How long have you been writing? Has writing always been something you wanted to do?
I was always writing growing up, but I didn’t finish many of the stories I started, unless they were for a class. I didn’t get serious about writing until 2005. I was frustrated at work and decided it was time to see if I could actually finish a novel.
What books or stories have you written? Published? Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?
I have two published novels and a third that I am currently editing for a release this fall. “Summer Storms” is the first in my “Seasons of Faith” series. Set in Orlando, FL during the hurricanes of 2004, the two main characters are Lizzie, a hotel concierge, and Jeffrey, a building contractor. Lizzie has spent months searching for a home in downtown, but when she does, Hurricane Charley deals her a blow she never could have imagined. Fortunately, in the course of renovating the house she met a contractor, Jeffrey Robbins, and with his help she believes she can repair the damage. What she doesn’t know is Jeffrey has his own damage to repair deep within his heart.
“Julianne” is the first in the “Coastal Chronicles” series and is a story about a young woman’s struggle to find inner peace and spirituality. The main character, Julianne Finnegan, is like a lot of young people in their twenties trying to find their way in the world, but she has the added pressure of a successful older sibling. After a chance encounter with a young actor named Oliver, Julianne finds there is more to life than living up to her family name.
How did you get inspiration for the characters?
So far all of my characters have found me. A few of them have taken on personality traits of people I know. The sixteen years I’ve spent working in the hospitality industry has given me enough fodder for new characters and experience to last years.
Are the books based on personal experiences?
They aren’t based on any specific events in my life, but I do draw on my experiences. After my grandmother died I often wrote to deal with my grief and when I was writing “Summer Storms” I drew on that grief to understand what my characters were going through.
Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?
Don’t give up. Writing is hard and critiques can be mean, but if it is what you love you have to be persistent.
Can you talk a little about the benefits of getting your work professionally edited?
Without going through a professional editing process you run the risk of putting out work filled with flaws. No matter how many times you read your work, you will overlook things. As the author you know the point you are trying to make, you know the motivations of your characters, but the reader is not privy to these things. An editor doesn’t just proofread and correct your spelling errors. A good editor can help point out those gaps and give you ideas on how to fix them.
There are hundreds of editors out there. Finding one that you feel comfortable with, who can help define your voice, is the challenge. You can do research, get references, read other things they have edited, but in the end I think it comes down to trial and error. You may have to use several editors before you find the one for you.
What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?
Time! There simply isn’t enough time in the day to do everything.
How do you find enough time in the day to write?
I don’t write every day. It simply isn’t possible for me. A large portion of my writing gets done when I am on vacation from my day job. I usually spend four to six hours a day during vacation getting the first draft done, then I can go back, fill in the holes and polish in the free minutes of my daily life.
Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?
For me, writing can be very therapeutic. It also helps me escape from my normal grind. Just like reading can transport you, I get transported when I am working on a book. While writing “Julianne” I became so involved in that world I almost missed my exit on the way to work because my mind was so deeply involved with the characters and what they were doing.
Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and why?
I would read all day if I could. I wish I knew how many books I’ve read throughout my life. I don’t tend to read the current bestsellers. I love reading about different cultures, travel, espionage thrillers, historical fiction and mysteries.
While I write Christian fiction, I have only read a handful of Christian authors, mainly Terri Blackstock, Ted Dekker, Lois Gladys Leppard, Karen Kingsbury and Robin Jones Gunn. My experience with some other writers in this genre that I read early on was a bit too sweet for me. I want to read books that have some elements of reality to them. Real life is hard; it doesn’t always have happy endings. I want to write stories that aren’t always happy, but still show there is joy even in sorrow.
Can you talk about how important reviews are to writers? What kinds of information do reviews offer authors like yourself? Have you ever received a bad review? If so how did it make you feel?
As a writer, reviews are an important way of getting the word out about your work. They provide your readers with more information than just your blurb, give them insight into what emotions your book evokes, maybe even compare you to other authors. They help me find my strengths and weaknesses, better define my target market, and honestly, help provide validation. I haven’t received a bad review yet, but it is still early in my career.
Rebekah is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings. She is a Florida native and a graduate of Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Fla. A love of history, research and journaling led naturally to a passion for writing. She enjoys travel and has traveled extensively across the United States and Canada as well as Europe and the Caribbean. Her reading tastes run from the classics to light fiction. When she is not working or writing, she enjoys cooking, baking and sharing recipes on her blog.
Her current works include “Summer Storms,” the first book in “The Seasons of Faith” series and “Julianne,” the first book in “The Coastal Chronicle” series. She is currently working on “Winter’s End,” the much awaited sequel to “Summer Storms.”
Rebekah currently lives in Florida along with her “attack” cat, Mia. They would enjoy meeting with you on her Facebook page.