Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door

Siri graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

The following is an April 2013 interview with Siri.

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I was born and raised in the United States, but have had the opportunity to live in both Europe and Asia. Though I studied business at university, I have never actually worked in my field (human resource management).

If I’m not writing, I’m probably thinking about doing laundry and wishing I had a good book to read or a great antique shop to visit instead.

 How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

It started in a French immersion language class I took in my mid-20s. The class was at a military language school and was filled with Special Forces officers. I was afraid that if I told them my real occupation (I'd been working as a secretary), I'd get stuck taking all the notes, so I quickly looked up in the dictionary what I'd always thought of trying my hand at (being a writer) and that's what I told everyone I was. Somehow, that got rolled into the French language introductory speech I learned (Hi, my name is Siri Mitchell. I'm American. I'm a writer...) and our first Sunday in-country at a bilingual church, that's how I introduced myself...to a REAL writer. I couldn't actually bring myself to admit that I lied to her (in church, no less), so I ended up having to actually write the story she kept requesting to see. After I finished that first one, I came up with an idea for a second one, and the ideas have just never stopped coming!

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction? 

I think it offers hope. 

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

I've always hoped that my readers would both be outraged by the stories I write (in terms of history and its treatment of women) and I've also hoped my stories would make readers really think about what they believe and why.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

The letters or the conversations that begin, "I've never told anyone this before, but..." I'm honored when my stories connect with readers’ heart issues. I’m also deeply gratified when readers say, “I’ve felt just like that character!”

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

I spend quite a bit of time thinking about faith and what exactly it is that I’m trying to say in my books. I want to make sure it all makes sense from every direction and that it’s theologically sound.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 

I would love to get my golf handicap low enough that I could play the Old Course in St. Andrews. I would also like to have at least ONE rose bush I own live long and prosper.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I don't feel like I have much spare time, but I love to read fiction when I can. Most of the books I read are non-fiction for research purposes and as much as I love history, fiction is my first love.

What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

Unrivaled is much lighter in tone than my previous novel, The Messenger. After writing several very heavy, serious books, my lighter side insisted on being given a chance to shine.

A Constant Heart
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

Love's Pursuit
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

She Walks in Beauty
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

A Heart Most Worthy
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

The Messenger
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

Lucy Kendall always assumed she'd help her father in his candy-making business, creating recipes and aiding him in their shared passion. But after a year traveling in Europe, Lucy returns to 1910 St. Louis to find her father unwell and her mother planning to sell the struggling candy company. Determined to help, Lucy vows to create a candy that will reverse their fortunes.

St. Louis newcomer Charlie Clarke is determined to help his father dominate the nation's candy industry. Compromise is not an option when the prize is a father's approval, and falling in love with a business rival is a recipe for disaster when only one company can win. Will these two star-crossed lovers let a competition that turns less than friendly sour their dreams?

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 

The next set of novels I'm writing (Unrivaled and the next three books) are going to be lighter in tone (see above). I'm going for laugh-out-loud funny, although I hope my long-time fans will still find the same familiar depth and insight if they look beneath the laughter.

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

I know most of my books have been set in the United States, but I hope the issues I write about are familiar to my international readers and that the faith my characters display is biblical rather than cultural. Though I want my books to be true to history, I hope they hold an appeal beyond the U.S.

Do you have any parting words?

 Thank you so much for hosting me and thanks to my readers as well. There’s a point in the writing of every  book when I wonder if I really have it in me to write another, if it’s really worth the time and effort. And it’s the thought of my readers that always make me want to give it one more try.

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