With the release of her non-fiction devotional Where God Finds You in September, Anita has been on a spree of releasing new books. In October, she followed up with the historical romance A Merry Little Christmas, and in November the inspirational romance 4-in-1 novella collection Texas Wildflowers. For fans of Anita, it is raining good reads just in time for this festive season. Visit here website here
Q. How did you get your first writing break?
A. One of my first breaks came when a publisher decided to release a book of my one-act plays for church dinner theatre. I really enjoyed that unique writing journey for the stage, and the discipline and experience helped me to write snappier dialogue for my novels. But I’m glad I didn’t stay in that genre for too many years, since I really was meant to write novels.
Q. What inspires you to write?
A. Seeing injustice in the world and wanting to fix it is one of the big motivators. Also, I hope to glorify God with my work.
Q. What is something your readers might be surprised to learn about you?
A. A long time ago I rappelled off a cliff alongside the man I was dating. We kissed in mid-air while dangling off that cliff. I ended up marrying that man, and we've celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary!
Q. When you’re not writing what do you like to do?
A. Decorate the house, read good books, good to the movies, and create big family dinners.
Q: How long have you been writing and what other careers or jobs have you had?
A. I’ve been writing since about 1984, but before I started this career I was a waitress, a copy writer, a wheat-tarp roller (don’t ask), a clerk in a gift shop, a nurse’s aide, an assistant administrator at a nursing home, a bookkeeper, a librarian, a receptionist, a computer operator, a desk clerk at a hotel, a cosmetic salesperson, a maid, a babysitter, a model, and a disc jockey. I’d love to tell you that I became accomplished at every job, but the truth is, I was mostly bored. When I tried the very thing I’d been running from for years I felt I’d finally come home.
Q: How does your faith play into your writing?
A. I try never to preach, but I do write from a Christian world view. I am a Christian, so I can’t write any other way.
Q: How do you choose your settings for your books?
A. I like to set most of my novels in Texas, because people love to read about this state, and it’s where I live. I know Texas!
Q: Do you base your characters on people you know or are they totally made up?
A: My characters are a combination of both, and I think it works. At least I hope it does.
Q: If money were no object what vacation would you like to take and why?
A. New Zealand, because it’s gorgeous and it’s the movie home of The Lord of the Rings.
Q. What is one of the quirkiest things you’ve ever done?
A. I do so many oddball things that narrowing it down to one is difficult. But my husband seemed to think my Tibetan Monk story might be a good one to share. Many years ago I was taking my kids along with another mom and her kids to visit a local museum for the day. In the midst of our milling around the exhibits, we ran across a cluster of Tibetan Monks with their long robes, sandals, and shaved heads. I thought, “They look kind of lonely. What if a conservative Christian mom with her kids left her comfort zone and went over to say hello?” Well, that turned out to be a good idea, since they were very friendly and seemed to be just waiting for someone to reach out with a smile. We all, including the monks, ended up taking turns standing with each other and snapping photos. It was an amazing few minutes I will never forget—two very different cultures colliding in joy. In fact, somewhere in our family albums I still have those pictures from that day at the museum of their happy faces mingled with ours.
Q. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
A. When I was a girl I tried writing a story about a man from Mars who came to earth to live an ordinary life in New York. Well, the idea was okay, but I didn’t get too far, since I had no idea what I was doing! But I wish someone would have said, “Hey, Anita, of course this stinks. It’s your first effort. Keep writing, and you’ll eventually get better.” But no one said that, so I gave up writing from many years. I was about thirty before I took up the dream with some serious effort.
Q. Who are some of your favorite authors?
A. I’ve enjoyed Tolkien and Dickens as well as Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins, and Ann Radcliffe. As far as contemporary authors, I like BJ Hoff, Lynn Austin, and Jenny B. Jones.
Q. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
A. Raising my kids and watching them become fine Christian folks.
Q. What is your favorite food?
A. Dark chocolate truffles!
Q. What advice would you give to a writer just starting out?
A. This business can be very discouraging at times. So, it helps to go into the writing profession knowing it is a journey. If you jump in with the motivations of quick fame or money you’ll just set yourself up for aggravation and disappointment. Think of writing as a long-term, passionate endeavor—the love of a lifetime—and you’ll be much happier in this business.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A. I think writing is incredibly hard. When I start a new book, it seems impossible. It is impossible! But somehow word by word it gets gone. Just like when kids are born, each completed book seems like a miracle.