Welcome, Tina! Is there a story behind Betrayed, the first book in your new Trail of the Sandpiper Series?
I'm not sure if there's a story per se, I've always been interested in WWII, or more a conglomeration of some of my interests in WWII. When my father was in the Air Force we lived in Germany and were able to travel to and actually live where history had been made during the war under Hitler. I knew less about The Pacific arena. I saw a lot of stories about Pearl Harbor and I was interested in the Navaho Code Talkers and Australian Coast Watchers. Since my husband and son were in the Navy I wanted to incorporate that as well.
There were two movies that really stuck with me about the War in the Pacific.
The First was Three Came Home, the true story about Agnes Keith, who is on the island of Borneo with her husband and son when the Japanese invade. They are taken prisoner. She and her son are separated from her husband. It shows the hardship they go through.
The Second is a movie called Father Goose, starring Gary Grant and Leslie Caron. He is a slovenly, drunken Coastwatcher who ends up helping a stranded and very prim teacher and pupils from her class, all girls, get off the island past the Japanese.
I was also very interested in what happened after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I tried to look many of those things in the Trail of the Sandpiper Series.
What is unique about the setting? How does it enhance the story?
The first two parts of the story take place on the island of New Guinea and on a submarine, I think they are both important settings. New Guinea is a jungle, with strange animals and insects and overgrowth filled with secrets and shadowy places for the enemy -- human and otherwise -- to hide in. The submarine gives a glimpse of how sailors lived and worked during war time.
Did you have a specific theme in mind as you wrote Betrayed?
Did a theme pop out as you finished the book? Did the theme change? The biggest theme here is trusting God through hardship. Justine is a missionary wife whose compound is hit by the Japanese and it cause her to take a look at her beliefs. Does she really believe that God is going to protect her and get her through? Or has he abandoned her to get the children through alone?
How much research do you have to do for the genre in which you write?
I do a fair amount of research. I did a lot of study for this new book; I studied New Guinea, studied the island, what took place there during the war. I studied about Pearl Harbor, about Australia, and WWII in general, and I'm not done. In book three I take a closer look at what happened to prisoners and to the people in Japan. But I'm just scratching the service. I went back during my final edits and checked my facts over again to smooth out timelines and such.
Do you have a writing system? What works best for you?
Where do you most like to write? I used to love to sit at my computer desk and write. Now I pull up an easy chair or sit in my bed. My writing system used to be I'd get started once the kids were in school and then sometimes late into the night which is when I got a lot of words in. Now my schedule is a bit of hit and miss. I still try to get started during the day, but I find my best writing time is still the early morning hours.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so how often do you get it? How do you fix it?
I do. I have been fighting to write for the last few months. It's not because I don't have the story, I do. The block for me arises when I try to put it down, and suddenly I can't seem to formulate the words properly. Silly when I see the story in my head.
Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad? Any special reason for choosing to write this way?
I write by hand on College ruled paper, which can be a legal pad or binder paper. I use a # 3 pencil most of the time. I find when I sit down and write by hand it frees me up to just write. I don't want to correct as much either. Once I've written a few pages, I go back and input them in my computer. I use the college rule so I have more line to write on and I use the #3 because I hate the words to smudge when I erase.
Do you archive everything you write?
I'm not sure it's call archiving because I know there a special way to archive, but I do back my stories up on discs and keep them.
Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Sometimes. Usually the idea is something I put on a back burner and I was planning to get to it already. My newest release, Trail of the Sandpiper Book #1-- Betrayed, was actually written in 2003. I turned it in for the ACFW Genesis contest (then ACRW Noble Theme) where it placed Third for Historical Fiction. I probably should have worked harder to get it out then, but I set it aside and waited to work on it more while I finished other projects.
What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written? What are you most proud of?
I really like all my stories but if I had to choose a favorite I would say I love the first book I wrote. I it was so long editors were afraid to touch it and if I'm honest it needed a whole bunch more editing too. But it was so long I split into four books and it is now available as the The Shadow Series -- When Shadows Fall, Shadowed Dreams, To Catch a Shadow, and This Shadowed Land. I actually have another part to the Shadow Series -- The Shadow of Her Smile -- which is one of the books I put on the back burner.
What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
I suppose I shouldn't say I never will because one never knows. But can say with some surety that I will probably never write an exotic romance book. I would be too embarrassed. I have tackled some hard subjects like abuse, rape, racism, and witchcraft -- all from a Christian perspective.
How many writing projects are you working on right now? I have five. I have to finish the last book in the Trail of the Sandpiper Series. Book #2 Rescued is already in and I will start copy edits on it sometimes soon. But Book #3 Avenged has been kicking my imagination. Funny thing is, I see it, but getting it from my brain to the paper has been kind of discouraging.
What are your five favorite words?
That is a tough question. I like words and my favorite words tend to change with new words I learn or words that come to mind. I do like the word Grace. Not just because of what Christ did for me, but also as a reminder that I should be gracious to others and to myself as well. I tend to be my worst critique. I like the word love too. And hope. But are they my favorite. Not sure
Sadly a lot of words, like Grace, Hope and Love and so many others have had their meanings distorted, what I'd love is for people to see the truth in the words and the Man who died to give them that truth.
I like to do crossword puzzles and hunt for different words. I like funny words and words that cut to the heart. I like so many words, so it's really hard to narrow it down to five
What character that you’ve created most resembles you?
I would say Rebekah from The Shadow Series probably resembles me the most. Not just in looks but also in actions. Although, there were times I wished I were as strong as she was. I think I wrote her stronger on some things because the traits were something I wanted.
Do you ever write based on your dreams?
I dream my books all the time -- many times in full color like I was watching a movie. I see the characters talk and where they're going. I hear their thoughts. I can feel the weather and see the scene down to littlest details. I don't always write every detail though. When I'm working through a scene I can dream it over and over, sometimes it can change, but not usually.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft?
Maybe more than I should be when I'm doing a first draft on the computer, especially if I'm fighting to get the words in. But when I get lost in the story and my imagination I just work on writing it down. I find I do better when I write in long hand with college ruled paper and #3 pencil. It frees me up to just write. I scribble and cross things off. Then when I go to put it in the computer I do more grammar and spell checking. Of course, if I spend more time watching my handwriting I might be able to read it better.
How do people react when they find out you write?
I've had a few people who think I should help them write the novel they have brewing inside them or they let me know that they are writers too and they will write a novel and it will sell, they would like it if I read it and would help them edit though. They wouldn't ask that if they saw what an awful editor I am. I've had others hear the word Fiction and they say I should go write something like a self help Christian book or a study guide or maybe ghost write for a missionary or someone with a great Christian testimony and that prove that I'm using my skill properly. Then I've had people give me the dry "Oh, that's nice." I like it when people are happy to hear that I write. I find that encouraging
What or who is the biggest influence on your writing?
My number one influence would have to be my Christian faith, well Christ. I want to use this talent that I believe Christ gave me to honor him and touch people with the words I write. Who else could give me such an imagination or such a desire to write? My parents, who have both gone to be with the Lord, also influenced my writing. My mother was my biggest fan. She would tell everyone that I was a writer and talk up my books.
Do you have, or have you ever had a writing mentor?
No, the closest I ever got to a mentor would be in a Critique group and having the people there give me ideas on what to do and what not to do in writing helped a lot.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
The next book Trail of the Sandpiper -- Rescued, comes out the first part of 2016. It continues the story of Justine and Tyler as they try to escape the Japanese and get themselves and those in their group -- eight children among them -- off the Island of New Guinea.
The Japanese seem to be moving them along, herding them in a certain direction. Surrounding them. Trapping them. Tyler and Justine know there is a spy in their midst but have no idea who it is. Tyler needs to get a message to the submarine that will hopefully carry them off the island, and he is still trying to find not only the spy the in their midst, but the spy, the Sandpiper, who has been helping them. Unfortunately, the Japanese seem to want the Sandpiper too and they think the Sandpiper is with Tyler's group.
Thanks for sharing with us today!
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Tina Pinson is giving away a copy of Betrayed. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.