Meet Alice Arenz, folks!
The mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three, (Alice) A.K. Arenz has a two year degree in Office Information Systems from Northwest Missouri State University, where she also worked for several years. While with the College of Education, A.K. assisted with the college accreditation both at the national (NCATE) and state (DESE) levels. She’s found this experience and that of being Administrative Assistant to the Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems to be invaluable tools for her writing.
Since reading Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series as a child, A.K. has been creating her own stories. Her earliest publication was in the small, family-owned newspaper where her articles, essays, and poems were frequently included. From this early beginning, she honed her skills through university courses, studying Writer's Digest, how-to books on the craft, and through frequent submissions. In the mid-nineties, her writing earned her a stint with a well-known New York literary agency, and, although it failed to produce the hoped-for results, her determination to press forward eventually led her to Sheaf House.
A.K. has had poetry accepted for inclusion in various anthologies, as well as in the Maryville Daily Forum newspaper. She won an honorable mention and publication in the chapbook Look Who's Writing in Northwest Missouri, had a small article published in Family Safety & Health, and was the creator, editor, and head writer for a nationally registered fanzine.
As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, A.K. has found the fellowship of both published and non-published members an inspiration. She has been a judge in the ACFW Book of the Year contest since 2005 and participated in judging ACFW’s 2007 Genesis contest for unpublished authors.
She lives in Missouri with her husband and two Himalayan cats. The Case of the Bouncing Grandma is her first novel.
SKC: What books or project are you working on now?
AA: I’m currently working on the second in The Bouncing Grandma Mystery Series, The Case of the Mystified M.D.
SKC: What inspired you to take up the craft of writing, Alice?
AA: The love of the written word. However, to be perfectly honest, I don’t often feel as if it is me doing the writing. I truly believe that whether I’m writing for the ABA or the CBA, it’s a calling from God.
SKC: What did you do when you received your first contract?
AA: Called my family, bounced off a few walls, called some more family, danced a jig, and called more family!
SKC: That's a kick! So tell, us, why have you chosen your particular genre?
AA: My preference in reading is mystery/suspense. This was the first time I’ve tried anything other than that. A cozy is a whole other animal.
SKC: Can you tell us something you have learned or are learning that you’d like to share with others coming in to the field?
AA: When my husband talks about my writing, he often tells people that writing the book was the easy part—everything that comes afterward is the hardest. I’ve often thought of correcting him and reminding him that facing a blank screen and filling it isn’t that easy, but have refrained from doing so. After a lot of thought, I realized that in many ways he’s right. Yes, it’s often a struggle to get the story out (I understand this as I’m going through my first writer’s block ever!), but once that story is written—even if it’s already been accepted for publication—you have a long road ahead of you with edits, re-writes, promotion, etc.
SKC: What kinds of movies do you watch to get ideas, or do you do that?
AA: I used to watch a lot of movies – don’t seem to have time anymore. Inspiration would come at different times, with different genres, etc. I love the movie Somewhere in Time, but I think it’s the music more than the movie than makes me want to write. Titanic is the same way. Then you have something totally silly and fun like What’s Up Doc? I love the slapstick and the timing.
Bottom line – I don’t really watch movies to get my ideas. The ideas just suddenly appear.
SKC: What’s your advice to other authors with how they can come up with cliff hangers?
AA: If you want to write a cliffhanger, you have to read and study them. Think about what you’ve read or seen in TV or movies. Take what you feel works, and then make it your own.
SKC: Good ideas, there. Why do so many authors have a difficult time coming up with their one-line blurbs and synopses do you think?
AA: Um . . . because it’s next to impossible to shrink a full-length, 70-100,000 word manuscript down to one-to-two pages or a single sentence. At least it is for me!
SKC: I have to agree! After you finish your present project what plans do you have, Alice?
AA: I wish I could tell you I’ve thought that far into the future, but I haven’t. Though, I do have a women’s fiction that I would like to finish and find a home for.
SKC: What a great interview! I can’t thank you enough for coming by to visit! God bless you, Alice! I understand you are offering a free copy of The Case of the Bouncing Grandma. Do you have any comments for those who write in?
AA: Thank you very much for having me, Shirley, it’s been a pleasure. God bless you and all your readers.
SKC: A pleasure! How can readers reach you to learn more about you and possibly purchase your work?
AA: To learn more about me, you can visit my Web site at http://www.akawriter.com/ or http://www.sheafhouse.com/. The Case of the Bouncing Grandma is available in bookstores and online at http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/, http://www.christianbook.com/, http://www.sheafhouse.com/, and other online bookstores.
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