Thank you to all my friends and family, and to my new reader friends <3, for taking an interest in Bittersweet Goodbye. It's been so fun getting feedback from you. I love learning the character you connected with, the character you love to hate. The scene that made you cry. Your speculation on "who done it".
Interacting with my readers has been the most rewarding part of releasing this novel. So here are answers to commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave a comment with more questions. I never tire of discussing the characters of Bittersweet Goodbye. Who knows? Your feedback may help to shape their future...
Is Bittersweet Goodbye based on a true story?
No. The story is 100% fiction. It was incredibly difficult for me to create tragedy in Audrey's (the protagonist's) life. Not having suffered an assault or some of the other difficulties my characters experienced, I agonized over whether I was doing the characters justice. I questioned why I was creating a fiction story--entertainment--using heartbreaking circumstances that my readers may have suffered.
Ultimately, I prayed (and continue to pray) over the story. I concluded that God wants this story to be told so that others can experience hope through this fiction story. My favorite author, Karen Kingsbury, refers to her books as Life-Changing Fiction. Truly, a fiction story can change a life. After all, Jesus taught in parables.
100% fiction? Really? The main character sure sounds a lot like you.
Let me clarify. The story events are fiction. Admittedly, the main character is similar to me in many ways. She comes from a Christian family and attends a small church in Hastings, MN. She falls in love with a boy in youth group. She likes to run, and even runs for Bethel University. Oh, and she's blonde.
OK, that's a lot of similarities. But Audrey is a way better runner than I was. :) I purposely kept her similar to me so that I could get inside her head. I needed to make her believable. I did the "write what you know" thing. The secondary characters forced me to get inside the head of different personalities. Writing from the perspective of a young man was...interesting.
The novel I'm currently working on has characters with different backgrounds and attributes from myself. It's been a fun challenge, and sometimes I'm shocked at what the characters do.
Could someone really be as naive as Audrey?
Um, that attribute takes after me as well. So, yes. My high school friends could probably attest to that fact. ;)
Will there be a sequel to Bittersweet Goodbye?
A sequel is in the works.
When do you write?
Whenever I have free time and/or I feel inspired. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with plot ideas, so I turn on my PC and click away. I've jotted scenes on sticky notes at work (I hope my boss doesn't read this), and I've scribbled a bit of dialogue on a worship folder in church (Sorry, Pastor Scott. It only happened once. Maybe twice.) My favorite time to write is on vacation--when I'm relaxed and feeling inspired. It's funny, I remember where I was while writing certain scenes.
The scene where Trevor, the hero, stormed over to Audrey's house and demanded answers from her--I wrote late at night while lying on my bedroom floor, sipping a glass of Door County Cherry Wine. I'd come home from my sister's house after watching an episode of The Bachelor. I must've felt inspired for Trevor to find his true love. You know, since that's what happens on The Bachelor. Haha.
How long did it take you to write the book?
One or two years to write the story. Then about seven years of editing and learning the craft of novel-writing. Of course, I wrote pretty much only when I felt inspired since I thought of it as a hobby. Don't worry. The next book is well underway. You won't have to wait nine years.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to write a book?
Write every day, even if it's not good. Writing takes practice!
Read. I feel most inspired after I read.
Connect with other authors. Read blogs by other authors. Read books on writing in your genre. Have your work edited by a professional.
I'd love to chat more about the characters of Bittersweet Goodbye. Drop me a line.