I've been writing most of my life, but my fiction writing was inspired by other novelists like classic storyteller Charles Dickens, and Christian historian Bodie Thoene who display such sweeping worlds and vivid characterization in their stories. Pioneers of Christian fiction like Jeanette Oke and Marian Wells paved the way with their sweetly stirring romances. Brilliant authors like Angela Hunt and Francine Rivers inspire me with their huge plots and amazing twists. Creative non-fiction biographer Allen Eckert almost single-handedly made me fall in love with American history.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
When I was ten, I fell in love with Nancy Drew mysteries, and knew then that I'd always want to be an author.
What inspired you to write The Red Fury?
The Red Fury grew naturally as a generational sequel to Book One, The Green Veil. It lined up with the historic period in which railroaders, lumberjacks, speculators, and settler were building Wisconsin after the Civil War. During the same period, heavy drought sparked great fires. The Red Fury not only tells of the fury in Lainey Kade's heart, but of the Great Peshtigo Fire, the deadliest conflagration in the nation's history, which coincidentally occurred on the same night as the Chicago Fire, but without the acclaim.
What is your favorite part of The Red Fury?
I love this book, not only because it's my baby, but because the characters seemed so alive to me from the first moments of their inception. Scenes bubbled to life effortlessly. I do really love the scene where Lainey finally realizes she's not only in love with one of the brothers but is about to leave him behind, possibly forever. There's a tender parting on a train platform. I like that her father plays a role here. Family involvement became important in this book. I like that.
What was the hardest part of The Red Fury to write?
The scene(s) of the fire were the most difficult to write, probably because they had such a huge impact on the story and I wanted to get them absolutely right for the characters and for the true history of the time. It turns out that I love these scenes too. The emotion in these scenes is taut. I hope readers will feel the cinch of it around their hearts.
Did you have any obstacles to overcome while writing The Red Fury?
The Red Fury took a great deal of research. It was a story I'd wanted to tell for a long time. But demands of day to day life, regular jobs, family, all make it difficult to write regularly too. Resources were limited. Of course, since I finished, more has appeared on the web. Go figure.Is there anything in the book you would change or rewrite?
I've been pretty satisfied with the story. Any changes would be terribly minor. I'd consider changing the name of a character at the end who plays a large role in the next book The Black Rose (coming in July 2012). It's so minor.
If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
I don't know that there are many characters I'd choose to be because characters are always getting into trouble. But to confess, if there's a character I'm most like, it's Lainey in The Red Fury. I realized that we were a lot alike as I got further into the story. Still, I wouldn't want her trouble. No thanks.
What would you tell an unpublished author who was feeling discouraged?
We live in a time of great opportunity. With the advancement of E-books, more and more publishers are making room for new authors. Keep at it. Never stop studying craft, always look for ways to improve your writing, and above all, don't let criticism stop you. Take sound advice, be teachable. Let the rest of it roll off your back. Keep growing!
If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would that person be?
Wow, that's a tough one. Probably another author like one of those who inspired me, or someone like Tamera Alexander, or Laura Frantz. I think we have somewhat similar writing styles and would enjoy a good chit-chat.
Congrats on your book! I hope to see many more from you. Thank you for agreeing to let me interview you. God bless!
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Naomi Musch 2