One of many great interviews with authors that you can find each month in The Big Thrill!
Ted Dekker has haunted the bestseller lists for some time. An editor of some of his novels, Erin Healy, collaborated with him on Kiss, a story that was published in January 2009. Their new joint thriller, Burn, threatens to heat up the shelves. Erin discussed working on Burn and her life.
How did you both get together?
Ted was referred to me about eight years ago by Traci DePree, who edited Ted's earliest novels, then returned to work with us on Kiss and Burn. Ted and I clicked and have been working together as an author-editor pair ever since the first edition of his novel Blink. When he asked me to consider writing with him, it was a can't-say-no opportunity. New authors have a treacherous uphill battle when entering the marketplace. To be able to partner with someone of his calibre was a gift to me.
What is the writing process like with Ted?
Ted and I spend a lot of time on the phone hashing out ideas. We talk and talk and talk. I've lost at least three phone batteries to Ted alone. Then I write and he reads and we talk some more.
Then I write and rewrite, and he writes and rewrites, and we go back and forth like this until the story is born. It's a real synergistic endeavor.
What sparked the idea for Burn?
Ted and I were working independently on our own ideas for stories about regrets, second chances, and the concept of dying to self. When we realized this had happened, we thought, why not throw both of these into one cooking pot and see what we come up with? It worked great, and it's one of the reasons I think Burn is a stronger story than Kiss. As far as the content goes, we were both equally invested in our passion for it.
What can a reader expect when they pick up Burn?
Burn is very exciting! It's a story about a young gypsy woman who has to make a terrible choice on a night when life as she knows it goes up in flames. Her home is being burned to the ground and her friends' lives are at stake. It's a mind-bending story about the course her life might have taken if she'd made a different choice. The novel asks important questions about the nature of regret. Is there any way to redeem the choices we've made?
What kind of self-sacrifice is required to do what is right?
How do you write an action scene? Is it different or more difficult to do while maintaining a Christian audience?
Speaking with film in mind, you write an action scene one frame at a time. It's tempting to be chaotic in a written action scene, because true visual action is chaotic, and also because the point-of-view character doesn't always understand right away what is happening. But action
scenes more than any other need to be linear and clear, or readers--Christian or not--will get lost and gloss over it. No, I don't think there's any more or less difficulty in writing a good action scene for any audience. The writer makes choices in how to frame the shot, in what to leave on and off stage. But that's a different question.
What's next for you both with Ted and solo?
For now, Burn will be the last novel Ted and I write together. We'll be focusing on exciting developments in our solo careers. Never Let You Go, my first solo, releases in May 2010 (Thomas Nelson, hardcover, $21.99). It's a supernatural thriller about a young single mother, Lexi, who is paid an unwelcome visit by an old friend. He demands she testify on behalf of the killer who murdered Lexi's sister. If she refuses, he'll harm Lexi's daughter.
Within hours, she also learns that her estranged husband, gone seven years, is attempting to reconnect with their little girl. The strangely timed reappearance of the friend, the killer, and the husband terrifies Lexi, but the significance of this event is greater than she can predict. Never Let You Go is a novel about the high price of bitterness and forgiveness, neither of which it seems Lexi can afford to pay.
How do you find time to write?
I'm a full-time freelance editor and a full-time mom, so the hours of my day are pretty fixed. The trickest aspect of finding "time" to write is really about money. I can edit or I can write, but it's too difficult a mental task for me to write while I have editorial projects on the desk. Knowing which editorial jobs to take or turn down, and learning how to balance the financial aspect of that shift to writing more, is a day-by-day evaluation.
"Keep your day job" is the advice given to budding novelists, and it applies to me.
Jeff Ayers is the author of VOYAGES OF IMAGINATION: THE STAR TREK FICTION COMPANION Pocket Books-November 2006. He frequently reviews thrillers for Library Journal and regularly interviews authors for LJ, the Seattle Post-Intellgencer, and Writer Magazine.