Let’s get to know Natalie a little better! Natalie, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Natalie: This is an interesting question because I think what I knew first was that I wanted to write stories. I love reading stories so I found an online mentorship program that helped me learn the fundamentals of story-telling and that was in 2010. From that point, I just kept learning and began attending conferences. I kind of went into the process thinking, “Hey, I want to write stories but I don’t know a single thing about the publishing process so if it happens—it happens. I’ll just keep writing stories.”
Paula: Your books are in a series. Did you know what each book was going to be about before you wrote the first one? Or did you figure that out as you were writing book 1?
Natalie: When I sent in the proposal for my first book, Living Lies, I had a very rough idea what I thought the next two books were going to be in the series but both books evolved into completely different stories. Once I started writing Living Lies, the characters in my proposal for book 2 were gone. I had to write a storyline for Ryan. I didn’t realize until the brainstorming process who his heroine was going to be or what the storyline was going to be and even that changed several times in the early drafts. I did have the characters and bits of the plot figured out for book three, Silent Shadows, while I was writing Deadly Deceit so that pushed me to finish because I was really excited to begin that story.
Paula: Interesting! Which of your characters do you identify with the most?
Natalie: Hmm, I get asked this question and I’m stumped. I think there’s a bit of me in all of my characters so to choose one that I identify with most is hard. I’ve felt abandonment and rejection like Vivian. I’m a little bit goofy and spunky like Ryan and Pecca—and yes, I’ll dance for tacos and cookies! Lane reveals struggles and pains our family dealt with personally. I’m a lot like Charlie in his need of approval but believing his purpose doesn’t fit the mold set out for him.
Paula: Great answer! How do you balance your writing with your other responsibilities?
Natalie: Ooh, this is a great question and if you asked my family you’d probably get a different answer 😀. The honest truth: some days better than others.
I’ve found that I really need to schedule my writing time and as best as I can adhere to the schedule if I want to have balance in my life. Writing is great but I don’t want to be stuck on the computer or in my office and miss moments with my kids—especially because they’re all adults now and I’ll soon be an empty-nester *and now I’m bawling*
If I can schedule a few hours of writing and let my family know that these hours are not just me playing with characters in my head but actual work then it shows them my writing is important to me and that when I’m finished I’m all theirs.
Now, this doesn’t mean it always happens perfectly because: Life. But I try and I’m thankful my kids don’t mind breakfast for dinner!
Paula: What is one thing that you have learned as a military wife?
Natalie: Wow. Just one thing?? Adaptability. To the way of life, the long absences, inconsistent schedules, ALL the moves, and unpredictability of what comes next. But, in the same breath, I’d also add adapting to the lifelong friendships who become family, the life experiences cultivated in every move, depth of gratitude that blossoms in third world countries, and the immense amount of honor to be able to support my husband and his colleagues as they boldly serve our country. This life is not easy but it’s special and God has sustained us throughout.
Paula: So well said. Were you brought up in a Christian family?
Natalie: Yes. My earliest memories and some of my fondest belong with me in Sunday school, GA’s, Psalty musicals, Wednesday night youth groups, Disciple Now weekends, and living Nativity scenes. 😀
Paula: Do you choose a 'word for the year'?
Natalie: I have done this in the past and then began to realize that God takes these word choices seriously and I had better be prepared for the refining! LOL
Paula: Do you choose a Bible verse or a theme as you write each book?
Natalie: I didn’t realize I was going to have a Bible verse theme for this series but as I began writing Lane’s story in Living Lies the words from Isaiah 43:1-3 felt so appropriate given the struggles the characters had to face and overcome.
“But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”
Paula: Those are strong promises, aren't they? Do you have a favorite charity or cause?
Natalie: One of my favorite charities is the Gary Sinise Foundation. This charity supports our military and their families in so many ways from building adapted smart homes for wounded heroes to providing community events for the children of fallen military heroes. The military and our veterans will always hold a special place in my heart and I was really excited to donate a portion of the proceeds from my Harbored Secrets Series to support the foundation supporting them.
Paula: Thank you for some very interesting answers. As a former Navy wife, I especially like that you chose to donate to the Gary Sinise Foundation. He certainly has a heart for service families!
Thank your husband and his buddies for their service.
I am looking forward to Silent Shadows, book three in the Harbored Secrets series.
SEE PAULA'S, NICOLE'S and KIM'S REVIEWS OF DEADLY DECEIT
Natalie has graciously offered a print copy of Deadly Deceit to one person who comments. We will draw a winner one week from now (ends November 21 midnight EST). To participate, please comment that you'd like to be in the drawing, and be sure we have a way to contact you by adding your email address safely or by confirming you are a follower of our Inkwell Inspirations facebook page or FB friends with Paula or Debra!If you're not already, we suggest you follow Natalie by signing up for her newsletters!