Audrey Hebbert’s interview

» Posted on Jul 23, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Audrey Hebbert’s interview

This week I’m hosting Janet Dean with Courting the Doctor’s Daughter and Audrey Hebbert with Green Light Red Light. If you want to enter the drawing for the book, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (July 26th) evening.

Audrey Hebbert’s interview:

1.What made you start writing?
I have been a writer since before I could read. I wrote the letters I knew on my lined tablet and added some pictures. Gradually, I added more words, left off the pictures, and graduated to a word processor.

2.How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing most of my life, but I was first published in college when I wrote for the yearbook and the campus newspaper. When did you sell your first book? Green Light Red Light published in November 2007.

3.How do you handle rejections?
I believe the Lord is guiding me, and I cannot be upset if He closes a door to publication with a specific market. I started seriously writing around 1999-2000, and I learned early on that rejection often signals failure to search out a proper fit for my work. As early as 2002, I sold articles and devotionals to leading magazines–Charisma, Focus on the Family, Hopscotch and Highlights for Children, and that gave me the confidence I needed to continue writing.

4.Why do you write?
I never write anything on my own, without prayer and seeking the Lord. He drops inspiration for a project into my mind as I maintain my daily life. By the time I sit down and put it on paper, I’ve received dreams and phrases that help me “connect the dots.” Our Lord indicated to me that I should write Green Light Red Light(GLRL) after I spent several years in the same church with the lady I wrote about. I asked her about the idea, and she fully agreed. Busy as she was, she took time to sit down and record her memories for the book. I took these factors and several other circumstances as indications that I should write GLRL.

5.What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
As a retired teacher and business owner, I have moved in seasons through my life. I built several entrepreneurial projects, including a quilting studio where I taught some of the first quilting classes in Omaha. The quilting ended with a divorce because I needed time for work and child rearing. As circumstances changed, I moved on to other challenges. My first book, Motocross Mania, started with my adorable grandson’s dirt bike racing.

6.What are you working on right now?
I am taking the summer off because I was exhausted from two years of intense pain and disability caused by a misdiagnosis and ultimate hip surgery. Right now I’m back to short stories, blogs and book reviews. I expect to pick up the pace in the fall.

7.Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
If you mean, “Do I put my physical presence/characteristics into the books?” No. I do draw character traits from people I know. For instance, Gwen Edland (Monica Moore in the book) usually works with a team on her short term missions. I included some of these people as characters (I changed their names), because I knew them personally, and I could interview them for more insight into what really happened in China. Monica would not be as successful as a short term missionary if she noticed the details I needed to make the story come alive. Some of Monica’s team members are experts at giving detailed accounts of what goes on.

8.Tell us about the book you have out right now.
Cultures collide in Green Light Red Light, when a teenager and her mentor leave the U.S. for a month of green light moments, humor and adventure in China. They travel under the guise of volunteer English teachers, but their real mission is evangelism. Monica returns for her fifteenth summer to Chinese universities, but sixteen-year-old Erika trades hamburgers, cell phones and the company of her twin brother for unusual foods and the reality of living in a Communist country. They get lost in The Forbidden City, they climb the Great wall and enjoy visiting many local sites. They visit a government church but never an underground one, because they would be followed and local people would go to prison. The beautiful redhead meets unforgiveness head on as her world view is first rocked and then obliterated and a new vision rises from the dust of China.

9.Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m a retired teacher, and I can always give advice (grins). I think first of the word rest, and how much happier I am when I relax and let our Lord carry the burden. I see authors exhausting themselves with many details. Imagine how He feels when we “work ourselves silly,” oblivious to His promises to care for us in every way.

10.How important is faith in your books?
I kept the book light, but I wrote it with lots of prayer because I needed to accurately portray Gwen’s life goal of assuming she always has a green light until our Lord gives her a red light. She agreed to have GLRL written in order to challenge Christians to have fun obeying the Great Commission. Gwen has a great sense of humor and everybody loves her, but she’s very serious about Americans’ need to abandon their spoiled me-first worldview.

11.What themes do you like to write about?
I’ve written on many themes, mostly happy threads for adults and children. GLRL is a fun read, with many places to laugh out loud. On the serious side, some pastors use it along with the discussion questions to train their own short term missions teams.

12.What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
GLRL is my only published book, so it’s my favorite. I think Motocross Mania is a great book, and I sincerely believe our Lord will move it forward to publication in His time.

13.What is your writing schedule like?
I’m taking the summer off, but this fall I will return to my usual schedule. I waken early in the morning. After my quiet time, listening to the local news station, breakfast and a huge cup of coffee, I work at the computer until noon or one o’clock. After lunch our Lord calls me to an hour or two of prayer. Around 4:00 p.m. I get dressed—Yes, get dressed, and do chores, work in the yard, run errands, and watch Wheel Of Fortune. Don’t you just love that show? My friends are trained to wait until after 4:00 p.m. to call me, and unless I go out, I spend a lot of evening hours on the phone.