I’d like to thank Diana Stevan for inviting me to join her blog hop! Her new book, A Cry from the Deep sounds fantastic! Please take a look at: http://www.dianastevan.com/a-cry-from-the-deep/ .
She has asked me to answer a few pointed questions as a writer, and it’s been my pleasure to post my answers here on my blog. At the end of this blog, I will introduce you to a writer who has inspired me along my journey. She will follow me with her own blog post on July 21st.
What are you working on?
My new novel, The Sanctum, is currently in the hands of several publishers. I’m hoping for a book deal in the very near future since my literary agent has been working hard toward that endeavor. As she does that, I’m writing the sequel to The Sanctum, called The Pinnacle. I’m extremely excited as I see this turning into a series. So to bring you up to date, it’s my pleasure to give you a short description of The Sanctum:
Neeley McPherson accidentally killed her parents on her fifth birthday. Thrown into the care of her scheming and alcoholic grandfather, she is raised by his elderly farmhand, Gideon, a black man, whom she grows to love. Neeley turns thirteen during the winter of 1959, and when Gideon is accused of stealing a watch and using a Whites Only restroom, she determines to break him out of jail.
The infamous Catfish Cole, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon of the Carolinas, pursues Neeley and Gideon in their courageous escape to the frozen Blue Ridge Mountains. After Gideon’s truck hits ice and careens down a steep slope, they travel on foot through a blizzard, and arrive at a farm of sorts—a wolf sanctuary where Neeley crosses the bridge between the real and the supernatural. It is here she discovers her grandfather’s deception, confronts the Klan, finds her faith in God, and uncovers the shocking secrets of the family who befriends her. Giving sanctuary, the healing power of second chances, and overcoming prejudice entwine, leading Neeley to tragedy once again but also granting her the desire of her heart.
The Sanctum is a coming-of-age Southern tale dusted with a bit of mystery, and set in a volatile time in America when the winds of change begin to blow.
And, one short note on something else I’m working on. I’ve started a non-fiction book called The Congregation. A book of testimonies, if you will, on the lives of those who have escaped the horrors of churches with a choke hold on their members. Legalism runs rampant in congregations across this country, and since my novel Televenge was published in 2012, so many people have come to me with their own stories. It’s time to put their words to paper.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
For me, it is within sanctuaries of brick and mortar; places of clapboard and canvas that characters hang ripe for picking. From the primitive church services of the mountain clans to the baptisms and sacraments in cathedrals and synagogues all over the world. From the hardworking men and women who testify in every run-down house of God in America to the charismatic high-dollar high-tech evangelicals televised in today’s megachurches, therein lie stories of unspeakable conflict, the forbidden, and often, the unexplained.
Why do you write what you do?
I write about religion and spirituality with paranormal twists unearthed from my family’s history. I studied creative writing, but I believe my best education came from the professionals—mentors and writers in the trenches. I write about my passions, what moves me, what shoots out of me like a rocket. My key inspirational force is my spirituality.
I was born in the South, a coal miner’s granddaughter, but my father escaped the mines, went to college and moved his family to Ohio to work for the rubber companies in 1959. I spent every weekend as a little girl traveling back to the Appalachian Mountains. My memories of my childhood run as strong as a steel-belted radial tire and as deep as an Appalachian swimming hole. As a little girl, I was a transplanted hick in a Yankee schoolroom. I grew up in the North. So my influence comes naturally from both regions. But the dust laden roads in the coal towns of the ‘sixties are where my career as a writer was born.
How does your writing process work?
Process? What process? I get out of bed, stumble to the kitchen for coffee, and then plant myself at my computer until noon. Some days I spend the morning on social media, but usually it’s to review and edit what I’ve written the previous day. I can spend as many as 12 hours a day writing, or as little as one or two. But generally, it’s an eight-hour day. Although lately, I’ve been distracted by house-hunting with my realtor, and other family matters so it all cuts into my writing time. I think my best hours spent with my characters are between 9 p.m. and two or three in the morning. That’s when the house is quiet, every distraction flies out of my head, and there is nothing between my story and me. I guess you could say that’s my process. Mix it up with research and reading time, it seems I have no solid process. But that will all change … if I ever find a new publisher!
Now, allow me to introduce you to my guest blogger. Please check out her books. I assure you, you won’t be sorry!
J. Hannah Lloyd, author of Survivor Dynamics, Living Life on the Edge
Bio: J. Hannah Lloyd is an author, poet, and freelance writer whose articles, stories, and poetry have enhanced the lives of many. Although she spends many hours developing her writing craft, her family is most important. She hangs out with an understanding husband, two grown (but irregular) children, a gymnast granddaughter, and two demanding felines.
In 2007 she received two awards for her work at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference in Ridgecrest, NC. As poet and writer, her articles, stories, and poetry have been published in adult and children’s Christian literature, as well as online through www.christiandevotions.us. Miss Lloyd also contributes poetry bi-monthly to Critter Magazine.
Other works have been published in Slate & Style, Shemom, Harold and Banner Press in Primary Pal: Pacific Press Publishing Association in Our Little Friend, MS Focus and MS Connection Magazines, Who’s DANN?, Gospel Publishing House in LIVE, The Pentecostal Evangel, Heartland Boating, and The Upper Room magazine. She has served as Assistant Editor at www.DevoKids.com. Several poems were presented on WORD Radio in Greenville, SC. She was also interviewed on WGGS TV16, and contributed grief documentation via video at www.GriefShare.org.
Currently, she retains membership in Greenville, SC with CrossNPens, The Writer’s Plot, and Women in Crime.
Books by J. Hannah Lloyd
Ordinary Sayings and Southern Cliché
Tied to Terror – Secrets of a Battered Wife
Escape from Abuse Survivor Guide
Visit her online at www.JhannahLloyd.com