Carol Ann walks onstage.
"Good morning, Blog Studio audience!"
"I'm so happy to be here again to introduce you to another wonderful author. Our guest today is fellow author, Annette Irby, who also is published with The Wild Rose Press. Annette enjoys writing novels, articles and songs. Her work has appeared in several journals and newsletters, as well as devotional books. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Northwest Christian Writer’s Association and ACFW Northwest. Married 16 years, she lives with her husband and three children near Seattle, Washington. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and give a warm welcome to Annette Irby!!!"
CAROL ANN: Annette, thank you for coming into the studio today. I'm so pleased to meet you face to face.
ANNETTE: I'm thrilled to be here, Carol Ann.
CAROL ANN: I'm holding your new book, "Love Letters", and the cover is beautiful.
CAMERA PANS TO THE BOOK CAROL ANN HOLDS UP
CAROL ANN: Please share a bit about the book.
ANNETTE: “Love Letters” began as a Christmas-themed story which then became a Valentine’s Day story. I had been reading Christmas-themed anthologies and a plot began to form in my mind. But, I didn’t see the usual unwed couple romance, instead I envisioned an awakened romance in the lives of a couple who’d been married a long time. I drew a bit from my own 16+ year marriage and then threw in all manner of fictional elements:
Randy and Jordan Ambrose have been married almost ten years. There is very little romance in their lives. Randy is hard at work building his career and his wife is busy working, raising their twins and volunteering to teach the three-year-olds in Sunday school. Randy has had a habit during their entire marriage of writing love letters to his wife. But he’s never shown them to Jordan. He would have to risk his heart and her reaction by doing so. Distance is safer, he’s learned, in life. Meanwhile, Jordan is struggling to believe he even loves her. One day, she finds a box of love letters in Randy’s home office closet. She reads them. They’re addressed to J from R, so she assumes they were written by Randy. The “R” of these letters is very passionate and open. How could Randy be keeping these a secret? She’s going to bring them to him, demand an explanation, push him to respond rather than cover all emotions so fiercely. Randy knows God is asking him to share his heart. What will happen when these two finally crack open the letters together on their tenth anniversary?
I wanted to portray romance in marriage, which I love writing about as I feel there isn’t much out there like it and it’s non-formulaic in the romance genre. If you’re looking for something different, fiery even (though wholesome), check it out. http://annetteirby.com/Fiction.html
CAROL ANN: Sounds great. Right, audience?
CAROL ANN: When you write, do you listen to music, or have any other special thing that inspires you to write?
ANNETTE: I enjoy listening to worship music when I’m writing. Oftentimes, the words are flowing so quickly, I can sing along and write the story simultaneously. Candles, if I know I’m going to have a block of uninterrupted time, are fun. If I’m editing, I listen to piano music, because of the concentration required. Sometimes, though, silence is best.
CAROL ANN: What does your writing space look like?
ANNETTE: I feel so blessed to have my own writing office at home. Granted, I get to share the space with my toddler’s toys as she plays in here when she’s not napping or playing with her older siblings or daddy. There are windows on two walls and my L-shaped desk rests against the walls with those windows. I have full-grown cedar trees for a few. At this exact second, there’s clutter on the desk as I’ve been working toward a deadline.
CAROL ANN: It sounds like a perfect place to write. I have a lot of people in the audience who are pursuing a writing career. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
ANNETTE: This is a humbling question, honestly, because I’m not yet well-published. On my website: http://www.annetteirby.com/Writer’s page.html there is a page specifically geared toward aspiring authors. Overall, I believe a Christian writer’s work will flow from his/her relationship with Jesus, so He has to be first. Then, any hindrances have to be dealt with. (What a motivation for getting free, huh? So often writers are desperate enough to get published, they’ll jump the hurdles necessary to get there. We can’t carry baggage and effectively minister to others. It’s a win-win for us getting free.) Then, remain humble. Like when God gave David a promise that a King would reign from his line forever (see 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17), He reminded him “I took you from the sheepfold.” Indeed. Remember where God has brought you from and be willing to support other writers. Our God is generous. If He has called you, He will bless you as you move forward. There’s always room for more authors in His kingdom work.
CAROL ANN: Very well said. So, what is next for you?
ANNETTE: I have so many projects in the works.
CAROL ANN: A woman of many talents! When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
ANNETTE: In ninth grade, a student teacher visited our English class and gave us some great tips for characterization. She sent us all home with the same character names, but told us to describe them from our own imaginations and write a story around them. We all came up with something different. Such a fun and educational project. I was hooked. I began writing during my free time, clicking away on an old-fashioned typewriter for hours at a time. Those stories are long-lost. But as an adult, after my second daughter was born, I took up writing again, in my spare time. Only for the last few years have I been specifically pursuing publication. “Love Letters” is my first book, following the publication of several articles and devotionals.
CAROL ANN: Why have you chosen to write inspirational novels?
ANNETTE: What a great question. I believe my stories flow from the Lord. I love portraying hope in difficult situations. Sometimes hope’s the hardest thing to see. I also love writing inspirational romance because believers are living and will live the biggest romance of all---that with Jesus Christ.
CAROL ANN: Let's pretend that you are on national television. What would you like to share about yourself?
ANNETTE: My testimony—what Jesus Christ has meant in my life. How I was hopeless and fearful, and He interrupted the program of my life to bring a glimpse of hope by His Holy Spirit. How He has continued to bring me through my life, filling me up with His Spirit, guiding my steps, even when I was willful and rebellious. He never let me go. He never let me down. He’s why I’m here, and I owe Him everything.
CAROL ANN: You are an inspiration to all. I'm sorry that our time is drawing to an end. Quickly, tell how readers learn more about you and your books?
ANNETTE: Please visit my website for more info about Love Letters: http://www.annetteirby.com/Fiction.html
There are pictures of the devotional books (as well as others) I’ve contributed to on my blog: http://www.annetteirby.blogspot.com
I’ll be updating my blog on further news, so check back often. I also have interviews with other authors of Christian fiction featured there.
You can email me via the contact page on my website: www.annetteirby.com (annette [@] annetteirby [dot] com)
CAROL ANN: Annette, it has been my pleasure to have you here in the Blog Studio today. I wish you well with your book and with your future endeavors.
ANNETTE: Thanks for having me, Carol Ann. Best wishes on your Eppie status! God bless.