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Interview with Christina Rich

Born and raised in Kansas, where she currently lives with her husband and children, Christina loves to read stories with happily ever afters, research, take photos, knit scarves, dig into her ancestry, fish, visit the ocean, write stories with happily ever afters and talk about her family and Jesus.

Her debut, The Guardian's Promise from Love Inspired Historical, releases March 2014.

Your debut novel, The Guardian's Promise, is based on real Biblical events. How difficult was it to write a fiction story based on real events and characters?
LOL! I know you’ve heard the phrase ‘God doesn’t call the equipped but equips the called.' That couldn’t be more true here. There is so much research involved with varied opinions and there’s not always enough ‘concrete’ evidence. Just look at 2 Chronicles 22:12: And he (Joash) was with them hid in the house of God six years. (KJV) Prior to this verse we see that Jehosheba hid him in a bedchamber. We automatically assume, and rightly so, that Joash was hid in a bedchamber in the temple for six years, but after obsessive prayers, researching the first temple, digging into the original Hebrew meaning of the house of God and reading in 2 Kings 12 that the temple was so badly damaged it took over twenty-three years to repair it, I chose to hide Joash within the house of God (people) instead of the physical house of God.

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
This is a hard question to answer. I love them all for different reasons, but I if I had to choose, it’d be Caleb, Sh’mira’s father, because of his unassuming wisdom and his gentle spirit. Although God is all-knowing and wise, Caleb kind of reminds me of how our Father God treats us. He doesn’t bash our heads against a wall trying to get us to see his ways. Instead he guides us and allows us to discover things for ourselves.

Which was the hardest character to write?
Why? Oh, this one is easy. Rubiel, Sh’mira’s sister. I wanted to like her, to make her likable to my readers, but she kept antagonizing her sister and blurting whatever came to mind with no thought of how she hurt others. I didn’t want to make her petty and selfish, just ignorant of her childishness. I think, because of her family’s love for her there may be some sympathy.

What helps you the most when you're developing your characters?
Solidifying their goals and motivations, although sometimes this doesn’t occur until after the first draft is complete.

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
That’s a funny thing. I started out writing Scottish historicals. I have several in various stages of completion and one of them has been a finalist in several contests. On a whim, I decided to write a western romance set in my backyard and had a lot of fun with it and can’t wait to write more. As for the biblical romances, yeah, I never had a thought in my mind to write them until one day while I was sitting in church and this question popped into my head; what if a bondservant fell in love with his master’s daughter? What if that bondservant was, in truth, no bondservant but really a king’s guardian? I rushed home from church and for the first time ever wrote a synopsis, and then wrote the story in less than two months. I’m still writing biblical romances. :)

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. Lots and lots of prayer, and even more prayer. Of course, I will always be grateful to the huge support team who offered prayer and encouragement along the way.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
My biggest challenge is deciding what takes priority. Some days it’s writing, lately it’s been family. My father-in-love was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer in May 2013. The last few months have been very rough. Cancer doesn’t wait for writing deadlines to be complete.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
When does it not? Sorry, I hope that doesn’t come off rude. My daily prayer is that I reflect Jesus: his grace, his mercy, his love. Those prayers cover my writing. My constant prayer is for God’s message to be woven onto the pages, that the gift he’s entrusted me with will comfort the brokenhearted and encourage my readers to a real relationship with Father God.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
At first, I just wrote because I had to get all these stories out of my head, but after I received that contract I noticed others around me were encouraged by my dream coming true. That inspires me, it pushes me and I can’t wait to celebrate with them when their dreams come true.

My story and character ideas come from all over. Sometimes from a simple conversation in the grocery line. Sometimes from a dream. Most of the time, they just pop in my head.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I’m not sure. I do try to immerse my readers into the era I’m writing in.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Sitting beside my husband while he channel surfs. ;) I really enjoy reading for pleasure and researching my ancestry.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
Yeah, have you seen my nightstand? Guess not, but it looks like an unorganized bookstore. I’ll tell you what’s on top. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Rebecca Puglisi, Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan, The Wyoming Heir by Naomi Rawlings, Lone Wolf’s Lady by Judy Duarte, Her Roman Protector by Milinda Jay, With Autumn’s Return by Amanda Cabot, and A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears.

Finish this statement: The most important thing to make a good story is...
...prayer and finding that connection to your characters and making them connect to your readers.

Any parting words?
Yes, delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Of course, you may find that as you do, the desires of your heart will be the Lord. :) Seriously though, this writing gig is difficult and at times, disappointing, but I’ve found that trusting God’s timing is vital for sanity. I’ve also found that praising Him, even in the midst of disappointment, is just as important.

Thanks for sharing with us, Christina!

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