jesus do about such horrors, and what can I do to help, as in my Irish immigrants through Ellis Island story, Band of Sisters.
Saving Amelie reveals the God-given value of every human life, and the parallels between society today and the slippery slope of eugenics and Germany’s apathy before WWII. It’s a fast-paced, moving, and cautionary tale.
My last four books (including my work in progress) have also drawn attention to classic Christian works: The Pilgrim’s Progress; In His Steps; The Cost of Discipleship; The Hiding Place. It’s a joy and privilege to highlight these powerful books and their authors for a new generation of readers.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I feel the Lord has called me to write, to raise awareness of the things He lays on my heart. At the same time, my stories are not so much issue driven as character driven. Often the stories—the characters, settings, plots—reveal themselves to me before I fully understand their significance or their parallel to today’s world.
Sometimes those understandings come through outside sources such as the news, from reading histories, or from other people who’ve been praying for my writing, then open in my mind while writing. I see those revelations as a gift from the Lord, and as a synergistic moving of the Body of Christ.
That process joyfully underlines that writing is not about me, it’s about being faithful to the Lord who has called me and working with others He has called to share His Good News. We’re all gifted in different ways and called for different purposes. When we work together the outcome is beautiful, harmonious, and very exciting.
4. How does your writing process work?
Each novel is different. Sometimes that difference depends on my life situation and sometimes it depends on the research and story itself.
Normally, I begin with an interest in or passion for a character or time period or for a concern. I research everything I can about the time period of my story, and if possible, travel to that setting. When traveling I take notes, pick up local research books and materials, and take hundreds of photographs. Deeper research continues after my visit, including reading in fiction and much nonfiction, and primary sources, when possible. I immerse myself in the time period with music, food, poetry, old newspapers—whatever I can find that is relevant.
Short character sketches, a synopsis and three chapters are needed for my editor to take to the publishing committee. To do that, I make good use of Michael Hague’s Six Point Plot Structure. By the time I’ve invested that much in the story, I’m eager to get moving.
During a first draft, I usually write 500 words or one scene per day, five or six days per week, then fill the remainder of those writing days with peripheral writing projects and promotion. But, during the past year my life has become so full with moving, babysitting my precious new granddaughter, traveling for research, and writing promotional material that I’ve had to work out a different timetable. Now I work in concentrated blocks of time for each project.
So, after writing approximately 10,000 words for my first three chapters, this past November I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and wrote quickly a very rough draft of one-half of my book–Into the Valley of Secrets—between 2,000 and 3,000 words most week days. That was an insane pace for me. Because this book is a time-slip story, I focused on the viewpoint of my 1970s character, the daughter in the story who delves into her mother’s mysterious past. By the end of the month I’d accumulated a total of 60,000 words.
During the spring, I researched and plotted the WWII portion in more detail and did promotional work for Saving Amelie. This summer I’ve written the second half (approximately 3,000 words five days per week in July) of the new book—the mother’s 1930s and 1940s story in Nazi Germany.
By separating the two halves of Into the Valley of Secrets — Release September 2015 — and treating them as separate novels I kept my head in each time period. By weaving them together, I discovered an exciting momentum and intrigue. Now, I’m rewriting, editing, and double-checking some of my research.
I’ve invited three more author friends to join our world tour. So, I hope you’ll hop aboard. Our next stop will be August 25, at the blogs of Kristy Cambron–author of The Butterfly and the Violin, and sister Tyndale author, Cindy Thomson–author of Annie’s Stories, as well as fellow Tyndale author, Travis Thrasher–author of Marvelous. Here’s a little about each one of these wonderful authors and their purpose-driven work:
Critically acclaimed author Travis Thrasher has made a career out of defying expectations. He’s written over twenty-five books that have crossed the spectrum between love stories and supernatural thrillers. His variety of inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, and pastors. He’s also helped write memoirs and self-help books. He lives with his wife and three daughters in a suburb of Chicago.
For more information on Travis, visit www.travisthrasher.com.
God’s blessings for you,