Q & A

On Writing

What’s the best thing about being an author?
     The People! The readers! They are so wonderful!
Many people say they’d like to write a book, but the majority never do. Was this just something that you decided to do one day? 
     Ha. Honestly I’ve wanted to be an author since the First grade. I used to write all of the time, and enter little young author contests. Definitely a dream of mine, but life gets in the way sometimes and dreams get put on the backburner…and I was afraid to fail. I honestly think I forgot this dream for a while until about 6 years ago I felt God calling me to write again.
Are there any secrets to writing a book? That’s a huge task. How do you get it done and stay in the creative zone long enough to have a finished project?

        There are really no secrets other that just doing it. Just write. Join writing groups and clubs, read books on the writing craft to get better, and read books in your genre. As far as getting it done and staying in creative mode, honestly it felt like giving birth at times. Stress, lack of sleep, working through emotions….so I’m gonna say I prayed a lot, drank way too much coffee, went for a lot of walks, and had some amazing friends surround me with support.

Your first novel, The Wounded Warrior’s Wife, takes an in depth look into the lives of military families in war time from the perspective of the spouse and soldier. One of the perspectives you spotlight is PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Is there a reason you’ve addressed this in your novel?

         Definitely. I am an Army Wife. My husband is an Infantry soldier with multiple deployments under his belt. For years, PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) has such a stigma attached to it. You were weak if you were having difficulties getting back to normal life after war. I saw changes in my husband…drastic changes that only got worse. Nightmares, anxiety, depression, mood swings, anger, distant and unfeeling behavior. It took years and our marriage almost falling apart before he got the help he needed.
         PTSD doesn’t only effect soldiers. Spouses can have it. Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event or loss of a loved one can suffer from this condition and there is no shame in getting help.
         This journey with my husband was lonely and it made me feel like a bad army wife for speaking out. It was like I was bad mouthing him or something. God showed me that I wasn’t alone and our struggle needed to be shared to help others. And so, here’s The Wounded Warrior’s Wife. 

On Life
Besides writing, what are some of your other passions?

        My family. Serving others. Justice. Doing what’s right. God called me to love Him and love others so I look for ways to serve my family and the community around me.

The main characters in The Wounded Warrior’s Wife, and the sub-characters, experience many twists and turns, ups and downs. This book definitely keeps you turning the pages because you have to know what happens next. With that said, how much of the book is based on your experiences?

         Oh goodness, I’m not sure. This novel is deeply personal with regards to the battles with PTSD and adjusting to military life. Some parts were so hard to write because they brought up memories and emotions I didn’t want to remember. The other stuff is fluff inspired by things I’ve heard or seen or made up in this crazy mind of mine.
On Faith
You’re a Christian author. Can you discuss trying to find a balance in writing “real life” stuff into this novel in a way that doesn’t compromise your faith?

        First of all I want to say that just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I only want Christians to read this book. Anyone who reads through the Bible will see some serious real life crazy stuff going on in there, not because God condoned the behavior or the situation, but because it happened. There is a lot of “real life” going on in this novel. Because the problems, concerns and situations in this novel are so real to life they were hard to write and I’m sure they will be hard to read for many readers. As far as balancing my faith in my writing…I have to say that my faith isn’t something I turn off and on. I’m always a Christian 24/7 so I should write like I am. When I write about difficult real life problems it’s because we all have them. I can’t act like or write like the world is perfect, but I can write about how the Perfect One works in our world through the ups and downs.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
     Just one? There are many I’d like them to explore, but if there’s only one, it’s that God’s ability to heal and restore knows no limits, conditions or circumstances. He loves you. Always. Forever. No matter what.

What kind of help do you recommend for anyone who might be struggling with PTSD?
      The best counseling anyone can receive is from THE Counselor, God. Dive into God’s Word. Find a solid Christian counselor. Surround yourself with positive thoughts…the Bible says to think on whatever is good and true and noble, and to renew our minds by reading His Word. Pray. Open up to a small group of friends, even one friend. Friendship is so important. Educate yourself on the condition and the natural ways to combat it like with your diet and exercise.

Just for fun! 

Authors can be quirky people. Name three quirky things about you:
       I have a hard time drinking water from a bathroom sink. No kidding, I will go all the way downstairs to avoid having to get a drink from the bathroom sink upstairs.
       I can’t stand sleep with a flat sheet overtop of me. So no flat sheet on our bed.
      I used to be able to make this weird goose call with my throat…and geese would actually honk back when I did it. No I’m not going to try it, lol.

Let’s do a round of your favorites. Favorite:
       Comfort food: Ugh too many…dessert would be chocolate. For a meal, that would be my Momma’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and blueberry bread. Yum.
       Place to visit: Some historical site. Or maybe the mountains or the beach. I love to travel.
       Season: Fall! LOVE the fall!
       Music: Um, all! Except techno. I have a soft spot for classic rock and oldies though. 
Since you’re from KY, people will want to know the answers to the following important questions:
       Did you marry your cousin? Hahaha. No way!
       Do you eat KFC chicken like all the time? NOPE!
       Is the grass really blue in Kentucky, the Bluegrass State? I’ve never seen it, but I’ve heard if it grows long enough the tops of the grass will appear blue in the sunlight.
      Who do you root for? Kentucky Wildcats or Louisville Cardinals? Wildcats all the way!
       Have you ever spotted Big Foot? Hahaha, no, but I’ve heard of people in the area that have had encounters!
      Were you raised in a log cabin? Not hardly, but that would’ve been awesome!