Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author of the Nun and the Narc talks about writing

The Nun and the Narc blurb/summary:
Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.
Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Bio for Catherine Castle:

Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. The Nun and the Narc is her debut inspirational suspense romance book.


1.     Tell us about your writing career. 
I have been writing all my life. As a teenager I wrote poetry (and still do) and my first romance novel. I also did some short stories that have long since been lost. In the 1990s I began writing as a freelancer for the local newspaper and for the Christian Publishing house Standard Publishing writing for children. During the 90s I began writing fiction again.
2.      What is the most important thing you believe a writer should do when writing an inspirational book?
I think one of the most important things an inspirational writer can do is write a book that non-Christians will want to read. To me, that means don’t preach to the reader. Nothing will make a non-Christian stop reading a book faster than preaching at them. One of my favorite Amazon reviews comes from a non-Christian reader who didn’t expect to like the book because it was an inspirational romance. She expected preaching. Because I didn’t preach at her, she read the book and loved it.
3.      What kind of research did you have to do before writing this book?
I had to do a lot of research on Mexico, because that’s where the book is set. I also looked up information on drug dealers, points of entry along the Mexican border, and nuns, since I’m not one.
4.      How do you entwine the fun or humor into your novel when your leading characters are the middle of dangerous drug dealers?
My husband says I tend to make jokes and get mouthy when I get nervous or things get too serious. I think I infused Sister Margaret Mary with some of my quirks to lighten the mood in the tense moments.
5.      Years ago when I first studied fiction writing I learned trouble and hardship show a person’s true character; and fiction can’t be stranger than real life. Give me an example of how one of your characters was shaped by his or her experiences.
Although Jed has a family history of law enforcement, his drive to get the bad guys, especially drug dealers, stems from the loss of his father, who was killed by a drug user. It’s the reason he joined the DEA and partly why he doesn’t want to make connections with people. Losing them hurts too much.
6.      Who is one of your characters you can’t forget? Why does he or she stick in your memory?
I have to admit that I have a fondness for Sister Margaret Mary. She is full of spunk and has a caring heart that puts her and Jed in danger more than once. Her empathy also makes her a memorable character.
7.      Tell me about how you work to inspire readers in their faith journey. How do you introduce scripture? What is your favorite scripture?
That’s a difficult question because faith is such a personal thing, no matter where you are in your journey.  Sister Margaret is not a perfect nun: she has faults, flaws and foilables, and limitations to what she will and won’t do, all characteristics I hope the readers could recognize in their own lives.  If our characters aren’t real, how will readers identify with them?
I believe that scripture should be used naturally in a book and not forced into the context by constant quoting through characters. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go around everyday quoting scripture. I might paraphrase sometimes, if the occasion calls for it. In The Nun and the Narc  Mother Superior suggests that Sister Margaret read a certain set of passages before writing her vows of commitment to Christ.  Introducing the scriptures is a natural fit there and I do quote them. But when Mother Superior talks with her about the parable of the camel and the Eye of the Needle, she doesn’t quote the passage or reference the scripture location, referring to it instead in story form. Nor does Sister Margaret quote the Bible to Jed. She shows him her faith through her actions.
As for my favorite scripture, it’s But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31. The image of God supporting us like the air currents support the soaring eagle is a very comforting one.
8.      How often do you write and how do you conclude each writing session?
Not as often as I should.☺ I tend to write in blocks of time, not daily, and I don’t like to be disturbed when I’m in the writing zone. If it wasn’t for my husband asking if I was hungry, I could miss lunch and dinner and my favorite television shows when I’m on a roll. I end each writing session by backing up and printing out what I’ve written that day.  I like to have that hard copy just in case. I learned that lesson after I lost 50 pages of work. My computer crashed while backing up a week’s work and I had to recreate all the new pages from memory. Not fun.
9.      What is your ultimate goal?
So often the world looks at Christians as people they don’t want to get to know. We can be viewed as judgmental, standoffish, preachy, and downright strange. I think that’s why most non-Christians will never pick up an inspirational romance or other Christian fiction. As an inspirational writer, I would like to write books that the secular audience wants to read, as well as the Christian audience. For me, this means books that let the faith journey of the characters shine through naturally without preaching or copious quoting of scripture. I want to show the readers the faith of the characters through their actions and make these characters real enough that a reader can say, “I know someone like that.” Or “Wow, I never knew Christians could be so real.”  
Where do we purchase your books and find out more information?
Currently, The Nun and the Narc is available at Amazon as an ebook. It will come out near the end of this year as a print book, too.
Catherine’s blog:
Catherine’s Amazon author page:
Twitter: @AuthorCCastle