Tell us about your family.
I am the oldest of a very large, variously blended family, so I tend to be bossy. My husband, Patrick, and I have been married for 22 years, and we are more in love every day. We have six children: Christian, 18; James, 15; Hope, 13; Tess, 11; Daniel, 8; and Anne, 4. We are a very close-knit, adventure-loving group.
What writers would you consider to be your 'mentors'?
Ah, that is a different question than asking who my favorite writers are. Good one. For discipline and dedication: Anthony Trollope and Steven Pressfield. For the rare skill of not taking oneself too seriously: Terry Pratchett and Carrie Fisher. For integrity and balance: Barbara Kingsolver and Anne Lamott.
What best prepared you to take on the life of a writer?
Probably my mission for our church. The daily discipline of getting up day after day and doing something you might or might not want to do right at that moment was fabulous preparation for both motherhood and the writer’s life. Writing is work—joyful work, but work—and my mission taught me how to work.
What were the biggest obstacles you encountered in your writing journey?
My biggest obstacle has always been fear. Fear of failure; fear of success. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of not being able to repeat a past success.
Fear didn’t go away I was published, either; it’s always at the door, right there with doubt and despair. For me, fighting fear takes daily vigilance. I remind myself that perfect love casts out fear, so I pray for charity morning and night.
What is the biggest obstacle you face right now?
Well, I’ve gotten better at fighting back fear. Now my biggest problem is juggling a) marketing Dispirited; b) focusing on the book I’m writing right now; and c) being the best wife and mother I can be.
Is there anything you wish you'd have done differently?
My first novel came out 17 years ago. After it did, I spent a couple of years finishing my bachelor’s degree through BYU’s General Studies program. After that, I assumed I’d start writing again. But all along, I was pretty depressed, and didn’t realize it. I told myself I was going on an extended “maternity leave.” At that point, I had four small children.
I wish I’d recognized my depression/anxiety for what it was much earlier. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (hence my issues with fear), and I’ve learned how to cope with it, but it’s taken awhile. When our fifth child was a baby, I started writing seriously again, and it helped a lot. All that to say—I wish I hadn’t stopped writing for those years in the middle.
Outside of writing, what are your other interests?
I love to cook, and I really love to eat. Knitting and gardening are both passions of mine. I enjoy music of all kinds, from the obscurest classical to the hardest rock and literally everything in between. I love to travel. And I read a ton, as I’m sure most writers do.
In twenty words or less tell us about your book:
Cathy travels to hell and back to rescue her stepbrother, Blake—a ghost haunting his own body without remembering why.
In twenty words or less tell us about your philosophy for life:
Savor every moment, both good and bad. Being right is highly overrated; be kind instead. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
How can you not love this woman? Be sure to check out her BOOK.