All right, so I forgot about this bonus too. That makes *three* spotlights this week and three chances to win a free book. It's a boom-town here at Fiction-Filled Life. :)
Roxanne Henke's first novel, After Anne, was selected as Christianbook.com's Favorite Book of 2002. Her subsequent four books (Finding Ruth, Becoming Olivia, Always Jan, and With Love, Libby) have appeared on a Bestseller list, been "Top Picks" for Romantic Times magazine, and given a Retailer's Choice award. Her most recent release is titled, The Secret of Us. Roxanne was named Writer of the Year at the 2003 Mt. Hermon Writers Conference in California, and has served on the faculty of the Glorieta Writers Conference in New Mexico. In addition to writing, Roxy also speaks and teaches at conferences and events across the nation on the topics of friendship, depression, achieving goals, and writing. She writes from her home in rural North Dakota, where she lives with her husband and an annoying-friendly dog. She has two, young-adult daughters who are also friendly…but not annoying! Two wonderful son's-in-law have recently been added to their family. You can find Roxy on the web at: www.roxannehenke.com
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1. You've taken a turn from your Coming Home to Brewster series with this new book. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
Hi, Tiff! Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog!
Yes, I have taken a turn from my Brewster series. After writing five books in that series my middle-aged brain was having a hard time remembering all the details (and characters) in the previous books. . .it was time to move on. My newest novel, The Secret of Us is my first stand-alone story. It deals with the topic of marriage. I have been married for thirty-three years (I got married young!) and I thought I might have something to say about that topic. Turned out...I did!
2. How much of your own experiences influenced the character of Laura? What aspects became traits that were hers and hers alone?
I think the story of Laura and her husband, Donnie, will be somewhat familiar to most any couple who have been married long-term. Starry-eyed romance eventually fades into the day-to-day realities of everyday life. In thirty-three years of marriage I know it takes commitment and work to keep a relationship fresh. So, in that respect, Laura's story is mine.
However, Laura's hobbies, painting and an attempt at quilting, are not mine! I wish I was an artist. I wish I liked to quilt. But putting together a plot is about as creative as I get.
3. What themes exist in The Secret of Us that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
In this story I wanted my readers to identify with the fact that marriage is "hard." A good relationship takes time...and work. It involves commitment even when love feels far away. Keeping the lines of communication open is important. Some times it's easier to get over-involved in a career and/or hobbies than it is to focus on the relationship that is right under your roof. Love needs tending.
4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
What part was most difficult? How about…the whole book! Ha. If my stories flow smoothly for the reader it's only because I agonize over every sentence. I want each word to sound "real" for that character. Writing is hard (at least for me). A writer raises-the-bar on herself with each new story. It becomes difficult to craft a better story each time when you're aware of certain techniques and try to incorporate them (or not) into a story. As the old saying goes, "I love having-written." In other words, while the actual crafting is difficult, rereading and tweaking what I’ve written is the fun part.
That said, my favorite part of the book to write was about Stasha and Josh's new marriage. It was fun to remember back to those days in my marriage and recall the early getting-to-know-each-other times and the newness of young love.
And, then, of course, writing 'the end' of a story is always fun because that's when the characters finally get to solve their problems. Resolutions are always nice.
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
I have just finished my next manuscript. The next step will be for my editor to take a look at that book and share his suggestions to make it better. It is a story that deals with the topic of "parenting." It's a bit of a departure for me in that my other books have taken place over the period of approximately a one-year time span. This book, however, covers eighteen years in the life of a young girl and her mother...birth to high school graduation. I have a working-title for the book, but those often get changed, so for now let's just say it's "untitled." The book will be released January of 2008. Right now that seems like “forever” away...but I know how time flies when I'm writing.
And when I'm being interviewed on a blog! Thanks, Tiff, for the fun and challenging interview! If anyone would like more info about my books they are invited to swing by my website. Wishing you good books and time to read them!
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Thank you, Roxy, for being in the spotlight. We love having you here.