Jill Elizabeth Nelson Interview

» Posted on Jan 2, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Jill Elizabeth Nelson Interview

I’m delighted Margaret has so graciously featured me on her blog. At the end of the interview, you’ll be asked to respond to a trivia question from my responses in order to get your name in the hat for a signed copy of your choice of book from my To Catch a Thief series. Plus, there will be a special offer on how to become eligible for an ENTIRE SET of To Catch a Thief books. Read on!

1. What made you start writing? When did you start writing?

I can’t NOT write. The addiction started in the sixth grade as a result of my wonderful teacher, Mrs. Waltz (I never knew her first name), reading from the most enchanting books each day at the front of the class. Gradually, the knowing stole over me that I wanted not only to enjoy great books, but I needed to be the one to give that enjoyment to others by telling the stories bubbling in my heart. I’ve been writing in one capacity or another ever since. Now I’m the mother of four grown children, so that gives you a hint at how long I’ve been at this.

2. When did you sell your first book?

As I said, I’ve been writing since grade school. However, for most of those years my publishing credits were primarily in poetry, essays, news and feature articles, and short stories. My ultimate dream was to some day be a published novelist. The Lord orchestrated that miracle in the fall of 2005 when Multnomah Publishing offered me a three book contract for my To Catch a Thief series of romantic suspense.

Reluctant Burglar came out in September of 2006, Reluctant Runaway in March of 2007, and Reluctant Smuggler releases in January of 2008. Readers can find excerpts, a book trailer, and a podcast of me reading the first chapter of Smuggler at www.jillelizabethnelson.com . I also have a monthly contest where people can play a matching game for a chance to win a signed book.

I’m increasingly booked for speaking engagements, and I like to tell everyone that if God can bring a Big Dream to fulfillment for this middle-aged nobody-in-particular from nowhere-special, He can do it for anyone.

3. How do you handle rejection?

As part of the business. I’m quite comfortable that not every publisher and not every reader is looking for what I write, but someone is. If one opportunity doesn’t pan out, the Lord has another door waiting for me to step through.

4. Why do you write?

To bless people and give them the same kind of pleasure that I have received from so many fine books. (As you might guess, I’m a voracious reader!)

5. What would you be doing in your free time if you weren’t writing?

I also love the film venue of storytelling, so I like to watch movies. My idea of a great Sunday afternoon is my husband and four kids (including spouses and significant others) gathered in the living room with me to graze on snacks and enjoy a good flick.

Other enjoyable activities include camping, taking walks, and grilling outdoors when the Minnesota weather permits. My husband and I also love to go on short term mission trips. We’ve been to Jamaica, New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and Thailand.

6. What are you working on right now?

This month’s release, Reluctant Smuggler, completes the To Catch a Thief series (for now), so I’ve moved on to a different set of books for another publisher, Steeple Hill. I have two books coming out in their romantic suspense line in 2009. Hey, that rhymes! The first one, due out June 2009, is entitled Evidence of Murder and is set in my home state of Minnesota.

Here’s a little hint of what it’s about: When a businesswoman discovers evidence on her property of a decade-old multiple homicide, she and the surviving son of the murdered family become the target of a desperate and powerful killer.

I’m having fun writing this one and hope my readers have nail-biting fun with it as well!

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Rarely do I do so consciously, though my friends say they can hear my voice in the storytelling. I don’t model my characters after any one person of my acquaintance, either. I do take bits and pieces of people that I know and make fresh composites. People-watching is a great way to find material to round out fictional characters.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

I’m busting my buttons over Reluctant Smuggler, my current release. It’s my favorite of the three in the To Catch a Thief series, partly because so much that has been building between the characters culminates in the book, but also because the theme of hope is so dear to my heart, as well as the message of freedom for the oppressed. I dedicated this book to the International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization that works tirelessly to defend the defenseless throughout the world. You can check them out at http://www.ijm.org.

Here’s a taste of what to expect in Smuggler:

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but what if you can’t tell the difference?
How is a vicious gang of south-of-the-border slave traders involved with missing Mayan antiquities? Desi and Tony must find the truth that will save their lives and liberate innocents caught in the snare of calculating evil.

For more information about this book and the entire series, as well as links to purchase, go to www.jillelizabethnelson.com .

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Finish what you start. It’s phenomenal how many unfinished manuscripts molder on hard drives. If you’re serious about being a novelist, a publisher needs to see that you can finish a book.

Never give up. Succeeding as a writer takes time, dogged perseverance, and a thick skin.

Find fellowship. You’ll get where you’re going much faster if you hook up with others on the journey.

Read what you like to write, and study books on craft and apply it to your writing.

Attend writers conferences and/or join on-line writers groups in order to meet people in the industry.

Write! Write! Write! Um, did I say write?

10. How important is faith in your books?

As a Christian storyteller, my faith naturally bleeds onto every page in ways both subtle and overt. Without faith, what has anyone to share with this dark world that will shed life-giving light?

11. What themes do you like to write about?

I like to write about any theme that points people toward the Ultimate Answer for their troubles in Jesus Christ. I want to help my readers to think and hopefully reevaluate where they are going in life.

Reluctant Burglar highlighted the need to press into God and obey instantly and fully when in situations that seem to have no solution. Reluctant Runaway dealt with the generational consequences of our actions and choices. Now with Smuggler I hope to get people to examine the central role of hope in shaping a healthy society, as well as a healthy individual.

There is so much hopelessness in the world today. A great many of the seemingly inexplicable crimes in our society, as well as the epidemic of violent gangs, can be traced back to that sense of despair. Jesus, of course, is the answer to that for all who will embrace Him.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

See my answer to question eight. Hee-hee!

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Evenings and weekends are my most productive times, basically because I have a full-time day job. I try to discipline myself to write so many words a day, or at least come up with a certain word count by the end of the week, depending on how my family’s needs affect my writing time.

Where to purchase books in the To Catch a Thief series:

Purchase Reluctant Burglar:

Purchase Reluctant Runaway:

Purchase Reluctant Smuggler:
Christian Books

How to get your name in the drawing for your choice of one of the above books:

Respond to this post by answering this question—What kind of antiquities are missing in Reluctant Smuggler?—and leaving your email contact information.

How to get become eligible for the entire To Catch a Thief set:

Answer the trivia question above, leave your email contact information, AND sign up for my newsletter at http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com.

Congratulations and happy reading to the winner!