What is your favorite craft book?
Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon. One of the best all-purpose writing helps.
Which do you think is the most underrated craft book? Why?
I have to go with Building Believable Characters for the win, Karin. With a character questionnaire, character thesaurus that includes face and body types, personality/identity, facial, body and vocal expressions, even clothing, dialects and foreign speech and names and surnames from around the world, for me it is my go to for over twenty years.
What is your favorite (or most anticipated) writers conference?
For readers who don’t know, most writers/authors are introverts. I also have adult attention deficit disorder. Therefore, unfortunately, I don’t look forward to conferences—except to see friends—because there are too many people and I struggle with sitting in classes. Now, having said that, I believe the best writers’ conference is the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference (www.acfw.org). I also believe it is a must for new writers.
What’s your favorite other source (YouTube, podcast, etc.) for writing tips/info?
Hands down, Thomas Umstaddt’s podcasts and newsletters, Author Media. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s been at it for ten years and is recognized by publishers, agents, editors, and bestselling authors. (https://www.authormedia.com/)
Who is your writing mentor/inspiration? Why?
Angela Hunt. With over 160 publications in both fiction and nonfiction she is, to me, the premier author. I call her the Meryl Streep of authors—she’s incredible versatile and talented. Hers was the first Christian fiction novel I read. The Debt was such a powerful book and demonstrated to me that Christian fiction could have edge with real life issues. I met Angie at a writers’ conference in Philadelphia nearly twenty years ago when I took her classes on plotting. A conversation over dinner began a friendship that has been such a blessing.
What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? Why was it bad?
“Write what you know.” Given I don’t know much about a plethora of themes, especially those relevant to this generation, I must research. Although . . . I suppose I can pull from my experiences and various emotions for general character development. What do you think?
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
From my mentor, Angie: “Your first draft will always be [garbage].” Think of Ezekiel’s dry bones (Ezekiel 37).
What would you say is the best writing tip for new authors?
“Just write.” Whether you begin writing on a legal pad, journals, slips of paper, backs of envelopes, or your laptop, write. Write every day in some form or another.
What is your best self-editing tip or advice?
Don’t begin editing until you’ve finished the first draft. Trying to edit while writing the first draft will keep us in the weeds. Until we finish the first draft we really don’t understand how to edit the story properly anyway. Just write!
Please share your most encouraging tip for frustrated/discouraged writers.
Find a writers’ group or buddy. We need other writers/published authors who see us and will be honest about our weaknesses yet encourage our strengths and cheer us on. Take the time to develop these relationships—which means reciprocity—because they can help us out of the self-pity pit. As well as talk us off the ledge of discouragement.
Tell us about your newest release/upcoming release.
A Penny Saved. A middle-grade fantasy/mystery co-authored with Cynthia L. Simmons about a twelve-year old boy, Mason, whose world turns upside down when he, his mother, and sister move into their grandfather’s house. Mason’s grandfather, a retired history professor, stays in his office filled with musty, dusty books, never realizing there’s a magical treasure hidden in plain sight. An 1860 Indianhead penny, named Penny, who is alive! When Penny goes missing, Mason helps his grandfather find her. Will Mason find Penny, and learn her secret?
Sweet Rivalry. A contemporary romance about twin sisters separated by a troubled mother as toddlers. They are reunited twenty years later through their love of baking. But can they truly be a family after such trauma—and family secrets?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks so much for this opportunity to share a little about my great passions—the Lord and writing! Keep reading and writing!
Award-winning author, YouTube personality, and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories and devotionals that speak of the power of the Father’s redeeming love and healing. She and her husband reside in the beautiful hills of northwest Georgia, but occasionally make their way to Chicago to visit their daughter, son-in-love, and grandson, the inspiration for Mason.