“Every job is
important, by the mere fact that GOD has called us to do it.”
Isn’t that a wonderful truth? Susan May Warren not only exercises this
in her own life by writing stories that glorify God, she also
encourages family, friends, and fellow writers with her willingness to
teach others, while remaining willing to learn and grow within her own
life journey. Susan has been blessed to experience myriad life
circumstances, ranging from full-time missionary to homeschool mom of
four children. Along the way, she has pursued and honed her writing
craft. With more than thirty titles in print and multiple awards to her
credit, she still remains excited to share her love for a well-crafted
Susan knows first-hand the surprises God shares with her as she remains
a faithful steward of the gifts God has blessed her with. She writes
within multiple genres, and her readers enjoy fresh new stories from
her pen on a regular basis. Susan loves sharing new things with
everyone God brings into her life, and her writing reflects the wonder
and goodness that only faith in Christ can bring to her life.
“I wrote in the
backside of Siberia for four years before I submitted my first novella
to Tyndale (I had about six books written by that time, sitting in
files on my computer).”
You made this
statement in a 2006 review, and it seems very telling about your
passion to write. Can you elaborate on your love for the craft? How you
discovered it in your own life? What has getting published meant in
Let’s start with your last
question first. I firmly believe that if you are not happy with the
person you are before you get published, being published will only
cause more struggles. I love being an author, but it has stretched me
in ways I couldn’t have imagined—making my life more public, letting
new voices into my life (reviewers, critics, editors!), and even
bringing into my life more accountability and scrutiny than when I was
a missionary! There is always the pressure of writing a better book
each time, meeting the needs of my audience and editor while always
keeping my focus upward. For me it means constantly clinging to the
robe of Christ.
It also pushes me to be a good
steward of the gifts God has given me, which means striving to improve
my understanding of story to deliver the most powerful story possible.
Hence, I love studying writing craft, story structure, emotional
layering, and everything that goes into writing a strong book. And I’ve
discovered as I’ve struggled to unlock story, God has been there,
delighting me as He teaches me how to rightly handle the gift of
written in many genres, from historical to contemporary to suspense to
romance. Not many authors have that opportunity nor the ability. Which
is your favorite genre and why?
Oh, that’s like asking me who
my favorite child is! I love them all! Historical is definitely more
difficult to write because of the research involved, but I love
historicals because they bring me into a different world and I learn so
much. But I’m a contemporary romance girl, too, and it’s probably the
most fun for me to write. By far, my “mom” novel (The Great
Christmas Bowl) was my favorite to write. I admit that I
laughed at my own humor the entire way through the story. My children
rolled their eyes.
experienced life from many perspectives: a missionary’s wife, a
homeschool mom, and a full-time writer. How has God used these season’s
of life to enhance your writing? Which experiences have had the most
meaningful impact on your stories?
Every season of life is meant
to draw us closer to God and prepare us for the next. I loved being a
missionary—God built my faith during those days and gifted me with a
plethora of excellent material. Homeschooling sparked my interest in
research and understanding culture, as well as trying to understand
people (namely, my children!). And this season causes me to hold on to
God as He brings me on this journey, and continually surprises me.
As a writer
you have been developed a teaching platform as well as a
public-speaking platform from which you share your craft. Why is this
important to you, and how is your skill impacted by the people with
whom you interact?
I love teaching. Watching “the
light” suddenly go on in a student’s eyes brings me such joy. Likewise,
when I’m brainstorming with a client, to hear them get excited about
their story and suddenly take the concept and blossom makes me want to
cheer. Likewise, my “students” teach me. When they stump me with a
question, I love trying to discover the answer. And as I figure out how
I can break down information and make it accessible, I too learn the
components of craft and how to master it. Teaching teaches the teacher,
As the mother
of four children, life is incredibly busy. Your blog asks that your
fans excuse you for football season! How has your writing career meshed
with such a busy household? Do any of your children share your gift of
I believe that my writing
career has allowed my children to see that when you try to be a good
steward of whatever God has gifted you with, He surprises you. It’s
given them the courage to reach out with their own gifts. Two of my
children share a desire to write. My eldest son is a gifted
storycrafter. He understands story in a way that is rare and helped me
plot Sons of Thunder. He wants to be an
acquisitions editor someday. My only daughter is a wordsmith; she
understands the poetry of words and knows how to make them work. She is
not only a novelist but a lyricist (and one of her songs appears in Nightingale).
all of your published work, does one story in particular reflect your
personality more than any other? Can you tell us about that?
The Great Christmas
Bowl is my story. It is our family on the pages, right down
to the dog. Only . . . I’ve never been a fish.
“We’re all in this
together. I’m so aware of the fact that God uses all of us for His
great purposes, and no one is more important than another. I have great
respect for those women who quietly and faithfully nurture their
husbands and families; and I admire men and women who, in obedience,
simply do what God asks, whether it be wait tables, crunch numbers, or
travel overseas to share the gospel. If God told us to do it, it’s
important. And we can trust Him to bear the fruit for eternity.”
You made this
statement in an interview with Focus on Fiction when you had only seven
books published, yet it seems to reflect your true heart about your
call to write God’s stories. With many more books now published, would
you alter this statement in any way? If so, how?
I wouldn’t alter it.
gifted everyone uniquely for what He wants them to do, and every job is
important by the mere fact that GOD has called us to do it. Be a good
steward with those things and I believe God will surprise you with
Can you tell
us a little bit about your current project and what exciting things God
is doing in your life now?
I am thrilled that Nightingale
is hitting the stands! I stumbled across the article that mentioned the
existence in 1945 of 140 POW camps in Wisconsin. In fact, America
housed over 200,000 POWs during World War II. Add to that the large
number of immigrants who moved to America after World War 1 and it was
feasible that German families might find themselves on two sides of the
same war. Indeed, there are stories of German Americans searching for
loved ones in the POW camps down the road from their farms.
Many Germans weren’t Nazis but
were just following the call of their government into war, trying to be
patriotic. Could it be that the enemy wasn’t so different from us? At
the same time, I longed to write a book that included the power of
correspondence. I tracked down Since You Went Away,
a novel created from letters written during World War II, and it
sparked my desire to create a story that was in part epistolary. I’d
never written such a novel before, and the challenge stirred me. I’m
anxious to hear what readers think of this novel. It’s probably my most
ambitious, creatively, to date.
Meanwhile, I am currently
working on a four-part family saga for Summerside Press starting in the
Gilded Age (1890s) that journeys through the Roaring Twenties, the
Great Depression, and finally World War II. I love stories of family
and seeing God work through generations. It’s similar to my Heirs of
Anton series about a Russian family, only much more epic, and while
each story stands alone, there is a thread that binds them together.
History allows us to understand our present, and it gives us
opportunity to see God’s plan. The first one is called Heiress
and comes out in July 2011.
advice would you like to share with your readers?
Advice? I don’t know. Maybe the
three secrets to life? Seriously, it’s what I tell my kids and how I
try and live my life: Pursue peace with God, do what you were created
to do, and learn contentment with what God has given you.
Thank you for allowing me to
share with you!
Susan May Warren is the RITA
award-winning, best-selling novelist of
over thirty novels, many of which have won the ACFW Carol, the
Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and been Christy and Rita
finalists. Her compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won
her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She loves to write and
help other writers find their voice through www.mybooktherapy.com
writing craft and coaching community. She and her husband of over 20
years, and four children live on Minnesota's beautiful Lake Superior
shore where they are active in their local church.
Find her online at: www.susanmaywarren.com.
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons and married to a technical writer and Army
veteran, Kim’s life is full and blessed. She and her husband also
volunteer as teachers for a resident rehab program for women with
life-controlling issues. She uses her fiction to encourage the ladies
she teaches. She blogs at: Window
To My World