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Interview with June Foster

June, how did the journey of writing fiction begin for you? Your website says you penned your first novel while traveling the U.S. in an RV with your husband. That sounds like quite the adventure!

I did write my first novel in our RV. But it all began a few years before. I retired from teaching and my husband and I moved to Lacey, Washington. While indulging in my favorite hobby, scrapbooking, I noticed a story lurking in my head, quite unusual for me. Though I minored in English in college and wrote academically, I'd never written fiction.

One day I visited my daughter and told her the story. She said I should write it and that was the spark the Lord used to send me on my journey. I took a stab at plotting and figured out a setting. About that time, my husband and I decided to see the United States in our RV. In between visiting the national parks and the wild west, I began to devour all the craft books I could find. I read blogs and attended writers' conferences. Then my first novel was born.

Within two years, I received a contract for my Bellewood trilogy. To date, I've had 10 contemporary romance novels published and three short stories. Looking back, I can see the Lord's hand guiding me step by step through those first days.

According to your bio, you have an M.A. in counseling. How has this impacted your writing?

Christians aren't immune from obstacles and temptations people face in today's society. I write stories about men and women who love the Lord and overcome through God's power and His word. Many times my characters find themselves sharing their hearts with a trusted friend. Training in counseling helps me better understand my characters and write their dialogue. In Ryan's Father, a godly counselor guides Ryan through his journey to find freedom from same sex attraction and become the man God ordained him to be.

Having written many contemporary romance storylines, do you have any specific writing or brainstorming methods to conjure up new ideas?

Somehow storylines seem to catch my attention. When they do, I write them down. I have only to look to TV or the newspapers to find topics. I love writing unlikely romances while tackling issues we deal with today. For example, in our Christian lives, drug use and alcohol is frowned upon, but overeating isn't seen quite as bad. So in my first book, an obese, but handsome man is the hero.

After becoming a Christian, he gives up alcohol, but trades that addiction for a food addiction. Yet the heroine sees past the rolls of fat and falls in love with him. She has a past and lost part of her leg in a motorcycle accident, but is afraid to reveal her disability to the hero and further damage her low self-esteem.

I’ve also written about a youth pastor with an anger problem and a woman who was abandoned by her father; a drug dealer who becomes a Christian in prison and a female doctor who suffers guilt after an abortion; a Christian woman who falls in love with a man in a non-Christian cult; a pastor who discovers he has a six-year-old daughter and falls in love with a social worker; and my latest, a biracial romance.

What draws you to write a particular story idea?

I feel it's a desire God puts in my heart. As I said, I love to explore issues we Christians must face. I love to see people in real life who turn their lives around because of faith in the Lord. So I write characters who do the same. Most of the time, my characters reflect people I know. A couple of times, I've allowed my heroine to deal with some of my own issues. I'm careful, though, to disguise characters so that no one would be able to identify the real-life person.

What do you hope your readers take away from your novels?

I'd like my readers to be able to identify with my characters, perhaps finding the same freedom from life's roadblocks as my hero or heroine. But important too, I'd like the reader to be drawn into the novel with a good story.

What do you see as the most significant milestone along your publication journey?

Of course that first contract was significant, but the Lord has led me in more than one route to publication. I am a hybrid author—I’m published traditionally as well as self-published.

I never would've figured out the indie process if it hadn't been for my lovely critique partners. We all decided to write and self publish another version of a fairy tale of our choice. I chose Little Red Riding Hood and wrote a modern day rendition of the story—Red and the Wolf. Since then, I've self-published three more novels.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with other responsibilities?

I'm blessed to be retired with no kids at home. So I don't have near the pressure that younger writers have. We belong to a wonderful church with tons of ministry opportunities. So figuring out how much to do at church and yet keep up with my writing is a challenge.

What books are in your To Be Read pile right now? Do you prefer reading physical books, e-books or a mix of both?

Both. I read physical books in the bathtub, but read on my Kindle at most other times, including traveling in the RV when my husband is driving. I'm reading Ted Dekker's Heaven Trilogy and can't wait to get into another Karen Kingsbury.

Any parting words?

Trust in the Lord and He will direct every step of your writing journey. Thank you so much, Morgan. I love sharing with my fellow ACFW members.


Morgan Tarpley is an award-winning newspaper reporter and photographer in Louisiana. She is also a novelist currently seeking representation. Besides writing and traveling to more than a dozen countries, her interests include acting in her local theater group, genealogy, photography, and singing. She resides in Louisiana with her husband.

For more information about Morgan, visit her website and blog she writes with her husband. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.

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