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Interview with Becky Van Vleet

With an ear out for good stories, Becky Van Vleet loves translating family stories from spoken story to written word. Her debut novel, which released in August, follows the story of her father through World War II.

What message do you hope readers take away from this book?
My novel is inspired by a true family story, my father’s experiences, adventures, and battles on the USS Denver in WWII. I hope my readers, including teens, age 15 and up, take away a true sense of sacrifice, teamwork, and patriotism involved with all the Americans who fought for our nation’s freedom in this unprecedented war.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I am definitely a plotter, but the panster side of me kicks in when I really get going with plot development.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
To be honest, I would have to say my involvement with ACFW, at the national level and with my local group. I’ve learned a great deal from the national ACFW loop. I love it when someone asks a specific writing question and so many others jump in to help. And my local Colorado Springs ACFW group is just really terrific. We all encourage one another and I have a whole new set of friends.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
I have one main advantage in this area that many others do not—I’m retired! This is not to say I don’t have other things to do and that I never struggle getting pulled in different directions. But life has slowed down a little. I have found that I just need to organize my time differently than when I was working full time.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
Oh, my faith and spiritual life are huge in my writing endeavors. At the top of the list is my prayer time that I devote specifically for writing. I ask for God’s help with ideas, organization, my website, my blogs and email list, marketing, publication opportunities, and especially with direction.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
My family spurs me on to write. I don’t mean that family members talk to me about writing. But my family members are “in” my writing. Unintended Hero is based upon my father’s true WWII experiences. My children’s pictures books are all inspired by true family stories. My blogs are about family stories. In fact, I’m just very passionate about preserving family stories for future generations to enjoy. I do a happy dance when I remember a new family story to write about or I hear about someone else’s and I can feature their story as a guest blog.

What is your writing routine? Any quirky habits or must-have snacks?
I mostly write during the weekdays, although a little writing task that needs to get done might slip in over the weekend. My husband and I eat breakfast together and then we take a walk. Our walk is our daily prayer time, so no matter how busy I get, I make sure our walk (physical exercise) and prayer time (spiritual exercise) is a priority. After this, I fix a cup of hot tea and sit down at the computer to pursue whatever writing tasks I need to get my attention on. I try to devote a chunk of marketing time each week. My go-to snack is cashews!

If you could have coffee with an author, dead or alive, whose work you admire, who would that be? What would you ask him or her?
I would love to have an opportunity to talk with Patricia Polacco. She also writes of family stories. I would ask her for tips for how she makes her family stories so poignant and relatable. And then I would ask her to read one of my family stories and critique it.

What led you to choose the historical fiction genre in which you write?
Actually, this genre chose me! Like I mentioned, Unintended Hero, my debut novel, is inspired by a true story about my father. I am a WWII aficionado, and after reading many WWII books and watching documentaries, I just knew I needed to write my father’s WWII story for others to enjoy.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Oh, this is an easy question for sure! I love spending time with my family. My husband and I enjoy traveling when we can, and having my grandchildren come play with Nana brings me joy like no other. Especially when I can gather them up to the sofa for reading time!

What books are on your nightstand right now? I am currently reading Where Dreams Reside by Heidi Chiavaroli. Heidi is the author of The Orchard House Bed and Breakfast Series, which is a contemporary twist on the classic Little Women. I love her books!

Finish this statement: If I were not an author, I would be ___________.
I’m retired and I’m pretty committed to my writing endeavors at this season of my life. But if I were to set writing aside, and I was younger, I would be a Christian bookstore owner and devour all the books!
The Bible came to life for Christine Boatwright when she realized it told one, complete story—the story of Jesus Christ. A church girl from the get-go, Christine learned storytelling through her time as an award-winning journalist and academic writer. She's the president of the ACFW Upstate South Carolina chapter and won the 2022 Genesis Award for historical fiction. In her free time as a stay-at-home mom, she connects the dots between the narrative of the Old Testament, the prophets who lived it, and the God who never changes. Connect with her at or on Instagram.

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