Today, Mary Ells has the singular pleasure of interviewing a great writer and personal friend, Vannetta Chapman.
Vannetta has a new Amish mystery series. Book one ~ What the Bishop Needs is already out. Book 2 ~ The Bishop Needs an Alibi releases at the end of this month. Vannetta is willing to give away a signed print copy of each book to a lucky reader who leaves a comment. Details after the interview.
ME: If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
VC: I’d say I’m an energetic country girl with a fierce love for good storytelling, friends and family, and the Lord.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies? They’re interesting to me! Let’s see—quilting, piano, hiking, gym rat, pets, music, gardening.
What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
No one seems to remember these. I loved reading all the Cherry Aimes books. She was a nurse—an amazing nurse. She did everything from surgical, to baby wards, to triage. I loved those books and devoured them all!
Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.
I don’t eat white foods, I have a phobia about driving over extremely tall bridges, and I teach English composition at my local community college.
What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?
I started writing romantic suspense when I first acquired my agent. We switched to Amish romance. From there I went to Amish mystery, then dystopian, and a few inspirational suspense. I still write all of them! Basically, I enjoy telling stories, and I’ll write whatever my editor asks me to write.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I was recently told not to write “episodic writing.” After publishing 20 books, I had no idea what my editor meant, so I emailed her back and asked her to explain. She kindly sent me a few articles, and now I understand it means you need constant tension/conflict in your story. Got it! Watch out for lots of tension and conflict in my future releases. :)
The best compliment was probably when I had turned in my dystopian series, and my editor kept texting me saying—
“How could you…”
“Oh. It’s okay.”
“It’s NOT okay. How could you…”
I loved that! It showed that she was really captivated by the story, and that’s the best compliment I can receive if I can transport a reader to another place.
Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why? Oh my. Hmmmm…I tried sci fi and couldn’t do it. I can READ sci fi, but I freeze up when I try to write it. I also don’t think I could write historical, though I greatly admire people who do. Other than that…I’m open to suggestions.
If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be? I would worry less. Honestly, I spent nights tossing over a poor PW review (that book won ACFW’s best mystery of 2012), worrying about contracts (they keep coming when it’s all said and done), fearing my career was over before it had begun (it’s not). So I would worry less, and trust the Lord more. An easy thing to say in hindsight.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors? Keep writing. Too many newbies give up too soon. The first book I had published by a major publisher was the 9th book I had written. Sometimes it takes a few to hit the “slot” publishers have open, and your craft improves as you write. So please…keep writing.
Here's a blurb about Book 1 ~ What the Bishop Saw:
Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth. A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike.
When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more? What the Bishop Saw is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.
Remember, Book 2 of the Bishop Series, The Bishop Needs An Alibi, releases at the end of this month.
Please leave Vannetta a comment to be entered in the drawing. One winner will be picked to win a copy of What the Bishop Saw and one winner will be picked to win a copy of The Bishop Needs An Alibi. US readers only.