2010 ACFW Carol Award winning author, Alice K. Arenz, aka A.K. Arenz, has been writing since she was a child. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her first three novels, cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 ACFW Carol Awards finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., book two in the Bouncing Grandma Mystery Series (winner of the 2010 Carol Award), and the more serious mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist for the Carol Award) will soon be re-released by Forget Me Not Romances. Visit her at her website www.akawriter.com .
Alice, welcome! I’m so excited to have you here today.
Hi, Peg, thanks for having me.
My pleasure. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
When, or how, did you first discover that you were a writer?
I loved telling stories when I was a kid. I was always making things up. Of course, when you’re small, telling stories can sometimes be equated with not telling the truth. I did exaggerate and expound on things—still do! But it was my daddy who realized that it was more imagination than outright lying. So, in some ways, I guess I was a “writer” even before I could actually write.
(I know someone else who can say the same thing.)
How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
Um, that’s a hard one. I don’t really know how to answer that. They’re my creations—with a generous helping from God, mind you—and since they come from my brain, I would imagine that to some extent they all have minute pieces of me. Many of my characters have the same phobias I do. It’s easy to relate something like that. But I don’t believe any of them could have much of me. I’m too boring.
Oh, bosh. I don’t believe that for a minute.
What historical person–besides Jesus–would you most like to meet, and why?
John . . . I’d like to discuss Revelation with him.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
Definitely a pantser. About the only things I know about my story before I begin to write is the title and the name of the main character. AND I have to write in chronological order—no jumping around for me. When I had to add an additional 10,000 words to The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, it took forever to come to grips with it. But encouragement from my daughter Kelly (my editor), my husband Chris, and a long shower of thoughtful prayer, and I finally got what I needed to proceed. I take a lot of showers when I’m writing. Best place to hear what God’s been trying to tell me!
Money being no object, where would be your dream writing getaway?
Location: near family. House, a clean, new one story with easy access to the outside, laundry on the living level, and my not having to go down stairs except in case of a tornado. The old raised ranch we live in is “falling down around our ears,” and so messy for various reasons, that I find it hard to concentrate on anything.
Coffee or tea?
What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
Um . . . being unable to shut up when I got onstage after winning the Carol in 2010. I still don’t know what I said!
Tell us a bit about An American Gothic and how you came to write it?
I originally wrote Gothic around 1989 or so. We were down at Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri & had just been to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. I love that place with the castle ruins and the story behind it—a dream to bring a European Castle and estate to Missouri and the tragedy that destroyed the place. Every time I go there I can’t help but start writing scenarios in my head, and An American Gothic is the culmination of my dream.
As for the story, you actually get two stories in one—the heroine, an aspiring gothic novelist, shares a few paragraphs of her story Craven at the beginning of each chapter. From the pace set in those few lines, you get an idea of the turmoil that is building in Lyssie’s life and those of the residences of the Foxxemoor estate where Lyssie is staying. A kind of modern day gothic/romantic suspense novel like I grew up devouring.
Tagline: She came to Foxxemoor to write a mystery, not to become part of one.
Back Cover Copy: Devastated by the death of a child in her care, Lyssie’s heart strings are tugged when she finds another child in danger. Amid past secrets, lies, and betrayals of an old college friend’s family, she must choose a twin brother to trust. If she makes the wrong decision, she could not only lose her own life, but also the life of the child she’s come to love.
Thank you, Alice, for being a guest on Whispers in Purple. Any parting comments you’d like to share?
Thank you so very much for inviting me to join you today, Peg. This has been fun!
And for those of you out there who want to write but don’t think they can do it because of health issues or whatever, remember that if God is calling you, He will help you find a way. Gothic had been scheduled to be published five years ago, but it didn’t happen. During that intervening time, because of increasing health issues, I not only didn’t/haven’t written, but I didn’t think I would ever be blessed with another published novel. But I was wrong. God opened this door, and as frightened as I am about going through it and embracing it, I’m trying not to let Him or anyone else down. It’s overwhelming and scary, but I hope all of you will find this new book more than worth the effort. Thank you & God Bless. Alice
And God Bless you, Alice. BTW, I’m reading Gothic right now, every chance my own writing gives me.
The Giveaway: Alice is offering to give away one paperback copy of An American Gothic to one of you who leaves a comment below. (Lower 48 only. Sorry.)Have a question of your own to ask her? Do it here! Giveaway ends at Midnight Central one week from today. Winner will be drawn the following day and notified via email. Thanks for entering.
The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, Book One in Alice’s Bouncing Grandma series, has been redesigned with a new cover and re-released TODAY
Be sure to check it out! Just click on the cover and enjoy!