Friday, September 30, 2016
Lorilyn Roberts Answers Questions About Writing, Family, John 3:16 Network , and Future Books - Part One
Question: How do you find time to write:
Lorilyn: Until recently, as a single mother, most of my time revolved around my family. My youngest daughter just started her first year of college this month, and my oldest daughter recently moved into her own apartment. I feel like I've entered into a new chapter of life and am still adjusting to the change. The home is much quieter, but it does allow me more time to write
Several years ago, recognizing how involved I was in their lives as a single parent, I felt it was important to pursue my own dreams when they became older.
I also work very strange hours as a full-time broadcast captioner. I half-heartily think about how many people have read my captions around the world and imagine what it would be like if that many people were reading my books.
When we were doing book launches in the John 3:16 Network, that took up much of my free time. I love doing TV and radio appearances, but they are also time consuming, so I haven’t done as many as I would have liked.
Sometimes I’ve focused more on charitable pursuits. In the fall of 2014, my younger daughter and I took books to orphans in Nepal. Over the last two years, the John 3:16 Marketing Network has donated books to the Wakulla Correctional Facility near Tallahassee, Florida. Prisoners have read and reviewed about three hundred books.
Question: How many books do you write in a year?
Lorilyn: This last year I wrote two books, but it left little time to do other things. I plan to take a break before writing the next book in the Seventh Dimension Series, so I will probably write only one book in the next several months
Question: Tell us about your John 3:16 Marketing Network of Christian Authors.
Lorilyn: Currently, the John 3:16 Marketing Network is closed to new members. Once we stopped hosting book launches, I realized there were other groups more beneficial to new and upcoming Christian authors. Promoting books, whether mine or others, and writing simultaneously is hard, and as much as I enjoy marketing, my passion is writing.
A core group of authors in the network continues to encourage each another in marketing and writing. Many blessings come from the members who are active, and even those who have moved on still connect in various ways.
If a new author or wannabe author wants to join a Christian group or receive mentoring, I would recommend for nonfiction writers, Shelley Hitz, who has a “Training Authors for Success” website. For fiction writers, I would recommend Jerry Jenkins’ new writers guild. Both groups help authors with writing and marketing.
If you are an author with some history of writing books and want the camaraderie of other authors who have been at this for a while, contact me and we can talk. I occasionally bring in authors free of charge.
My original desire, once we stopped doing launches, was to provide one‑on‑one mentoring for new writers launching their first book. Many “roaches” out there promise the universe and give little in return. They often involve the outlay of too much money, and authors are burned because they don’t know any better. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the time. I prefer to think of marketing as a ministry, not a business endeavor, and I’ve struggled to make that switch to a business model, but that could always change.
Question: Tell us about your newest book this year.
Lorilyn: I just published the fourth book in my Seventh Dimension Series, The City.
Question: Tell us what brought about the creation and writing of the Seventh Dimension Series.
Lorilyn: After I published The Donkey and the King, I wanted to do a series of picture books, but picture books are expensive to produce, especially when you hire an illustrator. Publishing them is not economically viable as a POD book. I found it hard to sell at a price point that people would pay, and I couldn’t afford not to recoup the costs on future books. I also knew I needed to wait to write more books until Joy was older. She was only seven at the time, and I realized that it was unfair to devote that much time to writing books when she was still so young.
When Joy was eleven, I wrote Children of Dreams. Even though I had kept all my notes from both my daughters' adoptions, I was afraid if I waited any longer, I would forget the story. Over a decade had passed since I had adopted Manisha.
After the thrill of writing my adoption memoir, I wanted to write more books, but I recognized I didn’t have the expertise to write fiction. Some things I wanted to write about from my life could only be told as fiction.
Once I saw my limitations as a writer, I went back to college to obtain my Masters of Art in Creative Writing from Perelandra College. In order to graduate, I had to write a full-length novel. From my coursework, I developed the first book in the Seventh Dimension Series that included the animal characters from The Donkey and The King.
I included issues from my life—bullying, abandonment, failure, and fighting. I was a pretty wounded kid. I can identify with that kind of teen. At the same time, I also had a deep longing for God.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but I had some Jewish friends, and their sense of community was something I wanted. I was jealous for their God.
The little dog from The Donkey and the King, Much‑Afraid, was also my childhood pet. The real Much‑Afraid, Gypsy, came to me during a
thunderstorm. When we buried her many years later, a sudden thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere. We had to hurry as lightning flashed all around. I promised at that moment, when I was fifteen, someday the whole world would know about Gypsy—the dog God gave me. I share her story in my adoption memoir Children of Dreams. I could say more, but I’ll let readers read the book rather than summarize it here. (Children of Dreams is a 2016 Readers' Favorite Award Winner in the Memoir category.)
I have written four books in the Seventh Dimension Series. One or two more books remain to be written. A great deal of research goes into my writing. Even the second book, The King, required research into chariot racing in the first century.
The words I write will live on after I’m gone. Someday I’ll stand before God and give an accounting for every book I’ve written. I’m intimately aware of the importance of making sure I draw people to God, giving hope, and showing that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The concepts of forgiveness, hope, and purity find their way into the fabric of my stories, pregnant with suspense, mystery, and hopefully, twists and turns that keep the reader guessing.
Who wants to read a predictable book? I must make the reader read until the very last page to know how the story ends.
Part two of Lorilyn's interview will be posted in a follow-up blogpost. Visit http://LorilynRoberts.com to learn more about her books.