You may learn more about Ford and her writing at her website. And I have to give a shout-out to her because she's providing me feedback on a novel I have in the works!
Let's hear from SM Ford and learn more about her book and her interest in writing.
1. How did you get interested in writing?
I’ve been a reader as long as I can remember and would carry as many books from home from the library as I could. I played with some short story writing in high school, but never considered it as a career or as something ordinary people could do. It was after I had my children, that the desire to share my own stories made me get serious about writing.
2. What inspired you to come up with this story?
One day I got to thinking about it being difficult for celebrities to meet people and have honest relationships—to have someone love them for who they are as a person, not just as a celebrity. (I have another story that needs rewriting inspired by this idea.)
3. Tell me about the main character, Cecelia Gage, and what inspired you to create her.
If a young woman enjoys some traditional “housewife” duties, but is not ready to be married, I started speculating about the opportunities she might have. Traditionally “housekeepers” are older women, but what if it was a young woman… Plus, I liked the opportunity to share a love of cooking good food.
4. What characters, other than Cecelia, did you find enjoyable to write as you progressed with the book?
I enjoyed writing about Mark and Simon a lot because although they are friends they have contrasting personalities.
5. What are some of the themes you explored in writing the novel?
Surviving the loss of a loved one, being comfortable with who you are, recovering from abuse, dependence on God.
6. What were some of the things you learned along the way as you wrote and edited the book?
This book went through so many drafts and at one point I described way too much—furniture, what rooms looked like, etc. When cutting all that, I cut too much and had to go back in to add some pieces to make the setting clear and to introduce the cat in the story.
7. What is it about writing inspirational fiction that you find so rewarding?
It’s a chance to share my faith in a nonthreatening way—just showing a character living her life and trusting in God.
8. I see you’ve contributed to other books – tell me a little bit about them.
When I wrote my piece on “Going Back to School: Domestic School Visits,” I felt like I had to learn a lot of the “how to”s on my own. So I wrote the piece and submitted it to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ monthly magazine. It was a nice surprise to have them use it in their book, SCBWI Publications Guide to Writing & Illustrating for Children instead.
I had been teaching for the Institute for Children’s Writers (still do) and had written for their newsletter, so got a call to sign up for topics they needed for market books. That’s how I ended up being a contributor to Guide to 2012 with "Website Creation and Design" and Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers 2011 with “Spin Science Facts into Gold!”
9. What do you find is the right environment for you to write?
I can write on my laptop at home in my recliner—often with my cat taking too much of my lap—or in a coffee shop with other writers. I used to do more writing on my desktop in the shared office with my husband, but he’s on so many conference calls these days, it’s harder to write there. Like many writers I’m an eavesdropper. If a coffee shop is too loud and I can’t tune out conversations, I put on headphones and listen to music.
10. Are there specific programs or tools you find useful to help you with the writing process?
I just use MS Word—I’m a quicker typer than a hand writer, so prefer working on a computer. And I like the easy of editing onscreen.
11. What have you found to be useful methods for promoting your writing?
Promotion is harder than writing, I think, so I feel I’m still learning. I’d say my biggest method is blog posts, but whether that amounts to purchases? Hard to say.
12. Tell me more about Mary Stewart’s books and how they inspired you.
Mary Stewart wrote romantic suspense. Many were set shortly after WWII or when I was very young. I loved the romance, the danger, the satisfying endings. I loved how she made me hungry for food, made me want to see and smell flowers I didn’t know, made me want to travel to places I’d never been. I read other romantic suspense books that didn’t match up to Mary Stewart’s skills which meant she became my favorite. Her characters felt so real and I wanted mine to feel that way to readers, too.
13. What can you tell me about other authors you enjoy?
A recent author I discovered is Katherine Reay. The books I’ve read have tie ins to Jane Austen stories, but are very modern stories. They’re romance, but more literary.
14. Any aspiring or independent authors whose books you’ve read that you liked and want to mention to others to check out?
I’m just now reading J.L. Salter’s book Duchess of Earl and am really enjoying the humor. Somewhere I read the description that this is not a Regency, but she thinks it is, referring to the heroine. As a Georgette Heyer fan, I was intrigued.
15. What advice would you give to those who want to write a novel before they actually get started?
Make sure you are reading the kinds of novels you want to write. Get involved with a writer’s group where you can learn about the craft of writing—although there are many resources on the internet these days, too—but connecting with other writers is invaluable.
16. Any plans in the future to visit those six states you haven’t been to yet?
Nothing planned, but I’m very tired of rain in the Pacific Northwest at the moment.
17. What is so special about visiting the Pacific Ocean?
When I was a child, my family took annual vacations to northern California where we spent time in the redwoods and at the ocean, so I have a lot of good memories from both places. My husband and I and daughters spent a week a year for quite a few years on the Oregon coast. I love the rocks, the sand, the waves, driftwood and other gifts left by the sea, the sound of the sea gulls.
18. Do you think cats are better or dogs? Or would they be about equal?
One better than the other? Depends what you desire from a pet. I’ve had cats all my life, so they were my first love. But to cats you’re more the servant. Although I admire their independence. Dogs on the other hand adore you. Recently, I made an unscheduled trip and my husband said my dog kept wandering around the house looking for me. Dogs are obedient—cats, not. But both can be very comforting.
19. Is there a particular reason you want to play with a red panda?
They are soooo cute! And they play like a cat.
20. Who would win a battle of superhero skills: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman?