Sunday, November 13, 2011

Looking Out the Window: A Chat with Mildred Colvin, a Disciplined Writer

Mildred Colvin talks about the writing life and her books of romance, faith, forgiveness and trust.

She'll be giving away a copy of her new e-book, Love Returned. To enter to win, leave a comment and email address.
Hi Mildred. It's great to have you. First, tell us a little about yourself.

Gail, thank you for inviting me here today. I write sweet, inspirational romances and have fifteen in print at this time. I’m excited to announce my first novella to be included in an anthology, titled Home for the Holidays, will be published early fall of next year in A Cascades Christmas by Barbour Publishing. I am privileged to be working with some very talented ladies. Mary Davis will contribute A Carpenter’s Christmas, Gina Welborn is writing All Ye Faithful, and Debby Lee’s story is titled One Evergreen Night. All four stories will tie in together as the four heroes are close friends who work in the lumber industry in one way or another.
I'll look forward to that. Tell us about your latest book.

I have recently self-published a contemporary romance set in central Missouri. Love Returned is the story of Megan McGinnis and Scott Landis who serve as Webelos Scout leaders. But Megan has a problem. She begins to notice coincidences about Scott and his son that lead her to believe his son is the baby she gave up for adoption nine years ago.
What an interesting plot. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I’ve worked in foster care and am an adoptive mother. Adoption interests me with each side having so many emotional issues to work through. This is true of Megan and Scott. Megan as the young teenager who gave up her baby and Scott as the adoptive parent who doesn’t want to lose his son. There’s a twist in the story that may surprise you.
Also for the setting, I served as a Cub Scout and Webelos Scout leader for several years while my husband was the Cub Master. I even researched for this book while attending Cub Scout camp. It’s always fun to write something you have first-hand knowledge of.
Absolutely. How do you get to know your characters?
I use charts when I have an idea for a story. These include character information that helps me learn about my people beyond their physical appearance. Basic personalities are determined along with their goals, conflicts, fears, spiritual issues, and motivations. A characters background often makes them the way they are in the book. But to really get to know the characters, I need to place them in the story and let them show me what they are like as they react to their surroundings and the other characters.
What themes do you write about?
I seem to do a lot of writing on forgiveness. I’m not sure why? Maybe because I feel to forgive or to be forgiven is so important. Trust is another favorite of mine. I try to write whatever God has laid on my heart as it fits the story.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My schedule is to begin writing by 9 or 10 in the morning until about noon. I start again in the afternoon for 3-4 hours. I don’t write on Sunday and find that usually at least one day during the week is filled with other activities with my family.
Lately, I’ve been writing at the desk on the desktop computer, but as colder weather creeps in, I’m finding more comfy surroundings with my netbook. The fun thing about a netbook is that it’ll go wherever I want it to except in direct sunlight.
It's great to have that versatility. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations?
I can’t imagine many writers having total freedom to write when they want to without interruptions. I’m no exception. I have children, and even though they’re adults and only one lives close, they still need attention at times.
How do you balance it?
I plan on at least one day a week being taken up by my family. The day may vary, but if I know it’s likely to happen sometime during the week, I don’t mind it when it does. Other than that, I try to use the free time I have to good advantage. Not that I always do, but I try.
A wise way to handle it. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m definitely a plotter. How can you write a book if you haven’t already written the ideas down and worked them out so they fit together? LOL! I used to write with my sister—and never understood her. She sat down and started typing. She had very few notes, but could tell her story verbally because it was in her head. Not the details, just the basic story. I have my charts filled out before I open the Snowflake program and fill it in. Then I take the synopsis from it and begin re-working it, expanding it, and shuffling the order if I need to. Basically, I write my book before I ever begin writing the first draft.
That sounds like the way to have a tightly written book. Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
Yes, in everything I write, my faith in God and His unchanging love shows. I’ve thought about writing simple sweet romances without the spiritual message, but I’m not sure I could. I think you’ll find a message of faith in every one of my books. It may not be stand-in-your-face in every one of them, but it’s there.
What are you working on right now?
I am nearing the finish line of a book that I’ve written three times. I first wrote Cora several years ago and realized it was much too long to sell, so I set it aside. My first book was accepted for publication in February of 2001, and because of an unexpected slot opening, the publisher rushed it to the press in May only three months later. After that flurry of activity died down, I wanted to send something else - maybe Cora. I quickly cut Cora in half and it was published two years later in 2003. Now, with rights reverted, I am doing an intensive rewrite of the original story, adding about 30,000 words to my shortened version and changing the title. Love’s Tender Call hasn’t been sent out to another publisher yet, but I hope to do that sometime this month. I’ll let you know later how that turns out.
Sounds good! What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Right now I would be making quilts. I love to piece quilt tops as an expression of creativity. Each is different and there’s something so comforting about wrapping up in a quilt when it’s cold out. I’ve given finished quilts to fund raisers for various needs and some have brought a few hundred dollars, which I think is pretty neat. I’d never be able to sell them for that, yet they can serve a useful purpose in this way.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Gail, again I thank you for having me here. You have a wonderful ministry of introducing readers to authors. I’d like to invite everyone to visit me at my blog where you may find another favorite author in the interviews I’ve posted there. It’s at: http://www.mildredcolvin.blogspot.com/.  Also you can find me at http://www.infinitecharacters.com/, a group blog with four other authors. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to leave with just a short teaser from my book, Love Returned.
Great! Here's an excerpt.
Megan hung the last ornament on the tree and turned to find Scott standing two inches from her with a twinkle in his eye and a sprig of greenery in his hand. He held it above her head.
She backed up but stopped when a branch touched her back. “That wouldn’t be mistletoe, would it?”
He nodded, took a step forward and grinned. “None other.”
Surely he wouldn’t kiss her in front of Randy. She looked from one side to the other before finding Randy leaning against the doorframe watching. A huge grin brightened his face. A slow burn started in her cheeks.
“Scott!”
Her objection might as well have been a request for all the notice Scott took. He leaned toward her, still holding the mistletoe in place above her head.
“Aren’t you supposed to be watching the spaghetti?” Megan couldn’t get away. A step either way might knock the tree down.
Scott shook his head, coming ever closer. “Spaghetti’s ready. I took it off the stove.”
His smooth baritone surrounded her while his spicy aftershave drew her even closer. One more inch and she’d be in his arms. Warmth from his body reached for her, and she swayed. Then Randy giggled.
Scott dipped his head for a quick peck on her cheek and straightened laughing.
“Oh.” Megan’s cheeks flamed, and her pulse raced. Disappointment and relief warred inside.
“I’ll do better when there’s no audience.” Scott stepped back after his whispered promise.
Thanks for visiting, Mildred.

14 comments:

Danielle Thorne said...

I enjoyed learning about you and your books, Mildred. I love that that you are a spiritual person and are able to incorporate that into your books with every day, thought provoking themes. My mother was adopted so I know that is a whole life experience many people never understand.

Celia Yeary said...

Mildred--I always love to check out authors I don't know. Each one has her own story, and I often find that the interesting part of the interview.
Fifteen books? Wow. I'm impressed. Congratulations on your success, and the release of your self-published novel. That is great.

June Foster said...

I've just finished Love Returned and will recomomend it with 5 stars. Mildred is one of my favorite authors and I've read almost all of her books.

Cindy Regnier said...

Mildred - I have not read your books but am looking forward to doing so. What a great story line - giving up a child and possibly finding him again. Congratulations on your new release

Tari Noel said...

Sounds like a great book. I would love to read it sometime. I used to be a pantster but I have become a plotter. Like the way it pulls in more aspects of the plot.

Anne Patrick said...

Enjoyed the interview, Mildred. Your book sounds like a great read. Interesting premise. Best of luck to you with it.

Miss Mae said...

15 print books!!! Wow! That's awesome! Wishing you much success on all your books, Mildred. :)

*I don't enter giveaways, so please do not include my name*

Thank you!!!

Jane T said...

This sounds like a great read!

Regina Tittel said...

Hi everyone. As a crit partner of Mildred's, I can attest to her beautiful style of writing. It's so pure I often feel I'm the only one benefitting from the critique!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hello Everyone,

Thanks so much for stopping by to read about the writing life and Mildred's books.

Pamela J said...

I just love the little teaser you shared with us, Mildred! It would be great to get to know your style of writing by reading your book. I may just have to write your name down in my 'next favorite author' list to get all your books eventually!
To be forgiven is so important (as well as to forgive). It seems like an invisible prison of sorts when forgiveness isn't extended when asked for.
Pam Williams
cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Wow! What a great plot! I'm already intrigued whether or not Scott's son is really the baby that she gave up for adoption. Sure wish I had an e-reader. Congratulations on your new book.

Laurean Brooks said...

Sheesh, Mildred. Sometimes I wish I had been born a "Plotter." Especially when I get my story hits a brick wall.

But most of the time I enjoy being a full-blown "Pantster" because I LOVE the many twists and surprises.

Loved your excerpt and voice. Fifteen books! Wow! Congratulations.

Interesting interview, Gail and Mildred. Thanks

Mildred Colvin said...

I'm so sorry I'm late getting here. Gail, thanks so much for having me. I've read all the wonderful comments and enjoyed those.

Danielle, you are right that adoption is very different from the usual. It fascinates me.

June and Regina, thanks for your encouragement. I couldn't do it without either of you. Gail, too. You all are great. I love to write and especially enjoy the stories that include children. They can be so much fun.

The wonderful thing about e-books is that you don't have to have an e-reader now that you can download one directly to your computer. I love mine!

Everyone, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

God bless,
Mildred