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Interview with Lorna Seilstad

Lorna Seilstad writes historical fiction that is "So Much More Than Romance." She and her husband David have three children, ages 19, 17, and 12. In addition to family responsibilities, they work in youth ministry and teach youth and adult Bible classes.

Lorna, your website states, “ Times may change, the style of clothes, the way we speak, but the common threads that unite us remain the same. Couples fall in love. Injustices happen. We fight for what we believe in. We struggle. We endure. We grow." I absolutely love this blurb. Tell us how it fits into writing historical fiction.

We often talk about how society changes. In some ways it does, but I don’t think human nature changes. This is what makes historical fiction so timeless. The setting may vary, but the struggles the characters face are as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago. To me, the best historicals capture this idea and share a timeless truth with the reader.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
I could say my 5th grade weekly creative writing assignments and I wouldn’t be lying, or I could say a tough journalism teacher in high school who demanded the best. But I have to say joining ACFW has been, by far, the most important step in my publication journey. Through ACFW, I’ve learned both online and at conferences vital things about the writing craft and about marketing. I’ve also met people who have mentored me and have become my companions on the writing journey. Most importantly, it was through an ACFW conference editor’s appointment that I was able to connect with my publisher—Revell.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
This winter, my husband developed pneumonia and had to be in the hospital for a week. A few weeks later, he had to have lung surgery because of complications from the pneumonia and even spent some time in ICU. The biggest challenge I faced was writing a humorous story when something so difficult and stressful was going on with him. It was also difficult because he spent a great of time home recuperating. I didn’t realize I’d become so used to having the house to myself!

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I want to honor God with every word I write. I feel a responsibility to use the talents He’s blessed me with to bring glory to Him. He is the source of every idea, thought, and story. Sometimes, when I sit down to write, I stare at the blank page.

At those times, I start writing a prayer, asking Him to use me to share the message He wants. It’s never long before the words start flowing. At other times, I simply type, “Help me. Help me. Help me.” The Lord always gets the idea.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
I don’t know if anything will ever compare to the day I held my first “baby,” Making Waves, in my hands. I was overwhelmed, humbled, and filled with joy until I thought I’d burst. I saw God’s amazing hand in the book from the start to the finish. I could only cry and thank him.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
Stories have always been floating around in my head. I don’t remember a time when they didn’t. I even dream in plots. I can’t explain it, but I feel lost if I’m not writing.

Usually, my story ideas come from things I’ve read. Some little tidbit of history or some information about a person usually triggers the idea. My characters come from spending time with them. I may not even be consciously thinking of them, but pretty soon they become real to me.

Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. I was an aspiring motorcycle momma. Well, not quite. We had a motorcycle on our farm growing up. I loved riding it, but after two accidents, one requiring knee surgery, at the tender age of 14, my motorcycle days were over.
2. I know all the words to Styx’ “Kilroy Was Here” album. In college, my friend only had that and the “Footloose” tape in his car.
3. My youngest daughter weighed 11 pounds, 8 ounces at birth, and yes, I had her by c-section.

Any parting words?
My mantra has been, “God’s words. God’s will. God’s timing.” If you are an unpublished author, rest in knowing He has a plan for you. It may not be about holding the book in your hands as much as it may be about shaping you along the journey.

Thank to each of you for taking the time to read this interview.

Thanks for sharing with us, Lorna!
Thank you for having me!

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