Today we have the wonderful privilege of having Chloe S. Flanagan back with us to tell us a little about herself and her new book that is fresh off the press.
Chloe is an author, technical writer, blogger, and graduate of New York University. She enjoys exploring the Christian walk frankly and thoughtfully in her fiction and in her blog, The Candid Corinthian. When she’s not writing, Chloe loves music, travel, reading books in all genres, and spending time with family. Welcome back, Chloe. Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
First off, I want to thank you for having me on the blog today. I’m thrilled to be chatting with you. You always have great interviews and content that really help build up the Christian literature community.
So I guess I like to surround myself with words! I’m a bookworm with a To-Be-Read pile the size of Mount Everest, a blogger, indie author, and technical writer.
I was born in Oklahoma and live there now, but I’ve lived in several different places. When I was growing up, my family moved around the country quite a bit, and we lived in Honolulu, Atlanta, and on the Gulf Coast. I went to college in New York City.
Living in all those places allowed me to observe and interact with many different people, which has been a tremendous blessing.
What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?
My favorite genre to read is Christian Fiction, especially historical and contemporary suspense. So far, I’ve written contemporary Christian Fiction with a touch of suspense, but I would like to branch out into historical eventually.
Oh boy, the favorite author question…so tough! In historical, I love Sarah Sundin’s World War II adventures and Jen Turano’s Gilded Age gems. In suspense, I really like Heather Gilbert and CC Warrens. I could name so many more, though.
What age did you realize you loved books?
That was probably when I was nine years old. My fourth-grade elementary school had an incentive-based reading program, where you earned points for reading books. Although I wanted points, I also began to see how much fun it was to enter another world through a book. I read all the time that year, even when standing in the cafeteria line!
What made you start writing this genre?
I knew I wanted to write Christian Fiction because I wanted to incorporate themes of God’s grace and love in my fiction. I chose to have suspenseful elements in my first books because I love stories with a hint of danger where characters are trying to puzzle out something.
Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
A Time For Every Matter is a romantic suspense novel. The main character, “Mad” Pine, is a former New York City finance executive quietly living in a small town when she gets an unexpected visit from her estranged nephew. When the boy witnesses a murder, she has to work with her friends and a compelling businessman, Hiram MacArthur, to keep him safe. Mad soon learns it’s never too late for God to reveal a new plan for her life.
Two of my main characters are middle-aged, and they spend a lot of time reflecting on things from their past and how it impacts them in the present. Writing about that reflection process made me think about my own past experiences more and how they shaped my personality. I also thought more about how God redeems those experiences—good or bad—for His own purposes.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I have to admit, I’m not naturally organized, but I like to begin with some form of an outline. Even if I stray from the original plan, having the outline helps me adhere to an organized story structure.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I love writing in the public library. I said I liked to surround myself with words, right? That’s a great place to do it. Also, if I get stuck, it’s fun to look around and see what types of things the people around me are reading.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
I was surprised by how the challenges each character faced helped them connect and relate to one another. In a way, it’s similar to how things can be in real life. Sometimes we let our problems alienate us from other people because we are so focused on our own lives and the struggles. But sometimes God uses those problems to teach us empathy so we can serve other people.
My favorite character is the main character, Mad. She is a bit eccentric, but she loves God and cares about others.
What advice would you give a new author?
First, read as much as you can. Find some current books to read and try to learn a little bit about the authors. Part of what encouraged me to start writing was following my favorite authors on social media and through their newsletters. Seeing their author journeys made my goal of writing my own books seem more accessible and realistic.
Second, find community. Look for groups in person or online for writers and readers in your given genre, and really focus on being a valuable participant in those groups. Through online activities, I’ve encountered so many talented, wonderful people in the Christian Fiction community and the independent author community. But it’s definitely a two-way street. If I show up just for self-promotion or personal edification, it’s not really valuable. Community happens for me when I encourage and spread the word about other authors and engage in dialogue with other readers.
If God has put it on your heart to write, He will accompany you every step of the way. One way I think He does this is to lead you to learn from others and to support them in their own journeys.
What project are you working on now?
Well, A Time For Every Matter is the second book in my An Offer of Grace Series, so I’m working on the third and final book. I’m also working on some new reflections for my blog, The Candid Corinthian.
Where can we find your books?
My two books are available on Amazon as ebooks and paperbacks.
Thank you so much for this interview. It was wonderful to have you back and telling us about your new book.