Monday, August 06, 2007

Robin Shope on her latest, The Candidate

It's my pleasure today to welcome my friend,
Robin Shopes.

Hello Robin, welcome back for another interview. Last
year around this time I interviewed you about your last book,
The Replacement. And now this summer you have
a third book just out, The Candidate.

Hi Margo. It’s my pleasure to be here and talk about
The Candidate.

Yes, we spoke a year ago about the second book in the trilogy. And The Chase is the first book. All three of my books are co-authored with Susan Wales.

What is your favorite scripture?

That changes from time to time depending on what the Lord is speaking to me in that particular season of my life.

But the enduring passage that I return to is the root of salvation, John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. That is beautiful. God loves us. That is the driving force behind everything He has done for us. We are not motivated by anger and punishment, but by that great sacrificial love that Jesus came and laid down his life for us.

I agree. Awesome to realize the Creator of the universe knows and loves us personally. That is Good News! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My husband and I are former missionaries. Although he is in business now, Rick saves his vacation days so he can still go overseas once or twice a year for ministry. This October will be his sixth trip to India. Rick has also spent a great deal of time in Kenya and has been the first white man in many of the villages.

Wow. The Lord bless you for that.

Last semester I taught 8th grade ELA, but this year I have a new job as a high school teacher for the Denton County courts system and will continue my work with at-risk teens.

And for that!

Rick and I have two grown children, Kimberly and Matthew, and a cocker spaniel, Cooper.

What other writing have you done?
Over two hundred magazine articles, a few dozen short stories in popular collections such as the CHICKEN SOUP books, New York Best Seller Joan Wester-Andersen IN THE ARMS OF ANGELS, to name only a few.

I have an article coming out this fall in the Oct. 2007 issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY and a cozy mystery set on an island in Lake Michigan.

What led you to be an author? A very prolific author, I might add.

In fifth grade, I learned the power of words. Always too shy to speak, I found my voice in written form. I met the Lord in my Sunday school class and knew I wanted to write about people who were lost then found their way to God.

There is nothing more beautiful than a transformed soul.

As a teen I filled one journal after the other, recounting snapshots of my day, my thoughts, and my prayers. Writing stories seemed to be an evolutionary process and I always felt if I weren’t writing about Him, what was the purpose?

Professionally I began writing articles ten years ago, and then started writing short stories. Having a book published was answered prayer -and that first novel developed into a three-book series. I’ve always wanted to be God’s storyteller. Being a CBA author is a lovely bonus.

What are you reading now?

Right now I am reading a cross section of books in the mystery genre from both the CBA and ABA markets.

What is the most exciting thing God has ever done for you?

I can’t name just one because each day has its own special excitement. Of course I think of all the big events like when I met my husband, the day we wed, celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary this summer, the birth of our kids and all of their accomplishments, and seeing my books in print; all the fabulous things everyone rejoices in. Its exciting when God answers a prayer, or shows me a truth in His word, each time I can pray with someone, when I teach my at risk kids and tell them about Jesus.

But I’d like to quickly share a little true story about something that was said to me last school semester. An eighth grade boy Tom (not his real name) said, “Mrs. Shope, when I came to school this year I had no hope. I started each day with a shot of whiskey. But you gave me hope when you told me about Jesus and it made me stop drinking. Now I want to live. I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Wow. Powerful. What a blessing to know your work touched a young life like that!

How did you come up with the concept for your books?

The Candidate is the third book in the trilogy. Since the first book began in my hometown of Delavan, Wisconsin, with The Chase, I wanted to finish the series there. I knew that Barnum & Bailey Circus used to winter there and so we used some of the historical facts from that to incorporate in the book.

Also, several years ago, the lake was drained and many artifacts were found dating back hundreds of years. There are maritime laws that forbid their removal.

That's intriguing!

That gave me a great idea! I thought, how about a buried treasure that may or may not include some of what was actually found? And so the basic concept for the story was formed.

Of course, we had to think of ways to use Jill and John. Since Jill had moved back home to run the towns paper it was natural for her to investigate and report. So how about a drowning that turns out to be murder? And what if the victim turned out to be a congressional aide? And what if a congressman was rowing the spotter boat when the murder took place just feet below the lake’s surface?

Hmm, how could a murder happen underwater without anyone on the surface having a clue while they watched a sailboat race?

The ideas are enticing. Is any part of The Candidate factual?

Yes, the story is based on several true historical events that actually took place in Delavan. But the basic story is quite fictional. I also have real characters from the town in the book. Case in point is Gordon Yadon who is the town’s historian both in real life and in my story.

How closely is this story based on your life?

I can’t say it’s based on my life, but I did bring in people from my past to help tell the story. The setting is my hometown, and most of the characters are drawn on people who live there. But I tweaked them all so they might have a hard time recognizing themselves.

I, for one, want to read it! Thank you, Robin Shope.

1 comment:

Father Don said...

Thanks for sharing on my blog,,Spirit Filled Life. Your experience added to what I wrote and made me want to republish it up front. Also, I will link to your blog.
Thanks again.
Father Don