We're pleased to have Vannetta Chapman with us today! Vannetta is giving away one print or ebook copy of her new suspense, HIDDEN. To enter to win, simply post a copy below!
Vannetta Chapman holds a BA and MA degree in English and has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. She published a novel with Abingdon Press called A Simple Amish Christmasin October of 2010. Her first Quilt Shop Murder Mystery, Falling to Pieces (Zondervan) was released in September of 2011 and received the 2012 Carol Award for best mystery. She currently lives in the Texas hill country.
And now. . . let's hear from Vannetta!
SS: How long have you been writing?
15 years. My first book was published in 2010. Hidden will be my 11th release.
SS: Do you write full time? If the answer is no, what else do you do? If you are a full time author, what other jobs did you have in the past?
I do! I taught high school and college for 15 years, but I’ve been writing full time for 3 years now. I loved teaching, and it was a tough decision to give up the job—but I had a lot of books due and found myself locked in my office every spare moment. I missed my family and decided I needed to quit one of the jobs. Writing won.
SS: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?
I suppose it was when I held my first book in my hands. I felt like a “real writer” long before that, but “author” speaks to sharing what you’ve done with others. I was a pretty happy gal—picture snoopy dancing, but in jeans and boots.
SS: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author?
Definitely my husband. He’s willing to cart boxes of books, cook dinner, vacuum the house, whatever he can do to help. That’s worth more than I can possibly explain. All of my family is very supportive.
SS: Why suspense? Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?
My first 10 books were Amish—both romance and cozy mystery. However, I love reading suspense, and I had a trilogy that was 2/3 finished. We shopped it around and were offered a contract. In the end, I decided it made more sense for me to publish it independently. I’m still writing for Zondervan/HarperCollins as well as Harvest House and I adore both of those companies. However, it’s also exciting to step out into a new genre and a new publishing route.
SS: How does your faith play into your writing?
Faith is a very important part of my story. I like to think of it as something that I weave in—without it the picture wouldn’t be complete. It wouldn’t be true to my characters or authentic to what they’re going through to leave out this aspect of who they are. Many times the faith thread of my books is simply my characters struggling with their beliefs in a fallen world. Life is terribly difficult sometimes, and it’s hard to understand how God’s love transcends what is happening around us and to us. That is what I like to write about—fiction full of grace.
SS: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?
I’ve thought about being a bowling instructor—I’m KIDDING. I suppose I would teach again. I really do miss the energy of my students and teaching them a love for reading and writing.
SS: Tell us about your current release.
Hidden takes place in Taos, New Mexico—the place I visited on my honeymoon
SS: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
We honeymooned in the area—hiking, fishing and soaking up the beautiful mountains and streams. It’s a land of dramatic extremes, and I thought it would be an ideal place to set a suspense story.
SS: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
That the things we keep hidden can be healed by God’s love, and when we allow that to happen we’re a stronger person for it.
SS: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
I want to say Dana, and I do adore her, but … it’s actually Ben Marshall. This is the kind of guy that is quiet, but straight and true. He doesn’t back down and he doesn’t run. And when he feels that God has placed him somewhere for a specific reason, you can be sure that he’s going to give the job, and the people, his very best.
SS: Who is your least favorite character in this book? Why?
Oh, I don’t like Drogan at all. He does some truly terrible things. He’s allowed bitterness to completely wreck his life. I’d like to shake the man and make him see the error of his ways.
SS: What are you working on now?
Book 2 in this series is Protected and will release next year. Erin Jacobs lives in Texas and runs a rescue facility for animals. One night she is called out to a rescue, only to find something she never would have expected. This is a story of the power of God’s love and the breadth of God’s reach. I also have two more Amish mystery releases, Murder Tightly Knit (December 2014) and Murder Freshly Baked (June 2015)
SS: A tough question: Where do you want to be career-wise in five years? Ten years?
Well. I have goals. J I’d like to have hit most of the bestseller lists in the next five years, and in 10 I would like to have a small staff and be reaching an even broader audience. I know that God is in control of these things, and so who knows if this will happen. But I’m going to work as hard as I can toward those goals because I think it’s important to share stories that bring people hope.
SS: Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.
Only two? I love to travel, so I’m going to say visit Alaska and Scotland.
SS: What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
I do a lot of silly things, so that is hard. I climbed into my dog’s kennel with her. She’s an 83 pound rescue lab, and I think she’s the sweetest thing.
SS: What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
Starting over as a single mom at the age of 34. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It was a terribly difficult time, but God turned my trials into blessings—a real miracle. I’ve been remarried for 15 years, and our children are grown and doing well.
SS: Where can readers find you on the internet?
SS: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?
Thank you for welcoming me into the suspense community. I’m super excited to be here and look forward to spending time with readers and writers who love an action-packed story.
Thanks for joining us!