Tricia is the author of 25 books, including historical and contemporary fiction as well as nonfiction. She has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Guideposts for Kids, Focus on the Family, Christian Parenting Today, Today’s Christian Woman and HomeLife Magazine. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from American Christian Fiction Writers, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award in 2005.
She also speaks and conducts workshops for teens around the nation, and offers programs to assist teens and teen moms. Tricia is a frequent workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Convention, and the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana.
Her latest project is a book with Kristin Andersen, whose compelling story of attempted suicided and God’s grace is told in the book, Life, In Spite of Me.
I first thought about writing in 1993. A friend from church, Cindy Martinusen told me about her aspirations to become a novelist. My first thought was . . . Real people do that? She invited me to attend Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference with her. I was new as new can be. I was also 22-years-old and pregnant with my third child, but I learned enough at that conference to start off on the right track. For many years I wrote parenting articles, but I really wanted to get a book published. I tried and tried and although it became very close I didn’t get a contract. I was so disappointed. I questioned God … how come I couldn’t get published? After all, my books would glorify Him. It was during that time when I started attending the Experiencing God Bible Study. The key phrase that stuck with me was, “See what God is doing and join Him.” God was doing a lot … just not in the writing realm. So I started following God. I helped start a Crisis Pregnancy Center and mentoring teen moms, and I discovered I loved it. I did a little writing, and a lot of serving. Yet it was amazing what came out of that. I started speaking, and I got a contract for Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Teen Mom. Then, after the center was up and going I got a novel contract! I truly believe that since I was willing to follow God He gave me the desires of my heart.
2) Interestingly, you write across many genres, from books about parenting, to collaborative books with celebrities, to novels. Is there a running theme across your work?
There is a running theme … liberation. In my WWII novels the liberation is real. They are freed from the Nazis. For my parenting books, hopefully my readers will be liberated by what the “perfect” parent looks like. In each book I write I hope the reader puts it down with a new sense of freedom, hope and inspiration.
God has his hand in that! I was at a publisher’s brunch when I sat down next to a woman named Margaret McSweeney. We were introducing ourselves and I was telling her about my writing, and she turned to me, eyes wide: “I feel the Holy Spirit tapping my shoulder. I think you’re supposed to write a book about a young woman named Kristen Anderson.” I’d never heard of Kristen at that time, but Margaret soon introduced us. As soon as I heard Kristen’s story I knew I wanted to write it.
4) You seem to have a special place in your heart for teens, especially young teen mothers. How did God birth this in your heart?
This was birthed in my heart because I was a teen mom. I had my oldest son Cory when I was 17. Women from my mom’s church gathered around me and showed me love. Because of their love I rededicated my life to Christ. I want to offer the same type of hope and love to teen moms.
5) If you could give one piece of advice to someone who feels the call to write for God, what would that be?
Attend a writer’s conference. God will connect you will the most amazing people and you’ll also get the tools to write well. After all, if we’re going to write for God we need to do it to the best of our ability!