(Come back on Friday (1/31/14) when Fay talks to us about her writing life and recent projects.)
Today, Fay is taking us behind the scenes of A Dozen Apologies, a fascinating chapter book about Mara and twelve men (heroes) in her life.
Fay, thanks for visiting our site today and staying with us to answer readers’ questions after the interview. Let’s get started!
VM: You collaborated with eleven authors to write A Dozen Apologies. Each week day, Write Integrity is releasing a new chapter by a different author. How did you come up with this concept?
Fay: I share a little about this on my blog, but I have had the pleasure of being a part of three of the four Write Integrity Press collaborative novella projects, and I believe our editor, Tracy Ruckman, has found a niche. After the first project, Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt in 2012 and as we were working on the 2013 project, A Ruby Christmas, I wanted to provide Tracy with an idea for Valentine’s Day. I kept imagining that old board game, The Mystery Date Game. I envisioned a heroine with all of the guys and she needed to choose from them. I have to confess, I also thought of a calendar of heroes. The problem was, a gal with twelve guys usually doesn’t a heroine make. I had to give her a reason for finding each of these guys. Then I realized that Mara had to have a past, and well, her past wasn’t too pretty. She was a terror to these men, and when God allows Mara to reap what she’d sown, she realizes that each of these men deserve an in-person, heart-felt apology, and well, if she fell in love with one of them in the process—that a love story makes.
Mystery Date Game–you’re so clever! How does a diverse group of talented writers give Mara–the main character–a consistent voice and work together toward the ending?
This is something that Tracy and each author who have worked on the three of the four projects centering around a single heroine have wondered. I believe that it starts first with the God-centered message. Each of the Write Integrity Press novellas present a very Biblical message. We also wrap the story in prayer. Then it starts with a very clear heroine and what her journey is about. For Mara, I saw her as out of her element when she hits a low point in her life. She’s a klutz, always running into problems either through her own ineptness or with the help of others, and as Mara grows, you see that through her bumbling and fumbling, God has given her a heart of mercy and grace—the same mercy and grace that she is seeking. As the authors began to work on the stories, just about all of them seemed to come to the conclusion that the problem with Mara, the reason she behaved so atrociously, was due to the fact that she had always been out of her element, not just after her downfall, but maybe even her entire life. With that in mind, Mara seemed to gel for each of us, and as I read chapter after chapter, I was again amazed at how God blended the story together, this time using twelve different pens (or computers).
Tell us more about Mara and what happens to her in your chapter.
Oh, I can’t share about my hero chapter because that’s top secret. You see, after the readers meet each of the heroes from the story (and from interviews posted on my blog On the Ledge), they will get the opportunity to vote for their favorite hero. That hero is the one who will win Mara’s heart and get the last chapter. Voting begins February 5 and ends February 8. On February 9, On the Ledge will begin to spotlight some or all of the authors with their heroes. From the very start of this concept, the authors agreed that the voting should be about the heroes. We also didn’t want to make it a “political” campaign or a popularity contest among the writers. We felt that this would lessen the impact of the story. When one of our authors (wave to Deb Ullrick) suggested the chapter authors remain anonymous, we felt that was a stroke of genius. On February 14 the readers can read the winning heroes chapter because the novella will be offered for free on Kindle through February 16.
I can tell you that Mara stays mainly in the South. Her longest journey takes her to Colorado, but she meets twelve interesting fellows from diverse backgrounds with compelling stories of their own, and well, she makes a mess of most jobs she works. I promise laughter and quite possibly some tears … Our editor told us she cried. We love to make Tracy cry … and laugh. That means we’ve done our job.
Fay, we appreciate you visiting our blog today and look forward to meeting again this Friday.
Dear readers, before we tell you how to vote for your favorite hero and get a free copy of A Dozen Apologies, we wanted to share Fay’s contact information:
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.
Write Integrity Press (http://writeintegrity.blogspot.com/) is releasing a new chapter of A Dozen Apologies each week day up to February 5, after which you can start voting for your favorite hero. Your votes will determine how the book ends! On February 14 through 16, the completed novella, including the last chapter, featuring the “winning” hero, will be offered free on Amazon Kindle.
Fay will be standing by to answer your questions today. Even if you don’t have questions, take a moment to let Fay know what type of hero / heroine / adventure you’d like to see in future chapter books. Let your voice be heard!