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Seekerville: The Journey Continues

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Make Them Care

 

Make Them Care

by Mindy Obenhaus

A novel is an invitation to embark on the journey that lies within its pages. As the author, our job is to capture the reader’s attention on page one and make them want to keep reading.

How do we do that?

By crafting multidimensional characters readers care enough about to be willing to invest themselves in.

We all know that each character needs a goal, motivation and conflict. In my latest release, A Future to Fight For, my heroine’s goal is to purchase an abandoned castle. Her motivation is that she wants to get back into the wedding planning business, but she lives in a small Texas town so she needs something special to draw interest and a castle will do just that. The problem (conflict) is that someone else (the hero) also wants to purchase the castle.

Those are the basics. But let’s dig a little deeper so we can really get to know our heroine. Because the better we know our characters the more our readers will know them. And the more they know, the more they care what happens to those characters and that will keep them reading.

So if our heroine wants to get back into the wedding planning business, that means she was once a wedding planner. So what happened?

Her husband and son were suddenly taken away in a tragic accident, robbing her of her passion and causing her to walk away from the successful business she’d worked hard to build.

Okay, so why does she want to return to it now?

After running a bed and breakfast and catering weddings and other events for the past five years, her love for creating fairytale weddings has reignited, filling her with a purpose she’d been lacking. However, our heroine isn’t just thinking about herself and her desires. No, no, no. She knows that hosting weddings and other events will also boost the revenue of the tiny town she’s grown to love, which shows that she cares for others. 

Make Them Care

As an author, asking “why” forces us to dig deeper. There has to be a reason our characters think/act the way they do. The more we know about them, the more real they become to the reader who, in turn, becomes so invested in the characters they have to keep reading.

Yet while there’s a lot of stuff to make the reader cheer for my heroine, my hero isn’t quite so likeable. He’s a prickly sort and, when the story opens, there’s no love lost between him and the heroine. So how do you make someone likeable when they’re behaving like a jerk?

Give the reader glimpses of their heart. Something that’s easier to do when we’re in their POV. Unfortunately, the first time we meet the hero, we’re in the heroine’s point of view and we know right away that she’s not particularly fond of him and why. So, I had to show him doing something endearing like helping the heroine when she’s about to topple a load of baked goods and buying some lemon cookies because they’re his daughter’s favorite. Little hints that let us know our cranky fellow might have a heart, after all.

Of course, as the story unfolds, we learn that our hero has some deep wounds, too. Throw in a couple of kids he’ll do anything for, and you’ve got a recipe for plenty of push and pull between the hero and heroine.

“Why” can be a writer’s greatest tool to help dig beyond our character’s superficial GMC’s to unearth a treasure trove of details that will not only help you the author know your characters better, but will transcend to the story to capture the reader’s attention and make them care about the characters they often come to think of as friends. 

What tricks or tools do you employ to get to know your characters better?

Make Them Care

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

The Root of the Matter

 You've all heard (and probably used) the expression "give them roots and wings". 

The expression is referring to child-raising... the art of parenting. How to keep your child grounded in the strengths of life but raise them with enough courage to spread their wings and jump out of that nest.

Now we all know fledglings that didn't have to be urged to fly.

THEY JUST DO IT!!!!! 

And we all know people who are still perched on the edge, peering over, waiting for that perfect moment to launch. #FailureToLaunch isn't just a space saying anymore. For a myriad of reasons, our young people tend to seek more protection than they used to, but this is where your fiction has to ignore at least some of the current trends (whiny know-it-all people are not generally romance or fiction heroes or heroines. I, for one, want to slap them) and stick with the tropes that have withstood the test of time:

Alphas

Betas

And then there's this, a link to Writing 101: ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHARACTERS IN LITERATURE and oh my stars, this is in-depth. This is a conference class in a blog. This is detailed!!! This is for thinkers! 

I'm not a thinker or a planner... But what I do and what I can teach is to see each character via these points:

1. Where they were in the past.

2. What they've come from

3. Who's hurt them?

4. Who likes them?

5. Why are they:

    Jerks

    Scared

    Overweight

    Underweight

    Nervous

    Anxious

    Sunny

    Hopeful

    Questioning

    Suspicious

    Doubtful

    Inquisitive

    Scarred

    Introverted

Now that last one isn't to be confused with having a character who by nature is an introvert. That's different than someone who is simply introverted for a reason. A "Cause-and-Effect" scenario. 

Cause and effect scenarios are how I see books develop. I don't read craft books and rarely read articles on craft. I prefer to "read" my characters. To start the story, get to know them, realize why they act like they do, visualize their past and what effect that has on their present, and then put them through their paces of growth and realization.

I try not to make the process hard. Trees don't have to figure out that the roots send food to the branches once the sun warms the seal every spring. It just happens. It happens because the science of the situation programs the tree to produce sap/blossoms/leaves at certain degrees of soil temperature. Willows leaf out in cool weather and keep their leaves the longest up here.

Catalpa trees are S-L-O-W to blossom out and grow their big, ginormous bean-tree heart-shaped leaves. And they lose their leaves early in the fall.... big, floppy yellow leaves. I see characters like that. Some are willow fronds, some are maple leaves, some are strong, sturdy oaks, some are gossamer Japanese feathery maples, some are ornamental, some give sweetness like the gorgeous sugar maples and some bear fruit every single year, like a mother-lode, caring for all...

Your characters grow, stretch and evolve from where they are at the beginning of the book to where they are at that final page. But their story doesn't "begin" at page one... it begins in their childhood, their military service, their gains and losses, their parents, their siblings, their setting, their everything. When we make sure to bind that thread into the weave of story-telling, we end up with the organic story we all love to read and share. And that's every author's dream and goal.

Thank you for being here today! I've got a copy of my latest mystery "Patterns of Deception" and a copy of my newest and highly acclaimed Love Inspired "Rebuilding Her Life" book one of my new Kendrick Creek series.

The Root of the Matter

"Rebuilding Her Life" AVAILABLE HERE! 

The Root of the Matter

Patterns of Deception (Savannah Secrets series...) AVAILABLE HERE! 

Leave a comment below to have your name tucked in... and if you already have one or the other, let me know! 

The Root of the Matter

Bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is gearing up for a crazy busy pumpkin season on her pumpkin farm because, like a great book, the beauty of fall begins in the heart of winter with seed orders, planning, strategies, display ideas, creating things, shaking things up and staying in touch with the folks who love you eight weeks of the year... and you don't want them to forget you the other 44 weeks! :) Writing and farming have a lot in common: You plan. You plant. You work. You grow. Then you have something to sell. Rock on, writers and readers! 

A Character’s Occupation Is More Important Than You Might Think

by Guest Angela Ackerman

A Character’s Occupation Is More Important Than You Might Think


Confession time: when I was a somewhat green writer, I didn’t think much about a character’s occupation. In fact, if I needed one, I’d assign the first thing that came to mind which worked for the situation (say, an after-school gig). And then like a checkbox, I marked that “sideline detail” done and moved on to “something more important.” 


Far from being an afterthought, a character’s job is a powerful opportunity to showcase many things about them.


I didn’t know this back then, but I do now, and so as you can imagine, I weigh potential occupations much more carefully! 

In the real world, work is a big focus for all of us. Consider your own job. How many hours a day do you spend working? Do you bring it home with you, obsess about it, spend hours thinking about it?

Characters are mirrors of us, so work is a big part of their reality, too. Like us, if possible, they will choose a job they are interested in, good at, and it pays the bills…meaning that if we choose a job with care, it becomes a goldmine of characterization and plot opportunities.


A Character’s Occupation Is More Important Than You Might Think
 

Here are some of the things a job can reveal about your character.

PRIORITIES: 
Jobs almost always shed a light on what your character cares about and will sacrifice for. If they work two jobs, forgoing sleep, time off, hobbies, and socialization, there’s a reason for it. Maybe they are supporting their family as a single parent, are trying to put themselves through school, have younger siblings to support because their parents are deadbeats, or something else. So, ask yourself: is my character all about money? Do they crave power and influence? Whatever it is, make sure their job choice reflects this.  

PERSONALITY TRAITS:
Certain traits make it easier for someone to succeed at their job, so when a reader sees a character working in a specific field, they’re going to naturally draw conclusions about their personality. A character who is a server in a restaurant likely relies on tips to supplement their income, so a reader would expect they would be friendly, respectful, and hard-working. Likewise, if you introduce your character as a pickpocket, right away a reader will start imagining someone who is observant, calculating, opportunistic.       

ABILITIES:
Obviously natural abilities and skills can make someone good at what they do. A surgeon will have steady hands. A psychologist will be a reader of body language. A police officer will notice details and be able to recall them immediately, on duty or off. Skills not only make someone unique; they can also help a character achieve their goal. For example, if your special needs teacher is taken hostage, maybe her experience with deescalating volatile situations and ability to persuade might help her convince her captor to let her go. 

MOTIVATION: 
Characters, like people, are driven by unmet needs. An occupation can represent a steppingstone to what they want (a personal trainer who is working to become a professional weight lifter), or even be a sign of an emotional wound (a bounty hunter who brings criminals to justice because his parents were killed and the murderer was never caught). 

HOBBIES AND PASSIONS:
Careers may grow from a favorite activity. Does your character love stand-up comedy and so makes a career of it? Do they have a passion for dollhouses and so they build a business that sells dollhouse-making supplies? 

PHYSICAL DETAILS:
A construction worker is going to be rugged and strong. A mechanic will have stained, calloused hands. Whether it’s the uniform or expectations that go with the job, an occupation can provide many unspoken clues about how a character looks and behaves at work. 

LIKES AND DISLIKES:
What does your character’s job say about their preferences? A professional athlete will enjoy exercise, being part of a team, and setting stretch goals….and they probably wouldn’t like to be around people who are lazy, unmotivated, and whine about how tough life is. 

ETHICS, VALUES, AND BELIEFS: 
Did your character choose a job that aligns with his deepest beliefs? A military career communicates patriotism and respect for one’s country. A doctor or judge will have strong ethics. Careers can be a great way to shed light on the character’s beliefs system and moral code.

EDUCATION LEVEL:
Some occupations will give readers a good idea of your character’s education. For example, a scientist, educator, doctor, geologist, or nurse clearly has a great deal of education. Likewise, a cab driver, bartender, or retail worker may not. (Note the may; plenty of situations exist where someone with a higher education chooses a job that requires less: a career pivot to something less stressful or that aligns more with their interests, a character who has trouble finding work, etc.


A Character’s Occupation Is More Important Than You Might Think


As you can see, you can get a lot of show-don’t-tell mileage from your character’s job choice! So, don’t make the mistake I did long ago and take your time when choosing the work they do. (This list will get you started.) If you would like to explore more ways to utilize a character’s career, check out The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers.


******

A note from Missy: I'm really excited about this book! I have the hardest time deciding on a career for my characters. Now I know better how to use their job choices in characterization!  

 

A Character’s Occupation Is More Important Than You Might Think
Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus and its many sequels. Her books are available in eight languages, are sourced by US universities, recommended by agents and editors, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, and psychologists around the world. To date, this book collection has sold over half a million copies.

Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, a portal to game-changing tools and resources that enable writers to craft powerful fiction. Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 

Going Mental With the Mentalist

This post first appeared in Seekerville in 2013 and was a result of binge watching back-to-back episodes of The Mentalist.

by Pam Hillman

Several conversations in writers groups, other authors, and here in Seekerville started me on a journey of discovery a few years ago. One author asked a group of us if we were analytical, and if we had trouble expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotion in general and in our novels. That really stuck with me, and I pondered it for about a week before emailing her and engaging in dialogue.

Here was my response, “I would have to say yes, although I'm much more open about sharing now than I used to be. Many years ago, a well-known author critiqued one of my stories and said I was ‘almost there’, but that she had the sense I was holding back. I've always contributed that ‘holding back’ to the fact that I'm very reserved, keeping my personal feelings, emotions, and thoughts to myself. I've never thought that it was also because I'm analytical.”

A few weeks later, another author made a similar observation on a writers' loop. On a whim, I emailed her and asked her if she would consider herself an analytical thinker, and she gave me a resounding yes. Hmmm, could analytical types have a hard time expressing emotions on the page? It was worth digging into just a bit more.

Now, while I was pondering all of this, another light-bulb moment occurred. Missy Tippens had a great post in Seekerville titled 3 Tips for Hooking Readers (Seekerville Archives, 4/15/13) where she discussed hooks, emotions, and connecting with readers. But of course, we, as authors have to connect with our characters first, who in turn connect with our readers.

In true Mentalist fashion, the purpose of my post came together from one sentence in the comments section of Missy’s post...

Readers are drawn to heroines that reflect themselves a lot of the time.” Ruth Logan Herne

Immediately, the analytical part of me started to wonder what the most common personality trait of women, who are our primary readers, would be. And there’s nothing like a personality test and Mr. Google to help me find the answer to that burning question. A hop, skip, and a jump across the internet and I found what I was looking for. The My Personality website. What a perfect place to go a little mental!

Feel free to go take the test if you haven't already. :)


Going Mental With the Mentalist

So, now that everyone has taken the test and has their 4 letter personality type in hand, let’s get down to the meat of this blog post.

Are you ready?

Today's post is not about what we are at all...
...it's about what we are not.

Of the respondents who took the personality test, 94% did not fall into one of the two most common personality types for women. As you can see from the personality chart above, the two most common personality types for women are ESFJ “The Supporter” at 17% and ESFP “The Entertainer” at 14%. 

That’s a whopping 31% of all women.

Going Mental With the Mentalist


The majority of authors (as high as 94% in an informal survey) of authors who took this personality test are not ESFJ or ESFP. That means many authors don't have the same personality traits as the majority of women.
  
The good news is that I’ve read books by almost all of the authors who responded to my survey, and they have no trouble writing heroines with personalities sprinkled all across the personality map, so most of us don't need to do a thing. This isn’t to make anyone think they need to change the way they write at all, but is just another tool to add to our tool kits if someone struggles with this.

Now, what to do about this conundrum?

One way to write outside of our personality zone is to think of people whose personalities are similar to the top two most popular categories, or watch movies with those characters. Study those personality traits on the My Personality site, and practice writing an ESFJ or an ESFP character.

"For the ESFP, the entire world is a stage. They love to be the center of attention and perform for people. They're constantly putting on a show for others to entertain them and make them happy. They enjoy stimulating other people's senses, and are extremely good at it. They would love nothing more than for life to be a continual party, in which they play the role of the fun-loving host."

It makes sense to study the different personality traits ... not to label or change ourselves ... but as a tool to help us write characters readers relate to on a more personal level.

Going Mental With the Mentalist
The Spring Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt has ended and winners have been contacted.
BUT there's more. Pam Hillman is hosting a Post-Scavenger Hunt Giveaway
on Facebook. Click here to go to the discussion and comment for a chance to win.



Going Mental With the Mentalist
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com

I've got a new book coming in March--I'm launching it here with a giveaway!

The Unexpected Champion releases March 5th

I've got a new book coming in March--I'm launching it here with a giveaway!
I want to talk today about developing interesting characters.


I've got a new book coming in March--I'm launching it here with a giveaway!
There are those that say I myself am an interesting character, (or maybe they just "she's a character?") But that's a different blog post!


Sometimes it's a struggle to get characters to come to life.


And it's hard to explain what I mean about that, but I'll try.

I smile when I think about The Unexpected Champion.

I like writing tough, feisty heroines. I do it so much that sometimes I FORCE myself to not make my heroines tough, just to try and not be boring.

I've got a new book coming in March--I'm launching it here with a giveaway!
Click to Pre-Order
In The Accidental Guardian and The Reluctant Warrior, Deb and Gwen, the heroines, weren't necessarily tough.

They were strong, hardworking women, but they weren't frontier women. They had a lot to learn. Their toughness was inside, mental toughness. A knack for taking what life threw at them and dealing with it as best they could. And learning everything they could.

In book #3 The Unexpected Champion, my heroine is TOUGH.

Penny Scott has been living on the frontier for two years, working in a series of western forts, following her brother from post to post.

She knows the wilderness. She knows tracking. She can live off the land and, what's more, she likes it.

Give her a gun, a skinning knife and a little time and she'll take care of everything. She'll build you a house, clothe you, feed you and protect you.

And then she got lost. She has the knife, gun and time. So they stay alive. But where in the world are they? Where is a town? The mountainous wilderness is an endless series of hills and mountains, cliffs and valleys, all leading nowhere.

The fact that she gets kidnapped, is blindfolded, tossed in a wagon under a tarp, then is driven deep into the wilderness using twisting trails...and sometimes no trails, then, while escaping, gets chased over a cliff, down a river and through endless forests, capped off with a gully washer, lightning and thunder storm.

She is hopelessly lost. That's bad enough. But why'd she have to get kidnapped with a guy from the city who gets upset when he can't take a bath and put on clean clothes each morning?

I like my heroes to be tough guys, too.

I've got a new book coming in March--I'm launching it here with a giveaway!
Click to Buy
In The Unexpected Champion I tried to create a character in the hero, John McCall, who was a fish out of water. When he's lost with a bossy female in the wilderness, he's no help, in fact, he's slowing her down.

And then he gets into his own world. Now who doesn't know how to swim?

Penny can't read tracks on the streets of the wide-open boomtown of Virginia City.

But John can. He turns out to be really tough once he gets into his own world.

Now Penny's the one who has to let someone else take charge. It doesn't come to her naturally, but she's smart enough to know John had to lead 'cuz she has no idea where she's going.

And, when they finally came staggering out of the wilderness after a week, it turns out Penny's brother mistakenly thought John had kidnapped her.

That's a little mix-up that almost gets John hung and, due to the twisted logic of a fire-and-brimstone...sheriff's WIFE, Penny has to choose between letting them hang him, or marrying him.

It's not a decision she makes all that easily.

So mostly, I tried to make each character ignorant--and I used that to build respect and finally LOVE between them.

John just shuts up and lets Penny give orders in the wilderness.

Penny becomes (outwardly) the sweet submissive little wife in Virginia City.

And neither of them are that happy about the wedding.

John still has a job to do, which is take Penny's nephew Ronnie home to his grandparents in the east.

If he tries that, Penny's gonna have to kill him. Which is a quick and easy way to get a divorce, if you don't end up being hung.

And Penny claimed a homestead and has a cabin to build and a herd of cattle to manage. John says, if she wants to live with her husband, he's a Pinkerton agent from Philadelphia.

I've got a new book coming in March--I'm launching it here with a giveaway!
Click to Buy
And there's a mysterious killer on their trail who thinks they know too much about him to be allowed to live.

Except now, they're on his trail, too.

He's going to be sorry he didn't just let them go when they escaped him.

He's going to be sorry he kidnapped them to begin with.

Today I want to talk about YOUR current character. YOUR work in progress.

How do you make your characters come alive? Is it physical descriptions? Dialogue? Back story?

Tell me about your character. The one you're creating right now. And if you'd like to brainstorm ways to make them come to life, we'll talk about it.

Or if you're a  reader, then tell me about a character you're reading about right now. And tell me what brings a character to life for you.

The Unexpected Champion arrived...Bethany always sends me a copy hot off the presses and IT. IS HERE!!!

I'll be getting more copies in the next week or two.

Today, I'm giving away a signed copy of The Unexpected Champion.

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.

http://www.maryconnealy.com



Emotion and The Setting: A Powerful Story Combo

By Guest Angela Ackerman

Emotion and The Setting: A Powerful Story Combo

An interesting thing happens when setting and character come together, something writers don’t fully realize, or if they do, may not use to its full advantage: combined with intent, these two elements produce emotion. 
What do I mean by that? Well, think about us in the real world. Are there places you choose to vacation again and again? Is there a specific route you like to walk the dog, or areas in the city you enjoy visiting? Do you have a favorite restaurant, room in the house, coffeeshop, or park to sit in? I’m betting you do. Spaces we return to are special in some way, causing us to experience positive emotions. We may enjoy them for their beautiful scenery, their energy or solitude, because they remind us of the comforts of home, or some other meaningful reason. 
Just as we gravitate to places that make us feel good or safe, we also make emotional decisions about locations to avoid: that dark ally shortcut, the friend’s car that smells like spoiled milk, the high school football field where we were humiliated in front of the entire senior class. These spaces make us feel unsafe, vulnerable, or unhappy.
Our characters are just like us, so they will also have a catalog of places that hold personal meaning, good and bad.

Emotion and The Setting: A Powerful Story Combo


The difference between the real world and the fictional one? Rather than shield our characters from uncomfortable emotions, we want to encourage them.
I know, it sounds a bit sadistic but exposing them to settings that trigger a range of emotions, some of which they desperately want to avoid, will not only produce conflict (a necessary ingredient in story), it will help to reveal their hidden layers. 
Beneath the surface of any character is a dark underside: insecurities, fears, and pain caused by negative past experiences and unresolved emotional trauma. This baggage is costly to lug around, causing unhappiness and steering the character’s life off course. This is usually how readers find them at the start of a story: incomplete, adrift, and hurting. And, if the writer has chosen a change arc for the character, it’s even more important to pull this pain to the surface where it can finally be acknowledged and dealt with. Only then can the character move forward toward happiness and hope, fulfilling the change arc and achieving their goal. 
Positive and negative, emotions are the lifeblood of a story. The setting we choose for each scene is a vehicle to bring out a wider range of emotions, including those that provide a window for readers to see inside the character and the struggle going on within. Here are three ways you can deliberately use the setting to bring out your character’s deeper emotions. 

Emotion and The Setting: A Powerful Story Combo

Choose Specific Settings for a Reason
With each scene, think about the actions that will unfold and what each character’s emotional state will be. If you can, find a setting location that will amplify these emotions, perhaps by choosing one that holds personal meaning (good or bad). For example, what location would be a better choice for revealing a parent’s betrayal to her adult son: in the car on the way to the airport at the end of a visit, or at the playground where the character and his mother would come every day after school? The setting itself can trigger powerful emotions in the right circumstance.
Provide Obstacles
If your character is under so much pressure they’re struggling to function or they are on their final frayed nerve, use the setting to plant a natural obstacle in their path (a nosy security guard, a locked door, a car that dies halfway to their destination) that pushes them past their limits to cope. This new difficulty will trigger powerful, raw emotions whether they break under the strain, or find inner strength to prevail. 
Resurrect a Ghost
When it comes to the painful past, characters want it to stay there: in the past. So instead, we writers should dig around in that old suitcase of pain and resurrect a ghost: a person, thing, situation, or experience that will act as an echo of that past trauma. It might be a setting itself, or something that can be inserted into the setting. Maybe the character’s alcoholic dad shows up unannounced to her child’s graduation party at a restaurant, or a couple planning a honeymoon trip arrive at their appointment to discover the travel agent is a bitter ex-girlfriend. Perhaps the character is ill and is forced to pull into a roadside stop, a place she normally avoids at all costs as she was carjacked at one once.
What does the character feel in this moment? What will they do? Choose settings and setting elements specifically to awaken complicated emotions and possibly force them to deal with something from the past. 
Becca and I love to think about how we can push description to work harder in our stories. The possibilities are endless, so we encourage you to always think deeper, combining elements and experimenting with ways to increase tension, personalize story moments, and especially to deepen emotion. 
Emotion and The Setting: A Powerful Story Combo

If you ever need help, visit our website or check out our books. And if you happen to be a fan of our work, you might be interested to know there is now a Second Edition of The Emotion Thesaurus. We’ve added 55 new emotions to the original 75 and have made a lot of other improvements. We also have a free webinar on Using Emotion to Wow Readers that we’ve made available until the end of February. If this is an area of struggle, visit this post to grab the link!

Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, (now an expanded 2nd edition!) as well as six others. Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling. Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Falling For You

by Guest Lindi Peterson

Hello Seekerville! It’s great to be back. Thank you for having me guest host today. It’s always a special time in Seekerville, for sure.
Today we are talking about love.
Yes, love.
It’s what romance writing is all about and it’s what makes the world go ‘round. Right?
Love is an action, not an emotion. I once heard in a church I was attending that people don’t “fall in love.” Drat! That shook my romance writer’s mind. But as I kept listening the pastor’s words made sense. Love is an action.
You do it. 
Which is why you can’t have a romance where the only goal is to fall in love and get married. 
So what is it that makes our characters fall? If they don’t fall in love what do they fall into?
Let’s explore some ways our characters fall for each other.
Falling For You

Excerpt from One Winter Kiss-Lindi Peterson
He kissed the top of her hand. “Thank you. Thank you for trusting me with who you are.”
She kissed the top of his hand. “Thank you for being someone I can trust. I’ve never met anyone like you.”
“We need each other, don’t we?”
“I think so,” Deena whispered.
He leaned over, his kiss gentle, caring.
Loving, kind.
Everything Andrew was touched her lips.

Falling For You


In looking for passages to use, I found this one. And wow, God directed me to the right passage. We have a plethora of reasons Deena “fell” for Andrew.
First he was TRUSTWORTHY. That is a quality to fall for. If you can’t trust someone, you certainly can’t give your love to them. Without trust there would be suspicion and doubt. There would be questions that might be unnecessary. 
2 Corinthians 3:4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. NKJV
We place our ultimate trust in Christ.
Deena also fell for his GENTLENESS. The passage starts out describing his kiss, but ends with all those adjectives describing Andrew himself. And Andrew is a gentleman. He proved that to her many ways, starting at the beginning of the book.
He held out a Devon Park Raiders hoodie. A lined, thick hoodie. Black and silver, The Devon Park High School colors.
“Thank you. I think I will. Especially since I don’t know how long Grandpa will be.” She took the hoodie from him and quickly put it on.
This excerpt is from Chapter One, right at the beginning when Deena was stranded outside her grandpa’s house. Right away Andrew displayed what a gentleman he was. And yes, I still like a man to open the door for me, to pull out a chair before I sit down. 
Psalm 18:35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation: Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.NKJV
CARING is another quality one can “fall” for.
“You’ll need these gloves. Evan doesn’t tire easily. And he’s ready for a fight.” Andrew handed Deena a pair of gloves perfect for snowball making. Well, that might be taking things a bit far, but they were designed to keep the wet out and the hands warm.
Here Andrew shows how caring he is offering Deena the proper gloves to wear in a snowball fight. If you are wondering why Deena is so ill-equipped for cold weather, she has just arrived in Ohio from Florida. She wasn’t prepared to be hanging out outside so much, as she was there to help her grandfather pack his house to move. Oh, and she was trying to stop the moving process as well. Andrew is his next door neighbor who has a son named Evan. Deena also saw throughout the story how Andrew cared for his son. That showed a huge part of who Andrew was and something Deena couldn’t help but be drawn to.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Thereforehumble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. NKJV
When we know God cares about us, we can see how caring for others is important.
And how about KINDNESS? Don’t we love meeting people who are kind? 
“I insist on taking you. Besides, I’ll help Harold get his truck out of the ditch.”
That sentence is kindness and helpfulness all in one. (Andrew is quite a guy, isn’t he?) But again, these are the types of things people do that attract other people to them. Harold is Deena’s grandpa, so Andrew, offering to help pull the truck out of a ditch after a snowstorm displays his kindness front and center.
Psalm 119:76 Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant.NKJV
Kindness is a great attribute. When someone is truly kind, you know their heart is in the right place. Someone’s day can be made just by having someone be kind to them. And kindness is an act we can show to those we don’t even know. We don’t have to be best friends to show someone kindness. 

Falling For You

We can see by the above excerpts that love comes from knowing who someone is. It’s the attributes they have that bind our soul to theirs. It’s how their heart works and how they show that heart to the world that attracts us to someone.
This is how we show growth in our romance novels. You can be attracted to someone for just the way they look, that is true. But that doesn’t carry a relationship. That person’s way of living, and treating others soon comes to light. I do believe that the books we like the best show this growth and growing attraction to our hero’s and heroine’s character.
I do love the saying “falling in love.” It sounds so much better than “falling in trust,” “falling in kindness.” There’s something universal about the word love. Whether it’s in a good or bad way, love is something everyone can relate to. It’s why we write about it, it’s why we read about it. It’s why God sent his son.
He loves us.
I’d love to talk about other attributes people “fall” for. I’ve only named a few, but I know you have some you’d like to mention. I’ve got 2 giveaways today to 2 separate commenters. First I’m giving away an e-copy of my novella, Sweet Love of Mine. It’s the story of Eden and Grant. I’m also giving away a copy of a brand new release, A Christmas to Remember.

Falling For You

This is a boxed set of 8 never before released Christmas novellas. I was thrilled to do this set with the ladies on the Inspy Romance Blog. This is the 2ndnovella in my Sweetly Southern Series. Sweet Love of Mine is the 1stnovella in that series.
Thank you for having me here in Seekerville. It’s always a pleasure and an honor to be a guest! Let’s talk “falling!”

Visit Lindi at www.lindipeterson.com





Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!



By Guest Authors from Mountain Brook Ink

Mountain Brook Ink publishing focuses on reader relationships and stories of restoration and renewal. We asked some of our authors to share how they connect relationships: relationships between plot and setting, message and story, and author and reader. Here’s what they had to say: 

Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!

Setting is as important to a story as the characters and the plot. I often choose small towns in which to set my stories, but sometimes the plot requires a city. For example, my book The Reluctant Groom is a modern day marriage of convenience story set in the more believable environment of big city Seattle.

But there is no way The Sleuth’s Miscalculation would work in a big city. The plot revolves around a small town librarian who enjoys solving mysteries and consults for the Sheriff’s Department for non-violent crimes. This story begged to be set in a small town with all the familiar quirks that go with small town life. 

Let’s look at settings on television shows. Can you think of an example of where setting was critical to the story? Can you imagine Magnum P.I. being set anyplace but Hawaii, or Castle anyplace but New York City? Those settings enhanced their stories; our settings enhance our books.

In my process, setting is one of the first factors I determine. The very first series I sold was actually based on the setting, and I wrote the story around it. I hope this has encouraged you to have fun with setting and use it to enhance your next project.


Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!

The novel that kickstarted my career was released as part of the Love Finds You line. I held Costco book-signings, received a hardback edition, and had the novel optioned for film. But the most important thing I learned? The power of setting.

In researching for Finding Love in Sun Valley, Idaho, my best friend and I visited a famous lodge and I took my kids white water rafting. Later, my husband and I decided to ride the motorcycle to Montana and also volunteer at the Sun Dance Film Festival in Utah. I learned things that I wouldn’t have known to add to my stories had I not experienced the location for myself.

Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!
Pre-order: https://amzn.to/2PvOZWh
I didn’t want to stop there though. I wanted to set authentic stories all over the world. So I got a job for an airline two years ago. Since then, I’ve hiked the mountains of Colorado, driven a convertible to Key West, attended my first MLB game in Arizona, watched the sun set in San Diego, etc.. My life has become as exciting as that of my characters.

I may not dream fantasy worlds, but I’m so enamored with our world that I want to experience as much as possible. Either way, I find inspiration everywhere, and I believe my Resort to Love series is better for it.


Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!
Book cover coming soon!
Linda Thompson (The Plum Blooms in Winter): Melding Message with Story:

I plot my books “inside out.” And I suspect I’m not alone.

A true story inspired my debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter. The aspect of the story that gripped me—its real power—was in the characters’ final epiphanies, their realization of a theme or revelation. But what kind of epiphanies will I portray in my stories?

For my first book, I naively intended the epiphanies to unfold as they happened in real life—while reading the Bible; while hearing a sermon. But that approach isn’t compelling enough for fiction. For a reader to “feel” the character’s epiphany—and have it rock their own world—it must be triggered by “an action and sensory details the reader can share.” (Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft) Burroway supplies an example where an epiphany is sparked by the sight (and smell!) of a trout struggling in a net. Rich sensory details take the POV character back to a memory that triggers his realization and carries the reader in the current of that turning point.

How can you magnify an epiphany?

Engineer your character arc: Start your character with a flaw that places her far away from the point where she’ll end up. 

Engineer your supporting cast: An array of characters with diverse perspectives can help you thoroughly examine the topic of your character’s epiphany, plus create tension and dimension. Consider Tolkien’s casts, and his theme: can everyday people accomplish enormous things?


Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!
 Taylor Bennett (Porch Swing Girl): Connecting with #Bookstagram

It can seem like being an author is all about platform—that word is everywhere, from an agent’s submission guidelines to the ads popping up on your browser, shouting things like “Build a Bigger Platform Now!” 

With all of this pressure to cultivate a group of rabid fans, it’s easy to make platform sound like a regulation, a requirement—something along the lines of “each submission must be double-spaced with 12 pt. Times New Roman font…”

BUT IT’S NOT.

Creating a platform can be an incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling experience for both the author and their group of readers. Take it from me—before I dreamt of being published, I had nothing more than a languishing Facebook account. Skeptical of social media in general, I was hesitant to start promoting myself (and my writing) on platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

But that changed.

I discovered the #bookstagram community, a vibrant group of readers and writers on Instagram. And no matter their diverse passions, they all share a common love: books. Their posts typically highlight a book they’ve read, a book they’re excited to read, or a book that touched their life while growing up.

In other words, this sweet, supportive community is an amazing place to market without actually marketing. By joining in the chatter about some of your favorite books, you can connect with fellow readers who might be interested in checking out your book, too.

It’s a win-win for everyone…and it’s tons of fun, too!

Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!
 Janalyn Voigt (MONTANA GOLD series): Description and Connection

Readers often mention that they felt like they actually visited my story worlds. While I love hearing that, it wasn’t always the case. I blush to recall receiving critiques scrawled with messages of a less heart-lifting nature. “Help! I’m drowning in detail.” “Nice description in the opening scene, but when does the story start?” “You don’t need to grandstand.” 

Ouch. 

I had a lot to learn. Grinding through edits has a way of polishing a writer.  Working with editors is an apprenticeship that has taught me to write with more finesse. 

Now, here’s what I don’t do when writing descriptions:

l  Don’t start a story with scenery. Readers might admire the view, but they are more interested in connecting with your characters and engaging with the plot. 
l  Build descriptions around your characters. Rather than going on about the waves at the beach, let your protagonist stand in the surf and watch them roll in. This provides immediacy and avoids stalling the story on descriptions. 
l  Employ the senses but not as a litany. It’s not necessary to use all five, only the ones your viewpoint character would notice.
l  Use detail to sharpen the imagery. Use ‘oaks’ instead of ‘trees.’ Move closer. Show branches etched against the sky and shadows weaving on a mossy bank. 
l  Don’t overwhelm with extraneous details, however. Give enough to paint the scene with light strokes and allow readers to imagine the rest. Let them make the story their own, and they will praise you for it.   

What relationships are important to you as an author and/or as a reader? 

***
Missy here. Let's chat about relationships! And let us know if you'd like to be entered in the giveaway. Mountain Brook Ink would like to give away a print copy to one winner (U.S. only please) from one of these featured titles: Winner's choice between Finding Love in Sun Valley Idaho, The Sleuth's Miscalculation, Porch Swing Girl, or Hills of Nevermore.

****

Award winning author, Kimberly Rose Johnson, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. You can learn more about Kimberly at kimberlyrjohnson.com.

Angela Ruth Strong was first published by a national magazine while still in high school. She has won both Idaho Top Author and the Cascade Award for her novels, and she is the founder of IDAhope Writers. Besides writing, she teaches group fitness classes, travels with her kids on youth group mission trips, and often gets herself into silly situations like hamster ball races or riding on the shoulders of a unicyclist. You can learn more about Angela at angelaruthstrong.com.

Linda Thompson stepped away from a marketing career that spanned continents to write what she loves—stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, launches December 1. She lives in the sun-drenched Arizona desert with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, two mostly-grown-up kids, and a small platoon of housecats. You can learn more about Linda at lthompsonbooks.com.

Taylor Bennett is an assistant editor for Magnum Opus Magazine. She has published several pieces of fiction and nonfiction in Magnum Opus Magazine and her novel, Porch Swing Girl, was a semi-finalist in the Go Teen Writers “We Write Books” contest. Taylor is a member of ACFW and OCW and she is active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can learn more about Taylor at taylor--bennett.com.

Janalyn Voigt is a multi-genre novelist who has books available in the western historical romance and epic fantasy genres. Her unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and whimsy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary and holds memberships in ACFW and Northwest Christian Writers Association. You can learn more about Janalyn at janalynvoigt.com.




Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith

Welcome (and Happy Release Day to) guest blogger, Heidi Chiavaroli! 

(and ten bonus points to me - Carrie - for spelling her last name right in one try. I have no proof. You just have to believe me) ;)


3 Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
by Heidi Chiavaroli
  
Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
I remember the moment clearly, as if it were yesterday instead of eleven years ago. The kids were taking naps and I lay on my bed, sobbing, thinking of the conversation I just had with a person I respected. In the last hour, this person had seemed to effectively disprove the evidence of my faith. I was a new Christian and I couldn’t deny the hope my recent faith in Jesus had given me. Now, though, looking at what appeared to be true evidence that discredited the crux of my faith, I wondered if it had all been a lie. I wondered if I’d been fooled, duped. If I’d only conjured up this sense of peace and light and hope enveloping my being. Doubts gained entrance to my soul, and there, I plummeted into a pit of darkness. 


I remembered crying out to God.
“If you are who you say you are, then show me!”
It wasn’t that hour, but very soon after He did just that. With a lot of seeking, a lot of counsel, a lot of prayer, God did indeed show up.
After coming out of that spiritual battle, I felt I had scars aplenty. And yet I knew I was stronger. God had not abandoned me. Instead, He not only proved Himself, but He shone His light and hope into a deeper place in my soul.
That battle, that time of doubt, was not pleasant, but it was real. As an author, I can’t imagine portraying characters—portraying what it means to be human—without exploring what it also means to doubt. I think it’s important in our stories to allow our characters to have questions about their faith. Here are three reasons why:
 

Our characters and our stories should speak truth and authenticity. 
Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
I think if we’re honest, we all struggle with doubts and questions once in a while. It’s that in-between dilemma—that place between the now and the will-be promise that God has given us, where our real selves are hidden with Him. If we ignore this truth in our fiction, then we are not creating true-to-life characters, but merely neat cardboard cutouts. Yes, many people in real life have amazing faith and they are to be admired, but how did they obtain that faith? More than likely, it was through trial and perhaps times of doubt and questioning. 

To reach more readers for what truly matters. 
I consider my stories far from preachy, and yet I hope they gently weave the message of the gospel in between their pages. In my sophomore novel, The Hidden Side, the Abbott family tries to come to terms with the unspeakable actions of one of their family members. Quite honestly, as a mother, I can’t think of a circumstance that would be worse than the one the Abbotts face. And yet they are a family of faith.

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
I wanted to explore, with authenticity, how this would play out for them. While I would like to think my faith is strong enough to stand against anything, I know from experience how liable it is to be shaken. If I want my stories to touch readers, I can’t pretend my characters won’t go through the same when trials come. Yet so often, in my experience, doubt has been a threshold to a deepened faith. That’s what I want to show in my stories.  

Our God doesn’t need a fake faith—in our lives or in those of our characters.
If we ignore our questions and doubts (and if we allow our characters to do so as well), we’re not being real with ourselves or with God. Our God doesn’t need a fake faith. He’s the Almighty, the Creator of all things. He can handle our doubts and questions. Really. And I absolutely believe He will use them to strengthen us as He did for Thomas, Abraham, and many others in Scripture. 

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
As an author, I don’t want to discredit God’s power and ability to work through any and all situations. Our world is rife with places that many consider dark and hopeless, and yet this is where Jesus went. He never ignored the ugly. He never ignored the doubt. Instead, He shone His light into it. And always—always—it held up, because always—always—Jesus holds up.

That, more than anything, is the goal and responsibility I charge myself with when writing a book: to go to the dark places. Those places of hopelessness and evil and doubt and disbelief. Go there, and shine light and truth.

Have you ever struggled in your faith? If so, how has it affected your journey and your fiction? What do you think of the importance of allowing your characters to have questions about their faith?
*images from Heidi Chiavaroli and Unsplash.com

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith

New York, 2016
Natalie Abbott offers answers for hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But she struggles to connect with her teenagers, with her daughter in an unhealthy relationship and her son uncommunicative and isolated. When one member of the family commits an unspeakable act, Natalie is forced to uncover who she truly is under the façade of her radio persona.

New York, 1776
Mercy Howard is shocked when her fiancé, Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When she’s asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, she sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly harder as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.

Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.
 


Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
3 out of our 4 family members researching for The Hidden Side in Setauket, NY. Here we are at Patriot’s Rock, which makes several appearances in The Hidden Side.

Heidi Chiavaroli began writing eleven years ago, just after Jesus grabbed hold of her heart. She used her two small boys’ nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn’t stopped writing since! Heidi won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a 4½-star Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut, and her latest novel, The Hidden Side, is scheduled to release in May 2018. Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her high-school sweetheart and husband of fourteen years. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle.
 Giveaway!

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith

Heidi is offering a copy of The Hidden Side and this lovely 'It is Well with my Soul' wall art to one of our commenters today (US only).  

I'm including her questions down here again, just for convenience :)

Have you ever struggled in your faith? If so, how has it affected your journey and your fiction? What do you think of the importance of allowing your characters to have questions about their faith? 

 

What Would You Ask Your Favorite Author?

Chris Fabry


What Would You Ask Your Favorite Author?



If you could ask your favorite living author any question about writing in order to aid your own writing journey, what would you ask?
I waited too long. I got a chance to ask Pat Conroy a question at a book signing, but I felt my question was too personal, too much about the interior work of an author. I chickened out. I asked something safe.
Pat died in 2016. If I could have that chance again, I think I would be more bold.
I’ve always wondered, given the negative reaction of some of his family members about them showing up in his books, if he ever regretted writing about those he knew—particularly his sister, Carol Ann. In 2011 he wrote on his blog, “My sister, Carol Ann, remains a stranger to my life. I only see her at wedding and funerals—all of which she turns into personal nightmares for me . . .”
If Pat had the chance to write any of his stories again, would he choose differently? Would he protect anyone he used as a model for a character? Would he avoid revealing things that eventually broke their relationship?
Subsequently, in other nonfiction books, Pat gave a glimpse of an answer. For example, his father, at first, hated the novel The Great Santini. But after publication and film, Donald Conroy embraced the role. He would attend book signings with his son and sign right next to him. Pat wrote that there was a change in their relationship and that, in a way, his writing helped heal the wounds of the past. His father transformed into a different man.
Writing can be a healing art.
But what about Carol Ann? Even when their father died, there was such anger and vitriol between her and Pat, as revealed in The Death of Santini.
Let’s say you’re offered a bestselling book and a film deal, but you have to reveal intimate secrets of family members or friends. You know those secrets revealed, those personal insights into an individual’s life, will harm your relationship. Maybe destroy it forever. Do you sacrifice that person for your art? Are the things you experience simply fodder for the stories you tell, or do you as an artist have a responsibility to veil? And even if you hide the identity of the person you pattern this character after, will they see themselves in your story? (This goes beyond any legal question of libel and hits at the heart of the writer.)

What Would You Ask Your Favorite Author?

In my latest novel, Under a Cloudless Sky, I took a real-life situation with my mother and turned it into a historical mystery. The premise is that Ruby is older and her children are afraid she’s going to kill somebody driving back and forth to the grocery store or the post office. Already several mailboxes have not survived. Her children try to reason with her and she pushes back. Finally, her daughter and son take Ruby’s keys. This is the inciting incident that makes Ruby hatch a plan. The next day when her daughter goes to the house to check on her mother, Ruby is missing. It’s Gone Grandma. Where did Ruby go? Was she abducted?
There are many twists and turns in the story and the reader travels between 1933 and 2004 to learn more about Ruby’s past and the secret she has hidden for seventy years.
But my biggest fear was that my mother (who is feistier than Ruby) would read the book and see herself. And not only that, but would be hurt by my portrayal. Is my “art” worth hurting my ninety-one-year-old mother?

What Would You Ask Your Favorite Author?

There are voices in a writer’s head that stunt the writing process. If I’m flying along, telling my story, and somewhere in the back of my mind I hear, If she reads that, she’s going to kill you, I’m out of the story, the dream, and into the fear that my mother will be hurt. That gets my mind on myself rather than the story I’m trying to tell, and that is an exit off the fiction interstate you don’t want to take.
So, at the beginning of telling Ruby’s story, I had to wrestle well with all of the possible reactions and consequences. I love my mother. I want to honor her, not denigrate her in any way. But is taking this real situation that, frankly, many people in their middle age are going through, worth the risk? I concluded it was for several reasons. First, I’ve written about my mother in dozens of ways in dozens of books (literally) and she’s never seen herself. She’s never asked, “Did you get that from something I did?” Second, there are many admirable qualities about Ruby and what she’s been through that I knew readers would be endeared to her and would root for her. It’s a loving, well-rounded portrayal of this character that shows not just her foibles and faults, but the depth of her life and story. Third, my mother is the forgiving type.
So I ran into this story with abandon and tried not to think about my fears regarding her feelings. Every few weeks she’d ask about my “coal mining book” and I’d tell her the status. Finally, in December I received my first copies and I sent her a box stuffed full because she loves to give them to family and friends.

What Would You Ask Your Favorite Author?

For a few weeks, I heard, through my mother, what others thought. I heard how much my cousins and friends in my hometown enjoyed it. Then one day she paused and asked in a little girl’s voice, “Am I Ruby?”
It was her turn to ask her favorite writer a question. And since I do not want to risk writer/mother privilege, I will keep my answer veiled.

Now, if you could ask any living or deceased writer a question that would aid in your own writing journey, what would you ask?



Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris’s novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, and The Promise of Jesse Woods, have won five Christy Awards, an ECPA Christian Book Award, and a 2017 Award of Merit from Christianity Today. His eightieth published book, Under a Cloudless Sky, is a novel set in the coalfields of his home state of West Virginia. His books include movie novelizations, like the recent bestseller War Room; nonfiction; and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and the Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. Visit his website at www.chrisfabry.com.


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Make Them CareThe Root of the MatterA Character’s Occupation Is More Important Than You Might ThinkGoing Mental With the MentalistI've got a new book coming in March--I'm launching it here with a giveaway!Emotion and The Setting: A Powerful Story ComboFalling For YouRelationship, Relationship, Relationship!Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith What Would You Ask Your Favorite Author?

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