To start off the New Year, Molly Noble Bull joins us today to share about her new book, Sanctuary, a historical set in France. (Gotta love that!)
Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Molly's book. (Only for U.S. residents, folks. No international shipping on this one, sorry.)
Molly, so great to have you here. Can you tell us what led you to be a writer?
I am a dyslexic, and school was hard for me. But there were a few things I could do well. Singing was one, drawing another, and making up stories was the third. Storytelling became the gift I developed to the fullest and also became the most important.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?
When I first started writing to sell, I never polished anything. My first draft was the manuscript I sent to an editor. After a few dozen rejection slips, I discovered rewriting, and that was a good and a bad thing. It’s good to rewrite until you get your manuscript “just right.” But once it is, you must send it off to an editor. However, after I learned to polish my work, my favorite thing became rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. I like it better than writing early drafts any day. What I don’t like are rejection slips. Yes, published authors get them, too.
How do you go about researching your historical stories and choose your settings?
With regard to research, I Google the topic I need and click. Aren’t computers great?
I choose my settings in a number of different ways. Sometimes editors declare the kinds of settings they are likely to buy, and I go from there. In the case of Sanctuary, my newest historical novel, I wanted to set my novel in France because I am descended from French Huguenots. Those who don’t know what a Huguenot is should read Sanctuary and find out.
How do you balance your faith with the demands of the writing life?
My faith is who I am as a person, and I write for the Christian market only. But I am also a wife, the mother of three grown sons and the grandmother of four. Learning to balance all these things has kept me busy for the last twenty years, but I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.
What makes your characters come to life for you?
I have a good imagination and am able to see pictures or scenes in my mind—hear music, too. My stories come to life when I describe some of the things I see, hear and think in my mind. For me, writing novels is a lot like playing dolls—only for grown ups.
Can you give some pointers for new writers who would like to get started writing fiction?
Yes. I would be glad to. The most important sentence in an entire novel is sentence one on page one of your manuscript. Sentence one should be written in the form of a beginning hook, if you hope to keep your readers reading. But don’t worry about writing sentence one or even page one until you have finished your entire novel.
Once you have written The End, go back to page one and get ready to do a lot of polishing.
Your story will have changed a lot since your wrote page one the first time. What was important at first might not be as important now. The entire focus of your book might have changed. You will know your character a lot better than you did at first as well. The dialogue you thought sounded so right when you started your novel might not fit your characters anymore. But don’t panic. Dialogue is not that hard to change.
Each character in a novel should have an individual way of speaking that is different from all your other characters. However, when writing the first draft of a novel, I sometimes allow all my characters to sound like me. I have found that method of writing dialogue saves me a lot of time when I have a deadline. But those Molly-sounding speech patterns must be changed before writing the final draft. Otherwise, I might soon get my manuscript back with a rejection slip attached to it.
Sanctuary is a long Christian historical, and you said it was set in France in 1740 and published by Tsaba House in trade paperback. The Winter Pearl, your Steeple Hill novel, came out in mass-market paperback this year as well. So you had two long historical novels published in 2007. What is next for you, Molly?
Thanks for asking. Sanctuary is the first of three long historical novels in the Faith of Our Fathers series about the Huguenots. Book two of this series will begin in Scotland and end in America.
Yes, some of my ancestors came from Scotland, too. I have also written a short romance with Teresa Slack, another Tsaba House author. Runaway Romance is two short novels under one cover and published in trade paperback, but a publication date has not been set for that book yet.
My novel, Alyson, is set on a cattle ranch in South Texas in modern times, and I hope readers will find it amusing.
So your next novel won’t be a historical?
Nope. Runaway Romance is a contemporary, but I will still write historical novels as well. I also have a non-fiction book coming out in 2008 or 2009, and it will be about dyslexia.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Yes. Visit my website. www.mollynoblebull.com. If you scroll down my main page and click Molly’s Books, you can see pictures of all my covers and click to read excerpts from Sanctuary and The Winter Pearl. Click Molly’s Family to see family pictures, and click Molly to read my testimony.
By the way, I write under the name of Molly Noble Bull, not Molly Bull.
Thank you so much for being here and sharing with us, Molly!
Thanks for inviting me. It was fun.