Today, Love Lines from God welcomes author, Maria Henriksen.
Maria, tell us when you decided to become a writer. In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
I have always liked writing. In fact, I wrote and illustrated books and comic strips as early as third grade. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I seriously entertained the notion of becoming a novelist. At that time, I decided it was important to read as much as possible. From there, I figured out what type of genre I wanted to write.
Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from?
Honestly, the ideas just pop into my head. I use actual experiences as a springboard and then from there the real creativity flows.
Why do you write what you do?
I write what I like reading. Since I frequently worked in a high school, I had access to young adult novels. Something about being around teenagers and reading about them always interested me. I’m also a sucker for a little romance, and I was disappointed when romance never ensued in the books I read. Also, most of the books I encountered were not Christian, and as a believer, I craved that spiritual component. It wasn’t until I sat down to write Not Again that I combined all the elements I enjoyed reading into one novel.
What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?
Honestly, once I start writing, I don’t have many issues. In that sense, I suppose the hardest thing is finding the time to write. I really need to schedule it in my day and make it a priority or it doesn’t happen.
If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future?
As a Christian writer, I feel the challenges we face are embracing the differences in how we share the gospel. Since my target audience is the youth, I intentionally created intense scenes and kept the plot moving to keep the interest of readers who expect instant gratification. Teens today are exposed to so much in terms of graphic violence, pre-marital sex, and otherworldly sins that should not be swept under the rug. Ignoring the existence of sin will not put an end to it. It is our responsibility, as Christian writers, to offer alternatives. Not Again addresses these sins in a relatable way and provides practical and spiritual methods to combat them.
If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your books?
The biggest challenge I faced in writing my novel was deciding where to end it and what to add and delete. My original manuscript extended the time period into college, and I didn’t realize the length of my novel. I had no idea how many words a typical young adult novel consisted of. It wasn’t until after I wrote it that I decided to shorten the time frame of the novel by restricting it to high school years and to make the remainder of the original the beginning of the sequel. That required adding an epilogue along with other chapters to enhance the character development which lays the groundwork for the sequel. It took me a few months to write the original manuscript. The actual finished product took well over a year.
Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
Finding professional people of integrity who provide valuable services is the biggest frustration I have encountered. I have worked with several people who demonstrated their inexperience, incompetence, or lack of work ethic, yet asked for more money than the agreed upon contract amount. I had to start over and find new people to perform certain services or learn how to do it myself.
Dealing with the outcome of people who have publicly slammed my work has been gut-wrenching, too, but it has opened my eyes to the realization that my novel is not for everyone—as I originally thought. As published authors, we are artists who put our work out there, making ourselves vulnerable to criticism. Some authors choose not to read their reviews for that reason. An author friend said, “Opinions, everyone has them.”
Finally, promoting my book is an ongoing frustration. If I don’t constantly promote it, I risk losing what I have built. Not only is it costly to get the word out, but it is also challenging to crack the many codes for effective advertising. Bottom line, it takes time, money, and energy to promote a book. That’s time, money, and energy taken away from writing the next masterpiece.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
I find it rewarding to create something out of nothing. Putting words on the screen that evoke intentional reactions like crying or laughing is satisfying. Healing hearts one page at a time is rewarding. Having someone accept Jesus as a result of reading Not Again is the biggest gift imaginable.
What are you reading now, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
I really don’t have any favorite authors, but I plan on reading Knit 2, Purl 2, Kill 2 by Erina Bridget Ring.
Would you give the readers the buy link for your book?
And could you provide your social media links so the readers can connect with you?
Amazon Author Page:
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Maria T. Henriksen is a newly published author of Not Again. Not Again is a young adult edgy Christian romance novel. Since she was a child, Maria has dreamed of becoming a published novelist and plans on writing the sequel to Not Again.
Maria wears many hats. She is a wife to a doting husband and a mother to boy/girl teenage twins, as well as a substitute teacher of all grade levels and disciplines. In addition to writing, subbing, and rearing her amazing twins, Maria can be found running on trails or the track to stay fit. Her son is the inspiration for her running and she loves it so much that running is incorporated in her book.
Maria considers writing her ministry. As a guest blogger, Maria writes devotions and featured articles relating to the writing and publishing world. She also hosts her own blog and is a featured guest speaker on podcasts.
Maria also helps aspiring and fellow authors by showcasing them and their writing on her blog and in her Facebook group, Maria’s Muses: Inspirational, Christian, and Close-to-the-Heart Readers.
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