Here's the answer to Nancy's questions. I'll put the questions in green and Nancy's answers in pink.
Have you always wanted to be an author or was there something else along the way you wanted to turn into a career?
When I was really little I wanted to be a nurse but that disapeered when I read my first Nancy Drew novel, and decided to be an author. For a while in high school I wanted to be a choral director but that was never as strong as the desire to write. I still think it would be fun to be a back up singer as a side job.
What was your inspiration to write the Lily books?
A man named Steven Arterburn, who founded women of faith, wanted to see a young women of faith library and he asked my agent if he knew anyone who could start off that series with a book about an 11 year old named Lily. my agent did -me! I took it from there- it was as if God was waiting for a seed to be planted because God blossomed it into an image in my head. After that, all mini women were my inspiration.
How did you become a Christian?
I was born into a Christian family and baptized as an infant. It never occured to me growing up NOT to believe in God and love Him and worship Him. My true commitment, however, came when I was 12. I was in a confirmation class, being prepared to make a personal decision, and I began to pray, really pray, with no one guiding me. It was real, Jesus was real.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
John 1:12-13, as translated in the Message. 'Whoever did want Him Whoever believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, Their Child of God selves' my ministry and life are wrapped around those verses.
What was one thing you were told as a tween (or teen!) that you wished you'd listened to?
I can't remember anything but I can tell you something I wish someone HAD said to me "You are a late bloomer but you will come into your own, God has a plan" That would have saved me from feeling like a geek
Did you have any pets growing up and do you have any pets now?
We only had one dog, Lucky, who died when I was a tween. My parents weren't big on animals. My husband, however, was and from the time we were married we at least had one dog. Right now we have two five month old yellow labs named Guiness and Genevive. They are wonderful companions, despite the slobbering and the chewing and the getting into michief.
Do you have any siblings?
I have an older sister, Phyllis. I had an older brother but He died when I was only 7, I still miss him sometimes.
Did you take anything in Collage that helped you become an author?
I think about it and everything I took in collage helped me as an author! Some of it I didn't think was of any use at all to me at the time when I was yawning through it, but I'm constantly realizing that biology set me up for medical things in my stories and psycology helped me create characters and, of course, all those papers I had to write as an English major taught me to use words and be disciplined and express myself. One of the most clearly influential courses was Public speaking! I've had to do a great deal of speaking and teaching as an author and I'm so glad I had that. I think everyone who wants to be an writer should have a good Liberal Arts education at a solid university.
How did you decide to write tween fiction?
It chose me! I was writing for teenagers and happened to meet the editor of clubhouse magazine, a focus on the family magazine for tweens (boys and girls) who asked me to do a story. I liked doing it so I wrote more. That same editor went to the book publishersat focus and said" Please ask this lady to write some books for kids" that's how it started. I have been in love with 8 to 12 years olds, ecspecially girls, ever since. It seemed to work not only because I could vividly remember those years in my life but because God apparently wanted me there.
If you could say one thing that every young woman would hear, what would you say?
You have one power and that is the power to be who God made you to be. Spend your life peeling off the false selves the world puts on you and find your true self, the self that was made to love, serve, and live in joy and peace and compassion.
Where did you get your inspiration for the Sophie books?
I had a student named Sophie when I was teaching in high school. I used to call her Sophie-Lophie-Loodle. She fascinated me with her imagination as a theater student (and her tinyness and high pitched squeaky voice). Years later, when I was asked to create a series that followed Lily she came immediatly to mind. Sophie Lacroix, of course, took on a life of her own, but I could always see the real Sophie in my mind.
How did you decide that Sophie was going to be a daydreamer?
I was something of a daydreamer myself as a kid, though not to the extent that Sophie is, because there was enough Lily in me to keep me focused in school. I also once read a short story called "the secret life of Walter Minny"that I dearly loved. If you read that story(I think it's by James Thurber but I'm not sure!) you'll understand where I got the idea for Sophie's dream life.
Where did you get your inspiration for the Lucy books?
I was meeting a lot of tween girls who were tomboys , and who didn't go to schools with a big sports programs or churches with large, active, youth groups. But nobody seemed to be writing books for them. And, like Lucy, I had a blind father who I was very close to. It all came together in a character I dearly love. I set the books in New Mexico because I love it there and I have family who lives nearby.
What's your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
Curled up on a chaise lounge chair on my screen porch with my dogs, reading a book- or going out on the boat with my husband and having a picnic in the cove. There must be a nap in there somewhere for it to be a perfect Saturday.
What would you say to someone who wants to become an author?
If he or she is a young person, like under 25, I would say do 3 things. (1) Read, Read, Read! (2) Write,Write, Write, not to publish but to practise the craft and develop style. (3) Live as much as you can (within the limits of safety, good sense and the law!). I would say not to worry about getting published. Most great authors don't get published until they are over 25, and usually closer to 30. The longer you wait and practise at your craft and find your writing voice, the longer it will take to get published, even when you hit 30 and have some importent things to say. Enjoy the deliciousness of writing freely now- then take writing classes in high school and collage. Know that becoming a good writer takes time and practise. Never lose the joy
Who is your hero?
Besides Jesus? My earthly hero was my father, who lived his life with God to the fullest because he knew he wouldn't live to be very old. He died when he was only 48 after suffering the devistation of Diabetes. He was a great father-he seldom complained- and he always, always trusted God. I wish he could have lived past my 14th birthday but his memory lives with me still, and I consider him my best role model.
If you could do one thing that you knew you wouldn't fail at, what would you do?
Have a mentoring acadamy for teen girls who want to seek a closer realationship with God and share that through writing.
If you could write one book that everyone would read, what would the theme of that book be?
Be who God made you to be, no matter what
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Nancy. I hoped you guys liked it