Why I Started Writing:
I can’t remember a day when I didn’t want to write. I have always loved books—and words, for that matter. I wasn’t well as a child, so I spent a lot of time reading. When I ran out of things to read, I began writing my own stories. I took journalism and creative writing in junior high and high school, and then studied editing through USC’s correspondence courses. In the early stages of my writing, while still in junior high and working on the school newspaper, I told my then boyfriend, now husband, Al, that I was going to be a writer one day. He reminds me of that often and says I’m the only person he knows who actually went on to do what they wanted to do as a child. However, I got sidetracked for a while—i.e., married at 18 and two kids by the time I was 20—hence, the college courses online. Then I became a Christian at age 26 and began writing for our church newsletter. I soon spread out to write for our denominational newsletter and some Christian magazines. I also got a job as a string reporter and columnist for our local newspaper. A few years later, I got an entry-level editorial-assistant job at Gospel Light, where I worked on adult curriculum. I published my first book in the late 1980s, and I’ve been at it ever since!
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
Francine Rivers and the Thoenes (Brock and Bodie) are my absolute favorite authors today, but when I was younger (much younger!) I loved to read Nancy Drew and other such books. I was actually reading Tolkien when I got saved, and I soon grew to love C.S. Lewis.
Books I Have Written:
There are far too many to list, particularly those I ghosted and collaborated on with well-known people. But I have just released my 54th book (a novel) and am busy working on number 55. Red Ink, a novel set in Red China, won several awards, including Golden Globes 2015 Novel of the Year and 2015 Carol Award finalist. My novel set in South Africa in 1989, No Greater Love, has been optioned as a movie and is now in the early stages of bringing that to pass. My “flagship” ministry book is Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World (nonfiction). And, of course, there is my Train-of-Thought Writing Method: Practical, User-Friendly Help for Beginning Writers, which I teach at writers’ conferences across the country. I also write an annual Christmas novel. Like most of my other novels, they deal with difficult issues, such as the persecuted Church, homelessness, human trafficking (particularly of children), and Alzheimer’s/dementia.
What I'm Working On Now:
I am currently working on the Alzheimer’s/dementia novel, scheduled for release in Fall 2017, titled To the Moon and Back. I am also doing quite a bit of freelance editing, as well as public speaking/teaching, though not as much as I once did.