I first met Regina in the ACFW Large Crit Group. Not only was I impressed with her magnificent storytelling, I was excited to read a novel set in my ol' stomping grounds...South Texas. It was no surprise to me that two years later, when I met Regina in person at ACFW conference, there were Bethany House posters featuring her debut novel displayed just beside us. Her story, Sixty Acres and A Bride, made its way to retailer bookshelves last month, and once you pick it up, you'll find it difficult to put down! Before we hear from Regina, here's a little blurb for those of you who haven't read it yet:
She's Finally Found a Place to Call Home... How Far Will She Go to Save It?
With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to their Texas family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have just three months to pay.
Though facing eviction, Rosa falls in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. They welcome her vivacious spirit and try to help her navigate puzzling American customs. She can't help but stand out, though, and her beauty captures attention. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, Rosa must decide to what lengths she will go to save her future.
Regina, tell us a little bit about the beginning stages of your story. Where did you get your inspiration for Sixty Acres and a Bride?
I was writing a Ruth and Boaz skit for a church production and had big plans for it—secondary characters, subplots, and a love story that didn’t get ironed out until they’d been married for a spell. Right as the dialogue started to jell I learned that the skit could only be fifteen minutes long. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Boaz was being played by a father of three and Ruth by our Youth Minister’s fiancée. No chemistry allowed.
The production was awesome—the first cowboy Ruth and Boaz skit that anyone had ever seen—but I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to the characters. By then Ruth and Boaz had been replaced by Rosa and Weston and they were begging for their story to be told.
That is awesome! I love theatre! Rosa and Wes definitely come to life as if we were watching a play. Besides the stage, what other ways you apply the saying, "Write what you know"?
After reading the book, I can definitely say you have grasped the Texas vernacular to a "T"! ;) With the wonderful detailed plot and the purpose-driven writing in Sixty Acres and A Bride, I'd love to know if you are you a panster or plotter.
I’m somewhere in between, possibly a panster in denial. I like to have the major turning points plotted out before I get very far into the story (my editor appreciates that, too), but as I start writing I revise—sometimes turning the plot in a totally new direction. I reckon my final answer is that I always have a map showing me where I’m going, but I might switch maps mid-journey.
Sounds very familiar. My plots always end up in a different direction once I get right down to it. I have found being plugged into the writing community has helped me understand more about my panster tendencies.:)
What has been the most helpful advice or class you've taken as a writer?
Joining a critique group was life-changing. I started with my local ACFW group (OKC Christian Fiction Writers), but needed more than one session a month to be ready for conference, so I got plugged in to the online ACFW critique loop. Not only did I make some fantastic friends (including Angie!) but I learned how to apply the advice I was reading in articles and on blogs.
I agree, ACFW has a wealth of tools for writers, and some pretty fabulous members to connect with! Thank you so much, Regina!
Regina's Contact Info:
Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across cultures. She is an ACFW member and CEO of a family of six.