Get to know you questions
1. What is your favorite food? Italian Gelato from Giolitti's in Rome, Italy.
2.Do you prefer Chocolate of Vanilla Ice Cream? If that’s the ONLY choice I have, I’d probably ask for a mix of both, but if you want to know what I REALLY like, think Raspberry cheesecake chocolate chunk. :)
3. What is one food you despise? String Beans. I’ve hated them my entire life. Even the smell of them cooking makes me gag. I can, however, tolerate them in Shepherd’s pie or Beef Stew.
4. Where did you grow up? Rexburg, Idaho
5. What was your favorite childhood picture book? I don’t remember a favorite from when I was a child, but my favorite now is I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. It makes me cry every time I read it.
6. Is there a book that changed your life? Several books have had a tremendous influence of my life. The Outstiders by S.E. Hinton put me on the writing path and the Book of Mormon continues to inspire me.
7. What is your favorite kind of music? I don’t have a specific favorite, but I enjoy religious, classical, and rock if it’s not raunchy. Mostly I like anything that “stirs” my heart or makes me want to dance.
8. Do you like to sing? Yes. I haven’t performed a lot in recent years—busy with writing—but I am a soprano soloist.
9. Do you play a musical instrument? Yes. I teach beginning piano.
10. What is the strangest food you ever ate? I ate eel while I was in China a couple of years ago. It just tasted like a typical fish.
11. Have you ever met a famous person? Yes. I know a lot of fellow authors—Josi Kilpack, Julie Wright, Heather Moore, James Dashner, Matthew Buckley, to name a few—but a few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting Michael McClean. I didn’t recognize him at first, but when I learned who he was I felt a little like I was going into shock. You see, I was doing a book signing in the Costco in Orem, Utah, and Mr. McClean bought a copy of Missing from me.
12. Tell me about a favorite event of your adulthood. The first time I held my babies. Enough said. :)
13. What countries have you visited? I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, England, Wales, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Italy. Next spring my husband and I are planning another trip to Europe, so I’ll get to add more countries to that list. :)
14. Are you a 'morning' or 'night' person? Before I got married, I was a night person, but since then I’ve had to constantly adjust my schedule to my husband and family. I don’t know what I am anymore, but I do know I write best in the late morning.15. Which do you prefer, sweet or salty foods? Sadly enough, it’s sweet. Chocolate has a pretty good hold on me. So does fruit.
16. What's your favorite color? Blue.
17. Have any celebrity crushes? Nope. I like “REAL” men, like my husband.
Hinrichsen family Vatican, Rome, Italy
Perry Canyon, Utah
Why I write
I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in the 6th grade. My English teacher had been reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders to the class, and when she reached the section where Johnny urged Ponyboy to stay “gold,” I realized I wanted to write "golden” words just as Hinton had. More than that, I wanted those words to encourage the "golden"—the goodness--in others. That remains one of my goals; but beyond that, I also love the responses I get from my readers. Some of my favorites are: “I couldn’t put it down!” and “You made me cry.” But you know, if I’m hearing from someone face-to-face, I also love the excited look in their eyes when they ask me when my next book is coming out.
Sometimes my readers ask me where I get my ideas, too. I believe ideas are everywhere, just floating around us, waiting for someone to snatch them up. For instance, my first novel, Missing, came from a man-to-child exchange I saw in a parking lot several years ago. Trapped was the union of two vivid dreams. The book I’m currently working on has bits and pieces from a few shows I saw on the History Channel.
But you know, one of the amazing things about the writing process is the uncanny way fiction melds with true life. Like the story about Tracie Dean I saw on Oprah one afternoon while I was writing Missing. She, like my lead character, had a chance encounter with a child (and adult) that unsettled her to the point that she contacted several police agencies, believing the child had been kidnapped. Finally, after having no success with the authorities, she returned to the place where she'd originally seen the girl and eventually helped the police rescue her and uncover the truth: she and another boy were sexual abuse victims. Yes, my story is fiction, but heroines like Stacie Cox really do exist.
I suppose that’s one reason I rarely get “writer’s block” in the sense of not knowing what to write, because I’m always recording my ideas as they come to me. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes get stuck in a scene or don’t quite know what events should happen next. Though I love it, writing is grueling, time-consuming work, and when those stuck times come, I usually step back from my story so I can read, brainstorm, or research—just anything that might spark an idea or “show” me what to do next.
But since I’m a writer, that’s what I do. I write. Yes, I study the craft and gain marketing skills, but in the end it’s the hunger to write--that desire to create something that inspires, thrills, or encourages readers—that drives me toward those happily ever afters.