Friday, October 1, 2010

"The rumors (in a community) that fly" ... can certainly be fascinating enough to write a book! That's what Jill tells us.

Welcome, Jill! It’s great to have you with us again to talk about your life and your new release.  I’ve had the joy of having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts a good while back.

Jill Elizabeth Nelson writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith, earning her the tagline: Endless Adventure, Timeless Truth. She was delightfully astonished this year to receive the prestigious Carol Award in the Short Contemporary Suspense category for her 2009 release, Evidence of Murder. Jill speaks regularly at conferences, writer’s groups, library associations, and civic and church groups. When teaching classes for writers, she delights in bringing the Ahah! moment to her students as they make a new skill their own. Jill and her husband live in rural Minnesota where they raised four children and are currently enjoying their first grandchild. Visit Jill on the web at .

SKC: What inspired you to write this book Jill?

JN: I had an inner hankering to write a story that explored the dynamics of small town life when crisis strikes. The rumors that fly and the polarization of community opinion are fascinating, as is the power struggle between the haves and the have-nots in a rural setting. All of these elements are a part of my background and upbringing, making it natural to weave into the plot of Legacy of Lies.

SKC: How has your Christian background affected the style of writing you do?

JN: My faith has everything to do with everything in my life. I don’t separate my relationship with God from my dealings in the world. I’m one of His ambassadors on planet Earth. Writing, to me, is a calling and a ministry, and I intend to pursue it with the excellence that only He can supply. God loves people, and my books are intended to bless the people He loves. 

SKC: You stay busy doing one thing during the day then writing at night. What do you do when you get off track how do you get back ON track?

JN: Everyone has a unique approach to writing. Some people like to whip out a first draft and then go back and fill in the details. Others write volumes and then go back and trim. The approach that works for me is to reread and edit at least a chapter, if not more, before I arrive at where I left off the night before. That process gets me back into the story and results in a “first draft” that has actually been edited several times, which saves on the revisions later.

SKC: How often do you visit other authors’ blogs, and what do you learn from going about the web? Do you ever get distracted by the web?

JN: To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a blog reader. I barely have time to read a book for pleasure now and then. This voracious reader has become a voracious writer! The web can become a distraction, that’s for sure. Information and entertainment is so readily available. Even research can lead to time-consuming rabbit trails. Staying on task and focused is a challenge I’m sure most writers face.

SKC: Every writer goes through some particular trial when it comes to their craft. And I know you’re buried in mysteries. What is one that gets to you the most and how do you deal with it?

JN: Since I’m not a detailed advance plotter, I occasionally paint myself into a corner, plot-wise. I hit my knees in those moments and somehow fresh inspiration faithfully comes—often offering a terrific twist I never would have discovered any other way.

SKC: What do you think is one of the most important things you have learned so far in your years of living about life since becoming a published writer?

JN: Don’t stress about promotion. What little dab I can do to get my work out there, I do as faithfully as I can, but the Lord is my main promoter. He opens doors that no one else can access. I have so much on my plate with family, church, and a full time job, besides writing books. It doesn’t pay to stress over something over which I have such minimal control. Word of mouth is the best advertisement anyway; and that should happen naturally if I keep putting out books that capture people’s hearts.

SDC: You have some books now out of print. I do as well. Have you ever considered bringing those back for the joy of your readers, and if so will you rewrite or will you try to sell them, as is?

JN: I sure have thought about it. When rights revert to me, I hope to revise and reissue. Technology is making this option more and more possible and affordable to authors. And yes, I would do some rewriting. I hope I never stop growing as a writer so that I can look back and see how previous works can be improved.

SDC: Tell us that one scripture that keeps you going each day. And then, since you are so kind to offer a copy of your book to one of our viewers, what is one of the first questions you would want to ask one of the viewers here that involves something mysterious that you could perhaps make use of in a future story?

JN: Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Phil. 4: 4 – 5) This scripture is in my preset postscript at the bottom of my emails. Fabulous nuggets of advice for any and every situation. I have Philippians 4: 4 – 8 committed to memory and mentally recite those verses often. Such a comfort!

Hmmm. Now a question that involves a mystery. Let me lay some groundwork first. The mind is often a mysterious creature. Our spirits are created anew in the image of God when we receive Jesus as our Savior, but the mind must be RE-newed. Here lies the battlefield—how we think, which in turn directly affects our emotions, which ultimately leads to actions based on how we think and feel. So let me ask you, and perhaps your answers will help me devise a plot to a new story: What fatal flaw in thinking may have led to outrageous crimes like the workplace and campus shootings that have so horrified us in recent years? How can a Christian writer portray such a character accurately and yet compassionately?

SDC: Wow! Those are great questions to reflect upon and ponder for future comments. Thanks. It has been a pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts, Jill. Tell us more about the book you are donating. And also, where can all of us find you and your books on the web?

JN: Here’s a taste to whet your appetite for Legacy of Lies:

Secrets Buried Deep!

Evidence from a decades-old murder is the last thing Nicole Keller-Mattson expected to find in her grandmother’s back yard, but the finger-pointing and accusations leveled at her family came as no surprise. Everyone in Ellington is eager to blame the Kellers—but after an attack leaves Nicole’s grandmother in a coma, only Nicole can clear the family name. With the assistance of police chief Rich Hendricks, she stands a chance of solving the mystery . . . if she’s willing to accept Rich’s help. Nicole lost her policeman husband in the line of duty—getting close to another cop is too painful. But keeping her distance could be deadly.

My books are available by a simple click-through from my web site: .

Thanks for hosting me here, Shirley. It’s been an awesome pleasure!

SKC: And thank YOU. And now to the viewers. See the questions above? Take a few moments to think about what Jill is asking, and then be sure to send us your thoughtful answers.  We look forward to hearing from you. And I hope I draw your name. (Be sure to leave your email address.)

Congratulations to Barb Shelton of Arlington, Texas. You have just won Jill's new book. Be watching for it.  And thank you so much for following A Pen for Your Thoughts.


  1. Wow! What great questions! What fatal flaw in thinking may have led to outrageous crimes like the workplace and campus shootings that have so horrified us in recent years?
    I think the answer to that is sin.

    How can a Christian writer portray such a character accurately and yet compassionately?
    I think we need to put our whole heart into what we say, and I sure am trying. and some day I'll be published.

    Thanks for two great questions.
    Janice Ian

  2. Thank you for a very interesting interview.

  3. Thanks, Janice and Betty, for reading and commenting. I appreciate your time and thoughts very much!

    Thanks for hosting me here, Shirley!

  4. Wow! What a hard question. I think a lot of people would like to know. Your book sounds as enticing as your question.
    caree c
    Please include me.

  5. The fatal flaw?
    Sign me up. I'd love to read this book.
    Suzanne L

  6. Wonderful interview, Jill. I wanted to hear more. I like your question, and I'll try to be succinct, however a person that would commit sinful crimes of atrocity is indeed complex. I imagine a very negative thinking unhappy individual with many hurtful childhood issues. He hates easily and becomes resentful at just about anyone or anything. He hears things in the press, movies, tv that influence him negatively. Friendless,lonely, tunnel vision only seeing or thinking one thought consistently. Very hot tempered and becomes violent without much provocation. That's not exactly succinct, but I see a very troubled individual with much anti-social behavior and thinking

    We need to approach his story with compassion and hopefully another character in the story who can feel and do those things for the real victim - the sinner - that Jesus would do.

    Thanks for the opportunity to sound off, for the giveaway and the chance to win this book. I hope I do.

    Sharing Christ's Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com