Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Author Speaks: Christy Bower
Christy lives in northwest Montana, where she considers Glacier National Park her backyard. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking, cleaning, and doing mundane tasks. She says, “Being an author isn’t as glamorous as people seem to think.” And if you hang out with Christy very long, you’ll discover she’s a Star Wars geek and proud of it. She sat down and answered 10 questions for us.
1. What's your latest published book?
My first book, Abundant Life (2002), has been out of print for several years so in honor of publishing my 20th book (Bible Surveyor Handbook), I decided to give new life to my first book by making it available in electronic form for the first time. I republished it under a new title, Unstuck: Escape Spiritual Stagnation, Experience Abundant Life. Unstuck is for people who feel like they are doing all the right things as a Christian but they’re still not growing or they feel their relationship with God has flat lined.
2. Why do you write inspirational books?
Writing inspirational books comes from my heart. Faith defines my life, but I’ve struggled with my relationship with God over and over in different ways. People at church don’t talk about struggles like these, but I was pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way so I decided to speak out about overcoming these obstacles so I could help others who suffer in silence.
3. What are you working on now?
Right now I’m in the production stage of finishing Donkey Oatie’s Bushel of Fun Cookbook (now released) It’s a companion book to the Dragon Hollow trilogy, my youth fantasy fiction books for ages 9-12. Not everything I write has a Christian flavor. My youth fantasy fiction is just good clean fun that organically portrays virtues such as loyalty, courage, and forgiveness. They’re packed with action and plenty of humor.
I’m also working on editing my September release, Sweeter Than Chocolate: Developing a Healthy Addiction to God’s Word. And I’m finishing my Christian apocalyptic novel, Return of the Elves. I stay busy.
4. What’s your writing process?
As you can see, I work on several projects at once. I don’t know if other authors work that way or not. At any given time I have projects in the idea stage, planning, writing, revising, editing, and production (layout and design). I usually have five projects in the works so if I’m not in the mood for fiction, I can work on non-fiction. I write best at night, from 10 p.m.–2 a.m., but that can quickly become an all-nighter if I’m engrossed in my content and lose track of time.
My writing process revolves around self-awareness. I have bipolar disorder so I have manic swings in which I am highly creative and can generate lots of content. At other times things swing the other way and I’m mired in depression so it’s not a good time to write, but it is a good time to edit. To some degree that’s true for everyone: our brains operate in right-brain creativity and left-brain logic. Rather than trying to force creativity or analytical editing, I choose to shift to the type of project my brain is capable of at the moment.
5. Do you write with pencil, pen, computer, or tablet? What’s your favorite?
I generate first drafts with pen and paper. Sometimes pencil. I like how a pencil feels, but my hand gets tired faster. And I have good reason for using pen and paper, too. When you type at a keyboard and make a typing error, your brain shifts to left-brain analytical correction mode. Then your thoughts become more critical about the words you put on the page because your brain is analyzing. Writing by hand allows me to stay in my right-brain creative mode because I’m writing down words I will correct later on. It tells the left-brain, “It’s not your turn yet, but you’ll get your chance.” I actually plan to write a book on this next year.
6. What has been important advice to you in pursuing a writing career, and what advice would you give to a new writer?
The most important advice I received early on was: “Don’t fall in love with your own words.” The publishing committee will change your title, the editor will change your words, and entire chapters may fall on the editing room floor. Don’t be offended. The editor’s job is to make your message better. Why wouldn’t you want that?
But more and more writers are going independent today, so my advice would be: learn grammar and punctuation and keep learning it. Take a class at a community college. Take a class online. Or at least go through a grammar book. I read one book a year on grammar or punctuation. There are some fun ones on the market. You might even laugh and learn at the same time. Ongoing education is important for any writer, but even more so for a self-published writer. And don’t be afraid to hire an editor. I have.
7. What has been the most gratifying or most surprising result from your writing career so far?
Twice I have been named “Writer of the Year” by American Christian Writers (2007, 2011). These awards corresponded with the releases of my books by Discovery House Publishers, Devotion Explosion: Getting Real with God (2007) and Best Friends with God: Falling in Love with the God Who Loves You (2010), both of which have now gone into a fourth printing. I never dreamed my books would enjoy longevity and popularity. It has been an unexpected blessing.
8. You've written 20 books. What are some of their titles?
In addition to the books I’ve already mentioned, I have a series of 12 Crossword Bible Studies containing crossword puzzles for every chapter of the New Testament. And this year I released Bible Surveyor Handbook: A 15-Lesson Overview of the Entire Bible, which gives readers a basic understanding of what’s happening in the Bible. And, of course, there’s my Dragon Hollow trilogy: The Legend of Dragon Hollow, The Secret of the Sword, and The Rise of the Dragon King.
9. Which of your books is your favorite?
I have two. Grant me one non-fiction and one fiction.
Devotion Explosion has always felt like a book I was meant to write. The message of that book is important to me. It’s very freeing and I want others to experience that freedom in their relationship with God.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing the Dragon Hollow books because they are filled with puns, silly The Secret of the Sword was my favorite of the three because in writing it I had to solve some serious problems with how to get this boy to overthrow a usurper king and convince the people he was the rightful king. That took some thinking and I was pleased with how it came out. It has songs, humorous incidents, and hidden literary references. It’s like Christy unfiltered.
10. How can people learn more about your writing?
My website, Christy Bower, offers lots of free downloads, including sample chapters, resources for Christian growth, articles I’ve written for magazines, as well as downloadable extras to go with my books. But to stay up with the latest, you can receive a chapter a week in your inbox from one of my books. Sign up at HERE. Thanks for the thought-provoking questions.
Posted by Stephen B. Bagley at 2:31 PM