1. How did you get inspired to write a novel from a genre so totally different from your first three books?
I have always loved a good speculative tale, and in recent years have especially enjoyed science fiction TV shows and movies. When it came time to write my fourth novel, I knew I wanted to do something fun and different. I've also enjoyed some of the popular YA dystopian books published recently, but I always find myself wishing for more hope in those stories. I knew if I wrote a book with dystopian leanings, I would have to weave in the hope I desperately wanted to read. I kind of threw a bunch of genres together, shook them up, and ended up with Jupiter Winds! It was a fresh step for me, and I hope it translates for readers. Because whether a story is set in the here and now or the future, people remain the same. And so does God. It was great to be able to write about both.
2. Will there be other stories that either a continuation of Jupiter Winds or stand alone stories?
I would like to write more in the Jupiter series! I have Chapter 1 of Book 2 sitting on my computer already, so I would say yes. I'm not sure exactly when, but if enough people ask me, I bet it'll become a reality. I also have been thinking about writing a few shorter stories to tell the histories of some of the supporting characters like Mrs. March, Sue Alexander, Lee, etc. We shall see.
3. The Scriptures used in this tale were well chosen they seemed like a natural part of the story. Do these verses have special meaning for you or how did you chose which ones to include with the characters and plot?
You know, I give credit to the Lord for what Scriptures make it into a story. Sometimes one will pop into my mind as I'm writing, other times I'll go searching for a verse to illustrate a particular idea. For Jupiter Winds, the verse I used a lot about traveling to the heavens and finding God seemed so apropos, and it fit to have it swirling around in Grey's mind through the tale. I really wanted to subtly share that no matter where we go, even to another planet, God is. But that message did come about slowly and organically as I wrote the book.
4. I have to say that I am a new fan of yours, what can we expect to come next from your imagination?
Thank you, Lisa! That's very kind of you to say. Well, there's that second Jupiter book . . . but currently, I am working on a new contemporary story that ties into my Thicker than Blood series. I am still writing the rough draft, where I usually discover the story I most want to tell since I don't outline. But right now the book is about a desperate young woman who hears a knock on her door and discovers an eight-year-old girl claiming to be her half-sister.
5. When did you become a Christian?
I've been a believer ever since I was a child. Mom said I accepted the Lord when I was three, but I have recommitted myself to Him many times since.
6. Who influences or inspires you to write?
I have a few writers in my life I consider my mentors, and it's to them I turn when I need to be inspired. Whether it be picking up their wonderful novels or reading an email exchange we had in the past. The authors James Scott Bell and Sibella Giorello have been especially important to me. But any time I pick up a good novel or watch a good movie (love going to the movie theater!) I can be inspired.
7. How do you keep your personal walk with the Lord growing and not crowded out by deadlines or life's daily pressures?
It's tough. I go through dry seasons like everyone else. But one thing that I am thinking a lot about lately is how much social media and internet time drain me. They are all good things in moderation, but I have to be especially careful not to get sucked into doing things that feel like writing but aren't. This is something I'm facing right now. I want my spiritual well to be full, and I think the best way I can do that is to turn things off and spend quiet time with Him.