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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Christmas YA Style: Author Interview with Kathleen Friesen

From now through Christmas, my interviews will be focused on books that have a Christmas theme. This is the first in the series. Hope you'll find some good reads for the holidays as gifts or something for yourself.

How did you come up with the idea of your book, Nila’s Hope?
This book follows my first (self-published) novel, Melody’s Song, because Nila, who was introduced in the first book, insisted that her story be told.

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
Just when her career as a carpenter and a relationship with Will Jamison are within reach, Nila Black’s abusive ex-boyfriend is released from prison. He’s out of jail, out for revenge, and making promises she knows he’ll keep. Nila will do anything it takes to save Will and her friends from the evil that will come their way if she doesn’t put distance between them—even if it means abandoning her new-found faith. What will it take for Nila to finally gain the freedom and love she’s longed for all her life?

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
Nila’s Hope wasn't intentionally a Christmas book, but the story takes place over the Christmas season—a happy coincidence, because I love Christmas.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
I love setting up the tree and decorating it with ornaments that bring back memories of special times and special people. We always read the Christmas story together when our kids were still at home, and that’s a tradition at least one of our children is keeping. I love that!

What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to mention)
My work-in-progress is Hayley’s Choice, and it features a young woman introduced in Nila’s Hope. Once it’s complete, I’d like to try a novella with a completely different setting, just for fun.

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?
It’s not an award or achievement of my own, but I was thrilled when a local public high school librarian bought my books for her students. I have to believe that was a “God thing.”

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
Good question. I’m still new at this business, but one thing I have to remember is to not compare myself with others. Easy to say; hard to do. Also, a good critique group is essential. Mine makes a huge difference for me with their corrections and encouragement. ACFW has some fantastic critique groups, worth the membership price just for that.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
Even though the big name publishing houses don’t even look at non-agented writers, there are many good smaller publishers who are willing to take a chance on a new writer. And indie publishing is gaining more credibility every day. Many experienced authors are going that route, and most are willing to share their experiences.

Any last words or tips?
If God has called you to write, do it. No excuses. Learn, listen, and interact with experienced authors. Remember, it’s not about you. (I’m writing to myself here.)

If you'd like to learn more about Kathleen's writing and books, here's some links to get you started.

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