Category Archives: What Would You Change?

What would bestselling author Linda Goodnight change in her life?

linda goodnightAfter a break I am back featuring Christian Authors answering a few questions about time travel and writing.  I’d like to thank Linda Goodnight for taking the time to answer these questions. She is a USA Today and NY Times bestselling author. I urge you to check out her website listed below and buy some of her books.

Linda Goodnight

1.        If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?

 I am a history buff. Love the stuff. And there are so many historical events I would love to have witnessed—the ride of Paul Revere, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the first Thanksgiving, and a ton of others. But if I have to choose one, the moment in history that I find most important is the morning Jesus rose from dead. Wow. I would love to have been in the garden near the tomb at that moment. Those people truly had their faith become sight.

(I agree with Linda. History is amazing, but nothing more than Jesus rising from the dead)

2.       Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?

 During the Roman persecution of early Christians because…well, I am one, and I don’t want to be tossed into the Coliseum with lions or drawn and quartered or burned alive as a human torch. (Although sadly, atrocities against Christians are becoming frighteningly similar today.)

3.       If you could go back in time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

 Mostly, I am happy with my career. It’s been good to me and my family, but I was often a coward about forging ahead into the new ventures I really wanted to do. For instance, I’ve wanted to leave series and write single title mainstream books for years but was afraid of failure. If I could go back, I would have jumped out there much sooner.  Oh, and I would have hired an agent sooner! I really wasn’t as smart as I thought I was.

4.       When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

Quantum Leap. Anyone remember that old TV show in which the main character was thrust into a new time period each week?  It was so much fun and I never missed it.

(Amazingly I never watched Quantum Leap. Its probably quite dated now)

5.       If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why? (can be lighthearted or serious?)

 That’s a poignant question today as I’m thinking of my late son, whose birthday is today. Knowing that I would lose him so young, I would have spent so much more quality time with him. Better yet, I would have nagged him into having a scan months before he discovered the cancer was already too advanced. If I had done that, when my mother’s intuition said something wasn’t right with my child, he would still be here today to eat yellow cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and listen to his crazy family sing happy birthday.

(Thank you Linda for sharing this very personal moment in your life)

6.       Tell me how I can introduce you. Name, website, published books, etc. Blog

 New York Times Bestseller Linda Goodnight   www.lindagoodnight.com  The next book from Love Inspired is Cowboy Under the Mistletoe in early Nov., 2014.  The Memory House from HQN hits the shelves in April, 2015.

What would author Julie Jarnagin change in her life?

Tonight I am posting author Julie Jarnagin’s interview I did a few months ago.  I want to thank Julie for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to check out her website below.bio-juliej

1.       If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?

 I would travel back to see a Shakespeare production at the Globe Theatre. When I first started reading Shakespeare in high school, I always dreamed about what it would have been like to see it in his day first hand.

 2.       Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?

 I probably wouldn’t have done well in a corset. As a woman, I’m thankful I’m in the here and now!

(not sure I can relate to that, but I would take a pass on the powdered wig era.)

 3.       If you could go back and time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

 I would join American Christian Fiction Writers sooner. Being part of a supportive writing community has made a huge difference in my career.

(This is a common thread among every interview. There is so much help out there for writers of all levels.)

 4.       When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

 It’s a Wonderful Life would be my favorite. Maybe it’s more “alternate universe” than time travel, but it’s a great movie.

(Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life”

 5.       If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why?

 I wouldn’t have stressed out so much about my grades in college…but don’t tell my sons I said that.

You can learn about Julie at

www.juliejarnagin.com

She’s the author of a series of Christian romance novels, Canyon Walls, Canyon Crossing and Canyon Cafe. 

 Julie Jarnagin

 

What would editor Marisa Deshaies change in her life?

It’s been a busy week, dealing with the Kansas City Royals losing the World Series and also planning and having my launch party for my novel THE DAY SHE DIED. But I also wanted to get back to my series featuring friends in Christian Fiction talk a little time travel. I’m thankful Marisa Deshaies took the time to answer my questions.marisa deshaies My comments are in italics.

1. If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?
Without a doubt, I would travel back in time to witness the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. When I was fourteen years old, I saw the movie Pearl Harbor for first time and instantly became obsessed with the story, the heroism, the romanticism, and the bravery of the Greatest Generation. To this day World War Two history is one of my favorite subjects to study and read about.

I agree nothing beats a great World War 2 novel. I love Sarah Sundin’s romance novels set in that era. But Pearl Harbor would really be depressing to witness. I’d want to do something to stop it.

2. Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?
As much as I like to read about the Medieval time period—and really, all time periods before it—I would not want to have lived through any time period earlier than the Middle Ages. Castles, knights, and ladies-in-waiting are no substitutes for showers…

…showers, and air conditioning, and indoor plumbing.

3. If you could go back and time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

I am quite happy with the foundation of my writing and editing career. However, one subject I cannot emphasize enough—and one that I did not understand the significance of while in my undergraduate career—is the importance of internships while a student is in college. I hold a M.A. in professional writing and my B.A. education is strong, but I only held one internship in publishing while I studied at University of Delaware. Many companies are looking for entry-level applicants to have a lot of experience prior to beginning their professional careers. Students should have multiple internships, volunteering positions, and jobs (part-time or otherwise) before graduating from college because real-life experience is just as important as a quality education.

I too focused too much on education and not enough on real world experience.f

4. When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

Lost in Austen, a fun movie about a young Londoner obsessed with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is an excellent time-travel story that any woman who has dreamed of meeting Mr. Darcy will enjoy! I won’t say anything more than that on the plot of the movie, but if you’re an Austen fan, I highly recommend this movie!

I loved the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice movie, but that’s as far as my Jane Austen experience goes.
5. If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why?

I actually do not like to entertain the idea of reliving moments or doing things different because I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that we can always learn from each experience we have, positive or negative. However, three years out of my undergraduate career, I still love the idea of going back to college again. The idea of spending more time in college classrooms for lectures on literature sounds lovely and quite enjoyable.

Marisa hits on one of the point my novel. We should not dwell on our past because we can’t change it. But it is fun to think about the good times and how we’d like to do them again. hmmm, but  college? Maybe the all you can eat cafeteria where everything was already cooked.

Be sure to check out Marisa’s website below where you can check out her writing services as well as book reviews.
Marisa Deshaies
Editor and professional writer
Book reviewing and promotions
A Way With Words (http://www.mdeshaies.wordpress.com)

What would author Eleanor Gustafson change in her life?

After watching the Royals win game 3 of the World Series, I thought I’d post an interview I did with author Eleanor Gustafson about time travel and writing.eleanor gustofson

1.       If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in
history, what event would you choose, and why?

 The coronation of King David, roughly 1000 BC. Not only was this an enormous event in biblical history and the high point of the Israelite monarchy, but it was an especially satisfying moment, David having endured 10 long years of dodging the anger and madness of King Saul. Also, David was the kingly precursor of Jesus, who was often referred to as the son of David. I cared enough about this man to write The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David, an effort that took roughly 15 years. Excellent Amazon reviews on it.

2.       Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive
during. Why?

The Old Testament period of the Judges, a time when “every man did what was right in his own eyes;” Too close to what’s happening now.

 3.       If you could go back and time and do anything different in your
writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

 I would not do much differently, except to undo some of the stupidities of early adulthood that you imply in your premise.

4.       When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie,
or TV show on the subject?

Again, a novel I wrote—Wild Harvest—in which a modern girl meets a boy of 1796 over a stone wall in Vermont. The two have very differing moral and spiritual values, but those values intersect and cross each other, leading to a dramatic climax. The ending, however, was a bit challenging, but I learned from this particular stupidity to craft more satisfying endings.  :  )

5.       If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different
or many things different, what would you do and why? (can be lighthearted or
serious?)

God has been gracious to me, and I have no complaints about even tough things along the way. The ability to laugh and love has carried me through an extraordinary array of adventures. This fall (October 4), my husband and I are hosting a tree-farm tour on our land in Vermont to celebrate our 50 years as tree farmers (logging, improving the forest, making firewood, maple syrup, etc.). Y’all come! Wild Harvest grew out of our own experiences.

Ellie Gustafson has written the below books. Be sure to check out her website.

Appalachian Spring

Wild Harvest

Middle Night (self-published and a little strong most readers)

The Stones

Dynamo—excellent reviews on that one, too.

www.eleanorgustafson.com and hit blog. i try to keep my blogs short and punchy. Contact information is also on the website.

Let me know if you need more input.

What would author Donn Taylor change in his life?

With THE DAY SHE DIED releasing on October 15, I took a little break from my series featuring Christian authors talking about time travel and writing (see links to the right to purchase my book). Donn is a great guy and we at one time were both clients of agent Terry Burns.donn taylor I want to thank Donn for his time. Be sure to check out his website and his novels.

1. If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?

Tough question because there are so many possible answers. Certainly nothing in biblical history, because actually seeing it happen would eliminate the higher experience of belief through faith. I am curious about what actually passed between Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, when the trusted traitor Alger Hiss was advising Roosevelt. But I think I’ll settle for something less ambitious: I’d like to know exactly how the British naval hero Horatio Hornblower won a group of European slaves away from their African masters without firing a shot or paying a shilling. His biography is silent on that.

I think Donn just pitched two novels I would like to read some day.
2. Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?

The most obvious answer is any time before antibiotics, because my life would have been very short. (Antibiotics came in while I was in grammar school.) That said, I think it would be being draft age in World War I. That war saw the first use of heavy artillery, chemical weapons, and (worst of all) widespread employment of machine guns. None of the generals, not even Pershing, figured out what to do about the machine guns. Firepower too greatly exceeded mobility, and this resulted in mass casualties on all sides. I’ve seen the vast collection of unidentified bones in the charnel house at Verdun, and I’m happy not to be one of the featured attractions.

So much complaining about life today, yet medicine has made life longer and more fulfilling. An possibility not likely if you fought in WW1.

3. If you could go back in time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

My development was slowed by my idea that I could do it all on my own. To live it again, I would aggressively seek the advice of knowledgeable persons and be more active in critique groups. In particular, I wish I had known about five years earlier that there was a market for Christian fiction.
4. When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

No contest on this one. It’s Robert Heinlein’s novel The Door into Summer. Many reasons here. First, the book itself is simply delightful in working things out ingeniously just the way you’d want them to come out. Second, Heinlein’s basic metaphor involves a tomcat who, on the first day of snow, refused to go outside until he’d seen that no door of the house opened into summer. When stationed in Verdun, we had a tomcat who actually did that whenever it snowed. So I re-read the book then and have enjoyed it again since then. It bears several re-readings, and it never fails to delight. I recommend it even for those who don’t like sci-fi.

A new book added to my “to-read” list.

5. If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why?

The most serious answer is that I would give more serious consideration to my parents and much less to my own headstrong wishes. My father had lost a year to polio when he was nineteen, and he walked with special shoes, three braces, and a cane ever afterward. He’d planned to be a surgeon but settled for being a professor, and he adapted to whatever circumstance he faced without complaining. More than that, he insisted that his sons not be bothered by his physical limitations. I did not understand the courage his life required until I was an adult. (My poetry book is dedicated to him.)
However, there is one less serious thing I would change. In my freshman and sophomore years in college I ran middle distances—never lost a two-mile in either year, was undefeated in the mile my second year. In the last mile I ran, I slowed down in the third lap because I expected a close race in the two-mile to follow, yet I came within two seconds of my best time. If I could live it again, I would push that third lap and try for a record. It was the last college mile I ran: That summer the draft flushed me out of school and I never ran college track again. (That, however, I would not change.)

Regrets about sports can seem trivial to some, but really was the basis of how I began my novel. Any activity you have passion for and devote a lot of time to can result in regret.
Name: Donn Taylor
Website & blog, etc.: www.donntaylor.com, www.facebook.com/donntaylor.
Books:
Lightning on a Quiet Night (November 2014 Release)
Deadly Additive
Rhapsody in Red
The Lazarus File
Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond

Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges.
Now retired from teaching, he lives near Houston, Texas, where he writes fiction, poetry, and articles on current topics.

 

What would author Erin Taylor Young change in her life?

Tonight, Erin Taylor Young answers a few time travel questions for my website. I’ve known Erin a quite a few years as we’ve attended local writing conferences together and then were original members of the Oklahoma City ACFW chapter. Erin’s first book came out just a few months ago, and you can read about it below.erin taylor young

My comments are in italics.

  1. If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?

I’d have to say the crucifixion. It would horrify me, but that’s the point. It’s so easy to minimize, to forget the cost Jesus paid for us.

Definitely not an easy answer, but choice all Christians should consider. Was THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST movie an experience like this? I believe it was for many people.

  1. Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?

Any time before air conditioning. I’m a hot weather wimp.

And for some reason, when there was no air conditioning, people wore more clothes.

  1. If you could go back and time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

Oh, do-overs on all the times I was nervous, flustered, or tongue-tied and ended up saying something really dumb to an agent or editor. I’ve always wished I had a super power called Stupid-Impervious, where I’d be incapable of saying or doing anything stupid.

4.  When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

Back to the Future. Such fun movies!

A great series! Which is your favorite. I would go with the third. But Biff building his fortunes with the sports almanac in the second one is really cool, even though he uses his power for evil.

  1. If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why?

I’d make my Sabbath day far more of a priority much longer ago–spent more time in prayer, soaking in God’s word, and hanging out with Him. I’d be more intentional in living with one foot in heaven. I wish I better understood long ago how creating–writing, drawing, or whatever–is an act God wants to do WITH us. And He is infinite, so we can never run out of creativity.

Great answer, Erin. I definitely need to partner with God more in my writing and in my daily life.  The great thing is it is never to late to start.

About Erin

Erin Taylor Young is a humor writer whose debut book, Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe, has been repeatedly accused of making people laugh until they cry. Find out for yourself at www.survivinghenry.com. When she isn’t writing or rescuing the dog from mortal danger, she works in a library where she gets to wander among books. Learn more about Erin at www.erintayloryoung.com where she blogs about writing, God, and her aversion to spiders.

What would author Elizabeth Maddrey change?

Today I am featuring author Elizabeth Maddrey on my website. I’m grateful she took the time to answer my questions about time travel. I love her answer about a time period she would hate to live in. I think she speaks for all of us alive today! Take a look at the bottom of the post to see how you can check out Elizabeth’s books and website.elizabeth madrey

1.       If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?

The Tower of Babel. I think it’d be fascinating to see everyone suddenly unable to communicate – groups of people who could understand one another clumping together and the mass confusion and chaos that demonstrates just how awesome God is and how He won’t be challenged by our puny efforts. 

 2.       Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?

 My answer isn’t a traditional time period you read about in history books, but it’s fairly simple: Pre-Indoor-Plumbing. Honestly, indoor plumbing is such a wonderful thing that we take for granted. It’s lack is pretty  much the #1 reason I don’t enjoy camping (which I otherwise find quite pleasant.)

I don’t think anyone would disagree with Elizabeth. How did people survive without indoor plumbing?

 3.       If you could go back and time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

I’d spend less time dithering about the practicalities and probabilities of actually being published and just put myself out there. The time I wasted on fear was really quite silly when I had stories in my head to tell.  

I wrestled with the same fear. I think all writers are a little hesitant to share their work at times.

 4.       When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

I love the idea of time travel – I’m a huge Whovian, so Doctor Who definitely tops the list, but I also enjoyed Sliders and the time travel Star Trek episodes.

Am I missing something by not watching Dr. Who?

 5.       If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why?

When I was eight, I got bitten by a goose during a big cookout at my uncle’s house. I’d love to go back and give that goose a good, swift kick in the tail before he got to me. And in case you wondered, goose bites really do hurt – and those suckers get a beakful of flesh and pull until the chunk comes out. I’m still a bit anti-goose, to be honest. 

About Elizabeth:

 Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

 

What would Agent Terry Burns change in his life?

My first guest on my blog to answer my time travel questions is my former agent Terry Burns. Terry is a great guy who gives his clients the very best.  Helping Christian writers succeed is truly a passion of his. While Terry wasn’t able to sell my novel, through the time as a client with his, I met Suzanne Hartman, and a few years later, she started Castle Gate Press, and remembered my novel. God knew what he was doing.at ACFW

Below are Terry’s answers, and my comments in parenthesis.

1.       If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?

 That’s an easy one. I’d like to be there when Jesus came out of that tomb, witness first hand the resurrection of my Savior.

(I totally agree. THE EVENT of Jesus. But pick a day in his life, and it would be amazing.)

 2.       Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?

 I guess that would have to be the Great Depression, although the way things are going I may have to go through it yet. 

(Not many good things happened in the 1930s, including the dust bowl in my home of Oklahoma.)

 3.       If you could go back and time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

 I would start writing fiction much sooner.

 4.       When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

 Actually it would be a book that I wrote that never got published, “Stone Age Cowboy.” I may bring it out yet.

5.       If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why? (can be lighthearted or serious?)

Absolutely no doubt, I would have married my wife Saundra right after high school and taken her off to college with me.

(Terry is a true gentleman!)

6.       Tell me how I can introduce you. Name, website, published books, etc. Blog

 Terry Burns, agent for Hartline Literary Agency, author of over 40 published books. Website and blog at www.terryburns.net

I want to thank Terry for taking the time to answer these questions.

New Blog Series: What would you change in your life?

October is the release month of THE DAY SHE DIED! I’m so excited, and part of promoting my novel is this series of blogs. In my novel, John Michaels gets to relive his life and make new choices and do things differently.  So over the next several weeks I will be posting answers to the questions below from many authors and agents. And to get things kicked off, I thought I would start.20140618_191517_resized

1.       If you could travel back in time to be a witness to any event in history, what event would you choose, and why?

 Every period in history has events I would love to see. How advanced was the Roman empire exactly? What was it like to walk with Jesus? How dark was the dark ages? World War One fascinates me because I’ve seen grainy black and white pictures, but the reality of it was no doubt horrible.  For some reason, my mind goes to wars or battles or assassinations, but that wouldn’t be fun to see in real life.

So I think the choice is easy. The birth of Jesus. My son just turned 13 and we spent a few minutes watching videos of when he was a new born. A screaming crying helpless baby. I imagine Jesus was just like that when he was born.

The birth of Jesus is one of the most reproduced stories in history, but what was it really like. I’d love to know.

 2.       Name one time period in history you would not want to be alive during. Why?

 Hmm, how about during the black plague in Europe, a time when medical thinking was backwards at best. It would be horrible to see so much death and not know why and not know how to prevent it.

 3.       If you could go back and time and do anything different in your writing career or journey, what would you do and why?

 I would definitely get rid of that foolish idea that I can do it all on my own, without the need of critique partners or editors. I think much of that came from my introverted nature. I perhaps thought seeking help was too difficult. But my writing improved so much once I allowed and sought the input of so many willing authors and agents editors.

4.       When you think of time travel, what is your favorite book, movie, or TV show on the subject?

 I’ve blogged about this before. REPLAY by Ken Grimwood is amazing. Written in the 1980s, it tells a story of Jeff Winston, a man who dies but wakes up in 1960s as a teenager. He lives his life with all the knowledge of his previous life, so he knows how history will play out. As the novel goes on, Jeff keeps dying and reliving his life. He keeps trying out different ways in finding happiness. He’s good in one life, a family man in another, a total party animal in another. A great thought provoking novel.

5.       If you had a chance to relive your life and do something different or many things different, what would you do and why? (can be lighthearted or serious?)

 I wish I could have prevented the pain and misery that my brother and his wife suffered when their son Jack was born early and lived only four short years.

I’d totally make tons of different financial decisions. Where was Dave Ramsey when I needed him?

And when you read my novel, you’ll see perhaps some of my own regrets played out in John Michaels’ life. Let’s just say that at my 6’2″ height, I should have been a guard in high school basketball instead of a post player. I always wondered how my high school basketball career would have turned out if I had realized this sooner.

Check back often for many well known best selling authors answering these same questions.

Does everything matter? Girls?

A few weeks ago my 6th grade son called from church camp asking if he should talk to a girl.

“Sure,” I said. “Don’t be shy.”

But I missed the point. He wanted to know if he should talk to this girl at camp because he already had a “girlfriend” back home. My wife and I both said “Yes!” talk to her.

I don’t know if he did talk to that girl, and it probably doesn’t matter. But, what if it does matter. What if this was the girl he will eventually marry. But it will never happen if he didn’t talk to her. I know people, even in my own family, who knew their spouses at a very young age.

I don’t think people should treat every decision as one that will have potential life changing affects. But neither should we live life in a way that leaves us scared to take chances, and open to regret that we didn’t take advantage of opportunities when we had a chance.

In my novel, THE DAY SHE DIED, John Michaels made a lot of mistakes in life. But he actually gets a chance to make up for those mistakes when he wakes up as a high school student back in 1986. What will he do different? Will his life turn out better? Or worse.