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Interview with Faith Blum   1 comment

 

Today’s interview is with Faith Blum. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

Faith Blum Author PicThank you, Lela! I’m so glad to be here. I am a home-school graduate from Wisconsin who has always loved to read and write. My favorite genre for years has been historical fiction, but especially westerns. About a year ago, I quit my job doing data entry at an accountant’s office so I could write full-time. I am so glad that I did. It has been great!

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I wrote my first story when I was about ten as far as I can remember and I have been writing ever since. I never really anticipated being published, or really thought about it seriously until 2012 when a friend told me about a contest and I decided to polish up a novel for it. I didn’t win the contest, but that work was enough to give me the boost to become independently published.

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

Read, play games with my family, crochet, knit, sew, and sometimes watch a movie. I’m also part of a Bible Study and help at a Good News Club, so I keep pretty busy.

 

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

Faith Blum Might FortressMy most recent novel did, actually. I wrote the rough draft in a month and then let it sit for 2 or 3 months before beginning to edit it. As I edited it, I could completely relate to what my protagonist was going through. God must have known I would need those words during that editing time and had me write them back then. It was amazing!

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

The first novel idea came from a short story contest that I was too old to enter. It went through a few transformations, but eventually became the first novel in my Hymns of the West series, A Mighty Fortress. The fifth book in the series got its inspiration from some random thoughts that went through my mind when a beta-reader of A Mighty Fortress asked if I was going to write a sequel. I told him I hadn’t planned on it, but then my brain started working.

After that, I ended up getting ideas for three books that came between A Mighty Fortress and The Solid Rock, but they all came from the characters in my first book. Since then, I’ve had ideas for other novels and stories and I’m not really sure where all of them come from.

 

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

Faith Blum Amazing GraceI love to write in first person because it seems so personal that way. But I also like third person because you can get more points of view than just the one person. So I’m a little conflicted.

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I’m going to bring plenty of notebooks, pens, pencils, books on the Old West, my Bible, and Jaye L. Knight’s Ilyon Chronicles series. That way I can write a lot, do some research, study God’s word, and also have a fun series to read.

 

Talk about your books individually.

Faith Blum LilyI’ll try to keep this brief for each book. So, here’s the rapid fire version of each book in order of release with a sentence or two about the writing of them.

A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West #1): After their stagecoach is attacked by outlaws, an adventurous young man and his timid sister flee into unsettled territory and must find their way to town before they are killed by a pursuing gunslinger. This was my first published book and got me launched into what has now become my career (though I’m still figuring out how to best market and make enough money). AMF also introduces most of the characters who appear in the next four books of the series.

Be Thou My Vision (Hymns of the West #2): After learning of her younger brother’s death, an outspoken spinster defies her father and starts going to church, where she begins to care for the widower pastor’s two rambunctious boys who need a mother’s love. This book wasn’t originally going to happen, but after a beta-readers question, I decided Jed’s family needed some more story.

Amazing Grace (Hymns of the West #3): A doubting man agrees to wed a widowed mail-order bride, but he struggles with whether or not he can be a father to the woman’s daughter who desperately wants a father’s love. After writing about Anna in book 2, I couldn’t let Caleb’s story go unfinished, so he got his own book alongside his leading lady.

I Love Thee (Hymns of the West Novellas #1): When his sister dies, leaving him with four children ages 8 and under, Cole Baxter gets desperate. He decides he needs a wife. He writes to a mail order bride before realizing he almost threw away the best woman he could have. I introduced Cole Baxter in Amazing Grace, but after writing and editing the novel, I wanted to know more about him, so I wrote his story in this novella.

Pass Me Not (Hymns of the West Novellas #2): Timothy is at his wit’s end. His twelve year old half-sister has run off five housekeepers in almost a year. Since their parents died, she has grown wilder than ever. What can he do? As he looks for a new housekeeper, his eye catches sight of a mail order bride advertisement. One young lady has a younger sister and sounds like a God-fearing woman. Could this be the answer to his dilemma or will Louise run her off, too? Since I’d written one novella based off of minor characters, I decided to write the other two as well. The mail order brides in this novella and in Redeemed were originally introduced in Amazing Grace in their advertisements.

Faith Blum RedeemedRedeemed (Hymns of the West Novellas #3): Alexander Granger is tired of his father’s lectures and sermons. It’s time for payback. His plan is to pretend to marry a woman and scandalize his father when he finds out they aren’t really married. Will Mona accept his offer? Can Alex get away with his plan?

Lily of the Valley (Hymns of the West #4): Romance suddenly overwhelms a shy schoolteacher with three men out to court her, but rejecting one of them means having to deal with a bout of slander that could mean losing her position. One of my favorite novels to write, it is also my longest thus far.

The Solid Rock (Hymns of the West #5): A talented detective with a mission to find his kidnapped colleague finds himself working undercover with a heinous outlaw who has more plans than first meet the eye. This book was my first original idea for the sequel to A Mighty Fortress, but due to the timeframes, it ended up being the last in the series. It also ventured into new territory as my first successful mystery novel. Trivia fact: I wrote the rough draft (about 60,000 words) in just 32 days.

Life and Salvation (Hymns of the West Novellas Omnibus #1): This is a collection of the three novellas published so far.

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Faith Blum Solid RockYes. My goal as an author is to encourage Christians in their walk with God and to hopefully reach non-Christians with the Gospel.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

If they are Christians, I would like for them to think of how they can grow as a Christian to become more like Christ every day. If they are not a Christian, my prayer is for them to truly think about, and consider why they have not surrendered their life to Christ yet and possibly do it.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

I had a few online friends who had self-published and as I looked into it, self-publishing was easier, more author focused, and I could be a lot more involved in the entire process.

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

Faith Blum VisionWhat I think is the greatest advantage is being in control of the whole publishing process from content to formatting to book cover design.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Having the name of the publishing house behind your books, therefore getting the book out to more people.

 

Who designed your book covers?

Perry Elisabeth of Perry Elisabeth Designs designed all the covers for my novels,  Kendra at Kreative Kreations designed my novella covers, and I designed the cover for my novella collection and have designed the covers for my next three novella covers.

 

 Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Yes, I believe they can. With hard work, a good editor and/or proofreader, good formatting, and cover designs, it is very possible.

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

Yes, I do write specifically for a Christian audience. As a Christian myself, I have had a hard time finding good historical fiction, either Christian or secular that I can really enjoy and are written well. My aim is to write good books that teach both some history and Christianity and still be enjoyable to read.

 

What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

Not getting too preachy. I didn’t think I was in my first book, but then I heard from a few others who said that I was, so there’s a fine balancing act there.

 

Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

I think the best way to do that is to pray and then write what God wants you to write without compromise, even if it doesn’t conform to the world’s standards.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

 Yes, especially romance writers. Romances today are expected to be accelerated timelines with the perfect man and perfect woman who have a perfect conflict and then end up falling in love anyway. I personally try to write stories that are realistic to real life, especially for any romance plots. I’m not condemning Christian writers who don’t, I just think it would be nice to present a “real” romance once in a while.

 

I don’t personally read romance for just that reason. Maybe you’ll change my mind. Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

I think it’s possible to do both. I’ve done it in most, if not all, of my books and it has been received well. I vary how I present the gospel and sometimes I kind of just slip it in, but it is still there. A reader recently told me that he appreciated how I presented the gospel so clearly in my book, Be Thou My Vision. He also mentioned that he was enjoying reading my book, too.

 

How do readers find you and your books?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Blum/e/B00GSPBHW6

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HymnsoftheWest

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Faith_Blum

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/FaithBlumAuthor

Website: http://www.FaithBlum.com

Blog: http://www.FaithBlum.wordpress.com

Email: faith[dot]blum[dot]author[at]gmail[dot]com

 

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