Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Meet Christian author Lynn McMonigal
I'm pleased to present author Lynn McMonigal to my blog. Lynn has been telling stories from the time she was a little girl, when she would gather her dolls and stuffed animals together at bedtime. She has published two books, the latest being "Summertime." She was sidelined by "real life" until 2007, when she felt a writing switch flipped on and knew she had to write. Lynn, tell us a little bit about "Summertime."
Lynn: Thank you for having me here, Katie! "Summertime" is based on two songs--one by New Kids on the Block and one by Joey McIntyre. I began writing it last summer, after NKOTB announced their reunion. The story evolved a lot from what it was originally, though. It started as just a joke for a friend. Then I started to think how things might be different if the people in the book were Christians. It moved on from there.
The book revolves around Laura Bell, an entertainment journalist and single mother of a nine-year-old girl. She has not seen the girl's father since she became pregnant, before she became a Christian. When she runs into him in New York City, she has to face the fact that she still loves him. The question is, does he still love her? And how will he react when he finds out about the daughter she has kept from him?
Katie: "Summertime" has a strong Christian theme. Did you draw from your personal faith in writing this book?
Lynn: Yes, I did. My Christian faith is a very important part of who I am. At least a little of it spills out into every story I write. A lot of the prayers that Laura utters are ones I've said over my own children.
Katie: I see that you have a third book, "Ladies of Faith," coming out later this year. This is another faith-based novel. Do you anticipate writing only faith-based literature? Why or why not?
Lynn: As I said, my Christianity is a big part of who I am. From a very young age, I believed that God had given me this storytelling ability for a reason. It is something that I enjoy, and I feel like I owe it to Him to use it for His glory. I write because I feel that is what God wants me to do. If I don't keep Him at the center, it's not worth my time.
Katie: Lynn, you mentioned that you have a short story published as well as your books. Which format do you like better - books or short stories. Why?
Lynn: I like them both. It is probably novels that I like best, though. I like to talk a lot, but I tend to be a bit shy. When I am writing a book, the shyness doesn't matter so much. I can really open up and say everything that is on my mind.
It is also easier for me to write novel-length stories than short ones. Limiting my characters to under 2,000 words is not easy! I can always find more to say, more for them to do. And when I have to cut scenes . . . it's almost like choosing which of my kids I like the best.
Katie: These days, authors have to take on marketing and promoting themselves. How much marketing and promotional work have you done, and what do you have planned for the future?
Lynn: I have joined several social networking sites to help in promoting my work. Facebook and Twitter--I am on those almost every day. My sons say I am addicted! But both are easy, inexpensive ways of getting my work known. I'd be crazy to just ignore them.
I've also contacted local businesses--bookstores, TV and radio stations, coffee houses, the library--about my books. I have done two book signings here in town, one TV interview, and I have a reading scheduled for May 8. Also, my mom and my best friend throw a party for each of my new books when it comes out. There is a BBQ being planned at my parents' house to celebrate "Summertime." It's a fun way to let my friends know about my newest work.
Katie: What is your favorite and least favorite aspect of marketing?
Lynn: I mentioned earlier that I am shy. That makes the marketing difficult. I've made some cold calls to local churches. It's so hard for me to talk to people I don't know. I am working on it, though. Each signing and phone call, it gets a little easier to speak. I am so busy that sometimes I wonder how I am every going to write another book with all the work I am doing to promote the current book.
My favorite aspects? That would have to be the feeling of being close to God as I do it. I couldn't make these phone calls, do an interview, or read in front of a crowd without His help. Every time I start to get a big head about something I've written, I have to do the promoting work. That forces me to lean on God. It keeps my life in the proper perspective.
Katie: What advice would you give to authors who are considering writing faith-based novels?
Lynn: GO FOR IT!!! No matter what you write, there are going to be people--strangers, family and friends--who will criticize and ask you why you even both. But as long as you write from the heart and tell the story God wants you to tell, that is what matters. It will all work out if you remember that you are doing it for Him and not for others.
Katie: Thank you for being a guest on my blog today, Lynn. Remember, "Summertime" is not available until May 26. Until then, preorders for the book can be placed at Lynn's Corner. You will not only receive an autographed copy of the book, but you will get free shipping! Also check out Lynn's website.