1. What made you want to write?
I don’t remember. Specifically, I don’t remember ever not writing as a way to process my thoughts or express my creativity. It’s always been a part of what I do, though it’s taken different forms across the years.
2. When it is time to start a new writing project, what is the first thing you start off with?
Usually thematic questions. In Never Let You Go it was “Why is forgiving others so hard?” and “What are the consequences of bitterness?” In The Promises She Keeps it was “What’s the value of living forever?” And in The Baker’s Wife it was “How far are you willing to go to bear someone else’s pain?” From thematic questions I move to characters who are grappling with them, and then to the story world, and then to plot.
3. You wrote Kiss and Burn with Ted Dekker. These were your first published novels. What was your reaction to when Ted asked you if you wanted to take up the task?
He caught me off guard! As he started sharing with me his plans to co-author some books, I was flipping through my mental Rolodex—wow, that dates me!—for authors I could recommend for the job. So when he ended with, “I was wondering if you’d be interested in writing with me,” I was unprepared. I think I said something really brilliant, like, “Uh, I don’t know. Let me think about it.”
4. What is your main goal in writing a novel?
To create an emotional experience for readers that causes them to say, “I’ve never thought of [novel theme] that way before.”
5. What is your perfect writing day?
A gloomy, Snoopy-worthy, dark-and-stormy day. Gray clouds and hot coffee are all I need to hunker down. It brings out the Irishwoman in me.
6. You are a wife, mom, editor and an author. How do you manage all of these?
To say I “manage” these things might be overstating it a bit. I’m a pretty good time manager, though. I was the school nerd who always had her homework done early. That obnoxious quirk has served me well professionally, especially as a freelancer. But the real credit goes to my amazing family, immediate and extended. They are all supportive of my work and involved in the lives of my kids. Without them, I wouldn’t have even one book written.
7. What is your reaction and answer when people say that fiction is useless and and you can’t learn anything from it?
I like to find out what kind of reading is most valuable to them. There are many, many other important books in other categories for people who need something different. Mine your riches where you see the greatest wealth. For me, the precious jewels are most often located in storytelling. It’s no offense to me that not everyone feels this way. No one can be coerced into valuing fiction.
8. What do you hobbies do you enjoy?
I love to go to live theater—my daughter and I saw Cavalia this year, amazing!—and to the movies. During the last several years I’ve lost a great deal of time for hobbies that used to fill my days, such as scrapbooking, card-making, keeping up with the music scene, journaling, that sort of thing. But our lives pass through seasons. How lucky am I that my favorite hobbies, reading and writing, have become my daily work? It’s a gift.
9. What is your favorite food?
The most difficult question yet! I love to eat. I hail from three generations of restaurant owners. We know how to enjoy our food. But perhaps my favorite food is a traditional family meal: my grandmother’s grilled marinated flank steaks with my mother’s sourdough-cheese soufflé and my father’s Caesar salad. To die for.
10. What projects do you have in the works right now?
My editorial work will take a hiatus starting in February. After that, I’ll be devoting at least nine months to developing concepts for two more Thomas Nelson novels. I’ll write one of them, get started on another, and plan to be doing some long-term thinking about future writing endeavors. I promise exciting stuff … and I promise to keep everyone updated on my Facebook page (erinhealybooks).
You can find more information on Erin and her books on erinhealy.com and her Facebook page she mentioned above. Thanks so much, Erin!