I’m Joanne, w/a Josie Riviera. I’m interviewing debut author Naomi Rawlings today. Her first book Sanctuary for a Lady, came out this month, published by Love Inspired Historical.
A mother of two young boys, Naomi Rawlings spends her days picking up, cleaning, playing and, of course, writing. Her husband pastors a small church in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, where her family shares its ten wooded acres with black bears, wolves, coyotes, deer and bald eagles. Naomi and her family live only three miles from Lake Superior, where the scenery is beautiful and they average 200 inches of snow per winter. Naomi writes bold, dramatic stories containing passionate words and powerful journeys. You can find her on the web at www.naomirawlings.com or blogging at makinghomeworkblog.blogspot.com
So, Naomi, let’s get started and get right down to business. Today is Easter and I’m picking out my Easter outfit and . . . shoes.
What are your favorite kind of shoes?
Flip flops or sandals!
Though sadly, living as far north as I do, I only get to wear them for a few months out of the year. I spend the majority of the year in boots. Snow boots, dress boots, mud boots, etc. If you can name the type of boot, I have a pair, guaranteed!
Your book is wonderfully written. How do you find time to write with family and job obligations?
Balancing between writing and family is always hard. I don’t have another job, so that takes away some of the stress, but I try to write at times that work with my family’s schedule. I get up early in the morning, at 5:00 am, and write before anyone else is up. Then I try to squeeze more writing time in when my youngest is napping.
Actually, me and my crit partner found balancing writing and family to be such a struggle, that we started a blog about it. makinghomeworkblog.blogspot.com
Thanks for sharing your blog with us. We’ll be sure to check it out. What made you want to be an author?
Writing wasn’t a real drive that I had, so much as my love for reading. After my first son was born, I found myself reading a ton of books, and since I had an English degree, I decided to try to write one. I had no idea what I was getting into, but was thoroughly addicted to writing after the first couple weeks. I haven’t looked back since!
When did you decide to write inspy romance and how long have you been at it? Also, have you written other genres?
Inspy romance makes up the majority of what I read, and always has. It never occurred to me to try to write anything else. I love a good love story, and am perfectly content writing them. I’ve been writing for a little under four years, all together.
How do you get over writer’s block?
Um, I don’t let myself get it in the first place. I force myself to keep writing, even if the words come a little bit at a time as I try to get over a hurdle. Sometimes I end up going back and rewriting the scene that gave me trouble, but this way I don’t find myself stymied for days.
I love your French setting for Sanctuary for a Lady. How do you come up with your ideas?
Goodness, I’m a terrible person to ask this to. I tend to come up with a problem, often couched in some important historical event. If I can come up with a solid, story worthy problem, I can usually go from there. The central problems in Sanctuary for a Lady are, “What if you were trapped in a country where everyone wanted you dead. How would you get out? What if the only person who could save you was someone who had every reason to want you dead as well?”
I’ve just started planning the sequel to Sanctuary for a Lady, and the central question in that story is “What if you fell in love with the person you’re supposed to destroy?”
So as you can see, I like those deep, layered, multifaceted questions to start a story with.
How many books did you write before publishing one?
Three unpublished, and they will likely stay that way. I have no interest in going back and trying to resurrect any of them.
How many books have you published?
This is my first, and it’s super exciting to see something I’ve written in print!
On average, how long does it take to write your books?
It’s taken me ten months with both my debut novel and the manuscript I’m just finishing now. I’m hoping to shave that down to six months with my next story. Now that I have a better understanding of the writing craft and a better concept of what publishers are looking for, I think six months is a reasonable goal for me.
How have you coped with rejection?
It’s always difficult to hear something you worked so hard on isn’t going to work out. After I get a rejection like that, it usually takes me a week or so to get back into writing. Oftentimes I take a break from my own writing and camp out with some good books to read.
One thing that surprised me was how hard I found it to go back and revise a manuscript after I’d submitted it. When I finish a ms, I like to be done. But since I’ve been published, my agent and editor have sent me back to fix things in two different stories, and that’s hard as well.
What themes go through your books?
In keeping with those layered questions that often inspire my novels, I also like themes and struggles that have several different sides and can be looked at from several different points of view. In Sanctuary for a Lady, the main theme is forgiveness. My heroine, Isabelle, struggles with needing forgiveness from others because of past wrongs her family committed, needing to forgive herself, and needing to forgive her enemy. My hero, Michel, faces the need to forgive a society that has wronged him and his ancestors for generations, as well as the need to accept Isabelle may not be as guilty of hurting him as he originally thinks.
Which other jobs have you had?
My main job is being a mom, and that’s the only kind of “work” I’ve done since my oldest was born five years ago. Before that, I worked a smattering of temporary jobs to get myself through college. I have an English education degree, but have never taught.
What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?
Every author seems to have their own unique likes and dislikes of the writing process. My favorite part is the actual writing, where I get inside my characters head and type a scene for the first time, feeling their emotions and seeing through their eyes.
My least favorite part of writing is probably the business side of it. Everything from maintaining an appearance online, to having to submit proposals to editors as opposed to just writing the story the way I want to write it. Writing isn’t a business to me, it’s a passion. But for my agent and editor and publisher, it’s a business. I struggle to see my novels as business decisions.
What are you writing now?
LOL! I’m finishing up some requested REVISIONS from my editor on my second novel. Hopefully I’ll have a contract for that one shortly, and then I want to start writing a sequel to Sanctuary for a Lady, which my editor has requested I do next.
What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
Inspirational historical romance, which is what I’m writing right now! I just wouldn’t put so much revision work into the stories.
Why do you write?
Because I can, and because I love it, and because it’s such an awesome opportunity to inspire others. I love giving my hero and heroine impossible odds and watching as they overcome all obstacles to be together, and I think there’s a lot of inspiring things that readers can take away from such a novel.
Naomi is giving a free download to one lucky commenter today, so folks, please leave a comment.
Here’s an excerpt for Sanctuary for a Lady:
Running to freedom, she found love . . .
The injured young woman that Michel Belanger finds in the woods is certainly an aristocrat, and in the midst of France’s bloody revolution, sheltering nobility merits a trip to the guillotine. Yet despite the risk, Michel knows he must bring the wounded girl to his cottage to heal.
Attacked by soldiers and left for dead, Isabelle de La Rouchecauld has lost everything. A duke’s daughter cannot hope for mercy in France, so escaping to England is her best chance of survival. The only thing more dangerous than staying would be falling in love with this gruff yet tender man of the land. Even if she sees, for the first time, how truly noble a heart can be . . .
Thanks, Naomi, for joining us today.