Welcome back to Interview Tuesday! It’s been a great summer and I’m ready to resume my weekly blog schedule. I hope all of you have enjoyed a fantastic summer.
To kick off the fall interview series is Nicole Petrino-Salter. She may not be a household name yet but she is a great talent and has some fabulous stories to share. I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole several years ago at the Northwest Christian Writers’ Renewal and she’s become one of my best friends. I’ll let Nicole tell some of her own story through the answers to my questions. Nicole blogs at http://hopeofglory.typepad.com and you can find her books, like “The Famous One” through Amazon.
When did you discover your love of writing for the first time?
So long ago I don't remember. I loved writing letters when I was a child, and I graduated to stories once in school. Two things that seem to have always been with me are the love of horses and writing.
You spent many years in the horse racing industry. How has that colored your writing life, if at all?
As you know, Kirk, my first novel was a result of the Lord's direction to write a "Christian novel about horse racing". I wondered over the 8 and 1/2 years it took to write the monster saga if I would finish it in obedience to Him. With his encouragement I did it! The world of horse racing comprised over 30 years of my life. You could say I grew up there, but really it wasn't until I met the Lord while working on the track shortly after my second marriage that my life began to make sense and change for the better. It can be a tough life, and it's a challenge on every level - physically with working 7-days-a-week, emotionally with loving the horses, and spiritually with sin always available and taunting you. Since I'm a student of people, the diverse personalities of people in that concentrated environment gave me rich character studies.
I know you’ve completed a number of novels. What has been your biggest joy in writing?
Honestly, feeling the inspiration to create new characters and experience their lives and circumstances as the story takes place. Receiving those words which give affirmation to that story from readers. I'm a person who requires a fair amount of affirmation.
Your novels are sometimes termed “realistic” and “raw.” You deal uncompromisingly with issues of sin, regret and redemption. How do you deal with these issues in a convincing manner?
If we can't tell the truth about these issues without "purifying" them first, then we fail to truly address the intense effects of sin. I think it's important to portray people who fail, people who have no moral compass, people who desire to do the right thing and succeed, and people who are confused about what's right and what's wrong within and without the Christian community and do it without judgment. "Realistic" can be very "raw" but doesn't have to be graphic. "Realistic" touches hearts and souls and can both repel and resurrect. None of us can claim to be without sin. I think it can be important to give an accurate depiction of it and its results. And in my case I often tackle the beauty and harm of sexual attraction, viewing and contrasting relationships from the world's ideas and God's heart. I write for adult readers who don't gravitate toward fluff.
How important do you believe blogging is for a fiction writer today?
I think blogging can be very important provided the author who's doing the blogging is committed to it. Author websites are notorious for not being kept up to date. Some authors who begin blogs wind up abandoning them or posting so infrequently, people quit visiting. If they're a bestselling author, they can get away with it. However, many readers now engage social networking and enjoy learning about the authors they enjoy. Blogs provide a connection to readers.
You’ve met countless writers by writing book reviews on your blog. I imagine you’ve made many friends that way. What do you think of the writing community as a whole?
That's an interesting question, Kirk. Let's say the author's with whom I've formed a real friendship are just great people. Period. The writing community as a whole? Hmm. Some of the professionals in the industry seem inflexible and slightly out of touch with current readers, insisting on sticking to their tried and true demographic of women, style of literature, and formulaic structures. I think that demographic could be much wider and many of my writing/reading friends agree. Oh well.
Do you mind sharing what you’re currently working on? I believe it’s a story a bit out of the norm for you.
Yes, right now I'm attempting to write a police procedural in primarily first person POV from the lead detective's perspective on a murder case at a local racetrack. I decided to go back to the track with this one since I haven't written anything related to horse racing since my first novel. I've completed seven novels and actually have three WIPs but have been devoting most of my time to this one of late. A definite switch from my trademark love stories although there's a thread of romance in this one too. I'm really hoping I can pull it off because it definitely hasn't been easy. And since most of my work centers on character studies, it's difficult for me to get the appropriate suspense in there.
Kirk, I'm nobody in the industry, usually kind of a rebel about it all, but I do love writing novels that mean something - no matter how seemingly insignificant. I truly appreciate your interest in my work and most of all your friendship. Thank you for including me.