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A few of you asked about the stories I wrote as a child and teen. I can’t remember if I put the link for them here or not, but if you go to my Author Page and scroll down, you can click the covers and read PDF files. Have fun. Don’t laugh too hard.
Now, with no further ado, continue reading the answers to the questions Andi fans asked in a recent blog post.
- Ellie B. asked a few questions:
- Did your grandchildren or your children give you ideas for the books? Not on purpose. Although, Kevan (age 11 and grandchild) asked me to include the “meanwhile, back on the ranch” points of view for Long Ride Home, and that’s how you all got the expanded version.
- Did you base some characters off of them?( Your grandchildren or your children) No, just names. Chad is my son Chad, Melinda is my daughter in law, Mitch is our pastor’s young son, my son Andrew refused to be called “Andy” any longer when he knew it was my character’s nickname. LOL Nathan is Jem’s cousin in the Goldtown books and my firstborn grandson. Ellie is Jem’s sister and is my granddaughter, and there might be more but I forget.
- How old were your children when your first book was published? 24, 23, 13, 11
- Was it stressful to be homeschooling you kids and writing your books? No. I never worked on my stories during the day when I was homeschooling. I had no contract and just wrote my “fan fiction” at night when the babies were in bed and the older ones were doing their own thing. It was just fun to write with no idea to be published, and I never wanted to be. Clearly, God had other plans.
- Emily asked: Are you going to be writing any more books? (Not based on Circle C or Goldtown) No, I’m not really interested in trying something new. Way too much work! and What was the average amount of words you wrote every day? For the younger books on contract about 800-1,000 words a day (one chapter). For the older books . . . maybe 2,000? It’s hard to remember because I never kept track.
- Aubrey asked: What about your kids?
- How many do you have? four: Kristel, Chad, Andrew, Ryan
- What do they do? Kristel homeschools; Chad is the IT director in charge of technology for the Bethel School District; Andrew is a major in the USAF; Ryan is medically retired from the USAF and lives next door on our 14 acres.
- How many kids do they have? Kristel, 8; Chad, 2, Andrew, none; Ryan is not married
- Lizzy asked a ton of questions:
- What is the craziest plot idea you have ever had for a book, even if you decided not to use it? Andi at 14 “falling” for a young guy she and Cory rescue from the muddy creek, and then finding out the person she’s fallen for is a hired killer who has been hired to kill Mitch (because he had shot and killed somebody in self defense, and the father hired the killer for revenge against him). Andi is very angry that her family tries to keep her away from [can’t remember his name] and she refused to believe he’s that kind of a fellow. Eventually, he asks her to run away with him (shades of Kate!), and that is when Andi figures out she’s too young to be even thinking about this kind of thing, but [can’t remember his name] tries to force her to go with him and . . . *yay!* . . . Chad comes to the rescue and gives the guy a good beating and tells him to get out of the state and never return. Andi is clearly grateful to her brother and admits to everybody that they were so right. That story sits in a folder half finished. I have taken different parts of it and integrated them into other stories (like the character of Toledo in Heartbreak Trail).
- What made you decide to start writing books? I thought up fun stories in living color in my head and wrote them down . . . mostly fan fiction type of stories.
- Does anybody ever help you with the books? (like coming up with plots, characters, etc…) My husband helped me with the Goldtown boy books, and you fans have helped tremendously with ideas for the Tales books.
- What are some of your best and worst memories from when you started writing, up to now? Thinking I might have to email an editor; thinking I might be “stuck” getting published; fearing I won’t be able to think up a plot for a new book (there is a reason there are only 4 Goldtown books. I have a contract for 6 but I’ve run out of ideas). Best memory? Seeing the covers!
- Did you ever expect that you would get this popular? Nope, and in the grand scheme of things, I’m not all that popular outside the homeschool audience, but I don’t write to be popular. I write for myself and if others like to read the stories, then all the better. It’s fun. And newsflash: when it stops being fun, I won’t do it anymore.
- What is some advice for young writers hoping to become authors? Buy the Writers Roundup and watch the free videos. *laughing* But honestly, if you want to learn to write for publication, these resources will show you how.
- Cowgirl Cari asked: Out of both the Goldtown series and the Circle C series, who has been your favorite character to write and why? Andi, of course! She’s who I pretend to be whenever I head back into time to the Old West. Which is the least favorite book you’ve written? Tales from the Circle C Ranch. I wrote it for fun but made the mistake of showing it to my editor, who wanted it. I wish I had kept it in third person (it’s written in first person), and it’s just not my favorite. I can’t share the stories in print (copyright), but I have the audio rights, so I am recording the stories for you to listen to for free. Audio stories >>
- Brianna asked: Was there ever a time when you wanted your book to go in totally different direction from the published copy? I wish I could have had Trouble at the Line Shack be the official published book. But sometimes I am constrained to write for the publisher rather than for myself. Was there ever a time when you had a story idea but just DIDN’T feel every inspired? I often do not feel inspired. Some authors have tons of ideas. I have very few that just come to me. But if I do get that magic moment, I can write up a storm!
- Trinity asked three questions:
- Have you ever started a story (like got really far in) and then decided you didn’t like it? The one I talked about above (about the hired killer). I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.
- Are horses your favorite animal? Not for a long time. I always liked cats best, but horses are growing on me now that my daughter has so many and I’m thrown into helping care for them.
- Why did you choose “Andrea”? I was watching a Big Valley episode many years ago about a tomboy teen girl named “Andrea,” whom everybody called “Andi.” I thought, “Wow, what a fun name!” Yep, it was that simple. (I might do “A Peek Behind the Curtain” for this question. Stay tuned!)
- Faith H. asked: How many words are your books typically?
- Circle C and Goldtown Beginnings: 8,000 words
- Circle C Stepping Stones: 16,000 words
- Circle C and Goldtown Adventures: 40,000 words
- Circle C Milestones: 55,000 – 80,000 words
- Anonymous asked: Why do you have Andi continually getting hurt and kidnapped? *laughing* I could ask the very same question! Why do so many fan fiction and contest stories involve Andi getting hurt and/or kidnapped? When you answer that, I’ll know the answer to the question you asked me.
- Another anonymous asked: What made you write this blog? I started the Circle C blog way back in like . . . 2008 or 2009 . . . on Blogger. By the time I moved it over here to Word Press (one year ago this month), I had over 2,000,000 views. Originally, I thought it would be fun to write a blog from Andi’s point of view. I started it like that, but I quickly ran out of interesting things to be writing a post from Andi’s POV. So now it’s Andi’s Journal (her point of view exclusively), but I’ve expanded to include Riley’s POV and other just FUN things. If you see some of the quizzes I used to do, you would laugh. Kids thought getting a bookmark and a little horse awesome prizes back then. But 15 years later I have better things to offer and I think we have a lot of fun. So, I guess the BIGGEST reason is: because it’s fun. And again, when it stops being fun, I’ll stop blogging.
- Emily asked: Could you ever see the books being turned into movies or a TV show? Sadly, no, unless the producers approach my publisher, Kregel Publications. I have no say whatsoever in such a venture. Why not? Because Kregel (pronounced “KREE-gal”) owns all electronic and movie rights. They gave me back my audio rights, but they kept everything else. This means I can have my books made into audio books but they have control over everything else. I don’t mind that my books won’t be movies or TV shows. They are always WORSE than the books and make me shudder (like the Mandie movies.)
- Chantae is full of questions. I’ll try to answer succinctly.
- How did you decide which genre you wanted to write? That was easy. In the beginning, outer space stories. Then when I fell in love with the old TV westerns, that old west genre.
- Was it hard or easy to write at first? It’s always been easy…until I became published and had deadlines and contracts. Then it was hard! Stressful sometimes.
- Have you ever felt like what your were writing wasn’t good enough to be published or you weren’t a good enough author for your work to be published/read? If so, how did you deal with it? I never ever felt like this in the beginning, and I’ve been writing since I was a teen and then resumed after I got my Commodore 64 computer (see part 1). Why did I feel like this? Because I only wrote for myself. That’s right. My own stories. Nobody else would ever read them! (God had other plans.) But after I was published, then I did wonder if my publisher would like what I offered, but they always did. I guess I never really cared or thought about whether I was “good” enough or that my writing was “good” enough or not. Like I said, it was only for me, but if others liked the stories, then great. If not, well, it’s “all gonna burn” anyway. (An eternal perspective is a great comfort at all times.) I have never been a person with a huge drive to be published. Maybe that’s why I had to have a kick in the pants to get those stories “out there.”
- Have you noticed your writing style/methods evolving as you grow in experience or has it stayed pretty much the same? Oh, my! I’m a way better writer than I was in the beginning. I’ve learned so much! And I’m grateful my publisher, Kregel Publications, wanted to update the covers on the books and took the opportunity to ask if I could update and revise the stories, and they said yes! So the new anniversary editions of the Circle C Adventures are much better than the originals, even if the stories have stayed the same.
I hope you have enjoyed the answers to your questions. It’s been fun! Thanks for asking them!