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Interview With Wanda Brunstetter

Meet Wanda Brunstetter
Interview by Sandra Moore

1) Tell us a little about yourself -- age, married/single, children, how many books authored, etc.

My name is Wanda Brunstetter, and I just turned 60 in November. I've been married to Richard (a pastor) for almost 41 years, and we have 2 grown children (Richard Jr. & Lorine). We also have 6 adorable grandchildren, ranging in age from 7-13. I've authored 9 novels for Heartsong Presents (7 already published, 1 coming out this month (Jan. 2004), and 1 to be published in Sept. 2004). I've also had 2 novellas published with Barbour Publishing, and have 2 more coming out (in 2004 & 2005). LANCASTER BRIDES, my first trade fiction novel, was a compilation of my 4 previously published Heartsong Amish novels. I've also had a book of Christian devotions and activities published with Christian Ed. Publishers, 2 gift books with Barbour (one published last year and one to come out this March), as well as 5 books of puppet/ventriloquist scripts published with Maher Studios.

2) How did you become interested in writing?

I became interested in writing when I was a young child. I loved reading books and became so immersed in the characters' lives that I actually acted out some of their scenes during my playtime. During grade school days I wrote poetry, some of which I turned in as assignments. In Jr. and Sr. High I took drama and acted in several plays. This got me interested in scripts, so I wrote several which were put on by my church teen group. I started writing puppet and ventriloquist routines when I was married and involved in a family puppet ministry. I wrote and sold stories, articles, and poems for many years, and in 1996 I wrote my first novel, which sold a year later.

3) What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle was learning to believe in myself. I grew up with low self-esteem and little encouragement to try new things or develop the talents I had but didn't realize. I had to learn what my strengths and weaknesses were, and then give them over to God.

4) What has been the highest moment of your writing career?

That's a hard one, since there have been a couple in the last year. Signing my book, LANCASTER BRIDES at CBA in Orlando last summer was a definite high one. Being interviewed by Country Woman magazine and having them publish the story of my interest in the Amish and my books in their Jan./Feb.2004 issue was also a thrill. Watching LANCASTER BRIDES stay on the CBA Best-seller's list for 7 months has also been pretty exciting.

5) Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write? Where do your story ideas come from?

My personal relationship with Christ is my greatest inspiration to write. He gave me the desire and ability, and I want to glorify Him through the words He gives me. A good deal of my story ideas are derived from the wonderful Amish people I have met and come to respect. I also get ideas from family and friends, as well as events that have happened to me. An example: A scene in my 3rd Amish novel, PLAIN AND FANCY, where the heroine goes into the outhouse and discovers a hedge hog, actually happened to me. It wasn't funny at the time, but I knew it would be later on, and I also knew it would be one of those happenings I would someday insert into a novel.

6) Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

I tend to function better if I'm organized, and that includes my writing. I plot and outline pretty extensively, which helps when I get writer's block and also makes my story and characters more real in my mind. I have a notebook for each of my novels, which includes everything from chapter outlines, scene ideas, character sketches, dialog ideas, Scripture verses, and of course, the actual novel. I also include photos for scene ideas and all of my main characters.

7) What's the nicest thing anyone ever said about your writing?

My daughter-in-law paid me a lovely compliment after she read LANCASTER BRIDES. She said, "Wanda, that book was like candy in my mouth." One of the best comments I've received via e-mail from a reader was, "How can I find the kind of faith and personal relationship to Christ that you show through the characters in your books?" I was able to lead that woman to the Lord because of her question.

8) Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

I think my favorite character is Laura from PLAIN AND FANCY. She leaves her fancy English life behind to marry Eli and join his Plain faith. I created Laura for readers who might have wondered what it would be like to give up their modern conveniences and live among the Amish. I saw a picture in a magazine one day of a saucy-looking redhead and knew that was Laura. The hero of PLAIN AND FANCY is Eli, and I saw him in real life at an Amish farmer's market. However, that was a few months after I wrote the book. It was such a surprise to walk in that building and see an Amish man who looked just Eli, selling birdhouses.

9) How do you deal with publisher rejections?

Rejection is never fun, but it can be a chance for an author to learn and grow. When I get a rejection letter, I try to analyze the reason, make edits when necessary, and send it out again. Rejections are part of writing, and I believe we can learn and benefit from them.

10) If you could give a beginner one piece of advice what would it be?

My advice to a beginning writer would be: Keep praying and asking God to show you what to write, keep writing, keep submitting, keep honing your craft, and never, ever give up!


Thanks, Wanda!

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