Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Naomi!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?
First, you should know that Naomi King is a pen name, which my editor asked me to choose because I was already writing another Amish series for a different publisher when I got the contract for these NAL books. It was a biz decision to separate the two series with different names, although I have a dual website.
In real life I’m Charlotte Hubbard, I’ve been married to the same great guy for 38 years, and we are ruled by a Border collie named Ramona, who allows us to share her home. When I was first researching these Amish stories we’d lived in Missouri for more than 20 years, so the books are set there. About three years ago we moved to St. Paul MN when my husband took a new job. Because I work at home, alone most of the day, church has always been the place I’ve hooked up first when we’ve moved to a new town. I’m not as involved in volunteering at my current church as I was in my MO church, because my increased writing schedule means I must spend more time at the computer. But I really enjoy being in choir and playing in our percussion group.
Remember the TV show “The Brady Bunch?” In this book, Amanda Lambright, a widow with three daughters, marries Wyman Brubaker, a widower with five kids. Everyone in Cedar Creek (continuing characters from this series) say it’s a sure bet they’ll be “one big happy family” but when you blend kids aged from 17 to 3, and some of them have to move from their lifelong home to a whole new town/school/church district, they’re bound to hit some snags. And of course Amanda and Wyman wonder if they’ll ever get private time as a couple to nurture their love for each other. This is a common occurrence in Amish families, of course, but I’ve not seen any novels that have this as the premise. It’s a fun story! The younger kids really take it over in places, along with Wags, the dog.
What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?
Because the Amish don’t condone playing musical instruments, you won’t find reference to the fact that over my lifetime I’ve played several instruments and many kinds of music. Right now I’m taking guitar lessons to give my brain a break from the verbal stuff I do all day. For one of my earlier, pre-Amish books, I taught myself to play the accordion as research for a character! I’ve played piano, organ, violin, banjo, handbells, choir chimes, and more recently the marimba and various drums and shaker-things in our church’s percussion group.
I wrote my first salable story following the death of a favorite student—she was only 18, in her first year of college. I was a school librarian at the time, and sent that story to True Love, a confession magazine. About a year later it was published and I went on to write about 70 of those stories for True Confessions, Modern Romances, etc. Of course, before that, I had always been an avid reader, and once I had the hang of magazine fiction, I eventually got good enough at my craft to sell books. So you can see that my career as a novelist isn’t exactly an “overnight success” story!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Ohhhh, it’s hard to choose, because writers have so MANY quirks! My husband thinks it’s funny to see me sitting at my desk, tapping away on my iPad keyboard when my full-size Mac computer is sitting right there! Truth is, sometimes I just compose better/faster on the iPad (which I travel with, instead of a laptop). It’s a mind game. And I can’t click into email or Facebook or any other distractions very easily on the iPad, either, which means I’m focused on getting my work done!
I have a home office in a sunny bedroom overlooking the back yard, and most of my writing gets done there. However, with my back-to-back-to-back deadlines—because I’m also writing an Amish series for another publisher—I often write on trips, using my iPad and the full-size keyboard. I also really enjoy writing in a nice quiet hotel room, like, when I tag along with my husband to his conferences. Nice thing about an iPad is that, on nice days, I can also sit out on the deck and work.
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
For me, it’s a big plus to be at home full-time (my dog likes that, too!), able to run errands on my own time frame—but then, that means people sometimes assume that because I’m home, I must not be “really working”. I mean, how hard can it be to make up lies/fiction all day?? I’m grateful that most family members and friends won’t call during the day, understanding that their call might derail my train of thought.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to cook, I enjoy going to live theatre and especially love attending “Prairie Home Companion” radio broadcasts when Garrison Keiller is here in St. Paul. I walk my dog at least once a day, and love taking her on errands in the car when it’s cool enough. I read a lot at night, before bed. I crochet afghans and prayer shawls. I LOVE to cruise and travel, love to walk on the beach at dawn, and love to spend time with a couple of cousins who make me laugh a lot!
What is your favorite genre to read and why?
I read all over the place, but mostly fiction. I do NOT read much Amish fiction because I don’t want to inadvertently pick up ideas/dialog, etc. from other authors’ work—and because I want to keep my style MY style. Lately I’ve discovered Barbara Michaels, who died recently, and am enjoying her Gothic-style novels. I grew up reading Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney, so these books bring back that same sense of “don’t go into that room!” and the atmospheric settings of those books.
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
Oh, there are whole worlds out there just waiting for me to discover them. I’d like to visit New Zealand, and see more of Europe and the Mediterranean. I would also like to do an autumn foliage tour in the Northeast, and take that train ride across the southern part of Canada sometime.
From Psalm 27: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?
Here again, my musical musings are all over the place. One moment, “How Can I Keep From Singing?” might be running through my mind, and the next thing I know I’m humming an oldie by Elton John. I was in 5th grade when the Beatles ushered in a whole new era of music, and I tend to still prefer soft rock from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. While I write, I listen to my computer playlists of instrumentals, a mix of hymn tunes and classical pieces—or instrumental versions of Christmas carols if I’m working on a holiday story! Lorie Line has some “heritage” albums with really nice arrangements of hymns that are my favorites.
Movie-wise, I’ve watched “Chocolat” more than anything else…probably because it’s a fun story with fun music and Johnny Depp’s in it. Need I say more?
Christmas, hands down! I really get into the cookie thing—have cut back from baking 150 doz. each year to about half that, to give as gifts, but I still love to squeeze in some baking in the evenings after I’ve been writing all day. All it takes is a few little kids singing “Silent Night” or “Away in a Manger” and I’m wiping my eyes.
What's your favorite season and why is it your fav?
Autumn, by far! Jeans-and-jacket weather makes me feel so much better than summer heat, and I love the lush colors of the foliage.
A few this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?
While I love the sky drama of a good thunderstorm (which unfortunately sends my Border collie, Ramona, skittering into the windowless storeroom to hide) I also love the peaceful hush of gently falling snow—and yeah, sometimes it’s fun to watch that white stuff really cut loose, too! Now that I live in MN, it’s a good thing I like snow!
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Deep, dark chocolate!
Tea or Coffee?
Call or Text?
While I’ve learned how to text, I much prefer the sound of a human voice. I work all alone, after all.
Cats or Dogs?
Don’t even let my dog Ramona know you asked me this question! I’m OK with other people having cats, but nope, not in MY house.
Early-bird or Night-owl?
My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. Nuff said.
Facebook or Twitter?
I have 2 FB pages, a Naomi C. King author page where you can Like me, and a Charlotte Hubbard page where you can Friend me, if you’re so inclined. Twitter is just noise to me, and I don’t have time for any more social media distractions if I’m to stay on target with my books!
Sneakers or Sandals?
The ankles demand a good support sneaker when I’m home, but come toe-showing time I break out the Clarks sandals. NO flip-flops! Can’t stand that between-toe thing.
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
I am so blessed and grateful that I’m contracted to be writing Amish books through the end of 2015! Right now I’m writing the book that follows AMANDA WEDS A GOOD MAN, which is Emma’s romance, EMMA BLOOMS AT LAST. In AMANDA, you’ll meet Jerome, a handsome fellow with a troublesome track record when it comes to getting engaged. He falls head first for Emma, but she needs a lot of convincing!
Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
Thanks so much for featuring me with this interview! I so appreciate your boost, and I love it when readers contact me via my website or my Facebook pages, as well. You’ll find my books, plus excerpts from each of them, plus a load of recipes, at www.NaomiKingAuthor.com. You can also Like my Naomi C, King author page, and you can Friend me at my Charlotte Hubbard page.
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