Q and A Session
James: When did you begin to write?
Barbara: Writing began one restless night about 25 years ago, when I sat down to see if I could still type. My husband’s TSR80 from Radio Shack just gathered dust in my dining room or was used for the kids to play games. The general consensus in those days was that personal computers would never sell. So much for general consensus. Anyway, I wrote a story that brought tears to the eyes of anyone who read it. It seemed my writing had improved since high school. So the journey began.
James: What made you think of publishing a book to share with others?
Barbara: By the time I decided to write a whole book, I’d been working as a journalist for about 4 years. People, I discovered, loved to read for the most part but some of the stuff out there did not do anything to change their life. As a Christian, the Lord placed on my heart a desire to see everyone I met join me in heaven one day. So I figured a great avenue to share my faith was writing. I write to invite, inspire, and encourage so all my books, for the most part, follow that premise.
James: So far what is your worst criticisms/attacks and how did you overcome them?
Barbara: I don’t market my books as Christian. I feel that causes people to resist exploring the content and I want people to enjoy what I write but to also read the gospel in them. If they never pick them up, they’ll miss out. So the one criticism I usually get is that I write too much about God and Jesus. That’s a person, I feel, who needs the Lord so I pray for them a lot. Otherwise, both Christian readers and non-Christians enjoy the story line of the series, look for the next one, and look forward to the next series. MY devotions, of course, are openly Christian. People claim they meet God in them and that’s as it should be, since He commissioned me to write them.
James: Where do you get the courage to do so?
Barbara: I rely heavily on the Holy Spirit for guidance and support. If God wants another book, then He has a purpose for it. All I have to do is the best I can and He’ll see that it gets into the hands of the people who need to read it. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to face my demons when it comes to marketing. I am an introvert and very comfortable sitting at home, letting my imagination take me to other places. Standing in a bookstore, smiling, inviting people to take a chance on my work, is not my comfort zone. But God asks us to step out of the boat and trust Him.
James: Can you enlighten us a little more about your books?
Barbara: I write primarily three genres, mystery, devotions, and children’s stories, although I have a couple of books that don’t fit those parameters. The mysteries have a large following internationally. Vanished (http://amzn.to/LO3CPf) is the first in the series that introduces my readers to two people who join forces to find a missing couple, their best friends. They encounter all sorts of criminal activity as they explore their relationship with each other. Presumed Dead (http://amzn.to/KYBojS) and Fear Not (http://amzn.to/L676xh), find them again looking for someone who’s missing, first in a biker gang, and then on a cruise ship. Drugs play a prominent part in Presumed Dead as well as the biker culture while the black market opens Brian and Andrea’s eyes in Fear Not. The newest book, Silence (http://amzn.to/LO4fbm), just released in May, explores the ominous world of sex traffic and white slavery. In Silence, Brian and Andrea get separated when she is kidnapped. My readers have built a rapport with the characters in all these books, even the secondary characters.
I wrote my first devotional after an argument with the Lord. I did the Moses thing, expressing to Him why I wasn’t qualified to write devotionals but His persistence has now caused five books to be written, all that people have expressed have touched them in one way or another. They target bikers, with titles such as Straight Pipes, Two-Up, Chrome, Chaps, and Road Trip, although the words inside the covers apply to everyone. In the bookstore at my website (http://www.barbaraannderksen.com), I have sample chapters for each book and details about the content.
My children’s stories are the result of grandchildren. Shih-Tzu Puppy Adventures (http://amzn.to/KMOOio) is a six story compilation surrounding a puppy family that loses its mother the day after they’re born. Children with a third grade reading level can read the stories for themselves but even two-year-olds sit quietly while parents or grandparents read to them. They love all the pictures and are intrigued with the antics of the puppies. Scruffles Finds a Home (http://amzn.to/JwLvcc) is the story of a field mouse who comes in out of the cold to find a large man in a red suit in residence. The man chases her all over the house, until… Well you’ll have to get the story to find out what happens.
As I said earlier, I have two other books that don’t fit into any of the above genres. Second to None (http://amzn.to/LKE3et) is a collection of stories written by combat veterans of the Korean Conflict. These are their stories, but edited by me for the book. Dance With a Broom (http://amzn.to/LKF06x) is a household management guide for busy parents, a great gift book for young families. It has a time management plan that really works. It has parenting tips, and ideas for building a strong marriage. My husband and I have been married, happily, for 43 years. The ideas work.
James: Is there anything else you would like your readers to pay special attention in regards to your books, which you have not mentioned above?
Barbara: People enjoy the books. They are seldom disappointed when they purchase one and are usually surprised that they have not heard of me before. My husband and I ride with Christian Motorcyclists Association and travel about 25,000 miles every summer ministering to bikers, veterans, and church goers. He’s an international recording artist (HC Derksen at http://www.cdbaby.com/all/hcderksen) with several songs that he’s written himself, all to encourage others in their walk with the Lord. The books and music work hand in hand in our ministry as people read for encouragement and for inspiration while listening to one of my husband’s CDs.
James: When do you plan to publish your next book?
Barbara: My deadline is spring of 2013 for the first in the new series surrounding stories about missing children, another devotional, and a new children’s story. I am doing research for the new mystery now and already have a story line rolling around in my head for the kid’s book.
James : How many volume of books for the above series?
Barbara: I’ve plans for four in the series but one never knows. There may be more stories that need to be told.
James: Tell us your guided principle that governs your life? How you cultivate these values?
Barbara: I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as closely as I can. I fail many times but, Christ knows me well, so is patient. He teaches us to love others, above all else, and to be non-judgmental. He is the judge, not me. I try to serve the needs of others when I write, giving them an interesting read, but also one that builds into their lives.
James: Any other advice which you’d like to share with our readers?
Barbara: I think we need to be the best possible writer we can be. That doesn’t always mean a best seller but at least one that adds something to the lives of the people with whom we come in contact. If one of my books hits that “best seller” status, I won’t turn my back on it, but my goal is changing the world…one heart at a time. So if I succeed in that, I will have achieved what God has placed on my heart.
You can learn more about me and my books at http://www.barbaraannderksen.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/@prolificwriters
Check out my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.a.derksen and my FB Fan page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/EaglesNest/205663322735
For people living in the US - Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/MPPTst
For people living in Canada - Amazon.ca - http://amzn.to/K2flez
For people living in the UK - Amazon.co.uk - http://amzn.to/KtgicC
Amazon author page - http://amzn.to/KLEDab
Linkedin - http://linkd.in/KFuzlh
Goodreads - http://bit.ly/GJcTCd
Google+ - http://bit.ly/KDrELU
Watch some of my videos at YouTube- http://www.youtube.com/user/bderksen1/videos