Thank you for joining us on the Unexpected Dismounts blog hop with Nancy Rue. Nancy’s publisher, David C. Cook is sponsoring the blog hop with an opportunity to win some great prizes, including a $200.00 gift card for American Express.
- Read this fascinating interview with award-winning novelist, Nancy Rue.
- Be sure to comment on this post to let Nancy know you’re participating in the blog hop.
- Click here to Register to win.
- Follow this link to RSVP for the facebook party.
Tomorrow Nancy will be with author Travis Thrasher, The Journey is Everything. See you there!
JC: Nancy, you are highly respected as a powerhouse in the publishing world. With more than 100 books under your belt (WOW!), how do you continue to find fresh ideas and keep your works relative to even the youngest generation? Also, how in the world do you manage to be so productive?
NR: First of all, thank you for that, Julie. I don’t feel so much like a powerhouse as a goblet. The water has to be carried in something, right? So maybe I’m the carrier for the living water God wants passed around. God just keeps giving me ideas and I keep scheduling and re-scheduling so I can bring them all to fruition. I also hang out a lot with people from my various audiences; it helps to be an extrovert!
JC: You spent many years teaching writing and theater to high school students, and you’ve been recognized repeatedly for your incredible teaching skills as you speak to school groups and writers. What are three things you wish every writing teacher would understand about inspiring students to write?
NR: What a great question. I think those three things are:
- Recognize that everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone is going to tell that story the same way; help students find their own voices.
- Do that before you ever start talking about structure and (shudder) correct grammar; nobody frames a house without a blueprint and a rendering of what they want it to be in the end, yet we look at people’s first drafts as if we’re expecting the sheetrock to be on already!
- Teach audience and purpose. Give people a reason to write and a particular group of readers to write for.
And may I add that if the process isn’t fun, what, pray tell, is the point?
JC: Some of the strongest narrative structures “read like a play.” How does your theater background help you sculpt a story that readers “see” as they read?
NR: I do see the story in scenes, and I “block” them the way I used to block scenes before I went to rehearsal, so I could say, “You stand here and when she says this, you turn that way.” It helps me to see where everybody is and what they’re doing.
I also think of the overall plot structure in three acts, which I think a lot of novelists do. That helps me to think things like, “Is the audience going to be ready for a break soon? Is this too much dialogue – is the audience getting squirmy here?”
The fact that I did mostly children’s theatre helps me with the pacing, for sure!
JC: It must be difficult to choose a favorite from the stories you’ve written, but what three titles would you suggest for readers who aren’t familiar with your work yet?
NR: That’s almost like deciding which of your children you like best! In terms of my adult fiction, I would say The Reluctant Prophet, Unexpected Dismounts, and Healing Stones.
JC: Tell us a bit about your newest release, Unexpected Dismounts.
NR: Unexpected Dismounts is the second in The Reluctant Prophet trilogy, so you’ll see Allison moving further along in her journey as, well, a reluctant prophet. She continues to follow the Nudge of God, even when it takes her into deeper, darker territory.
She still rides her Harley, still works with the prostitutes who have come off of West King Street to Sacrament House, still struggles with her attraction to Chief, and continues to try to get full legal custody of Desmond, the mulatto orphan. There’s romance, mystery, action, relationship, and faith questions – all the things I like to read in a book myself.
The middle book in a trilogy is always the hardest to write, because there’s a lot of bridging that has to happen and as an author I’m not always sure it’s as dramatic as the first one. My editor assures me there is plenty of drama!
JC: You are an award-winning, bestselling Christian writer. Yet, you break many stereotypes people may have about Christian women. You ride a Harley. You opened a children’s theater troupe. You write to encourage women to feel empowered and confident. Discuss some of the stereotypes you’ve had to face as a Christian writer and how you’ve managed to reach broad audiences with your books.
NR: This is hard to answer without sounding as if I’m putting down some of my Christian sisters, so let me just say first of all that each of us is unique, and if we are all authentic, then we are ALL breaking down stereotypes, which are never a good idea in the first place. So as I answer this, I hope I also inspire women to seek out what is genuine in them and go ahead and be that, no matter what is expected generically.
With non-conservative audiences and readers, I always have to follow, “I write Christian fiction,” with, “but it’s probably not what you’re thinking.” Many people think all books written for the CBA are Amish romance or contemporary stories with black-and-white answers. While many, many of those books are lovely, it seems like my job is to say, “There is also something else that may move you.”
One false impression of Christianity that I’ve always tried to dispel is the idea that we think we have all the answers. In my experience, spiritually healthy people have more questions than answers, and that keeps us going to God for clarity. How dependent would we be on our Father if we had it all figured out?
JC: Sometimes people get the wrong impression of Christians. What do you want people to understand about your faith?
NR: I want people to get that not all Christians are alike, that we don’t all worship the same way, and we don’t all vote the same way. I want them to see that being a Christian means following Christ, not following a set of rules. When people are with me, I want them to see the love of Christ reflected; I don’t want them to feel like they’ve been spiritually mugged.
JC: Tell us a funny story that has happened to you as an author, perhaps while at a booksigning, conference, etc.
NR: I was once speaking at a conference for young girls, delivering my message of “Be who you truly are,” with all the passion I could muster. But then when I was signing one of those mini-women’s books afterwards, one of my fake fingernails went flying off. Very authentic. I haven’t worn press-on nails since!
JC: In ten words or less, what’s the main thing you want people to know about you. In other words, who is Nancy Rue?
NR: Basically, nobody can say I don’t try. Every single day. (And that may be the first time I’ve ever come in at word count!)
JC: And finally, since we’re approaching the season of giving and you’ve got some fabulous gifts in store for readers who enter your contest, what’s the best gift you ever received? And the best you’ve ever given?
NR: Last January, my daughter gave birth to a precious baby girl, and at the same time gave me the gift of being a grandmother. I thank God for little Maeryn several times a day. Surely the best gift I’ve ever given anyone was raising my daughter to discover who she is and to live authentically. I feel God’s smile over both.
JC: Thank you Nancy. I have long admired your talent and it’s been a true honor to interview you today. I’m thrilled to be included on your blog hop and I am certain my readers will enjoy your Reluctant Prophet series as much as I have.
NR: Thank you, Julie. This was delightful, just like you.