Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
Welcome NLB Horton, author of The Brothers’ Keepers, to Author Spotlight! Leave a comment below for the chance to win a signed copy of her book.
My kids are grown and my husband and I are retired from our first careers. We are active in church and other ministries, and we fly fish, hike, ski, golf, garden, or blow snow off the driveway from January through April. My schedule is full of delightful responsibilities, but writing is my full-time job.
Share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), areas of interest . . .
I write what I read—international suspense. My middle-aged, well-educated protagonist is a courageous woman of faith determined to do the right thing. Because of her work as an archaeologist, and her adult family’s unusual occupations, she is pulled into life-threatening situations that require all of her God-given gifts to save those she loves—and usually, herself.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
My eighty-four-year-old mother tells me that I sat under an elm tree, drawing all summer. I worked for every newspaper at every school I attended. My undergraduate degree is in journalism, and I founded an advertising agency in my early twenties, for which I did all copy and concept work. After I finished my Master’s degree at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), and we moved to the mountains, I gave myself the gift of writing fiction at last.
After you started writing seriously—how long was it before you were published?
I have always written seriously! When you support your family, as I did for years, writing seriously enables you to satisfy clients and pay the bills.
I drafted When Camels Fly during the snowiest winter on record in this high mountain valley. I enrolled in a writing practicum that March. Seventy-two hours after I returned home from my first ACFW conference that September, a division of one of the (now) Big Five publishers requested the manuscript. My literary agent parlayed with major publishers, some of them repeatedly, until we decided to self publish. (My protagonist is a little outside the CBA norm. Gasp!) The process from first draft to publication took three years.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your brain cylinders firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I adore the writing process: drafting, editing, designing, marketing. Every morning, I am energized that I am blessed to do this. There is nothing I would rather do than weave these stories, and document the mental banter that kept me awake the night before.
I write all morning or afternoon unless the story is pouring out, in which case I write all day and into the night. I write at my desk in my office.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Without doubt, my greatest asset in terms of publication is my literary agent, Mary G. Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. She stands at the core of a team of talented women: two editors; an artist; a graphic designer; a publicist; and my formidable daughter, a scientist who is brainstorming partner, reader, and consultant—as long as I offer her a cup of tea.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
YES! It combines the complex accountability of my previous work; the need for vision and determination; and an unshakeable faith. My writing is a ministry, supported by knowledge and perception gleaned from DTS.
What are your biggest distractions?
My biggest distraction is my husband. He interrupts me when he thinks I am spending too much time in my office.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
Focusing on the writing career, the best moments were the enormous publisher requesting the manuscript, and being signed by my agent.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
Pollyanna here: I like it all. (Even professional edits, which can be brutal.)
I can only speak for my relationship with my agent. I suspect each interaction differs a bit. Mary brings industry experience to our journey. She is sounding board, navigator, partner, and friend. Her educated, critical eye is invaluable in all matters related to my writing. Because we decided to self publish, some of her traditional roles with publishers are not part of our interaction, but I know she would discharge these responsibilities flawlessly.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Learn your craft through as much writing-related education as you can acquire. Never give up. Live so that you can write about what you know. Never give up. Be open to input, edits, and criticism. Never give up. (Detect a trend?)
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Archaeologist Grace Madison’s daughter vanishes in France and her son’s bride is attacked in Switzerland. Grace soon realizes that before she can save her family, she must rescue an old friend whose deception has endangered them all—if he’ll let her.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I am in the middle of the Parched series now. When Camels Fly was released in May, and The Brothers’ Keepers was released in November. (They were not written quickly, but stacked up.) I am writing the third while two more storylines battle for dominance in my frontal lobes.
How can readers find you and your books?