Answer Deanna's question to be entered into a drawing for a copy of her book. Include contact information. Extra points for sharing on twitter, liking Deanna on facebook, or following my blog. Let me know what you do.
What kind of research did you do for Bread Upon the Water ?
I interviewed Father Tien for 1-2 hours nearly every week for about a year and a half to get all his story. I used a timeline of the Vietnam conflict and an old map of South Vietnam to trace his story and be sure I got all the historical parts correct.
How did you come up with the plot for Bread Upon the Water ?
Since this is a biography I really didn’t have to come up with the plot. It was his life and the plot took care of itself with a happy ending.
Share a brief blurb about the book.
The cover blurb was written by the Bishop of Charlotte. He wrote: “Father Tien Duong’s life is an amazing and inspiring story of perseverance in following God’s call in the face of severe trials and testings. Father Duong pursued his vocation to the priesthood knowing God would always be faithful. The kind priest who taught the young Tien in sixth grade gave him sound advice for his life’s journey: ‘Trust God. Always, trust God.’” When I sign the books, I write Trust God. Always. Then sign my name. It’s probably the most profound message of the book. Great is His faithfulness to those who trust in his faith.
What role have your life experiences played in the characters and/or the situations you develop in your books?
My life experiences aren’t anywhere in the realm of Tien’s. I could only imagine it through the eyes of Tien.
Do you see parallels or do you try to avoid using your own personal life as a source of inspiration?
I try to inspire kids I visit to read, write, stay in school. I can tell them how God lead me to write for Him, to tell Christian stories. But nothing in my life is nearly as inspirational as Tien’s faith.
What are your own favorite authors? Genres?
I love historical fiction, and my favorite authors are the ones who do that well. My “all-time-favorite” is often the one I’m reading that moment.
How has your passion for reading impacted your writing?
I try to write things I would enjoy as a reader. I want to write stories and books that result in the reader wanting to read more stories and books.
Describe how you write a book – with your other responsibilities, does it tend to be something you work into your every day, or do you have to “set apart” time to write with open, undesignated blocks of time?
Life always gets in the way of writing! But I write something every day. My biggest responsibility that cuts into my writing time is marketing. I try to plan in blocks of weeks. The week before a book comes out and probably 3 weeks to a month after, I know I won’t have a lot of time to write. Then I’ll plan a week or two with nothing but writing. I prioritize my time and always do what is most important at that moment. Writing is as high a priority as anything else, so I always make time for it. Every day.
What provides your inspirations during that time – i.e. do you go out in nature, do you seek to be in a busy place with people or in a quiet library, etc.?
I spend a lot of time in the car (with my books.) I don’t listen to the radio or tapes. I listen to my head. I hear the conversations my book characters are having. I imagine them as a part of the scenery I’m passing. When I stop at a traffic light I see them walking on the sidewalk, then think about them as I drive. When I come home from a signing trip, I often have another chapter stored in my head. I can’t wait to get up to the loft and turn on my computer. Quiet is key for me, whether traveling, doing my household tasks, writing or researching. Quiet is key for me, so I can hear myself think.
Do you find the internet to be a helpful or harmful resource in research, advertising, reviewing, etc. your books?
I’m a technology dummy. But, I don’t think I could do what I do without the internet. First thing every morning I update my website, check email, read facebook. I print out anything I need to deal with that day. Then I eat, shower, dress, make my plan for the day. I use the internet for marketing. I don’t know how I would have come up with a spreadsheet of 2400 parochial school librarians without it. I find the places to go, the people I need to interface with, I find the directions to get there. Without leaving my desk. How else could this be done? I think the internet could only be harmful if I allowed it to eat up my time. It is addicting. It takes a mature discipline to know when enough is enough and move on.
Do you use these tools such as facebook as a means of observing the behavior of others which could be the basis of a character, or are you of the ‘old school’ that relies more on personal relationships and “human” touches?
I guess I’m Old School. I prefer history to present, I prefer old fashioned interactions, and I prefer the English language to the modern street language which I don’t understand nor would I enjoy learning it. I can’t observe behaviors on fb because most of the time I don’t even know what the younger set is saying or doing. I like the tried and true, let’s talk.
Ask a question for the readers to answer to be entered into the giveaway. What do you most enjoy about a book with historical basis, either historical fiction, or biography such as Bread Upon the Water?