Tell us a little about Close to His Heart.
My working title was Love is… and I sought to explore the many kinds of emotions we call “love.” The two main characters experience several kinds of love from infatuation to mature, self-giving love. Moving through this range of emotions involves struggling with the implications of their faith and having to deal with severe disappointment and misunderstandings and the need for forgiveness and openness to God’s leading.
This novel is set in 18th century England. How much research did you have to do on that time period in order to write the book?
Actually, very little. Most of it was from my memory. I did about 5 years of research before my first book. This one was first written while I was living in Maldives in the middle of the Indian Ocean, based on what I recalled from those years. Additional research was needed after I returned to this country to fill in some holes here and there.
What is it about this time period that interests you enough to write about it?
Back in the 1970s, I read in some book that the 18th century was very similar to the 20th in basic attitudes and general dynamics. Applied science, technology, and the enlightenment were all impacting life as they have major influences today. Also, this was the time that John Wesley provoked a movement in England what was reputed to save England from the orgies of the French Revolution. As a Methodist, I was interested in how this might have touched the lives of people at that time.
Who is the biggest influence on your writing career?
The teachers in the Adult Education writing courses in Santa Barbara, all professional writers, were influential in developing my daily discipline and writing craft. Reading the works of C. S. Lewis (he did not know how to write poorly), and Georgette Heyer’s period novels for dialog, atmosphere, and social setting were very helpful.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Write. Set a time and place that works for you personally and write daily – or at least 5 days a week. If inspiration is on vacation, describe where you are, what you see and feel, anything to put words together. They will lead you into your material.
Select a book in “Your” genre by a top rate author. For 10 minutes each day, copy it by hand from beginning to end including all punctuation and not using any abbreviations. At the end of the 10 minutes, throw away the paper and go about what you are doing. At the end of a month, your writing will firm up and improve. It will still be in your style, but much better.
Read a lot. Read about writing by those who have done it well and read their works.
Have you written other novels you would like readers to know about?
Yes. Two were published in the 1980s – Love’s Secret Storm and Love’s Silent Gift. These also were set in mid 18th century, in southern England and London. Wesley actually makes a non-historical appearance in the first. They are now out of print, but available through Amazon.com.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself and your work? Take as much space as you need!!!
Writing the first draft is a relief as pent up ideas become concrete, and a joy, exploring new territory, and learning about these new characters. Polishing that draft through many more revisions can require work, thinking of how to fill in the holes left the first time, adding new things, removing others, shaping, pacing, more research, and surprising discoveries in the process. I would not recommend getting involved in this activity if you do not have to – that is if you are not driven by an inner compulsion. It requires that drive to carry you through to a good, finished manuscript, which the publisher may still see as needing more revisions. Oh yes, patient persistence is essential. And a lot of prayer.
Thank you, Leonora, for taking the time to answer these questions. I really enjoyed reading Close to His Heart and I look forward to reading more.
I’m glad that you enjoyed it. The next one, In the Aerie of the Wolf, hopefully will be out before Christmas. Thank you for this opportunity to visit with you about writing, one of my favorite topics.
For more information or to order this book, please visit http://nordskogpublishing.com/book-close-to-his-heart.shtml