Ada Brownell has been writing stick-to-your-soul encouragement articles, short fiction and books since she was a teen. She spent a large huge hunk of her life as a journalist, mostly at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.
She has years of experience teaching youth in Christian education classes, playing the piano and organ for church services, and singing in trios.
SS: Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born a freckled-faced redhead, the eighth child in a financially impoverished family that had just escaped from the Great Depression and the Kansas dust bowl to Colorado’s beautiful irrigated Western Slope. Peach Country. I was born shortly after the open truck crawled over Colorado’s treacherous mountain passes loaded with household goods and the seven other children. I was the only true Coloradan.
Not long afterward, my oldest sister’s new friend invited her to the “holy roller” church where Marjorie became a born-again Christian. Mama worried about her getting involved with “those people,” especially because the woman across the street kept witnessing to Mom. Then each of all my older siblings had a friend who invited them to “that church.” Finally my parents and all the family gave their lives to Jesus and I grew up in a great Christian home with continual singing, music, laughter and love.
We’re all a bunch of achievers. My oldest brother received his doctorate in sociology and education and spent many years teaching at Evangel University. The next brother became a pastor. The youngest, a trombonist, earned his doctorate in music, headed the music department at Evangel, served as academic dean at Berean College, wrote a number of textbooks, and he and his wife served in multiple short missions around the world.
SS: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
I started submitting ideas for youth services to a national youth leaders’ magazine when I was age 15. I was president of the youth group in our church. Then I started submitting articles to that magazine and to The Pentecostal Evangel. The editors were helpful. When my article was almost a fit, they’d send it back and say, “add another illustration,” or “cut the word length.” I did it immediately, sent it back and they bought it.
That started a free lance career I never dreamed of, and I soon branched out into newspaper work and spent a big hunk of my life as journalist. I didn’t think of myself as a writer or use the label “author” until I’d been writing at least 20 years.
SS: What are some of the challenges you face as a writer? Are there aspects of your life that are hard for family and friends to understand? What are they?
Family and friends don’t quite get the hours I need to think and to write, but they’re proud I’m a writer. My greatest challenge is how to budget time. I believe family should be first. I like to have an organized house and my wellbeing depends partly on having things neat and in order. I also try to spend quite a bit of time with the Lord each day and believe Isaiah 40:29-31 where it says “they that wait upon the Lord renew their strength... They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
SS: What genre do you write and why? Are there other genres you’ve written or would like to try?
My favorite books are squeaky clean historical Christian romances that uplift the soul. The Lady Fugitive is an historical romance. I like suspense and mystery, too, and Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult is contemporary and suspense. But I mix in humor and I hope my readers smile often as they read.
Non-fiction Bible studies I write are more to me than mere books. Imagine the Future You and Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal are intended to increase faith in God and lead people to salvation.
I hope to do more Bible studies and I have 10,000 words toward a sequel to The Lady Fugitive. I have ideas for sequels to The Castle and the Catapult, and Lord willing, sometime will get to them.
SS: How do you create characters? Are they based on people you know?
I create profiles of my characters but find who they are unfolds with the story. With The Lady Fugitive where I wrote all but 7,000 words of the first draft in only five weeks, part of the time it seemed I was reading the book instead of writing it. Some of my readers’ favorite characters, such as Stuart, the orphan, and the “bad guy’s” sweet little wife, popped in later in the book. The characters are what make me enjoy the writing process so much!
SS: Tell us about your current release.
Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in? Will she find peace, joy and love?
SS: Where did you get the idea for this book?
From my maternal grandparents. According to some relatives, Grandma had to run from an abusive uncle, a judge. She was orphan, but unlike Jenny who rides away on her horse, she packed a suitcase and walked, finally ending up in a small community 30 miles away. My grandfather went about the country showing a Passion of the Christ picture show, and his father was murdered, instances similar to my leading man, William.
SS: Tell us about your main character.
Jenny Louis Parks is a talented, spirited, gal with plenty of spunk but she’s also confused as to why God will allow her parents to die and for her to have to run from abuse and have nowhere to go.
SS: Is there a spiritual message in your book? If so, what is it?
William’s favorite song is “The Ninety and Nine,” that tells how God cares for His sheep—even a sheep who feels alone. That’s the book theme.
SS: What are you working on now?
The sequel to The Lady Fugitive. I have some interesting characters already and some of the people from the first book appear in this one. I’m only about 10,000 words into it so far.
SS: Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. I have five children, all serving the Lord, some in ministry and one in heaven.
2. I’ve been a published writer since I was in my teens. Although I didn’t write every day, I made time to write. I am a retired journalist (The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado). I still write for Christian publications and most recently began writing devotions for a teen devotional magazine.
3. I didn’t meet another free lance writer until I had been writing for many years.
SS: Favorite TV shows?
Old ones without bad language or sex scenes, and the type of people who pray before meals and attend church. The Lord told Ezekiel to “go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” Those with a mark were spared from God’s judgment. (Ezekiel 9:5—11).
SS: Anything special you eat or drink while you’re writing?
Because I suffer from dry mouth, sometimes I eat a Popsicle.
SS: How do you celebrate after completing a book?
With a sigh of relief, and enough joy to start another project.
SS: Where can readers find you on the Internet?
Amazon Ada Brownell author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell
Read the first chapter of The Lady Fugitive here: http://ow.ly/CHtxB
SS: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
IN ADDITION TO The Lady Fugitive, I have these other books: Imagine the Future You, a youth Bible study; Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult; Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal; and Confessions of a Pentecostal, out of print but released in 2012 for Kindle. All the books are available in paper or for Kindle. Imagine the Future You audiobook is available at www.Audible.com Free book with new Audible membership.
Thanks for inviting me to be your guest!
Ada is giving away an ebook copy of The Lady Fugitive. Leave a comment, along with your contact information for a chance to win.