Transform Our World
A warm welcome to my guest blogger, Lynn Kinnaman, a contributing author to 21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift. She wrote “A Present Hope.” Find out why she used to get in trouble during recess.
Tell something about yourself as a person and as a writer.
I read and write all the time. When I was in grade school, I got in trouble for reading instead of playing during recess. When my mother went grocery shopping, I’d hang on to the basket with one hand and hold my book with the other, reading with every step.
Like most of us, I’ve gone through a lot in life. I’ve been touched by divorce, suicide, family dysfunction, loss, and isolation. I’ve learned a lot too. That’s what drives me when I write, to share the goodness and kindness of people, despite their circumstances and struggles. To give inspiration and encouragement through a compelling story that keeps you turning the pages.
My dog is a joyful companion, and she hangs with me while I’m at the computer, although I think she wonders what the attraction is. After all, the computer doesn’t fetch or go for walks or do anything interesting. But that’s why I have her, to keep me entertained!
I enjoy camping, and I love to cook. It relaxes me and I get a chance to spoil my friends with recipes that I’ve discovered or created.
What inspired you to write this story 21 Days of Christmas?
The idea of a devotional in story form appealed to me, because that’s how we learn about ourselves and others. Stories are powerful and can be life-changing.
I wanted to write something that touched on the universal loneliness we can feel, especially during the holidays, and how the experience of opening our hearts to others can yield unexpected benefits. When we dare to care about people, we want to give them something good. At Christmas, we are reminded of the precious gift God gave us, in the form of the baby Jesus, that shows His immeasurable love for us.
Are any parts of this story taken from something that happened in your own life or the lives of people you know?
Everything I write has been inspired or influenced by what I see, hear, and feel in my life and the lives of the people around me. Without that touchstone of reality, fiction would be hollow.
What genre(s) do you like to read?
I love mysteries of all flavors. I enjoy mainstream and women’s fiction too. Tell me a good story, with people I care about, and you’ve got me.
Do you write part time or full time? Do you have a job, kids, hobbies?
I write daily in one form or another. I work part time at my church as director of communications, and I have my own business, Works by Design, LLC, where I offer web design, technical advice, and support for individuals and small companies.
Where and when do you write?
I like to write in the mornings, but I end up writing throughout the day. I have a home office, but for a change of pace, I often go to a coffee shop. I also write in my camper, of course!
What do you love most about writing?
I love words, and how twenty-six letters in the right hands can transform our world, create understanding, and build relationships.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
In fiction I struggle with rabbit trails. One idea leads to another and pretty soon I’ve strayed from my core concept. With nonfiction it’s much easier to stay on track.
Share one of your most rewarding moments connected to your writing.
A reader left this review for my book Divorce Is Not Destiny, and it meant the world to me. “Absolutely fabulous for anyone going through a painful divorce. It was spiritually uplifting. I don’t know that I could have made it through without this book.”
What one piece of advice would you share with aspiring writers?
Picture your audience when you write. Who are you speaking to? Talk to them, whether you’re telling a fictional story or a true one. Will they understand what you’re saying? How will they react? This might not work for everyone, but it helps me focus.
What does Christmas mean to you?
By celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus, we are acknowledging the priceless gift God gave to us. No matter who we are, what we’ve done, or where we’ve been, our generous God has given us the hope of eternal life. And with that hope, our lives overflow with opportunities to help others.
What is one of your most cherished Christmas memories?
When my children were small, everything was new and exciting. I still love giving them good presents. That’s how I know God delights in providing for us. As He says in Matthew 7:11, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Lynn Kinnaman’s writing spans fiction and nonfiction, lighthearted to intense, covering business and the business of living. Her first publication was as a photo-journalist for a newspaper covering off-road racing. Her subsequent writing includes being a stringer for the Billings Gazette and Great Falls Tribune and a columnist for the Bozeman Chronicle. She has won writing awards from the Montana Institute of the Arts, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, served as president for the Montana Authors Coalition, and founded the Big Sky Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She was book project manager for three compilations and editor/contributing writer for several travel guides. Visit her at www.LynnKinnaman.com.