December 19, 2008

Forsaking the Call

Filed under: book tour — unwriter1 @ 11:10 pm
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I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to interview the next great writer. Let’s now meet Lynn McMonigal, the author of Forsaking the Call.  This is the first of what promises to be a long line of good reading material.


1. Let’s start out simple. How long did it take to write, “Forsaking the Call”?
The first draft? It only took me 30 days! The idea had been in my head and sketched in a journal for a few months when I heard about NaNoWriMo in 2007. I thought it was crazy to even consider trying to write a novel in just 30 days, but I figured I would give it a try. Then I took the next year to edit and refine the story into what it is now.
2. How many rejections did it take before being accepted?
It actually was never rejected. It is a self-published book. Not because I thought I would not be able to sell it to a publisher, but because it was an offer from the NaNoWriMo people. After 20 years of dreaming about “someday” being a published novelist, I just did not want to wait anymore. Now seeing my name on a novel has really pushed me to work hard on the next novel to get it published by a traditional publisher.

You’ve got a good imagination. The next few questions will put it to the test.

3. You’ve been hired to write ‘a day in the life’ article. But you want music with you. You will spend the day with a sheepherder and his ranch. The only problem is, his ‘ranch’ is an apartment on the 43rd floor. What music do you want?
Well, the 43rd floor is pretty high up in the air. I would probably feel pretty close to God up there, so I would want some praise and worship music. Maybe Newsboys or Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James or Jaci Velasquez. I know!! I would want one of those WOW Worship CDs, with various artists on it.
4. You’ve won two tickets to nowhere, a small island in the mid Pacific. You’re allowed to take seven items besides clothes. What are they?
My laptop. Need t almost as much as I need oxygen!
My CD collection (that counts as just one item, right?)
Pictures of my sons
My Bible
Stationary set (gotta write home and to my friends!)
5. The shuttle needs a librarian for the space station. You’re it. But you can only take ten books. What are they?
Forsaking the Call, of course!
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Beneath the Surface by Michael Phelps
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
The Bible
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Any Karen Kingsbury Book
Grieving the Child I Never Knew by Kathy Wunnenberg

6. You’ve entered a drawing held in the space station cafeteria. You won! It’s a round trip ticket to Mars. You may take three books, four DVD movies and five music CD’s. What are they?
Anne of Green Gables
My Bible
One Tuesday Morning (or whatever Karen Kingsbury book I have on hand!)

DVD Movies-
White Christmas
27 Dresses

Music CDs-
Clay Crosse-Stained Glass Window
Michael W. Smith-The First Decade
New Kids on the Block-The Block
Shania Twain-The Woman In Me
Tim McGraw-Not A Moment Too Soon

7. It’s the end of your vacation. You’ve learned that you are allowed to take the little pet you’ve found on Mars. What is it, what is it’s name, and what do you feed it?
It is a large red Mars rock name Marsy (pronounced as Marcie). Marsy is a rock, so does not need to be fed. I have three sons, one cat, one dog, and one husband. There is no time to worry about feeding, exercising, and cleaning up after another pet. But I think I can handle a pet rock.

8. You’re back home. What is the title of the book describing your adventures?
Lynn’s McMartian Adventures

9. You have two novels started. Tell us a bit more about them, especially “The Ladies of Faith”. That sounds like a good mystery.
The Ladies of Faith actually started off as a series of short stories. I read them one after another and realized they could easily fit together. I had four women-Abby, Lorna, Emily, and Morgan-who attended the same church, but were all harboring secrets they did not want the others to know about. All I had to do was add a little depth to each character and the relationships they had with each other. It was actually a lot of fun! Of course, when the ladies in the Bible study I attend found out what I was working on, they told me I needed to stop coming to the study until I was finished!

It really is not as mysterious as you might think. What the women are dealing with are, for the most part, normal, everyday problems that are faced by women all over the world. All four women are very devout Christians and very involved in the church. Abby is the daughter of a pastor. Lorna is the wife of a pastor. Emily is married to a youth pastor. And Morgan has taught Sunday School for years. They are keeping the events in their lives private because they are afraid of what the others will think of them. How many Christian women have a cheating husband or a husband addicted to pornography or an unwed pregnant daughter? More than might be thought, but these women are so self-conscious about what they are dealing with that they are afraid to lean on one another. It makes for a pretty interesting dynamic.

Summertime, the other novel draft I am working on, came about because of my fascination with boy bands. It was inspired by some New Kids on the Block songs. Originally, I just wrote it for fun for a couple of friends who also love NKOTB. But then it grew and evolved into something I was not expecting. I am very pleased with how it is going.

10. Per our email conversation, you mentioned Kirk Cameron. The name is familiar but that’s all. Please tell us a bit more about him.
You don’t know who Kirk Cameron is? He played Mike Seaver on Growing Pains. Oh, I loved that show! I think Kirk is the first celebrity I ever had a crush on.

He is now a devout Christian, making Christian films and preaching rather than taking part in the more profitable side of Hollywood. I admire that. It is not always easy to speak about your beliefs, especially in this day and age, where those beliefs are often looked at as weaknesses.

Kirk shares his testimony on his website. He talked about sin being anything that is more important in your life than God. There was a time, he said, when he thought so little about God that his dirty socks were more important to him than God was. That really got to me. It made me think about my own life and what things that I put ahead of God. That led to the idea that other people, other Christians probably had things in their lives that kept them from devoting daily time to God. A devotional book, God Vs. The Dirty Socks evolved from that. It’s not finished yet, and needs a lot of work before I even feel comfortable searching for a publisher or agent for it.

11. To borrow a page from a friend of mine. Where can our readers purchase “Forsaking the Call”?
Forsaking the Call is available on Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com, and at my website, Lynn’s Corner

12. Ok, it’s your turn. Take as much space as you need. Tell our readers more about you. Why do you write, what is your muse, etc?
I was 11 when I first knew that I wanted to write. I liked to make up stories to tell my friends on the school playground. My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Niedzielski, convinced me to start writing down those stories. I wish I still had some of those, but I don’t. I’ve written short stories and poems since then, always dreaming that “someday” I would publish a novel. But I was never very disciplined about it. I thought it was a good thing to do in my spare time, but I didn’t think it was something that it was wise to quit my day job for.

In 2007, I was forced to leave a job because of pregnancy complications. My third son was born on May 10, a healthy 9 pound, 11 ounce bundle of joy. The day he was born, I started journaling. I talked about him, his big brothers, made up little stories about them. It was fun for me. And then when my doctor cleared me to go back to work, my employer refused to rehire me. They said that even though I had done work for them, I had left without giving a two week notice. I was bothered by that at first, but then I figured, “Maybe this is the time for me to write.” It has been great to be able to do it, to stay home with my youngest, be here when the older two get off the school bus, and still work at something that I love.

Why do I write? To keep my sanity! Nothing has ever made me feel as comfortable as writing. It helps me to release stress and just enjoy life. Writing helps to focus my mind and keep my clinical depression under control. It might sound cliché, but I write because I just cannot not write.


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