Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Another day with Angela Breidenbach!

Welcome back for our second day with spotlight author Angela Breidenbach!

Angela, what’s the most interesting (or unusual) thing you’ve done in the name of research for one of your books?
I adore historical tours. I love going to the Missoula Cemetery Stories & Stones tour the last Sunday of October. People dress up in character and tell the stories of the pioneers buried there. It's quite amazing. Vendors sell hot cider, food, and fun treats. A bonfire for warming is in the parking lot. I can't think of a better way to remember those who've gone before than to tell the stories of their lives. I also find any ghost tours in cities I visit. It's one my favorite things to do with my hubby. We've been so entertained and it always sparks story ideas!

The Historical Society does the same thing in our town and I always learn something new. When starting a new fiction project, do you tend to begin with an event or certain time during the war and create the characters to live it, or do you start with characters and then find their story?
Great question. You're going to hate my answer… both. One time I sat at a stop light and a character showed up in my head. I could see her, hear her, and I knew her name. But I had to search for a setting and story. Another I was on a history tour and the event sent me on days of research until the characters could come because I had the setting, but not the protagonist. And yes, I really did wake up once with an entire story in my head. I couldn't type it fast enough! Each one is unique in how they develop.

It doesn’t take long for someone visiting you online (or face-to-face, I imagine) to see how much you love the state of Montana. What are some of your favorite things about living there?
Lol, really? ;) Okay, seriously, there's a sense of connectedness between the people, animals, land, and God here. I can't walk outside without marveling at the splendor of God's creativity. The sky, the clouds—sigh! I've seen things as gorgeous as triple rainbows in the valley where I live, stunning vistas, and I jokingly say my office staff visits me when our horses (one standard and two minis), the llama, and a herd of deer wander around the yard while I sit on my swing to write or edit. Muse, my feline buddy, gets a little testy when he has to stay in…he chatters through the screen at me. Living in Montana is the best of everything. I can go from very rustic hikes to a theater production within ten miles of each other. I love the ghost towns, history tours, and stories of Montanans past. It really is the most amazing place!

What advice can you share with novice writers?
There are some elements of the craft that really help with publishing. Learn the difference in:
  1. Active vs Passive writing, and use active.
  2. Learn both POV and deep POV.
  3. Write depth into your characters by exploring your own fears, faith, hopes, and pain.
  4. Voice is writing with your own personality, the words you choose to tell the story and the cadence that makes it unfold. Voice is not slang, cliché, or genre.
  5. Sometimes seasons halt your writing. Make sure a season doesn't become a way of life. But honor the season. Those tough times give you something to write about.

Wow, what great advice! Thanks for sharing that perspective. Reading fiction can be a way to escape reality for a while, but those stories can still teach some valuable lessons. What points do you hope readers take away from your books?
I hope people explore their own feelings, beliefs, and dreams. I have a strong belief in volunteerism as a way of making a difference in the world. Sometimes I've been on stage in the limelight and more often I've been behind the scenes helping organize or promote a cause. The point isn't that I'm in the limelight. I don't ever need that. It's that the thing that's bigger than me is changing the world for other people and I get to be a small part of making a difference in those lives. It's both an honor and a blessing. Very few people know what I do behind-the-scenes, they don't need to know. Calista gets to do that fictionally when she sneaks food to the newsies. It's that concept of integrity. What do you do when people aren't watching? Is it part of your lifestyle or just part of your image? Volunteerism isn't about getting glory or fame. It's about believing that each person's contribution makes a difference and when we all do a little bit, many are blessed. And just because sometimes attention gets focused on you, uncomfortably, are you going to quit? I hope that in what I write, I inspire others to joyfully act on the call God wrote into their souls regardless of what that call happens to be. I hope my writing empowers people to explore that part of them like my characters do—and not to quit if suddenly you do become the center of attention. What if you were called for such a time as this?

Anything else about yourself, writing, or your books that you’d like to share?
I've had a dream to create a radio show for a long time. This fall I'm moving into that arena. It's kind of scary to step out of my comfort zone. But I think it'll open up a whole new world. So this fall, I'm planning for October, be on the lookout for my new iTunes radio show, Grace Under Pressure: Becoming a woman of courage, confidence, and candor. And yes, lol, I plan to explore those topics because I want to embrace them more myself. The best way to learn is to do, I've heard. You know what I hope? I hope when it's my time to go, people will say I was a woman of courage, confidence, and candor. But even more, I hope to inspire a lot of other women to be also. I think it's something we'll do together :D

What a fabulous way to share your message with others! Congratulations on that, and thanks again for spending time with us this week. It’s been a pleasure hosting you!

Visitors, don’t forget to answer Angela’s question for your chance to win an ebook version of Snowflake Tiara:

What intrigues you about Montana?

Be sure to include your email address with your comment and please spell out ‘at’ and ‘dot’ to help cut down on spam. The winner will be announced Friday morning.

If you’d like to learn more about Angela, her books, or her upcoming radio show, she has lots of connecting points online. Stop by to see her!

  • Twitter handle: @AngBreidenbach
  • Pinterest page: @AngBreidenbach 

Thanks for supporting us here at Novel Pastimes! 
~ Leigh 


Britney Adams said...

I enjoyed learning about Angela Breidenbach and her writing process. Thank you for sharing!

I am intrigued by Montana's geography and its beautiful National Parks.

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Angela Breidenbach said...

Hi Britney,
I've loved being at out national parks. 2 Christmases past, our family spent Christmas in Yellowstone. It was fascinating and fun! We took the snow coach tour and watched Old Faithful erupt. The fog and steam was amazing! But seeing the park covered in snow was ethereal!