Julie, tell us about your latest release, Book 3 in the Bunco Biddies Mysteries, Threes, Sixes & Thieves.
Janie Manson, the widow of a police detective, lives in a retirement community called Sunset Acres. When residences with only three and six in the house number are robbed, she rallies her Bunco-playing friends to find out why.
What inspired you to write this book?
I am a mystery buff—always have been. My older sister challenged me to switch genres and write one. Well, seven contracts and one award for Best Cozy 2017-set-in-Texas later, I guess she had a good idea. Anyway, I am loving the journey.
Why did you write this book?
I wanted to keep the series going after the first two were well received. Besides, the Bunco Biddies have become my fond friends! I love each of them with their individuality and quirky ways. Each book develops their friendships with each other and peeks further into their lives, which of course is guided by the Almighty.
All the books have a dice theme. In Bunco, when someone rolls three sixes the game is over, thus the title. But to reveal any more than that would ruin the mystery.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
As in all the Bunco Biddies Mysteries, I want people to realize gray hair does not equal dementia setting in. Many people who choose to live in a 55-plus community are vital, active, and fun folks who still have a lot to contribute.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
I am an editor and writer for Cru Canada’s internet ministry known as The Life Project. And yes, I live in Texas but connect through cyberspace with these amazing teams all over the world.
Through several websites that range from secular to apologetic, we develop articles that lead people to find Christ in their lives and to seek out one of the thousand-plus, well–trained online mentors who confidentially are there to guide them. We average 600,000 clicks a month. Our motto is: The World is on the Internet. We help them know Jesus.
I also have a blog, Where Did You Find God Today? which has been going for five years and has readership in 51 countries. For more information on both of these, you can visit my website.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
In my fiction, the intent is the same—making Christ known in everyday lives. Whether a cozy mystery, suspense, or a romance story, the characters have real issues and challenges. How they live their lives if they are already believers, or how they change once they come to believe is the basic underlying theme. You won’t find me breaking the storyline for a mini-sermon, but either the characters walk like they talk or the reader can detect God moving in their lives, often before they do.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
When I began writing devotionals for several publications and websites, I soon discerned the fact that what the Holy Spirit spurred me to write was touching lives. That is powerful and humbling. It has made me realize how important it is to stay in the Word and have people praying over me, especially if I am writing on a tough topic. God has blessed me with a writing skill. I do not take this task lightly, but want to honor my Lord with my keyboard whether it is in a book, an article, a personal email, or a post on Facebook.
Amen, Julie. That should be the foundation for all of us as Christian authors. What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Pardon me while I climb onto my soap box. Most non-writers do not realize the months of sweat and tears we put into producing the books they read. If they did, they would be willing to pay more than 99 cents for them. Too many readers want their e-books to be free or at a greatly reduced rate, yet they think nothing of paying ten or more dollars for a two-hour movie and a snack, or sixty dollars a month on cable TV with HD, DVD recording capacity and 500 channel choices. And the prices most are willing to shell out for sporting events or live entertainment venue tickets? Wow!
I ask any non-writer—if it took you nine months to a year to create something, would you consistently bend to pressure to give it away or sell it for less than a dollar?
Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
One of my most avid and dearest readers actually mirrors my life in so many ways. Besides being total bookworms all of our lives, we are both widowed, have two cats, and worked as a church secretary (she still does.) I had the opportunity to visit her hometown, so we met for coffee, persuaded each other in ordering a decadent dessert, then shared them. We spent over two hours chatting woman-to-woman. Best time ever!
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I am active in women’s and missions ministries in my denomination and have supported missionaries financially most of my adult life. Little did I know God would call me into the missionary field, be it from my keyboard. But here I am reaching more souls for Christ than most missionaries will in a lifetime with boots on the ground.
I believe women need each other. We lead such busy lives, but we need to bond, learn from each other, and support each other. We need to spend time together in the Word and pray for each other as well as providing casseroles after surgery, you know?
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
I am a professional speaker and lead both faith-based workshops and writer’s workshops, and I have done so since 2010. I love meeting new people and hearing their testimony whether it is as a writer or a follower of Jesus…or both!
What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I rarely read for pleasure nowadays because when I am not writing or editing either for Cru or for extra income, I read works by other Christian authors to proofread, beta read, or review in order to help them out. But hey, that is my pleasure!
Tell us about your next project.
Bunco Biddies Mysteries #4, Until Dice Do Us Part, is in edits and is to launch in early 2018. I am also in the process of developing a new cozy mystery series with my publisher.
Thank you, Julie, for giving us a look inside your heart today, as well as into your life as an author.