Author Interview

Tuesday Talks – Interview with Autumn Macarthur

We have the wonderful Autumn Macarthur with us today. Autumn is a USA Today bestselling author of clean Christian inspirational romances with a strong touch of faith. If you love happy-ever-afters, sweet romance, and Hallmark movies, chances are you’ll enjoy her stories! Originally she is from Sydney, Australia. She now lives in a small town not far from London, England, with her husband (aka The Cat Magnet), and way too many rescue cats for their tiny house! Hello Autumn. Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

I grew up on my grandfather’s small holding in a semi-rural area just north of Sydney, Australia, surrounded by bushland. We lived there with Mum and Dad for my first ten years, till widowed Poppy remarried at 70 (never too late!) and sold the property to movein with his new wife. I loved it there! Hens, an orchard, a pond, bee hives, abig veggie patch, Poppy’s cut flower garden where he grew gladioli and shastadaisies to sell. And no neighbors. Bush all around. Great fun for a tomboy likeme! I admit we ran a little wild. I only wore shoes to school or the rare timeswe went out. The rest of the time, I went barefoot, despite bee stings andbindiis (nasty little prickly seeds).

Despite having to wear shoes, Iloved our little infants and primary school there, too. The same school Mumwent to, Kindergarten to Year 6. My favorite subject was reading, of course. Iwas such a fast reader I had to do reading with the class ahead of mine allthrough infants school. And the library? Oh my! All those books, opening up aworld of adventure. Absolutely my favorite places, the library at school andthe local library.

I now live in England, since what was supposed to be a one-year working holiday stretched to over twenty when I fell in love with an Englishman!

What’s your favorite genre to read and write. Who’s your favorite author?

Christian contemporary romance, totally no doubt, both to read and to write! I also love devotional non-fiction writing and journaling, but romance is my main love.

I have too many “favorite authors” to just pick one! Authors I loved to read in my teens – CS Lewis,Georgette Heyer, LM Montgomery, Essie Summers (a NZ author of vintage Harlequinromance).

Authors I love now – I have to give first place to my best author buddies and writing partners, Alexa Verdeand Marion Ueckermann. They’re both faith-filled and gifted writers. We haveseveral projects we hope to write together over the coming few years.

What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?

I can’t remember NOT lovingbooks! Mum taught me to read when I was very young and books were always partof our home. I was slower starting writing. Though I started school a year ortwo ahead of my ages in reading, I was slow to develop the fine motor skillsneeded to write. I got there eventually! I wrote on and off through my life,but didn’t start seriously writing with a goal of publication till 2009, when Iwas the deer in the headlights facing an impending 50th birthday. Five yearslater, my first published book, The Wedding List, launched.

Tell us about this book.

My latest book is His Healing Touch, released as part of my Together for Christmas four-book set, with a book from each of my current main series. The set contains Believe inMe for my London-based Love in Store series, A Model Bride for my Scottish The Macleans series, Calm & Bright shift to my IdahoHuckleberry Lake series, and last His Healing Touch takes readers to Oregon and my Sweetapple Falls series. I first wrote a version of this story in July last year as a Texan spring novella and loved the challenge of revising and lengthening it with some significant changes. Far more changed than just a move across the country and a change of season! I could so relate to the characters of Lainie and Adam, a nurse and her former patient, both grieving very different losses. And I couldn’t miss the opportunity to revisit one of my most-loved secondary characters from His Father’s Son, the thirteen-year-old Josh Tanner. His faith and determination despite a life-limiting illness impacts on both their lives.

What did you learn about yourself through writing it?

I learn the same lessons as mycharacters need to with every book I write. My lesson with this book was to letgo of some deeply buried anger with God over a big loss, and to let Him heal mygrief. To trust that He always has a plan and a purpose for our greater good,even when it doesn’t feel like it.

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

Hmm, a bit of both. I’m a hybrid pantser/plotter, though more on the pantser side. I usually do some basic character development work – who the two main characters are, what they want, what their emotional and spiritual wounds are, what they need to overcome to bein a committed relationship. I don’t do much of an outline, though I try to have at least a vague idea what the main turning points of the story will be.

Then I start writing and it all changes as I get to know my characters better. Their real wounds and lesson soften turn out to be very different to what I initially thought, and those plot points have a bad habit of rearranging themselves, too!

Is there a special place you like to write?

Most of my books have been drafted and edited sitting on our bed! Though I can and have written pretty much everywhere possible, this is the place I gravitate to. Pillows piled up behind me, a bookcase behind me, my laptop or Kindle Fire with Bluetooth keyboard on a lap desk, a cat usually not far away.

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded?

 Not so much with the main characters in this one, though several of the secondary characters surprised me by behaving in ways I hadn’t expected. Not as surprising as the story I had half drafted before the heroine revealed a BIG secret in chapter 7. LOL, so secret even I didn’t know it!

What advice would you give a new author?              

Keep writing! Most of us have “practice” stories that will never be published, and that’s okay. I have five or six full manuscripts tucked away, and a lot more partially written stories. And don’t compare your first draft to the finished stories you read. It took me far too long to realize the published story was probably fifth or sixth drafts and had been worked on by at least one editor as well as the author. I gave up on so many stories because I judged my first two or three chapters as “not good enough”. Now I know I may well cut that early chapters entirely once the draft is done, or change them significantly as needed based on feedback from my wonderful critique partner and my editor. First draft needs to be allowed to just be what it is, without judging it.

What project are you working on now?

I’m excited about my current project! The Real Thing, the final book in The Macleans series, willhopefully launch in early January. This story has been a long time coming! Ifirst started it two years ago, but got sidetracked by my Lessons fromPollyanna devotional, then had other deadlines, and at last I’m gettingback to Brodie’s story. It’s both interesting and challenging, because BrodieMaclean is such a complex and difficult character. He’s been disabled sincebirth, and his bitterness and sharp tongue mean he’s been pretty much the badguy in all three of his siblings’s lives. A man like him needs a strong anddetermined heroine, and I hope I’ve given him the right woman in feisty, fieryFlynn Ferguson.

Where can we find your books?

All my books are available for sale at Amazon, and can be seen on my Amazon author page here, or my website books page, here I also have a free taster book, a short romantic novella, that can be downloaded here Though I very much hope readers will sign up for my mailing list when they download the book, it’s not required.

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