By the Book

where a love of God and good books meet

Tag: Characters (page 1 of 2)

Full of Character Interview with Neena Gaynor

Today’s Full of Character author is Neena Gaynor.

Neena Gaynor is a former nurse who has spent much of the last decade traveling with her husband, Wade, a former professional baseball player. Throughout the 29 changes of address and the stresses of moving a young family, Neena learned to embrace the peace that only comes from the steady accompaniment of Christ in her heart.

Today, Neena is ecstatic to be back in her old Kentucky home, beekeeping, writing, and being Mom. But first, let’s get to know Neena a little more from her interview.

What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

Atticus Finch. The rational, principled lawyer and father from To Kill a Mockingbird models virtue. He’s a steadfast example of prudence, humility, and charity—a fictional example worthy of our aspiration.

It’s been a long time since I last read that one. I may have to check it out again. What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?

The Bird and the Bees is written from a first-person point of view, so having a main character that was a female nurse from Appalachia wasn’t a stretch for me. Going into Larkin’s wounds, exposing what made her calloused to love and grace, proved to be more difficult. The hardest character to write was probably Larkin’s aunt, Aster. She was also the most fun. Aster also struggles with a past, one that has left her tight-lipped, antsy, and with a hint of humor.

The past does have a way of influencing who we are in the future. And isn’t it interesting how a past can move a person one direction while it may move others in a completely different way? We see that all the time, even in scripture. Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?

Right now, I’m trying to relate more to Mary of Bethany. She’s the one who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. Those who witnessed this were appalled at her actions, but Jesus praised her. “She has done a beautiful thing to me,” Jesus said. “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare for my burial,” (Mark 14:6-8).

Those words, “she did what she could,” takes the weight of the world off of our shoulders. As a writer, sometimes we wonder if what we are doing is significant. We worry if typing words on a screen and imagining fictional scenarios is worth the effort or time. If we do it FOR HIM, then I believe He would praise us too. So, whether it is in the writing, the mothering, the beekeeping, or even in how I respond to others, I’m striving to do what I can… for Christ.

I don’t believe I’ve ever heard her story with that particular focus before, but that’s a powerful statement for all of us to strive for.

Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?

More than a backstory, I had a forward story in mind. I knew the place where I wanted the wounded nurse to get in her relationships with her family, friends, the world, and Jesus. Navigating the path with some glances in the rearview mirror was just a part of the journey.

If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?

Audrey Hepburn. She’d add some elegance and style to this Kentucky girl.

If you could only read from one genre for the rest of your life, which one would you choose (and it can’t be the genre you write in)?

Religious Nonfiction. I love learning about our faith and being inspired by other’s testimonies.

It’s amazing how one person’s journey put into writing can touch so many lives.

What is your go-to snack and drink combination when you’re writing?

It’s coffee. With more coffee. Hot and black. I blame (thank) my mother.

I want to thank Neena for joining me today. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little more about her and her writing. Stay connected with Neena through the following social media links.

www.wordslikehoney.com

www.facebook.com/neenagaynor/

www.instagram.com/neenagaynor/

You can check out and preorder Neena’s book, The Birds and the Bees, at the link below. And don’t forget, the book releases on April 1st!

Cast of Characters

peppermint candy

Faith’s Journey and Grasping Hope focus on the lives of two people, but the cast of supporting characters is large. From family members and friends to co-workers and customers, the list of people waltzing through the pages of my books is long. It has to be. You can’t tell a person’s story accurately without acknowledging the people they come in contact with. It’s these interactions that give readers insight into who our main characters are at their core.

While you may not need to name the guy at the movie theater who takes a ticket or the girl who hands your main character their sweet tea in the drive through, a short glimpse of some of the lesser seen characters adds depth and realism to the story. To discover a slice of a character’s past helps readers understand and relate to the main character on a deeper level.

In Faith’s Journey, Katie returns to the church from her childhood. In the pews she sees the people who play a part in her memories from attending as a child. Not every person is named, but a few snapshots let the reader have a more intimate view of Katie’s life growing up in a country church in southern Illinois.

Naming and writing the characters becomes a challenge at times. None of my characters are real. They are the products of my imagination, but there are times when real life has given inspiration. When naming my main character, I chose a name I love dearly, the name of my great-grandmother. Katherine Angeline Winterstein Robinson McGowan and I spent many days together when I was a little girl. She taught me to embroider, quilt, and a few other sewing related crafts. She told me stories of when she was a little girl. I loved my granny, and I wanted to name this character after her.

However, Katie McGowan is not my great-grandma. Katie’s choices, reactions, and personality in my books is nothing like the person I knew growing up. She looks nothing like my great-grandma. I’ve simply honored her with the same name.

I also knew a Cal growing up. I don’t believe the man I knew ever had the blessing of being a father in his life, but he was the type of man who would be a father to many who needed one. He isn’t the character in my book, but he’s the type of person I wanted in Katie’s life. Cal was the perfect name for Katie’s father who she adores.

Sometimes it’s a familiar action that makes it between the pages. Growing up, there was a couple I loved to sit with through Sunday services. My mother never minded as long as I was quiet. The man always had a peppermint in his pocket, and I always ended up with it. The memory is a sweet one that I’ve learned is similar to the experience of many who grew up in country churches. Though the character doesn’t return for any other scenes, I gave Katie a similar memory as she surveys the familiar faces in the pews upon her return to her home church.

One of my favorite characters to write was Gigi B. Readers can meet her in Grasping Hope and see her again in Relentless Love when it releases in June 2020. Of all of the characters I’ve written, she is the one most closely inspired by someone in my life. I have an adopted aunt, really my mom’s best friend I’ve been close to my whole life. She’s not nearly as old as Gigi B, and she doesn’t quite have Gigi B’s flair for the dramatic. But I’ve always seen her as stylish and funny and sassy and wise. It’s a unique combination that picked me up when I wrestled with my first broken heart as a teenager, and it was that type of person Katie needed in her life as well.

Gigi B’s life experiences and the words she speaks in my books are all her own. They aren’t life memories placed inside the pages of fiction. But who the character is to the ones she loves is a picture of who my aunt is to me and, I’m sure, other in her life.

By the Book: Creating a great cast of fictional characters adds realism and depth to a story. The characters in your own life do the same for you. They provide comforting memories for the future, encouragement for today, and, sometimes, even challenge us to grow in faith. Just as they are characters in your life, you are a character in theirs. Measure each day’s interactions using 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to determine whether or not you’re allowing God’s love to flow through you to the characters He brings into your life.

Eustace Clarence Scrubb

dawn treader“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Wow. Could there be a better opening line and character description? Immediately readers, even the children for whom the story is meant, will be able to identify the Eustace’s in their lives. With one sentence the “nails on the chalkboard” existence of Eustace is firmly planted in our minds.

C.S. Lewis draws us in with the first pages of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and he continues to lead us through the misadventures of Eustace. We can understand the sentiments of Lucy and Edmond as they deal with his attitude of superiority, and we find it too easy to give in to the idea that he gets what he deserves as things fail to go in his favor. He tries our patience just as he does the same to every creature on the Dawn Treader.

When an author so completely gives us an image of his or her characters, it’s easy for them to become real to us. Suspending our disbelief to accept Narnia and Aslan and dragons as real is only natural. But a great description is only the beginning.

In a well-told story, readers get to know the characters. They get to see beyond the actions and outward appearances to who the characters are at their core. C.S. Lewis describes this occurrence in another quote from Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

“‘In our world,’ said Eustace, ‘a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.’

‘Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.'”

There is more to a star than what is is made of. There is more to a character than their looks and behaviors. It is an author’s job to give their characters souls. In doing so, readers are able to enjoy a fully formed person as complex as the ones sitting beside them while they read.

But in a well-told story the characters evolve through their failures and triumphs. This is not to say they become perfect versions of themselves. Readers don’t want perfection. They want a better understanding of reality. Even in fantasy, there has to be something for the reader to connect to. If readers see themselves in the characters then they also need to see attainable hope. We won’t reach perfection, and I find it frustrating to read about someone who always does the right thing. I want to see the one who tries and fails and gets up to try again. It makes a character work. It made Eustace Clarence Scrubb work.

“It would be nice and fairly nearly true, to say that ‘from that time forth, Eustace was a different boy.’ To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.”

It had begun. It was not finished. And we can appreciate this in the characters we read about. Sometimes it is more difficult to appreciate in the real world with the people affecting our day to day lives. We sit in church and judge the one who tried and failed or the one who is traveling at a snail’s pace in their journey of faith. We place people on a pedestal of perfection that no man since Jesus has been able to attain. We hold them to this impossible standard and crucify them when they fall. Just like we did with Eustace at the beginning of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we fight pleasure at their circumstances when they seem to get what they deserve.

But often we fail to let ourselves relate to them. We color over our own failures. In Jesus’ words, we “look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye”. (Matthew 7:3) When we realize we are all Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and we almost deserve it, we find patience we didn’t know we possessed. We find empathy that desires to see those we previously rooted against become the people God created them to be. We learn how to come along beside our brothers and sisters to encourage each other to continue to grow in faith. We stop taking note of every failure and choose to look at God’s cure in them that has already begun.

Be Like . . .

We’ve all seen them. They flash across our Facebook and Instagram feeds trying to lure us in with their cleverness. Their goal is making a sale based on our nostalgia for a particular television series. Love like this character. Be brave like that character. Remember to laugh like this character. On through the cast the list goes until each of the show’s characters is given a trait we remember them for most. It’s a way to announce our show loyalty to the rest of the television viewing world. Tonight I’m taking a page from their playbook.

While I could easily make a list of favorite movies or television characters, I’m a reader. Instead, I’m going to give you a list of the characters I love from my favorite author. Why? Because more than any television show or movie I’ve ever watched, these characters impacted me. They showed me parts of myself or things I wish were part of myself. I learned lessons beside them. I grew in my understanding of faith right with them. They have challenged me and encouraged me through the years, and I want to thank them (and Kristen Heitzmann, the author who created them) in this small way.

I want to . . .

be RESILIENT like Abbie Ferrel (Rocky Mountain Legacy series)

be PASSIONATE like Carina Maria DiGratia (Diamond of the Rockies series)

learn to “WANT THE WAY (THINGS) WORK OUT” even when it hurts like Morgan Spencer (A Rush of Wings series)

be a completely WILLING vessel God can use like Lance Michelli (Michelli Family series)

and finally,

be REAL like Grace Evangeline who messed up big time but owned it, repented, and kept letting God use her despite the fall-out. (Told You series)

What about you? Is there a character who has touched you in a major way? How do they inspire you?

 

Erasing the Caricature

caricatureErnest Mille Hemmingway once said, “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” It seems on the surface that all writers and possibly the most avid of readers have issues with telling fact from fiction! I assure you, we are completely capable, but we choose not to. Hemmingway’s quote tells us why.

Authors want readers to connect to their stories. If they don’t, the story won’t be read. A reader can be drawn to a plot, but if the people in the story are unrealistic, the reader will find a similarly plotted book with characters they can relate to. The people inhabiting our stories should inspire the same emotions as the people we work with or sit next to on the bus. They should be real in the depths of their emotions, their reasoning, and their actions.

Even the most unbelievable characters can be written in realistic ways. That’s why a hobbit or a faun can capture our attention. We know they don’t exist, but thanks to the talented author, they do for the space of the story. Likewise, the characters that should be believable can become cartoon examples of people. The villain that is nothing but pure evil without reason can turn into the next Snidely Whiplash. He’s bad. That’s obvious. But there’s no substance to him. He’s just a bad guy out doing bad things. The hero that has no struggles, doubts, needs, or failures is not only boring, he’s unattainable. Readers can’t relate to him, because there is no one in their lives that matches that level of perfection.

As writers, we need to pay attention to the people inside our stories. Do they have reasons for their behavior? Are they fleshed out or have they stayed card board cut outs? Readers don’t have to like the person we create, but they do have to be able to see them as relatable and realistic if we want them to keep reading.

Relatable and realistic are good things for Christians to keep in mind as well. We are supposed to show others the love of God and point them to the salvation He offers through Jesus’ death on the cross. But sometimes in our desire to be different for God, we end up putting on a show. We create a Christian caricature of ourselves by covering over our flaws, doubts, and struggles. We paste a smile on our faces when we’d rather be frowning. We say, “Have a blessed day” or “I’ll pray for you” as mindlessly as we put on our socks each morning. It’s not bad to want someone to have a blessed day to pray for others. But when we say them to say them, phrases like these turn us into cartoon copies of what real Christians should be.

While Christians do have an amazing amount of resources at our disposal from peace and joy in trials to the fruit of the Spirit, I haven’t met any yet that are adept at employing them successfully 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But I have met several Christians who would like you to think they’ve got it all together. Upon closer inspection we find that they don’t. The world sees this as well, and it waters down their witness.

So what’s a Christian to do? First we need to be willing to admit our failures and that there are things we don’t understand. We need to be real. If we can say and show the things we believe with sincerity (even if we mess up once in a while), then by all means, live it out. But if we’re only saying things or acting in certain ways because it’s what one expects a good Christian to be like, then we need to stop. We need to admit to ourselves that we’re not quite there yet in whatever way we’re falling short. And after that, we need to be honest enough, real enough to allow others to see our struggle and the path we’re taking to growth.

When the world can see people living their faith genuinely and openly admitting where they’re still growing and learning, the cartoon Christian is erased. A real Christian with a powerful testimony takes its place. The falseness fades away, and an honesty those in the world can respect comes into the light. It’s time to stop letting fear of failure turn us into caricatures of faith. It’s time to be real, living Christians complete with our flaws and a desire to see God work them out of us.

By the Book: Read Luke 18:9-14. Which man was real and which was reduced to a caricature by his attitude and actions? Take an honest look at which one of these men you most see yourself in.

Full of Character with Hope Toler Dougherty

Today’s guest for Full of Character is Hope Toler Dougherty. Before we begin, here’s a little more about Hope.

10479746_918926531455910_6824469307174309015_nHope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her publications include three novels, Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, and Rescued Hearts as well as nonfiction articles. A member of ACFW, RWA, and SinC, she writes for SeriousWriter.com. She and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons. Visit her at hopetolerdougherty.com.

Now on to the interview:

What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

Jane Eyre! She has such strength and sense of purpose and self. She stays true to her moral convictions even when choosing the amoral path would have hurt no one and would have given her what she’d always wanted, love.

What character you created was the easiest to write? 

I loved writing minor characters, Agnes, Jancie, Winnie, and Gigi. All these women are senior citizens who still have a zest for life. They know the value of prayer, enjoy hobbies and take trips, are stylish and show love with food—enormous amounts of delicious food. I’ve had several readers say they want to be like Gigi. She’s overcome many obstacles on her way to being a grandmother. She speaks her mind softly but firmly while sporting a fresh hairstyle and cute sandals. She also has her concealed carry permit that allows the little pistol under the driver’s seat of her car.

Sounds like a fun group of women. Though you might not want to mess with Gigi! How about the hardest?

The hardest characters would probably be Dusty and Skeet, the criminals in Rescued Hearts. I wanted them to be true and not caricatures. Writing their non-standard English was tricky, again, because I didn’t want them to sound cheesy. Writing double negatives even in dialog also made me cringe!

Good dialog that showcases the character’s personality, education, and background without sounding over the top can be tricky, especially when it goes against grammar rules! Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?

I’m not exactly answering the question you asked, but I’d love to have the childlike courage of Moses’ sister, Miriam. I’d like to have the steadfast faith of the bleeding woman who believed just the touch of Jesus’ robe would heal her. I would love to have the immediate and zealous urgency of the woman at the well to share the Good News.

I don’t know. I think you answered the question very well. Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?

I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, so I don’t outline or plot every detail, and writing the story is similar to reading a book as far as discovering what happens.

I do, however, complete character sketches for the male and female leads. The sketches I use have about 125 questions ranging from surface questions like What color are her eyes to deeper ones like What is her greatest fear. I try to answer as many questions as possible so that I know as much as I can about my character. The information may not make it into the story, but it’s in the back of my mind and helps me write true to each character.

That sounds like a great balance of planning and winging it. If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?

Hmm. Maybe Sandra Bullock. We have a few overlapping years at East Carolina University, but I never met her. She’s a talented actress and has a great sense of humor.

She is talented, and she even has dark hair like yours! Thank you for taking the time for this interview. It’s been fun getting to know you more.

If you’d like to ask Hope your own question or share a thought sparked by one of her answers, feel free to do so in the comments below. But first, here are her books and  where you can get in touch with Hope:

Social media links:

http://hopetolerdougherty.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AUTHORHOPETOLERDOUGHERTY/

https://twitter.com/HopeTDougherty

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13941031.Hope_Dougherty

https://www.pinterest.com/hopetdougherty/

https://twitter.com/HopeTDougherty

https://www.instagram.com/hopetolerdougherty/

Full of Character with Regina Rudd Merrick and a Giveaway

Before we begin today’s interview, I want to take a moment to congratulate Sarah Taylor who is the winner of the drawing for both Faith’s Journey and Sara Foust’s book giveaway. Message me, and I’ll get your information to Sara. The rest of you haven’t missed your chance to win a book. Today’s author is giving away an e-book copy of her book. All you have to do is comment below. The winner will be announced next Monday. Only those living in the U.S. can win.

reginaNow, let’s welcome Regina Rudd Merrick to our Full of Character Interview.

What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

Wow. That’s a tough question! I’ve read many, many books, but I think Laura Ingalls Wilder would be the character (well, she’s a real person) that has impacted me the most. No, I don’t want to get in a covered wagon and traipse across the prairie, but her ability to make the best of whatever her circumstance might be, and her ability show us that the everyday things are what are important, whether it be “making hay while the sun shines” or “seeing” for her blind sister.

 That’s definitely an attitude to aspire to. What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?

I would say that Jared Benton, in Carolina Dream, was the easiest to write, mainly because I had a particular actor in mind, and had written SO much fanfiction based on a show this actor was in, so I could get the subtle expressions and nuances down. And while male characters are usually easiest for me (don’t ask me why!), Tom Livingston, one of my main characters in Carolina Mercy, was harder. I had learned, in my first book, that “wounding” your character was necessary, and I had to give Tom lots of reasons to be a somewhat different person in book two than in book one due to circumstances beyond his control. Lucy couldn’t understand WHY he was so different toward her, and I had to really agonize over that one!

Now, I’m intrigued. I want to know who you modeled Jared after! Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?

You’re going to laugh at this one, but David is the Bible character that I love to hate. Last year decided I was going to concentrate on reading the Psalms through as quickly as possible. I got so irritated at David! While many of his Psalms are uplifting and do nothing but glorify God, so many have him whining! I had to switch to the gospels after that! LOL Of course, as a girl, I have probably read both Ruth and Esther more than any books of the Bible. And another woman of the Bible I’m fascinated by is Rahab the harlot. Here she is, a prostitute, but she ended up in the lineage of Jesus, right there with Ruth!

 Isn’t it great to know that God doesn’t count us out of His plan due to our failures. Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?

Another lesson learned in writing book 2 of a series is that you have to do some planning before you start. If you’re going to carry characters from one storyline to another, it has to make sense. In book 3, my current Work in Progress, I’ve done even MORE planning, because the events happen (spoiler alert!) 5 years later. I made a list of all the elements based on James Scott Bell’s superstructure plotting method, and then started filling in the blanks. That enabled me to have an outline, but guess what? Those characters still surprised me!!

Wow! That sounds like a lot of planning. If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?

Oooo. About ME? I would like Patricia Heaton to play me! She’s gorgeous (I can only dream of being that thin!), and she’s funny, and she could probably pull off the pratfalls that would have to be involved in any story about me. Let’s see – I have a scar on my hand from a cheese-cutting incident, a scar on my left foot from a fall during the march-in of a Christmas Cantata at church, I have a scar on my knee from a tumble on Mother’s Day, and I sprained my ankle stepping up on the platform at church on Father’s Day (fortunately, it was AFTER church, so only my best friend and daughter saw the spectacle that time! LOL!). 

It sounds like maybe you should avoid going out on major holidays! I want to thank you for taking time to do this interview. And for the readers, keep reading. There’s a lot more about Regina and her books following. And don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-book!!

Book Blurb For Carolina Mercy:

She’s always gotten everything she’s wanted. He thinks he has to give up everything.

Her best friend’s wedding is foremost on Lucy Dixon’s radar. Her biggest concern is once again meeting Tom Livingston, who has ignored her since an idyllic date on the boardwalk of Myrtle Beach the previous summer.

At least, it is her biggest concern until tragedy strikes. Where is her loving, merciful God, now?

When Tom Livingston meets Lucy, the attraction is instant. Soon after, his mother is diagnosed with an untreatable illness and his personal life is pushed aside. His work with the sheriff’s department, his family – they are more important. He knows about the love of God, but circumstances make him feel as if God’s mercy is for everyone else, not him.

Can a wedding and a hurricane – blessing and tragedy – bring them together?

Bio:

Regina Rudd Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and finally to writing full-time. She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. Married for 30+ years and active in their church in Marion, KY, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts. Visit Regina on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or on her website at https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com.

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Regina-R-Merrick-512257938964888/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/trmerrick64

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reginamerrick/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rmerrick/

Website: https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com

Publisher Website: https://mantlerockpublishing.com/

Sale Links:

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945094532/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1530227728&sr=8-2&keywords=Carolina+Mercy

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Carolina-Mercy-Southern-Breeze-Book-ebook/dp/B07DYXW1G2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530227776&sr=8-1&keywords=Carolina+Mercy

 

 

Full of Character with Sara Foust and Giveaway

saraToday I want to welcome Sara Foust to Full of Character. Sara has two fiction books available, Callum’s Compass and Camp Hope. Both can be purchased on Amazon, with Camp Hope currently available as a pre-order. Sara also has stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and Heavenly Humor for the Cat Lover’s Soul.

Let’s get to it and find out more about Sara! And don’t forget to read all the way through. Sara’s giving away one of her books, and the entry information is at the end of this post!

What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

Adah Knepp from Kelly Irvin’s novel A Plain Love Song. It was reading Adah’s story of learning to follow God’s plan for her life that made me realize I needed to do the same. It led me to my first mission trip this past May to the Philippines.

I’ve always loved the fact that God can use even fiction stories to grow us and challenge us. What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?

The female characters are always easier to write because I can put pieces of myself into them. The male characters are usually a bit harder, because, though I’ve been married to one of these male species for 14 years, it is still hard to know what they naturally think! My newest novel, Camp Hope, stars Amy Dawson, a scarred but headstrong woman. I think the headstrong, independent parts of her character were easy to write.

I wonder if that means there is a headstrong, independent woman in you. Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?

This is a hard question! I’d like to think I am like Abigail, a wise and patient wife. However, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. Ruth’s story of how hard she worked is inspiring too. Ruth 2:12, The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust, was my personal verse for my recent mission trip. It reminded me that no matter how scared I was, I ultimately trust God explicitly, implicitly, all the -plicitlies, and want to be willing to follow Him no matter where He leads.

Ruth’s story is a great one. Abigail’s too, but you don’t hear about her as often. Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?

I am a planner. I usually spend a couple weeks developing my characters, their backstories, lies, flaws, etc. before I begin writing. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes they don’t still surprise me!

If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?

I honestly have no idea. I’m not great at remembering movie stars’ names and roles they’ve played. It would need to be someone a little bossy, organized, and in love with nature.

I’ll have to think on that one. I’m not sure who fits that description. And thank you Sara for participating in this interview. 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

If you’d like to ask Sara a question or maybe even give us your idea of who might play her based on her description, please leave it in the comments. Everyone (in the US) who comments will be entered into a drawing to win one of Sara’s books! The winner will be drawn and announced next Monday. I’ve reviewed Callum’s Compass and interviewed one of her characters in my previous posts. You can find both in my archives. 

Full of Character Interview & Giveaway 1

For the next few weeks, Main Character Monday is taking a vacation. Instead, I’m going to do Full of Character Author Interviews. I hope it’s a fun way for you to get to know new authors or get to know those you already know a little better.
I’m starting it off this week by answering the interview questions myself. Plus, I’m going to give away a copy of my book, Faith’s Journey. To enter, simply follow my blog and ask me a “getting to know me” question in the post comments. (You must be a US resident to enter) If you already follow, mention it when you post your question.  The winner will be drawn and announced next Monday.
What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?
I think Lance Michelli from the Michelli Family Series by Kristen Heitzmann has probably impacted me more than any other character. He has a heart to do the right thing, but he often struggles to figure out what that is. He wants God to use him and allows Him to do it in a big way, but he’s painfully aware of his failures. That gives me hope that God can still use me on the days when I feel more sinner than saint.
What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?
I’m not sure about the easiest, but I definitely have one that’s been the most fun to write. In Grasping Hope, the book I’m currently working on, I’ve got a grandmother character named GiGi B. She’s not your typical grandma. She’s quirky and full of sass and wisdom. It’s a blast writing scenes with her.
The hardest character for me to write would probably be Sharon, Katie’s mother, in Faith’s Journey. I have a wonderful relationship with my own mother. It’s nothing like the one Katie has with her mother. Writing that angst into their relationship while being careful not to leave you despising Sharon is probably what made her the hardest to write.
Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?
There are so many that I love for different reasons. I’d love to be a Joshua or a Caleb, ready to take the land despite the obstacles. But maybe I relate more to Peter. Ready to step out of the boat, but when the time comes my eyes drift from my Savior and I start to sink. Or maybe Elijah. He saw God do some awesome things, but still he struggled with discouragement. I’ve definitely been there too.
Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?
I’m not a planner. I never have been. After my stories get going, I can go back and fill in the details a bit, but even then, it tends to happen organically through the story. I do, however, flesh out the physical attributes of my characters before I write. Usually, I choose someone from television or movies to model the person after.  The GiGi B character I spoke about earlier has the looks of Helen Mirren and the attitude of Flo from Mel’s diner.
If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?
Stana Katic. I wish I could say it’s because we look so much alike! She’s a beautiful actress with a great deal of talent. But really, it’s just because I loved watching her in Castle. I think she could portray my personality with ease.
A Little More About Our Guest:
Heather Greer is a mom of four from Makanda, Illinois. Growing up as a pastor’s kid and now living as a pastor’s wife in small country churches, she has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of ministry life. She’s directed a local Christian youth camp for teens since she was barely out of her teens herself, and she has a passion for encouraging believers in their faith through writing. When she isn’t busy blogging, reading, or writing, Heather enjoys baking and binge watching her favorite geeky shows and Hallmark movies.
Heather Headshot 5Faiths Journey
Get In Touch:
email: bythebook724@gmail.com
facebook: @AuthorHeatherGreer
twitter: @Heather_Greer1
Faith’s Journey can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, and Booksamillion
 
 
 

Full of Character Interview & Giveaway 1

For the next few weeks, Main Character Monday is taking a vacation. Instead, I’m going to do Full of Character Author Interviews. I hope it’s a fun way for you to get to know new authors or get to know those you already know a little better.

I’m starting it off this week by answering the interview questions myself. Plus, I’m going to give away a copy of my book, Faith’s Journey. To enter, simply follow my blog and ask me a “getting to know me” question in the post comments. (You must be a US resident to enter) If you already follow, mention it when you post your question.  The winner will be drawn and announced next Monday.

What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

I think Lance Michelli from the Michelli Family Series by Kristen Heitzmann has probably impacted me more than any other character. He has a heart to do the right thing, but he often struggles to figure out what that is. He wants God to use him and allows Him to do it in a big way, but he’s painfully aware of his failures. That gives me hope that God can still use me on the days when I feel more sinner than saint.

What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?

I’m not sure about the easiest, but I definitely have one that’s been the most fun to write. In Grasping Hope, the book I’m currently working on, I’ve got a grandmother character named GiGi B. She’s not your typical grandma. She’s quirky and full of sass and wisdom. It’s a blast writing scenes with her.

The hardest character for me to write would probably be Sharon, Katie’s mother, in Faith’s Journey. I have a wonderful relationship with my own mother. It’s nothing like the one Katie has with her mother. Writing that angst into their relationship while being careful not to leave you despising Sharon is probably what made her the hardest to write.

Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?

There are so many that I love for different reasons. I’d love to be a Joshua or a Caleb, ready to take the land despite the obstacles. But maybe I relate more to Peter. Ready to step out of the boat, but when the time comes my eyes drift from my Savior and I start to sink. Or maybe Elijah. He saw God do some awesome things, but still he struggled with discouragement. I’ve definitely been there too.

Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?

I’m not a planner. I never have been. After my stories get going, I can go back and fill in the details a bit, but even then, it tends to happen organically through the story. I do, however, flesh out the physical attributes of my characters before I write. Usually, I choose someone from television or movies to model the person after.  The GiGi B character I spoke about earlier has the looks of Helen Mirren and the attitude of Flo from Mel’s diner.

If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?

Stana Katic. I wish I could say it’s because we look so much alike! She’s a beautiful actress with a great deal of talent. But really, it’s just because I loved watching her in Castle. I think she could portray my personality with ease.

A Little More About Our Guest:

Heather Greer is a mom of four from Makanda, Illinois. Growing up as a pastor’s kid and now living as a pastor’s wife in small country churches, she has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of ministry life. She’s directed a local Christian youth camp for teens since she was barely out of her teens herself, and she has a passion for encouraging believers in their faith through writing. When she isn’t busy blogging, reading, or writing, Heather enjoys baking and binge watching her favorite geeky shows and Hallmark movies.

Heather Headshot 5Faiths Journey

Get In Touch:

email: bythebook724@gmail.com

facebook: @AuthorHeatherGreer

twitter: @Heather_Greer1

Faith’s Journey can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, and Booksamillion

 

 

 

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