I had an awesome experience over the winter. I wrote a serialized novel, Season One of Hidden Falls, which released in 13 episodes. Find out more about it here. If you haven’t read it yet, the advantage is now you can download all the episodes and read straight through.
I had such a good time interacting with readers on a special Hidden Falls Facebook page and accepting new friend requests. Here are some of the questions I had along the way.
Where did you get the plot idea for Hidden Falls?
I started with the idea of a small town as a cozy backdrop to the series. For me, characters usually rise up from my imagination while I’m doing the normal things of life. Then the plot comes from imagining how these characters, with their own secrets and inner wounds, might respond to conflict and trouble. Next it’s time to start stirring up trouble and see what happens. And of course we have to have cliffhangers! I wanted to make sure there was plenty of drama.
What other books have you written?
I wrote one historical series, Avenue of Dreams, set in 1893 Chicago in a historic neighborhood of wealthy families. The story lines entangle the lives of a fictional family with the people who work for them, all set against real events surrounding the World’s Fair of 1893. The titles are The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, and The Invention of Sarah Cummings. My second series, Valley of Choice, intertwines a contemporary Amish settlement and Amish ancestors from the 1700s, looking at the life choices characters made and why. The books in that series are Accidentally Amish, In Plain View, and Taken for English.
What is it like to write a book in episodes?
This kept me hopping! I’m used to writing the whole book and being able to review and edit multiple times. With this project, once an episode comes out, I can’t go back and adjust anything. And while readers were already reading, I was still writing, just a few episodes ahead of them. In that sense it feels like we were on the ride together, discovering the story together, getting to know the characters together.
How did you become a writer?
In my work life, I’ve had various jobs where my communication skills were important, so I’ve had years of practice at trying to understand a market and write in a way that resonates with those readers. Only in the last few years have I decided to try my hand at writing fiction for adult readers. So far it’s been a wonderful adventure.
Do you have a favorite character from Hidden Falls? Or, who do you admire and why?
I wouldn’t say I have a favorite—how can you ask a mother to choose from among her babies? The characters who are strong remind me that we can all draw on our strengths. The characters who are flawed remind me that we are all flawed. In our relationships with each other we both need second chances and have the opportunity to offer each other second chances.
What’s next after Hidden Falls?
In September, look for a book called Wonderful Lonesome, which is the beginning of a set of stories that take place in Amish communities during the 1910s. I’ve already jumped right into the second book of Amish Turns of Time, which is called Meek and Mild.
What interests do you have outside of writing?
Only recently have I discovered that I enjoy driving alone on the Interstate for two days at a time, listening to audio books or NPR. Obviously I don’t get to do that too often! Walking in the Colorado sunshine is something I do nearly every day (we get 300 days of sunshine every year). Pretty soon I’ll hang my hammock on the back patio and watch my flowerbeds come to life for a new season, and I love meeting friends for coffee or lunch to make sure we’re up-to-date on each other’s lives (which perhaps explains why there’s so much eating in HiddenFalls!).