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Interview With Kathy Fuller

1. Tell us a little about yourself? Married/single, children, how many books authored, etc.

My husband James and I have been married for 12 years. We have three children: Mathew (11), Sydney (9) and Zoie (7). My mother-in-law also lives with us. We live on a small subsistence farm in Geneva, Ohio and raise cows, pigs, and chickens. We also have three dogs and one overwhelmed cat.

As for writing, I've written several short stories, one contemporary and one historical novellas (Tyndale), four novels, both historical and contemporary (Avalon), and various non-fiction pieces, devotionals, interviews, essays, columns, newsletters, reviews, etc. In 2004 I was a senior editor for Dot Net Inc., a network of family friendly websites focused on entertainment. Currently I'm a staff reviewer for Infuze Magazine ( and I recently started my own freelance editing business, Crystal Clear Editing Services. When I have time I also blog.

2. How many years have you been writing?

I wrote my first short story in 2000. So about five and a half years.

3. How much time do you spend writing daily? Do you consider yourself full-time or part-time? Do you write in the mornings or evenings?

Definitely part-time. I long to be full time, but God hasn't made a way for that yet. Right now I work full time as a church secretary. Before that I had home schooled my children (they attend public school now). When I started writing my youngest had just turned three. So I've never had the luxury of writing at the same time every day.

I write whenever I can, whenever I have a free moment. I'm rarely without a pen and a notebook if I'm away from the computer. Right now I'm able to squeeze some writing time in at work, so I praise God for that. But I've been known to get up at 4am to write, or to start writing at 11pm and continue on until 2am. It just depends on my schedule (and my energy!) at the time.

4. Do you set daily goals for your writing? Number of hours, pages, word count tell us how you set your goals.

Goals? What are those? Actually I set more general goals I'll give myself a deadline to complete a book proposal, for example. I'm a very deadline oriented person, it's the only way I accomplish anything. I also tend to procrastinate, so having a definite deadline helps tremendously. I believe in setting reachable goals. Since my schedule is so erratic I can't set page and word goals, I'd depress myself by not accomplishing them!

5. Where do you write? Do you have an office or a corner? Tell us about your space and what makes you most comfortable.

I write everywhere! Mostly I write at home in our office, which has shifted several times over the years--for a few months it was even in the kitchen! As I mentioned before I also write at work. I write at dance lessons, doctor's offices--anywhere, really. I do prefer the computer, though. I type pretty fast, so it's much easier for me to write on a computer than on paper. I also have arthritis so my handwriting is horrible! As far as my office space is concerned, I like to call it 'organized chaos.' Not an original term, but it definitely fits.

6. Do you plot or not? Expound briefly on your methods or theories in the plotting department.

Plotting is definitely my weak area. When I first started writing I used The Plotting Notebook, it was a great tool for me. Then I became more of a seat of the pants writer. I really enjoy the surprise of that process. Recently though, I started studying screenwriting and teleplay writing techniques. To write a script you need to have an outline, and I've found that outlining really economizes the writing process. Writing into the mist requires a lot of redirection and rewriting. My time is more limited than ever now, so I've embraced the outline whole heartedly. It also helps when writing the dreaded--*shudder*-- synopsis.

7. Is your first draft rough or do you aim for a polished manuscript the first time through? How much time do you spend on rewrites?

That's another area where I'm constantly evolving. I used to get caught up in rewriting at the beginning of every writing session--going back and reading what I'd previously wrote and tweaking it here and there. Doing it that way is both good and bad. You eventually end up with a fairly polished first draft, but oy!--the time it takes you to get to the end! Now I try to push on through until I'm done, then go back and do a couple rewrites. I find experience and practice continually improves my first drafts--each one is cleaner than the last one. My experience with editing helps that too. But I still end up with at least two or three rewrites, which is fine with me. Birthing the first draft is excruciating for me; the rewrites, however, are a blast.

8. How does your Christian walk influence your writing? Any advice for integrated God and writing?

I can't separate them. God inspired me to write, He led me to this career. He gives me the words and the stories, He's opened all the doors, He's provided all the opportunities. But perhaps the greatest thing He's done is thrust me into a painful yet satisfying profession. I've changed (and hopefully grown!) so much personally because of this business. Some days, when the rejections come or the doors close or the waiting becomes unbearable, I wonder why I'm doing this. I realize so many other writers work and produce under harder and more stressful circumstances than I do, but I still feel like I'm in a pressure cooker at times. However, I thank and praise God that He is with me. That He is shaping and honing me, sometimes with sharp tools, into the person He desires me to be. There are no guarantees in publishing; I'm fully aware that I may never sell another book, that my current books could bomb, that my life circumstances could alter and prevent me from writing again. But as long as this is God's will, I'm going to keep on keeping on. I guess that's also my advice to other writers¡Xlean on God at all times, through the good and the bad.

9. What was your biggest obstacle in regard to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

Fear and low confidence were HUGE obstacles, and sometimes still are. Again, it all comes from getting your strength from the Lord, from having that desire to please Him and to have Him say, "Well done," as opposed to an editor or a reader or anyone else. The only way to overcome fear is to face it head on, so even though I was scared to death when I submitted my first short story, I took a deep breath and did it anyway. The only way to guarantee failure is to never try at all. Even now I still get jitters when submitting, but I don't let that stop me. Fear shouldn't keep anyone from achieving their goals.

10. Do you have any advice for a new writer?

Learn the craft and the business. Take courses, join a writing organization (like ACFW), and read, read, read. Also, remember not to take rejections personally. Its never personal, it's always about the work. That's a difficult thing to do because the work is so personal, but it's absolutely necessary in order to maintain your sanity and to keep self-defeating thoughts and emotions at bay. Those types of things can ruin a writing career before it's begun.

But most importantly I would stress that all aspiring writers have a teachable heart. One spectacular thing about writers and Christian writers (I include editors in this too) in particular is their willingness to teach and share their expertise and their experience. Whether it's at conferences or on their websites or through critiques and contest judging, these authors are taking time out of their lives to help an aspiring writer. They don't have to; it's certainly not a requirement of the business. But they do it anyway, and we should all be grateful that they do. I've had my own mentors that have taught me and encouraged me and I wouldn't be where I am right now without them.

I'd also like to include some quick promotional info:

Any recent or upcoming releases you'd like to mention? I have two books releasing this fall--SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, a contemporary romance, which releases in October, and the second book in my southwestern historical romance series, SAN FRANCISCO SERENADE, which releases in December. Both books are available by request at your local library, or through Avalon Books ( and the usual online bookstores.

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