By Jeff Reynolds
I guess I'm running out of people to interview. Or everybody was too busy Christmas shopping. Still, there may be another reason for the interview. So here goes --
Q. Jeff, welcome to Hoosier Ink, though I think you're not a stranger here. How did you get into the ACFW?
A. Thanks for the welcome, Jeff. (Is there an echo in here?) I wrote a novel in 2007-2008 (technically, my second, though the previous one from '84 never was published nor should it have been), was signed by a local self-publishing company which closed in '10 with coverage on the Star's front page and at least three of the four stations without my book getting to the press. I read The Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey, which mentioned the ACFW. I joined, got involved with the local chapter and several loops including the critique group. As yet, this novel is still unpublished but it is much better than the edition that would have been published.
Q. In what ways did the book improve?
A. I originally had an idea of having a half dozen friends solve a mystery, so I had six main characters figuring it out and sharing POV. Even on the rough draft, I noticed three levels emerge among the six. Then, I thought about doing it in the first person, using one of the two characters most important to the story.
Q. It's not unusual for me ... er, you to be asking interview questions. Any particular reason why your posts here have been primarily interviews the last two years?
A. It just happened. I was impressed by a book I read -- You Are What You See by Scott Nehring. So I posted a review one month and interviewed him the next. Then, I thought of interviewing authors where there was a theological element, such as Donna Fletcher Crow's Monastery Murders or Eric Wilson's Jerusalem's Undead. Not surprising, I've had either referals (e.g. Christine Hunt via Scott Nehring) or requests by the author. As a result, most months I have at least one person to interview.
Q. What would you say were the highlights among your interviews?
A. In other words, which of my children are my favorites? Actually, Randy Singer made a similar comment to one of my questions. If I had a top favorite, it was that interview -- it's fun interviewing your favorite author. Another good memory was when my scheduled interviewee and I had a hard time connecting, so with about three days before posting time I contacted Kerry Nietz whose latest release Amish Vampires In Space just came out. Hopefully, each interview had spoken to and/or inspired somebody.
Q. I've noticed you've gotten comments from people you've interviewed on your questions. How do you approach the interview?
A. If I have time and opportunity, I'll read at least one novel by the author. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. So I'll check out the author's web page and read the Amazon reviews of their books. I look for things that catch my attention and for items that would not be in every interview. For a couple of interviews I did that weren't posted on Hoosier Ink, I read other interviews by that author to get ideas for questions and note what everybody else asks so I can be different.
Q. That's interesting. Let's use you for an example. What questions would you ask yourself if you were going to do an interview with you?
A. Trying to make your job easy, aren't you? Well, many people know my wife and I have been to about forty different zoos, so I might ask if there were any animals that inspired characters. In my case, I came up with a character in a novel I started (not the one above) named Cappie Berra after observing a capybara, the world's largest rodent. There are other trivial items in my life like getting to ask Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater a question at an assembly during my freshman year at high school or putting together a Christmas music program in Nashville, TN with several local songwriter friends.
Q. I have the impression that you are considering leaving the ACFW. If so, why? What's the future of your writing, and what will you be doing?
A. Where would you get an idea like that? However, yes, I'm probably going to leave this group. My national membership ends in March, so I don't see much of a point for renewing in the Chapter for three months. It has been a matter of prayer most of this year. The best answer is that I feel the Lord might be leading a different direction and I'm freeing myself for the future. Becky and I have thought of taking a mission trip, and I've debated running for public office, as well as several other things.
Even though I've had an interest in writing since being a teenager, I've had other interests as well: Ceramics, songwriting, and ministry for example. I will be polishing my book and seeking some way to publish, be it traditional or e-book. It's possible in the future I might rejoin ACFW. I do appreciate everyone's prayers.
Q. Since this your last blog on Hoosier Ink, is there anything you want to add? And if some of the readers want to follow you, where would they go?
A. Thank me for interviewing you ... wait, did that come out right? I'd like to thank the people I've met (via the internet) through the ACFW in general, and especially the Indiana Chapter. I had the pleasure of serving in '12 as Chapter Secretary with Rich Barry, Darren Kehrer, and Ronda Wells.
I'd also like to thank my victims -- er, interviewees: Scott Nehring, Donna Fletcher Crow, Julie Cave, Cynthia Simmons, Janalyn Voigt, H. L. Wegley, Christine Hunt, Eric Wilson, Stephanie Guerrero, Laura Popp, Mary Elizabeth Hall, Randy Singer, Amy Wallace, Pamela S. Meyers, Lynette Eason, former Indiana Chapter member Morgan Busse, Heidi Glick, Deanna Dodson (aka Julianna Deering), Kerry Nietz, Suzanne Hartmann, Adam and Andrea Graham, Wanda Dyson, Debbie Malone, Karla Akins, Jayne Self, Janet Sketchley (the last five were posted on a different blog but not Hoosier Ink), critique partners Ellen Parker and Donna Benson, and especially Rick Barry, Darren Kehrer, Dawn Crandall, and Suzie Bixler.
I mentioned another blog I do interviews. I'm part of a four person rotation for Sleuths and Suspects (http://sleuthsandsuspects.blogspot.com), and will be continuing with them. I interviewed one of my other S&S contributors, Heidi Glick, on Hoosier Ink, and another, Debbie Malone, for S&S. Of course, you can also keep up with me on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.c.reynolds
Thank you for letting me part of this blog the past three years, and I hope I encouraged some of you through those blogs.