Why I Started Writing:
I have always loved books, and since the day I learned how to write and scratched my first story on paper with a pencil in first grade, I have wanted to write for others. By the time I was ten years old, I was doing just that. My first national article, a funny Christian living kids’ story, was published at that time. I knew then that I would become a writer. Whenever a need arose that required a writer, I was among the first to volunteer. For fun, I write humor stories about our family and local activities. (Like the story about how our legislature tried to outlaw the color beige!) Most of my writing has been for Christian ministries: churches, Christian schools, pro-live groups, and more. I’ve written professionally for our newspaper as well. In addition to writing, I have also taught children’s ministries for most of my life. Many of the things I have written have been for those children.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
In the area of fiction, I would say that my writing has been influenced the most by Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, L. M. Montgomery, and Louis L’Amore. But in humor, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Barbara Johnson, Florence Littauer, Dave Barry, and Pat McManus. Each of these writers knew how to tell a story very well. The humor masters knew how to add unexpected laugh lines that usually left me in stitches. Until he died, I often corresponded with Pat McManus, who encouraged me greatly in my own attempts at writing humor. I studied his instruction book The Deer On A Bicycle to improve my own skills.
Pat McManus once wrote in a letter: “Your novel (One Step Ahead of the Devil) has an unusual quality to it. I at least have never read anything like it. Now that I’m over 80, I no longer do any writing, but if I thought I could write as well as you do, I would be tempted to give it a try.” Pat passed away a few years ago, and I miss him a lot. He was a great encourager.
In the area of Christian life writing, Chuck Swindoll, who was our pastor at Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton many years ago, has influenced me more than any other, for he spoke to my heart. I’ve studied his style of presentation.
Books I Have Written:
Before You Find Me (fiction, romantic suspense) Tara Webster is finishing her freshman year at West Texas A&M University when she receives a frantic phone call from Jesse, her little sister. “Uncle Charlie wanted your horse so he could pay off a gambler, but when Gran wouldn’t agree, he pushed her down the stairs! She’s dead!”
Tara, whose parents died two years earlier, knows she must spirit her sister and brother … and her champion horse … out of Texas while Charlie is away for the day. She remembers a ranch in Montana … and Ben, the boy on the neighboring ranch who befriended her years ago. But will Charlie be able to find them in Montana? And what about Ben? Will he still be there? Tara has only one day to rescue her family and their inheritance before Charlie returns. Will she succeed?
The Prince and the Plan (non-fiction). Golden Scroll Awards winner. Written for children ages 4-8, this book explains the plan of salvation using words and concepts easily understood by children. It is designed to help parents, grandparents and teachers at church lead children into a saving knowledge and relationship with Jesus. Also available in Spanish.
God? Where Are You? (non-fiction) Placed as a finalist in the 2022 Selah Awards. Written for teens and adults who are searching for God, this book tells the story of humanity’s separation from God and how Jesus made a way for us to be forgiven and restored.
Race To Eagle Mountain (no longer in print) Winner of 2007 Moonbeam Children’s Books Awards. This is the story of how the son and daughter of military parents stay with their grandmother in Montana while their parents are deployed overseas during wartime. Tanner, the oldest, becomes involved in a dogsled race and helps rescue a man stranded in the wilderness. The book addresses the emotions children face when their parents are deployed during wartime. It is for military families.
One Step Ahead of the Devil (available on Amazon) was written under one of my pen names, S. M. Hausen. It is the true story of how I saved my husband’s life while he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. This story made national news when it was aired by ABC’s 20/20 program in 1998.
Books I Am Working On
Legend of Thechihila Point (fiction) Lily and Connor, her fiancé, are just learning about Jesus when Connor is killed in a car accident. His last words to Lily are, “We will meet again … if you believe.” After Connor’s death, Lily returns home to live with her parents. A former boyfriend takes advantage of her emotional devastation and tries to win her heart, but when Lily finds she is expecting Connor’s baby, she snaps out of her depression. Her mother wants her to have an abortion, but Lily wants to keep the baby. To save her baby, she goes to stay with Rachel an old friend of her father in Montana. There Lily learns more about Jesus and meets a group of Christian young people. Their leader, Caleb, tells her he and his friends will help her and her baby. He stands between Lily and danger, and coaches her in her faith journey.