How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?
I wrote my first full-length story when I was in the sixth grade. It was a mystery story with chapters and even a few illustrations. My teacher, Ms. Graham, enjoyed the story so much, she read it to the whole class during our reading hour. Took her a week to read all the way through it.
Watching my classmates getting into my story is what made me decide I wanted to be a writer. Up until then, my dream was to go work for Walt Disney drawing cartoons. Ha!
What is something you’re very good at but few readers are aware of?
I enjoy crafting. I have projects going with sewing, jewelry making, crocheting, painting…. Most of my projects are unfinished. I get distracted easily.
What are some of your favorite books/genres? Would you recommend them to readers of The White Road Chronicles?
Christian fantasy writers I like to read are Donita K. Paul, Jill Williamson, Sharon Hinck, & Melanie Dickerson to name a few.
A favorite in Christian romance (which is a new series I’m starting) would be: Tammy L. Gray, Jenny B. Jones, Nicole Deese and Valerie Comer.
Is there a specific story about how you became a Christian that you would like to share?
I had gone to church all my life. But when I was around 16, the Lord impressed on me that I needed to give my life to him. Which I thought was funny. I was like, “Hello, I’ve been here all my life.”
What I realized was that I’d been there because of my family upbringing and it was time for me to make my own choice.
The teen years are hard and full of a lot of things pulling you in different directions. I can see now why I was asked to make a choice. It was time for me to decided for myself who I was going to serve.
**If you’ve read Illuminated, there’s a scene between Issah and Alyra where he asks her if Darnel is still her master. She needed to make a firm decision on who she would follow. Alyra was already on the white road. She was with Issah, but she still had to decide, for herself, where her allegiance would be. Once she put her hand in Issah’s everything became clear. That’s kind of how it was for me. Once I made that firm decision, for myself, I began to see things with better clarity.
Do you have any favorite quotes and/or scriptures?
about writing and publishing your books.
If you had to go back or do it all over is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Other than that, I love the writing path I’ve taken and I’m so grateful for the letters, comments and encouragement I’ve received from readers. Writing gives me a voice. I’m not outgoing or outspoken. These stories give me a way to share my beliefs and my experiences in serving God with others that I might never be able to share.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? (Writing or otherwise)
The reason my series’ main character is the White Road is because that’s how I’ve viewed my own life: A path set before me. One I’ve diverted from on several occasions, but I was always able to find my way back. And I’m safest when I travel that road. It’s led me to many places and encounters, but He’s kept me safe and I’ve never lacked for anything I’ve really needed.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as well as the most thrilling compliment? Toughest criticism?
The most thrilling? Is when someone writes to tell me that they met God in my books, or that their relationship with him was deepened. That makes it all worthwhile.
What are your current projects?
A romance series: Madison Creek Bed & Breakfast. The first, Snow Belle, has been out a few months. The second book is written and I’m in the revising process with that. This contemporary series is about a southern girl who moves up to Michigan after inheriting her grandparent’s farmland and trying to make a go in what she calls Yankee-land. It’s fun and clean.
A mid-grade aged fantasy series called the Sentinel Archives. The first book, Through the Portal, is being put into audio and that should soon be available.
Do you listen to any music when you write? If so, what specifically?
Each White Road Chronicle book has a playlist that can be found on the White Road Chronicles site.
I have a romance playlists that has a mixture of music, including a lot of modern violin songs because that’s the instrument Ethan plays. I even have a few country songs thrown in for Haley even though I’m not a big fan. Lol.
It’s funny. One talent I wish I had but don’t is the ability to play music. However, I love listening to music and while I’m writing, certain songs will snag me. And I mean that… they just catch me and the words seem to fit what I’m writing about. So I turn on my Soundhound app and capture the song so I can check it out more thoroughly later. Most of them get added to that book’s playlist.
The song below (We Are : Kari Jobe) is on the Illuminated playlist.
Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
I don’t need absolute quiet. And I don’t really need to be all alone. Usually if I’m really into my story, someone has to smack me upside my head to draw me out of my story world. Ha-ha.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to research for your book?
What does your writing process look like?
Saturday mornings are catch-up times, but the rest of my weekend is for family. Sunday I refuse to do any work because it is the Lord’s day and I want to respect that. Plus, we do need a break from our work. He was right about that. =)
If your book were made into a movie, who would play Alyra and Tarek (and other characters)?
Do you have any characters who are modeled after real-life people? If so, tell us a bit about your favorite.
He used to go downtown and minister to the street people. He knew the Bible and helped me to understand a lot about my Christian walk. He was easy to talk to, always empathetic and wise.
I’ve never met another like Joey. After I graduated, I lost touch with him, but I’ve never forgotten the impact he had on my teen years.
Follow this link to Mrs. Castle's page on Amazon, where you can find all of her books, blog, biography, and audiobooks.
Again, we were so please to have you and hope to do it again sometime! Thanks Jackie!