Friday, March 7, 2008

Guest Author: Susan May Warren

As a reader of Christian fiction for over a decade, I've devoured plenty of books. But I can only have a few favorites. Today's author just released one of my new faves--"Taming Rafe." This is Book Two in the Noble Legacy series. The best aspect, as far as I'm concerned? Her characterization--Rafe Noble breathes! One of Susan's earlier titles,"Happily Ever After" of The Deep Haven Series, is a close runner up. Very inspiring for me as a writer and delicious for me as a reader.

I'm thrilled to host her today. Here's our interview:

You were a missionary in
Russia for eight years. How does that work lead to becoming a writer? (When did you first decide to write?)

I was a writer long before I became a missionary. I wrote my first book in 1st grade! When I got my call to missions, I didn’t know how God might use my love for writing, but I gave it to Him, and He put on my heart to write the best newsletter I could, for His glory. So, for years, I dove into that, writing newsletters every month, and then writing devotionals, and finally magazine articles. Finally, He nudged me to write novels, and did some miraculous things to bring them to publication. So – one step at a time, following him led to something more than I could ask or imagine!

He’s done that in my life, too. Starting with faithfulness in the “small” things before He leads me to something bigger. And every time, it’s a learning experience and a deeper challenge toward faithfulness. Let’s talk about your early influences in writing and your favorites today.

Of course, Francine Rivers was and still is one of my favorite authors. I am also a huge fan of Dee Henderson, who really was my role model for great suspense. Today, there are so many great Christian authors, it’s hard to pick my favorites, but on my bookshelf today is Geoffrey Wood and Rachel Hauck, as well as the incredible Karen Hancock.

When you first began writing, what was your most challenging aspect (i.e. things like POV, description, characterization, etc.)

Keeping my Plot from running away with me! I love intricately plotted stories, but I’ve discovered that readers don’t like hugely twisted tales, so taming them into a streamlined, yet suspenseful plot has been a discipline for me. My husband (and editor) constantly remind me – simplify!

That’s fun, that your husband serves as editor. Great first reader. I noticed you put “For Your glory, Lord” on the dedication pages of your books, rather than say, family members’ names. This is unusual, (though I love it). Tell us about that decision.

“When I run, I feel his pleasure.” Eric Liddell wrote this, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s amazing to do what I love, for the One I love, and know that He loves it too. So – I give them all back to God, with joy.

I love that! I have Eric’s quote on my website (bottom of the home page), because it spoke to me like a rush when I first heard it. Tell us, when you sit down to write, and you’re in the flow, what’s your favorite part of writing?

Metaphors and theme! I love to see how God works out the deeper aspects of my characters issues in the scenes He gives me. It’s almost as if I’m seeing the redemptive work of God breathing through my (real) characters, and it takes my breath away. And then I realize, that he’s probably doing that work in me – and that’s even more amazing. I love the truth God shows me as I write. So cool.

He knows there are readers out there that are gonna be able to relate. Christian fiction is so effective for showing His goodness! Please share your greatest dream in writing.

I want to write a book that, 200 years from now, people say – Oh, that’s a classic. You have to read that. It’ll change your life. I want my own version of “Redeeming Love.” *g*

Awww… Okay, “Finding Stefanie,” the third book in the Noble Legacy series, comes out in September, 2008. Tell us about it and then, what’s next?

Finding Stefanie is the story of the Noble Legacy Cowgirl who finally gets to find her dreams – and it just might be in the boy next door, actor Lincoln Cash. Only, Cash is hiding a secret, and it’s one that just might destroy everything they love. It’s fun, and has a great twist at the end.

Between now and Stefanie, I have another book hitting the shelves – Wiser than Serpents. It’s about a woman who is caught in the web of human trafficking and the man who dives in to rescue her. I am donating 15% of the proceeds from this book to a great organization called IJM (International Justice Mission) an amazing group of heroes and heroines who fight human trafficking around the world. I’m really exited that Steeple Hill will be giving away this book at the Minneapolis Chapter IJM Fundraising Dinner.

That’s fantastic. That specific issue has been a prayer burden for me for some time. How exciting to give the proceeds like that and watch God move. Speaking of helping, you help writers through Book Therapy online (http://mybooktherapy.ning.com). What started this? And how do you balance your time?

I started My Book Therapy – mostly because I love to teach and learn about writing craft, and I thought others might enjoy it, also. I really love Club Book Therapy – or the Voices – group, and the way we interact and learn from each other. We have the unique opportunity as Christians to encourage one another without worrying about competition – after all, God is sovereign and has our writing careers in His hands. I know He’s blessing our group, and I can’t wait to see each and every one of the Voices books in print!

As far as balance? I simply write my blog every day, usually after I’m finished writing a scene. It helps that I organized the writing topics at the beginning of the year – we’re going through the Heroes’ Journey structure, and that’s been hugely helpful as I organize my own books.

Last question: Did you get to choose the cover photos for your Noble Legacy series? Great shots!

Yes and no – they sent me a few pics to choose from, and I got the thumbs up or down. I really fought for Rafe, tho. There were some who might have thought he was TOO cute. Is that possible? *g*

Wow! When I’m wearing my reader hat, I have to say, featuring heroes on covers only draws me to a book.

Thank you so much for visiting, Susan! It’s been a thrill having you here! We’ll watch for your next books: A Sovereign’s Daughter, Finding Stephanie and Wiser Than Serpents. You can check out her website at www.susanmaywarren.com to learn more about Rafe or his siblings, and to read the first chapter of Taming Rafe!

Readers, have you read Taming Rafe? (or Susan’s other work) Share your thoughts. Who are your favorite characters? What’s your favorite book? Let’s start chattin’!

5 comments:

Rachel said...

There ain't no such thing as a "too cute" cowboy! Good grief... I think Rafe is so cute that I have my "Who's Rafe?" stickers stuck on my metal filing cabinet so I can see him everyday. I just wish there were Nick ones too...

Rafe was wonderful. But I expect nothing less from Susie. I stayed up way too late 3 nights in a row to finish it.

I'm really excited about Wise A Serpents. The Mission: Russia books are hands-down my favorites.

Dawn said...

I have Susie's Book Therapy blogs delivered to my email box. They're a great help. Lately I've printed and stuck them in a binder with notes for my WIP as reminders of what I need to work on!

I've heard so many good things about "Taming Rafe." Sounds like a must-read!

Annette M. Irby said...

Rachel, that's too fun. Thanks for reading!

Dawn, I'd have to agree---her Book Therapy blogs are the best. Readers, if you're interested, you can sign up through her website: www.susanmaywarren.com Look for "Book Therapy" info and head on over. A great tool for writers.

:) Annette

Gavin said...

I haven't read any of Susan's books yet. But I've just purchased Flee The Night (Book 1 in the Team Hope series).
Have any of you read this, perhaps ?

Annette M. Irby said...

Gavin, I actually didn't read Flee the Night, but my husband did. He's a big fan of Susan's work, too. She has something for everybody. Let us know what you think.

Thanks for reading,
Annette