Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Interview with Author J.B. Hawker

 Jonna Hawker Turek
 but I write fiction as J.B. Hawker
 Rural Northern California

Good morning, Jonna, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. What have you written? 
Along with inspirational magazine articles, my weekly Power Walking with Jonna blog, ministry and Sunday school program materials and a devotional guide for leaders of women’s ministries, I’ve published the following fiction: The Bunny Elder Adventure series which includes Hollow, Vain Pursuits, Seadrift, and … and Something Blue; and the First Ladies Series of The First Ladies Club, A Body in the Belfry, and coming out this summer, A Corpse in the Chapel.

What is your favorite genre to write? 
Not-quite-cozy Christian Suspense. My books occasionally push the envelope on ‘cozy’ when necessary for the plot or character development. Some are true mysteries and others are suspenseful adventures, usually revolving around a church lady or pastor’s wife. (Write what you know, right?) They aren’t preachy, but usually include my thoughts on a social or faith issue along the way, from attitudes toward homosexuality (Hollow), to human trafficking (Seadrift) and abortion (A Corpse in the Chapel). I’m always gratified when readers comment on the wry humor or dry wit in my writing and one of my favorite review quotes is “suspense and excitement with an honesty and genuineness not often seen in Christian fiction.”

Favorite food.
Grilled Salmon. When I lived in Alaska, friends often shared their home-smoked salmon. Nothing really compares.

Tea or coffee? 
Tea, strong and black with milk. I have the prettiest calico print tea pot and cups I like to use when I am feeling especially ladylike. (photo attached)

Pizza or ice cream? 
Vegetarian pizza, followed by coconut ice cream for dessert

Wine or beer?
A nice white zinfandel, now and then, is lovely, but I never developed a taste for beer.

Where would you like to visit?
I’d love to visit the rural English countryside which only exists in books and my imagination.

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
I love Sandy Patty. I listen to traditional Christian and classical music on my Pandora station while writing.

What makes you laugh? 
My three grown sons make me laugh all the time. They share my offbeat sense of humor and can have me weeping with laughter whenever they choose, especially when I’m trying to give them serious advice.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.
Any of the Old Masters’ works. I’m especially fond of paintings by Vermeer. I love the light he captured. I’ve been blessed to visit Italy a few times and to me the entire country is a work of art.

You are so right! Italy is an artistic treasure. And I don't think Vermeer gets the attention he deserves. How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote my first little book when I was six. It was about a clock. Unfortunately, it is out of print.

Describe your perfect evening. 
Relaxing outdoors on a warm summer evening, a gentle breeze riffling my hair, not a bug in sight, surrounded by my favorite people, all of us waiting for the fireworks to start. I’ve always felt the Fourth of July is the most romantic holiday.

Where do you get your inspiration? 
My years of experience in rural churches as a pastor’s wife provide enough inspiration for a dozen books or more.  Over the years, when I shared about my adventures with my family back home, they always said, “You should write a book!” so I did.  My first published fiction, Hollow, was the result of an off-hand comment about how easy it would be to hide the body parts of murder victims within the macabre local Halloween decorations. That was before I knew I was going to veer more toward the ‘cozy’ genre, so it’s the darkest of my books.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
I go back to the first section of my manuscript and edit up to my roadblock. That gives me the momentum to plow right through.

That's good advice. I'll try that today.Who is your favorite author?
C.S. Lewis

Best book you ever read
It’s a tie between A Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and The Narrated Bible by F. Legard Smith. Without changing the original, Smith sets the historical happenings in chronological order, and fills in the historical gaps, bringing the whole Bible to life. My recent favorite book is Off the Grid by C. J. Box. I love all his Wyoming tales and he autographed a copy of his latest for me, which I treasure.

Last book you read. 
The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers. She was a compatriot of C.S. Lewis, so it is sometimes hard-slogging for those of us without Oxford degrees, but I always find something to stretch me, intellectually and spiritually, with every re-reading.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer
I worked in School Business until I retired to write, but I would be a teacher (or a preacher!), if I were given a do-over.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Jesus Christ

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
See above.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 

Don’t fret over whether you are good enough, just sit down and write. But, then take classes, and read all the books you can, both in your genre and about your craft. It is so much easier to get better at writing, once you have produced something on paper (or computer screen) to revise. Never stop trying to improve and don’t get side-tracked with promotions and sales. Write for the joy of it.

Description of A Corpse in the Chapel:

A teenager’s romantic fantasies lead to tragedy and a heartless killer walks away.

The young girl’s bones, tucked away for decades in the deep woods, cry out for justice. A life cut short, a cowardly killer and a middle-aged flowerchild are stirred together into a tasty stew of wild mushrooms, herbs, vanity and deceit in award-winning author, J.B. Hawker’s thought-provoking tale. 
Will pastor’s wife, Judy Falls, uncover more than a new vegan recipe when she goes hunting for natural ingredients to tempt her husband’s taste buds?  Many lives will be changed forever in the small seaside community of Bannoch, Oregon, as the result of one day’s misadventure. 

The questions remain, “Can the killer be found and brought to justice? Will the young victim finally rest in peace?”

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Corpse-Chapel-First-Ladies-Club-ebook/dp/B01IL9Z5GK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471101946&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Corpse+in+the+Chapel

Links to follow J.B. Hawker:

Inspirational blog: https://jonnaturek.wordpress.com/

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