Friday, January 23, 2004

My interview with Christian author Nancy Moser

Once again, I've had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite authors, Nancy Moser. Nancy is the author of such books as "The Invitation" and "The Temptation," as well as "Time Lottery" and "The Seat Beside Me."

In this interview, Nancy focuses on some of her more recent books, including "The Sister Circle" and "'Round the Corner," which she co-authored with Vonette Bright; and "A Steadfast Surrender" and "The Ultimatum."

Nancy is a charming woman with a great personality and an infectious laugh. Hope you enjoy this transcript.

CINDY: Anyone who listens to this show or knows me at all knows that I love fiction. It's a passion of mine...especially Christian fiction. And I'm so pleased to be able to tell people that Christian fiction is better than ever. Not only is it good quality and great stories and just page-turning things, but it's also something that can help you learn something about your faith and maybe walk a little closer to the Lord, or maybe point out or illuminate a spiritual truth that can be helpful in your walk with the Lord.

All of those things perfectly sum up Nancy Moser, and the books that she writes. In fact, one of the things I love about Nancy's books is that she uses scripture freely in her books, and in most of her books in the back you can find even
a list of the scriptures that she used. All that, and yet still just great stories that keep you turning the pages, and
all of that goes to make Nancy officially one of my favorite authors. All that to say that I'm so pleased and delighted to have Nancy as my guest today. Nancy, thank you so much for joining me.

Nancy: Thanks, Cindy.

CINDY: Nancy, tell us a little about yourself and how you got into this business of writing fiction.

NANCY: I shouldn't be writing fiction (laughs) because I've never taken an English course or a composition course of any kind. My degree is in architecture, so this doesn't make any sense, but God has a sense of humor, or
can use us in spite of our degrees, how's that?

I started writing fiction before I was a Christian. And so I wrote five novels for the secular market, hoping to become famous with them--rich and famous would have been good--and then in 1995 I really had a revelation. A rejection from an agent in New York for one of these five secular novels really hit me hard, and led me to a Chrisitan bookstore where I virtually discovered that there was such a thing as Christian fiction. And this corresponded directly with my own spiritual searching and so, my testimony with my own faith is intertwined with writing my first Christian novel, "The Invitation." And so,I eventually set aside all the secular novels that I had written, and deemed them practice, and
dedicated all my writing to God, and that's where I've been ever since.

CINDY: I think probably the first book of yours that I read was "The Invitation" and it just grabbed me completely, just immediately, and I've been a big fan of yours ever since. But let's talk about "The Sister Circle". I just finished reading "Round the Corner," and I don't know how I missed the first book, which was "Sister Circle," and even though they can stand alone, they're kind of in a bit of a series, aren't they, Nancy?

NANCY: Yes, they are. It starts with "Sister Circle," and then "Round the Corner" is the second one, and then there are two more.

CINDY: These books are being billed as being as being co-authored with Vonette Bright, who is of course of wife of Bill Bright. I was curious, in seeing her name there... how do you co-author a book with somebody, is that hard? and how did it come about that Vonette became involved?

Nancy: Well, they contacted me a few years ago because Dr. Bright had starting writing co-authored books with Ted Decker. And Dr. Bright really realized the power of Christian fiction, like you were talking about earlier, how you can reach a non-believer by giving them a novel and saying, "Here, read this great book" and get the same message, where if you give them a book that says "How to Know God" they may never read it. And so, he realized this, and he was doing this with Ted, and he wanted Vonette to do that. And so, they called me and asked if I'd be interested, and it was interesting because I really had never thought of such a thing. And they wanted me to come down and meet her, and talk and see if we hit it off, and I asked, "Do you want me to bring a resume?" And they go, "Oh no, you don't understand, we've been praying about this. You're it......all you have to do is say yes." And so that was the first time I'd ever had the experience of people praying about me, for me, when I didn't know it
or had not asked for their prayers.
And we really hit it off...she's a lovely, wonderful, gracious lady...and so we brainstormed these ideas. The way we do it, we brainstorm these ideas, and then I start the writing. She's written nonfiction, but writing fiction's totally different.
And so I write the novel, and during the process I will contact her and get her opinion about things. She of course has way more worldly experience than I do, with Campus Crusade and all. And so she's a great help in that.
And then she edits the whole thing, and we go back and forth.
but basically,in the meat of it is mine, and I run with our ideas.

CINDY: That was obvious to me in reading the book. It was totally your style, and so anybody that's a big Nancy Moser fan, you don't have to feel like there's going to be changes in style there. Before we talk a little bit about the whole premise of a "Sister Circle," tell me about what this story is about.

NANCY: OK...Evelyn Peerbaugh is a newly widowed 53 year old woman. And her husband left her no life insurance
and so she's having to figure out how to deal with life and financially, besides being in mourning and such. And so she opens up her Victorian home to boarders as a way to earn money. And so these women come in, all very diverse women, and they bond, and they form this sister circle. Which, you know, women really have a capacity to bond that men don't understand and that men don't want to do (laughs) ...we can bond with the lady in front of us in Wal-Mart while we're waiting to check out. And so, it's about this wonderful bonding that we are capable of doing. And then the second book is just different boarders coming in, a lot of the same ladies are still around, but all four books are just a continuation of this boarding house and the women who come and go.

CINDY: Nancy, I think one of the sad things about our modern age is that we as women don't bond as we should, and we tend to go our own separate ways...there's no longer a sewing circle, or a quilting bee, we don't help each other can, that sort of thing. Do you agree, and do you feel that women really can, if they make an effort to, just reach out and help each other through life?

NANCY: Well, they can, and that's our greatest hope for these books, and our kind of ulterior motive is to
get women to form "sister circles." Maybe they get together, just neighborhood people or people from church--
there's a lot of women from churches that are using these books as a discussion group, or a book club to begin with. There's questions in the back, and on the website, extensive discussion questions. And they go over the life issues, of perfectionism or courage or forgiveness and all those things that the fictional characters deal with. And we're hoping that maybe the books start them out meeting, and maybe they will form a lifelong friendship will take them through all different areas of their life and different stages of their life. And so this truly is our hope, and this is happening right now across the country.

CINDY: I think that's a great idea, and I'm glad it's catching on. Now, I will be honest with you. When I first saw the book I thought, "Hmm...this doesn't look like what I'm used to seeing from Nancy." Because, you know, a lot of your books have had the element of spiritual warfare, or maybe a touch of sci-fi, as in "Time Lottery," which I found fascinating. And I was thinking, "Oh, is this just going to be one of those kind of little cutesy-pie kind of things?" Well, I started reading it, and I was just immediately engrossed in it. I love books in which you like the people so much that you're sorry when the book is over, and you wanted to keep hanging around with them for a while. And that's exactly what you've come up with in The Sister Circle Books; I think it's awesome.

NANCY: Well, thank you, and it's hard for me to let them go too (laughing), and in fact some of the ladies...some of the characters (laughing)--look, I called them ladies---some of the characters I didn't plan to have in the second book or the third book, but they won't go away, and so they just keep putting themselves back into my brain...(laughs) they're very pushy. And so I understand what you're saying from writer's point of view too.

CINDY: I saw that on your website, and I think you even talk about it in the back of your book, like "What do you mean,
don't writers know exactly what's gonna go on in every second of the book?" And obviously, sometimes the book just kind of sweeps the writer along.

NANCY: Well, it depends on what kind of writer you are. Some writers are very outline-oriented writers. Oh! not me. I have just the basic premise, and I just cast it like I'm casting a movie,and then just let the characters take over. And
I'm always surprised.

CINDY: Well, I enjoy it because I think that element of energy just really comes through in your books. Now, these books,the Sister Circle books, are from Tyndale House. You also have some titles in Multnomah Books that are out right now. What's going on with some of the other titles that you have?

NANCY: Well, "A Steadfast Surrender" came out last June, and the sequel to that, "The Ultimatum," comes out March 1st. Those books are about a small town of Steadfast, Kansas. "The Ultimatum" is probably more what you're used to with my writing, the good-versus-evil. It's about a believing wife dealing with a non-believing husband, and of course
the tension that goes on in that kind of situation, and plus more tension, but I'm not going to go into that (laughing) because that would give it away. And I'm also writing the sequel to "Time Lottery."

CINDY: Oh, Time Lottery was an excellent book! I'm fascinated with books about time travel. And I think it's interesting, too, that you originally wrote it before you began writing Christian fiction.

NANCY: It was one of those secular novels that just would not go away over the years. And I changed the whole motivation--obviously, it went through extensive re-writes to become a Christian novel--but it's about a lottery where you don't win money, you win a chance to go back into your own life and change something. This second book will come out in November, and it's just three more winners and their stories of going back into their lives.

CINDY: Well Nancy, I was pleased to notice that you now have your own website up, and it's a great website...tell people about that.

NANCY: Well, you want to go to It will list all of my books and give you excerpts from my books. And then, I'm also an inspirational speaker. I like to do women's retreats...overnight women's retreats...I've done them in Maine, and Canada and Ohio... If you need a speaker, please go to my website. I'd love to come and speak to you, because I really enjoy those retreats.

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