A: Of course it feels wonderful, a dream come true. Every writer hopes people will enjoy their stories so when they do and they tell you about it, it makes all the hard work and effort you put into it so much more sweeter.
N: The novel has also been seen by some who have read it as being able to cross over to a secular readership, to those who may not typically read Christian fiction. Do you feel FIRE AND ASH would be enjoyable to many readers in the general market? Do you feel that perhaps some of these lines that are drawn in publishing are arbitrary?
A: I certainly hope so. You can tell a good story and still glorify God. Aside from my heroine grappling with her faith, the only difference between FIRE AND ASH and a secular book is bad language and sex. For me, adding the faith element creates depth to my characters as well as the story. Like real people, they struggle with life decisions, but they find strength and hope in God. FIRE AND ASH has several layers to it including, inspiration, romance and suspense. I want to thrill people and inspire them, but I don’t want to preach to them. My books have Christian messages weaved into them, revealed through the lives of my characters.
And yes, some of the lines are arbitrary. One of the things I like best about being published by small, independent publishers is that they don’t try and box you in by some neat little formula.
N: How did you go about developing the characters of Sadie McGregor, your heroine, and Sheriff Quinn Harrington, your hero?
A: When creating my characters I always use charts that include their backgrounds, ambitions, traits, what motivates them, etc. While developing Sadie’s character I asked myself what would drive her to be a fire investigator. It had to be more than just her uncle’s influence so I made her a fire survivor. Since one of my characters is usually struggling spiritually, she had to be responsible for the fire that killed her family. I then threw in some other obstacles that over the course of her life, has caused her to doubt God’s love for her and her inability to forgive herself for the fire. In order for Quinn to reach Sadie and prove to her that God does indeed love her, he had to experience loss too. Only the loss of his wife has made his faith stronger.
N: It seems that in addition to writing award winning novels it would seem you’re an avid reader and also like to write book reviews. Is your favorite genre suspense?
A: I am an avid reader but I’m a horrible book reviewer. I know how hard it is to sit down and pour your soul into a story and I just can’t bring myself to rate someone else’s work. And yes, suspense is my favorite genre! I do like an occasional thriller too.
N: Ultimately, what would you like your readers to take away from FIRE AND ASH?
A: I think, or at least hope, my two strongest messages are how God sometimes allows bad things to happen in our life so we can use our experiences to help others, and how. He places people in our lives to help us on our journey.
Thank you for the interview, Nike. You asked some tough questions but I enjoyed it.
FIRE AND ASH can be purchased at Desert Breeze Publishing. http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok