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I’ve been asked to participate in a blog hop. The assignment is to answer four questions about my writing, then select three other authors to answer the same questions on their blogs within the next couple of weeks. Be sure to see the links to their blogs at the end of this post and find out more about these wonderful writers. A huge thanks to Dana McNeely, president of Christian Writers of the West, for inviting me to participate! You can find her answers to these same questions on the Christian Writers of the West blog.

What are you working on?

I am finishing up my second novel, which is actually the third book in the series I am working on. It’s a contemporary romance about a Major League baseball player who’s managed to maintain a low key lifestyle, until now. Of all the recent changes in his life, three women prove the most complicating–a sports reporter, a sports agent, and the near-dead woman found in his home.

I’m also a third of the way through the second novel in this series, which follows the baseball player’s twin brother to Guatemala, where cartels are terrorizing the countryside for control of the drug trade. He meets and falls in love with a woman who does everything she can to avoid him. He’s determined to find out why, not knowing that the answer will cost him.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

My motto is “Fiction might not be real, that doesn’t mean it has to be unrealistic. There’s no room for perfect people in my stories.” Add to that sentiment “perfect lives, perfect situations, perfect outcomes”…you get the picture. Only God is perfect, so I’m not afraid to put my characters in real life, messy situations that they need a perfect God to help resolve. I’m also not afraid to diversify. My characters come from mixed backgrounds, races, classes, etc. You won’t find many novels with a main couple of two different races, where their racial difference is not the topic of the book. You’ll find such a thing in my writing. I try to stay true to each story put on my heart, choosing characters, setting, and backdrop that strengthen, not distract from, the plot. My main concern is honoring God by writing it to the best of my ability. I worry less about making it “fit.”

How does your writing process work?

Okay, real life again. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I have two 9-year-olds and a four-year-old empress. So…you can’t set a watch by my writing schedule. Sometimes I sit in the corner of a karate dojo with a laptop propped on my knees, other times I’m tapping in the notes section of my phone from the passenger seat of my truck while my husband drives to Costco. Being a night owl helps. Typically I write after I’ve put the kids to bed, spent time with my husband, and cleaned the house. (A nighttime clean is the most rewarding; it lasts more than five minutes.) So it’s not unusual for me to be typing and backspacing away from about 1 to 3 (or 5) in the morning. Every now and then I’ll pop into a Starbucks at opening time on a Saturday and stay until I’ve reached a word count goal. Ultimately I have to make time to write around my family’s schedule. Depending on what’s realistic any given day, I’ll set a time goal or a word count goal.

I’m also a pantser. I have a general idea of what’s going to happen in a story, and I make notes and loose (very loose) outlines. But for the most part the story unfolds as I’m writing it.

Why do you write what you do?

The stories I write originate in different ways: people watching, past experiences, “what if” scenarios, etc. Only the ones that continue to resurface–those that produce this sort of burning in my chest–actually make it on the list to become a full length novel. Writing is not just hard, it can be downright torture sometimes. But to quit would be to waste a gift I’ve been given and to choose not to honor God with it. That’s a choice I’ll never make. Plus, I have a suspicion that if I give up before that (ever-growing) list has been completed, I’d be subjected for a lifetime to small, relentless voices whispering “write me, write me, write me.” So I write.

Tag, you’re It!

Robin W. Pearson is a gifted writer who is also a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler. Her debut novel A Long Time Comin’ (formerly titled Women & Children First) was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest. She has done editing and article writing, and currently blogs about faith, parenting, and writing. She lives with Eddie, her husband of almost 20 years, and their seven children. Within the next week or so you can find her answers to these questions on her blog Mommy, Concentrated, where you’ll also find relatable stories about parenting with a focus on Jesus.

C. Joy Allen is a recent finalist in Clash of the Titles’ Olympia writing contest. She writes contemporary fiction and romance. She completed her first novel in January 2013, and has plans for another. When she’s not writing, she’s enjoying her marriage of fifteen years and counting, and homeschooling her four children. She also loves volunteering for American Christian Fiction Writers where she is a member. Within the next couple of weeks you can find her answers to these questions on her blog To See Joy, where you’ll also find other enjoyable blog posts about faith, writing, and life in general.

Ruth Douthitt – In 2004, author Ruth A. Douthitt completed The Dragon Forest, which was picked up by OakTara Publishing in 2008 and released in April 2011. Ruth currently teaches Writing/Language Arts at an elementary school. She enjoys running, gardening, and drawing in addition to writing. She lives in Arizona with her husband. Within the next couple of weeks you can find her answers to these questions on her blog The Writer’s Pen, where you’ll also see some of her amazing artwork and find access to her books.