An Interview from A. J. Avila

Ever wanted to know what it's like behind the wall of writing? I was recently interviewed by fellow author, A. J. Avila! She wrote four supernatural Christian novels: Rain from Heaven, Amaranth, Cherish, and Nearer the Dawn. All net profits from sales of these books are donated to charity. You can visit her website here and her books are available on Amazon. A truly wonderful and generous new author friend! Here is the repost from her blog . . . interview questions from A. J. Avila to Therese J. Roberts.

What are you books about? 

I am both a Catholic fiction and mystery novelist. I have written four books, The Story of a Sailor, The Christmas Picture, and The Amanda Case Files No. 1 and No. 2. My next novel, Act of Hope, will be available soon, followed by the third installment in The Amanda Case Files mystery series. My Catholic books are stand alone novels and focus on characters in need of redemption, while my mystery series are lighthearted and fun puzzles that keep you guessing to the end.

Where do you get the ideas for your books? 

The ideas for my Catholic books I really believe are the fruit of prayer. I find inspiration before the Blessed Sacrament and ask my guardian angel to help me write! As far as the mysteries, I grew up reading the Boxcar Children and graduated to Agatha Christie, as well as followed Nancy Drew, Hitchcock, pretty much every Hallmark movie mystery, so I have had my share of inspiration to create my own puzzles and clues!

What inspired you to write your first book?  

I have been writing stories ever since I was eight years old. My love for writing grew over the years, particularly after studying literature at Christendom College. Once I graduated, I realized there was a real need for solid Catholic fiction that should be at the same time both enjoyable and relatable. Books have always been a major part of my life, and I wanted to write stories that encouraged readers in their own lives to go after their dreams.

How do you incorporate your Catholic faith into your writing?

In my Catholic stand alone novels, I like to create likable dynamic characters, who also have a great love for their Faith. There is always a character who is a priest, and you can find characters who pray and attend Mass. These novels focus on the big questions about what truly matters in this life and how that helps you reach eternal life in the next. At the same time, the stories are meant to be easy to read and applicable to anyone.

How did you come up with the main characters for your series?

Liz Henley in The Amanda Case Files has a brother and a sister, just like myself. Her father was a detective and my father was a police officer. I wanted a character who had a strong motivation for finding answers, as Liz's father mysteriously died while investigating a case --a question that carries through all three books. So as my father was also a cop, it makes mysteries more real to me.

Do your characters seem to “take over” when you write?

Definitely! I am never positive how the story is going to end and find that my characters usually decide that for me. As you compose dialogue, it is easy to imagine your characters as real, and coming up with how they will act starts to make more sense as the story progresses. A character will develop certain habits when you write and I am often surprised how that influences the outcome.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? Why would you choose that person?

I think I would choose Sam from The Amanda Case Files series. He is the main character's brother and is always good for a laugh. He tries so hard to help Liz with her mysteries, but more often than not can get in the way of investigations. At the same time, he is very dependable and likable, and loyalty to his family comes first in his life.

Which of your books is your favorite? Why?

The Christmas Picture is by far my favorite because it touches on important themes of family, life, love, and sacrifice, as well as addresses the question of suffering. This novel also flowed on the pages very easily, and the story seemed to write itself. The main character, Lucy Harris, is given the chance to go back in time and stop an event that caused her brother's death. Jim Harris, her loving brother, is a dedicated doctor, faithful friend, and staunch Catholic. He would be the type of person who would come through for anyone anytime. I think his likeableness is what makes the story so suspenseful as the reader can't put the book down before finding out what happens to Jim.

Thank you, A.J. Avila, for the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by you!