Today, Christian author, Molly Noble Bull, joins us to talk about her Christian Gothic historical, Gatehaven. Let’s start at the beginning.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Molly: I was a storyteller from early childhood, but I never thought to sell my stories until I was an adult and teaching kindergarten. I would read those little storybooks to the children and think, I can do this. It is not surprising that my first sales were to magazines for very young children. Then a friend and fellow-writer started selling adult romances, and she told me that I should write romance novels too. So I wrote the first three chapters and a synopsis for one, and my friend sent it to her editor. The editor said, via my friend, that my writing was good, but my heroine seemed more like a twelve-year-old child than a young woman. So I had to learn to write adult characters, and I did. But even today there is a fun-loving child in all my adult main characters whether male or female—even in a scary Gothic historical like Gatehaven.
The switch from children’s books to romance would be a leap. 🙂 One question I like to ask authors for my own information is:
What’s your favorite method for keeping a story’s middle from sagging?
Molly: I try to make every chapter in my books end with a hook. When I do that, there is no sagging middle. To me, sagging middles indicate a weak plot. To prevent the weak-plot blues, I suggest outlining the entire book, chapter-by-chapter, even if you don’t end up following that outline to the letter. Forcing yourself to write an outline will help prevent those sagging middles.
Before I write an outline, I write the first three to five chapters by the seat of my pants. In other words, I just sit down and write. Second, I decide approximately how many chapters I will have in all. Let us say I plan to write the first three chapters with ten chapters in all. I get a long yellow pad, and I write Chapter One at the top of that yellow pad. I skip four or five lines and write Chapter Two, and I keep on skipping and naming chapters until I reach Chapter Ten.
Then under Chapter One, I tell in two or three sentences what happened in chapter one of my manuscript, and I do the same with chapters two and three. Next, I skipped down to Chapter Ten and tell how the story ends in two or three sentences. In Chapter Nine, I tell what must happen in order for Chapter Ten to end as I wrote it. Then I simply backtrack by writing what must happen in Chapter Eight and keep backtracking until I reach Chapters Four and Five. Those chapters must blend the first few chapters to the ending, and then I continue writing my book in the knowledge that I know where I am going and how I intend to get there. That gives me to confidence to write the entire book.
Great advice! I do something similar when working on my own novels. All right, you’ve written your novel.
How do you market your book?
Molly: I do interviews like this one and belong to several writers’ groups. But frankly, marketing is not easy for me. I would rather just write.
I understand. Now on a lighter note.
Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author?
Molly: My life is a series of funny experiences, and I laugh a lot more often than I cry. Though I can’t think of a funny experience connected with writing, and I do have an experience I can share.
I wasn’t teaching when our youngest son was in kindergarten; and I remember that he had complained about his leg hurting. He was playing out in the barn when I called him to get in the car so I could drive him to school, and when I dropped him off, I noticed that his leg was very stiff. Maybe I should drive him to the doctor’s office instead of letting him go to school. But he went on into his classroom, and I soon forgot about the leg.
Then I got a telephone call from the school, demanding that I come to the school and pick up my child at once. Apparently, he took an antique sword that my husband kept in the barn and slipped it inside his pants, and he removed the sword just in time for Show and Tell.
At the time, the principal and all the teachers thought what happened was funny. But today, if a child did that, he might be expelled.
Wow. Only a child would think of that. Last question.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Molly: I would like for everyone (especially home school teachers and students) to know that Gatehaven, my Christian Gothic historical, now has two companions—two study guides based on Gatehaven. Both were written by my friend, Jeanette Pierce, and here are the titles—The Gatehaven Study Guide for Teachers and The Gatehaven Study Guide for Students.
Gatehaven is available right now in paperback and as an e-book. http://bit.ly/Gatehaven, and readers can read samples from all three by going to my website, scrolling down and clicking on Molly’s Free Downloads. www.mollynoblebull.com
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. (Ephesians 6:11)
Shannon Aimee, a young peasant woman living in Luss, Scotland in the late 1700s, is pleasantly surprised to receive a marriage proposal form the wealthy Earl of Northon. With the reluctant consent of her parents, Shannon agrees to accompany the young earl to Gatehaven, his residence in northern England with a dark history. Escorted by her livelong friend, Ian Colquhoun (who has his own reasons for visiting the haunting mansion notorious for its disturbing secrets and occult practices) Shannon embarks on her journey. But before long, she realizes that there is more to Gatehaven than meets the eye.
When deadly deception is revealed and the truth comes to light, will Shannon and Ian be able to save themselves and their loves ones before it is too late? Or will the forces of darkness win?
Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas, where she and her husband live today, and her father and grandfather were real Texas cowboys. Molly has published novels with Zondervan, Love Inspired and Tsaba House. Though Tsaba House is no longer in business, they published Sanctuary. Sanctuary won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award in the inspirational category and also tied for first place in a second national contest for published authors that year. Gatehaven, Molly’s Gothic historical, won the Grand prize in the 2013 Creation House Fiction Writing Contest as a manuscript, and it was published in trade paperback and as an e-book in March 2014. Elk Lake Press will publish Molly’s Christian western romance, When the Cowboy Rides Away, in 2015, and she is working on the sequel to Gatehaven.