RA: Welcome, Tina! Fill us in on yourself a little, please!I live in Grand Junction, Colorado with, Danny. We’ve been married 30+ years. We own and operate Omega Avionics and our newest venture F & S Tire. We have three grown sons, two beautiful daughter-in-laws and 5 grand children.
I started my first novel in elementary school, probably so I wouldn’t die young. You see, I was a liar extraordinaire, sooo writing gave me an outlet for my fiction where I wouldn’t get in trouble from my parents. I write poetry, short stories and songs. One of my songs won in the top twenty-five for a contest out of Nashville. I like to camp, garden, work with wood, sing and teach.
RA: I am so happy to have you visit with us today, thank you for stopping by. Happy Holidays and Congratulations on your new release! Could you tell us a little bit about it? Touched by Mercy tells the story of one woman’s journey to grace. Samantha Northam comes from a background of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, having been molested as a child, I identify with Samantha.
The story was pretty much my rite of passage. Coming to a point where I believed God could find me lovely. I made it a bit harder on Samantha than myself, but I wanted to show the beauty of God’s grace on us, his arms around the brokenhearted. Samantha hadn’t done anything wrong, as far as the molestation went, but she spent years believing she had, and spent long years hating and being afraid to love. When her daughter, Angelina, is taken from her, she believes that it happened because she’s not good enough. She sets out to find Angelina, which leads her to the Orphanages of New York. She doesn’t find Angelina, but she is introduced to several needy children and some Nuns who begin to teach her about God’s love. Because of her wounds, Samantha doesn’t quite believe the Nuns, she still thinks she has to prove her worth to God. So Samantha sets out to ease the pain that the children of the orphanage suffer. When word comes that Angelina might have been found in Kansas, Samantha heads west, with plans to get her daughter and open a boardinghouse for stops on the Orphan Train. The west seems to hold all the answers to her dreams, but time and circumstances cause her to wonder if it has taken her far enough away from her past and her nightmares.
And if she’ll ever be good enough in God’s eyes to become his child.
Touched By Mercy is a story about God’s plan for our lives, and how he can use and loves us even though we feel inadequate. It also tells shows how God places people in our lives to Touch us with his Mercy.
RA: What was the inspiration behind this work? Well, the story was written because, after working through my emotions with God, most of which happened in the story, I wanted to share that path to healing with others who carry scars in their own lives.
RA: What role, if any did your personal memories play in creating this story? While Touched By Mercy isn’t a Christmas Story per se, I would say it has parts that were written from my memories. Certainly, Samantha’s feelings of inadequacy come from my own life. As does the healing that happens in her life.
RA: Did the tone and theme of this work relate to any other of your works? How?
Touched By Mercy is a stand-alone work. Although I have been toying with a sequel. We’ll see. The way it relates to other stories I’ve written in tone and theme is through my desire to share a touch of God, relay his love, mercy and grace through my stories to my reader.
RA: There’s a saying, “write what you know”. What do you think of this? How does it apply, or not apply, to your work?
There are times that I agree that saying. We should write what we know. But maybe the better saying is “Write what you know you should”. I say that because, yes, you may know something or have an area that you are familiar with and should write about, and maybe not. Maybe your voice isn’t in a story about the familiar. Touched By Mercy is written from certain aspects and emotions I lived through, but the old west isn’t what I know. Where would sci-fi or fantasy writers fit in the mix if authors only wrote what they know? Sometimes, your imagination, and where it leads you, is all you need to know.
RA: You’ve created many characters! Any new ones in the works?
Yes of course, I have several characters dancing around in my brain. Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I even talk to them. I’m glad I’m a writer, at least I won’t be deemed totally crazy. As I said, I’ve been considering a sequel to Touched By Mercy, it take a deeper look at familiar characters and introduce some new ones. And I have some other stories in the works. Plus some old ones I’d like to release if possible, then people can meet some characters I’ve known for some time.
RA: How has your life changed since you became a published author?Not much. I’ve added promoting to my schedule a bit more, but, really, my life has stayed pretty much the same. I suppose if I sold a million copies and became a famous author, I’d have more to report.
RA: Many writers have discussed writing flashbacks. What are your thoughts about this technique? Some people may frown on flashbacks, not as much as they do over prologues (or information dumps, which I love) though. I happen to like flashbacks, so much so I use them frequently. I think the only reason I might balk about flashbacks is when they hinder the flow of a story, otherwise, bring them on. Prologues too.
RA: Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have you in the past?
I’ve been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2003.
RA: What would be the best advice you could give a beginning writer?
Be the writer God created you to be. Use the heart, voice and imagination he designed specifically for you, specifically for this time. Know that it will take commitment, know that you will get discouraged and know that God will be right there with you, so hang on and keep writer.
RA: Time to get personal! Could you tell us about yourself? I am so wonderful, I should be the leader of the world… Oh wait not my dream personality… I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Danny, for over 30 yrs. When I first met him, I thought he was a cretin. I guess he grew on me. (Can you see where my deep romantic nature stems from?) As I said earlier we have three sons. I myself am the middle daughter of five girls. The only blonde. A fact, that my sisters used against me. You see because I was fair and they were dark, they called me an orphan. It took me awhile to realize they weren’t telling the truth. Because my father was in the Air Force, we were able to live overseas in Germany and Turkey. Plus I had the opportunity to travel around Europe.
RA: What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Song? Personal memory?Turning out all the lights, except for the ones on the tree, maybe light a candle or two, sing a few carols and read the Christmas Story. We may have a cake and celebrate Christ’s birthday as well. One favorite memory—my parents and grandparents, wanted us to believe Santa had landed in the driveway, so they went out and made reindeer paw prints and sleigh tracks in the snow. We were so excited, we pay no attention to all the footprints in the snow as well.
RA: And what’s next for you, writing-wise? Could you tell us what to expect in any other books you’ll be releasing? I’ve finished the first book in a Sci-fi Trilogy and have a good start on the second. I’m working on a book called Cross of the Sultan. (using some of my recollections from Turkey) The main character, Nora is a bit of a day dreamer, who dreams of adventure.
RA: Thank you so much for sharing with us, Tina. Good luck with your releases and please come back again soon!Thank you so much for inviting me to your site, Regina.
Here’s an excerpt from “Touched by Mercy”. After assuring each other that they will tell each other when and if they plan to court Samantha, Preston and Allan meet on the road as they headed to the Boardinghouse to see Sam. “Them store bought?” Allan nearly growled when Preston met him on the road with a bunch of flowers in his arms. “Where you headed?”
Preston had a good idea why he sounded so irritable. Allan was busy comparing Preston’s store-bought bouquet to the gathered wild flowers in his fist and felt decidedly outmatched.
Allan came to an abrupt halt. Preston stopped beside him, and they stared at each other in charged silence. “Well?” Allan looked fierce.
Preston tugged on his bolo and smiled. “The boardinghouse. You?”
“Same.” Allan brushed the frown aside. “Mind if I walk with you?”
“Nah, company’s fine with me.”
Allan eyed the flowers in Preston’s grasp. “Have you come to a conclusion?”
Preston followed Allan’s stare. “About a wife? No. I’m narrowing it down, but–”
“But you’re planning on asking her to court you?” Allan’s brows furrow. “You promised to tell me if you were going to court her?”
“I did promise you that, and I will. Just bringing flowers. Same as you.”
Allan looked at Preston’s flowers and huffed a breath.