A Guideposts Author's Writing Life
A conversation with Anne Marie Rodgers, author of Finding Grace, one of the books in the Miracles of Marble Cove series
Q. What’s the first thing you do when you sit down to write a book?
A. You mean after I break out the chocolate? I brainstorm...think of all the things that could possibly happen and decide what direction I want my conflict to take.
Q. What details from your own life did you incorporate into Finding Grace?
A. The scenes with the puppy were quite familiar after my experiences raising puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. I am continually astounded by the amount of chaos one small furry creature with angelic eyes can create.
On the other hand, writing about Margaret’s artistic endeavors was total fiction. I can’t even paint a wall, much less a landscape.
Q. Finding Grace is one of the books in the Miracles of Marble Cove book series. Have you ever witnessed an inexplicable occurrence, a miracle?
A. Absolutely. My younger daughter was pinned in an automobile after a crash that demolished the vehicle. The door wouldn’t open and there was glass everywhere.
The next thing she remembers, she was standing on the side of the road with fairly minor injuries—and not a single scratch from glass. To this day we have no idea how she managed to get out of that car. (Well, we do, but He’s too modest to confirm His assistance.)
Q. Talk about your work with animals.
A. I am a wildlife rehabilitation volunteer. I have taken courses in Capture and Transport (i.e., how to get a skunk out of a window well without being perfumed and Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation. In a typical shift at Centre Wildlife Care, I might syringe-feed infant squirrels and skunks; bottle-feed raccoons, foxes, fawns and groundhogs; prepare food for large birds such as hawks, owls, and herons; and/or tube-feed baby opossums and rabbits. Every 30 minutes, our extremely vocal contingent of baby songbirds must be fed.
Turtles need to soak for an hour; adult convalescent critters’ cages need to be cleaned; and other animals require medication or other medical attention. Our educational menagerie must be cared for, and there is an endless supply of laundry to fold and dishes to wash. And then I come home in time to bottle-feed the orphaned kittens waiting in incubators at my house and take phone calls about more babies who need the services of the Orphaned Kitten Program, which I coordinate. My life is quite literally a zoo, but I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.
Q. What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?
A. Talking about writing will never make you an author. Take the plunge and start putting your words on paper.
Q. What’s a misconception about being a writer?
A. Our time is not as flexible as people assume. I have set work hours because I need large blocks of time to immerse myself in my fictional world. It’s not easy to simply pop in and out of Marble Cove repeatedly.
Q. What’s a good cure for writer’s block?
A. Sit yourself down and do not permit yourself to get out of your chair until you’ve written your desired number of pages. Write stream-of-consciousness if you don’t have your story in your head. Write “I WILL finish this book!” over and over again if that’s all that comes to mind, but whatever you do, don’t stop writing.
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