Our interview today is with Gloria Repp. Thank you, Gloria for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.
1_Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?
Answer: As I think about my books, I realize that they all have elements of adventure or mystery, and they often include wild creatures. I grew up in the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Northwest, and it was there I learned a love for the ocean and for wilderness. As a lonely teen, I read voraciously and acquired a taste for mysteries. Over the years, my experiences gained from raising three children, teaching school, and editing have made useful contributions to my work.
2_Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: I like to read—endlessly, omnivorously, every chance I get—it’s almost a character flaw. I have to be stern with myself, or we’d have dry cereal every night for supper, except that I also like to cook and bake. For fun, I enjoy the outdoors and activities such as gardening, hiking, and canoeing.
3_Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: I have published fourteen children’s books, a biography, and two novels.
After writing ten children’s books and a biography for traditional publishers, I transitioned into Indie publishing, and I have found it a happy but challenging experience. While continuing to write children’s books, [TALES OF FRIENDSHIP BOG], I have also written two novels that reflect my Christian worldview; they are the beginning of a series: THE DUMONT CHRONICLES. Not surprisingly, they include elements of romance, suspense, and mystery.
My website gives more information about my books. Here’s a link: http://gloriarepp.com/
4_Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: I have several Beta readers, for whom I am deeply grateful. With my Indie-published books, I do my own formatting since I have worked with a publisher and learned much about book production. I hire professionals for my cover designs, interior illustrations, proofreading, and editing.
5_Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: My newest book is for Christian adults: Deep Focus, second in THE DUMONT CHRONICLES.
It tells the story of Lindsey Dumont, a photographer who travels to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, hoping to finish her photo essay on a rare breed of dogs. But disheartening events shatter her plans, and when disaster looms for her project, she decides to fight back. Now she must confront the man who deceived her and unravel a threatening mystery. She wonders, “Is this how God answers my prayers?”
6_Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: I have different purposes for different books. For example, in TALES OF FRIENDSHIP BOG, my focus is on the varied aspects of friendship, such as courage and loyalty. For books in THE DUMONT CHRONICLES, I want to present courageous women who are growing in their faith and learning to know God more deeply.
7_Question: Tell us one place you visited that made a big impression on you, and why.
Answer: The Pine Barrens of New Jersey, which is a thousand square miles of wilderness set incongruously between the metro-cities of Philadelphia and New York, has had a major impact on my writing. I’ve made several trips to explore its pine woods, gleaming dark rivers, and tumbled ruins, and in some form or another, the Pine Barrens has become the setting for all my recent books. Its quiet beauty, diversity, and historicity seem to feed my creative thoughts.
For example, on a spring evening, a friend took me to hear the rare Pine Barrens Treefrogs singing, “Wonk-wonk-wonk”. As I held one of the tiny creatures in my hand and his feet scrabbled against my palm, I wondered how it would feel to live in the dangerous world he inhabits. I asked myself, “Could anything this small also be brave? What adventures might he have? How would a child identify with him? ” That experience propelled me into the story that became Pibbin the Small, the first book of my series for young readers: TALES OF FRIENDSHIP BOG.
SEE also Pine Barrens resource material on my website: http://gloriarepp.com/resources/pine_barrens/
8_Question: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written (plots, finding needed information, getting a cover done)?
Answer: Now that I’m publishing my own books, a major hurdle has been finding a suitable artist. For TALES OF FRIENDSHIP BOG in particular, I wanted illustrations that were not only fun but also correctly detailed for the Pine Barrens. For example, several species of frogs are characters in the series, and each one has a specific coloration. Pink frogs would be fun, but they wouldn’t convey the almost-realistic sense I wanted to portray. I am thankful to partner with Mike Swaim, who has illustrated the stories by combining a love for nature with his own wonderful gift of hilarity.
9_Question: What is your current WIP?
Answer: This July, I plan to finish putting together Trouble with Zee, the fifth book in TALES OF FRIENDSHIP BOG. The illustrations are complete and the story is written, but polishing and formatting the book, as well as writing promotional material, will take every spare moment I have.
10_Question: What are your future projects?
Answer: I’ve always enjoyed reading historical fiction, and I’m fascinated by the effects of important historic events on ordinary people. Educated as a Canadian, I didn’t learn much American history until my college days, and since then I’ve been intrigued by the complicated threads of the American Revolution. I’d like to write about it: not the war itself, but how it affected the lives of families, and women in particular. A trio of books comes to mind, books that will fit into my novel series, THE DUMONT CHRONICLES. Once again, the Pine Barrens will be my setting (cannon balls were made there for General Washington). I have started into the huge amount of research that will be necessary, and . . . I dream on.
Trapped (Book 3, TALES OF FRIENDSHIP BOG) by Pop Bop (Amazon TOP 500 REVIEWER)
The many characters are well developed and have individual personalities that are suggested by the type of animal they are, but not always. (For example, owls aren’t always wise.) Most of the characters are ultimately kind and gracious, but individuals can be prickly, uncooperative, mildly threatening or less than forthright. The heroes, (Pibbin and Leeper and their friends), have to be alert to their surroundings, have to interact with a wide variety of characters and challenges, and have to keep their wits about them and be creative and resourceful.
There are some obvious and some subtle messages here – about honesty, bravery, loyalty, unselfish sacrifice, kindness, generosity – but they are not hammered home or set out in bold type, and they are natural outgrowths of the stories.
And, the adventures of our heroes are pretty exciting. Lots of times books with positive messages don’t hold a youngster’s attention because they are well intended but bland. Not so here. Friendship Bog is a varied, exciting, sometimes dangerous place. Villains may not be scary evil, but they are dangerous, just as a hawk is a threat to a mouse without being evil. Carelessness is apt to be punished; care is required. There are chases, hiding, arguing, recognizing and avoiding danger; characters are always trying to get home safe and sound after having an adventure. There are bruises and tumbles, and traps and escapes. This is stirring stuff.
Deep Focus (Book 2, THE DUMONT CHRONICLES) by Mary C. Findley
This is a truly amazing book. The locations are vivid and real, the people are varied and complex, the details are satisfying — not too much or too little. And it is truly adult, in the best sense. It’s about grownups who still have to struggle and change and grow mentally and spiritually. There’s even some romance, but there’s so much more. It has wonderful teaching on true meditation and the best perspective on Christians forgiving those who have wronged them that I have ever read. If you love dogs, good food, rugged landscapes, diverse personalities, strong female and male characters, and thrilling suspense, here you go!
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