It is said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors?I like well-paced books with substance, such as strong social justice themes or overcoming great personal challenges – and also historical mystery with elements of romance. Compatible themes are often found in faction or non-fiction works, such as ‘A Friend like Henry’ by Nuala Gardner, and Ian Rayner’s story in ‘The Biggest Issue?’, but can be done well in fictional works, for example Francine Rivers ‘Redeeming Love’. I probably don’t have a favourite author as an adult reader, given part of the delight of reading is exploring each author’s unique style – and there are some great writers out there. That said, I’d really like to read more of Matthew Pearl’s work. From what I’ve seen he has a great storytelling skill.
What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?The most recent book I read was ‘Imogen’s Chance’ by Paula Vince. I really enjoyed this well crafted story, but I must say it took me by surprise. I swiftly summed up the story arc, assuming I knew where it was headed – lines being drawn between traditional Christian views of family versus younger sibling whose rejection of faith was about to be confronted by the reappearance of a old friend with some deep secrets. But in no time my expectations were flipped out of the pan as numerous layers began to emerge within the story, enabling exploration of deeper themes through the personal faith journeys of the main protagonists. It was different, in a good way.
What made you choose to write for the Christian market?I think it would be unnatural for my writing to not project a Christian worldview, in that my faith informs every part of my life. That said, Integrate is a book accessible across the market, but perhaps contrasts many popular YA titles by projecting an ultimately hopeful perspective.
What do you see as the main differences between fiction written for the Christian market compared with the general market?I’d like to believe books from the Christian market are positive reads that connect with readers on a deeper level than most, offering hope even in the face of insurmountable circumstances. That said, a friend and I recently discussed the increasing number of general market novels incorporating faith elements, which is great to see. I think to dissect people from their beliefs (whatever those may be) is like cutting off a part of them – it isn’t normal or healthy.
Do your novels have an overt faith element?Yes and no. It depends on the novel. ‘Integrate’ not so much. The faith element is really Blaine’s search for his own identity after a lifetime of having others choose for him. The plot of ‘A Devil’s Ransom’ is intricately hinged to the faith journey of Captain MacKinnon, so yes.
Is writing for the Christian market harder or easier than writing for the general market? Why?That’s an interesting question. I suppose it depends on what elements are required for a book to fit into a given genre. I’ve written non-faith based works and at times found it restrictive in that if any spiritual element is alluded to, it has to be attributed to ... well ... what? It is easy to slip into the category of fantasy, which is fine and can be fun to write, but when writing from a faith-based perspective, you can write out of experience and personal conviction.
What is the hardest part of getting a book written, edited and published?That depends if we’re talking about the fifteen years between drafting ‘A Devil’s Ransom’ and seeing it in print or the eighteen months from the in-a-month draft to print for Integrate! LOL! (They are such opposites!) Okay, I’m going to go with self-doubt. For myself, I know I always have more to learn as a writer. I stress over getting things right and berate myself when I miss stuff. There are also many gifted authors out there, which sometimes makes me look at my work and wonder if I’ll ever write so exquisitely. But I think there’s a point along the line where you’ve got to determine if the story that keeps running through your head is something you need to write and persist in seeing through to publication. Then don’t give up.
What advice do you have for someone seeking to write and publish a novel?Well, there’s the ‘don’t give up’ bit, but I REALLY believe in writers developing their craft. Constantly. Invest in it. Make connections with other writers. Get critiques and professional editing. I learned a huge lesson on that front some years ago. Hang, I’d written for a national magazine. I’d even written a few novel manuscripts. I could write. (So I thought.) Then I started a Master of Letters... That degree demonstrated I’d only just begun to learn what I needed for my writing journey. I still overlook things and make mistakes, even when I know better. (Sometimes attributed to ‘writer’s blindness’ – an inability to see errors in your work until it’s in print ... blah!) The writing road is long. Don’t rush along so fast you miss the lessons that mark the way.
Thanks so much for having me as your guest today, Iola. It’s been fun exploring my writing projects with you. If any reader would like to find out more about me and my work, they can visit my website at www.adelejonesauthor.com.
For purchasing details and general information about my novels, more information can be found on the publishers’ websites: http://rhizapress.com.au (Integrate) and www.roseandcrownbooks.com (A Devil’s Ransom).