Oh Lassie! Oh Lassie! Oh Lassie! Time for another one of my kind of favorite posts: an author spotlight!
So pour yourself a hot cuppa. Pull up a chair. Put your feet up. Listen in as we get to know this author of exciting and inspiring novels for the whole family:
Tell us about yourself
I am an adventurous introvert.
Ever since I climbed up to the rafters of our barn at age four, I’ve lived high adventure: scuba diving, hiking, climbing, and even riding a retired racehorse at full gallop—bareback. I love the thrill and joy.
I also love learning—Science, History, Literature—everything! I took calculus at a community college at age 14. I planned to go to MIT and become an astronaut. Plans changed—in wonderful ways.
Instead I majored in English, married my sweetheart, and I’m in the midst of raising our six children. They are my first and most beautiful stories.
As a young adult I lived in St Petersburg, Russia and taught English to kindergartners. I learned to wash my clothes in a bathtub, filter and boil my drinking water, and love my sweet, crayon-eating, kids. I’ll never forget entering adulthood surrounded by a city and culture older than my home nation. My experiences there influenced my writing of Vasilisa.
What is it about writing you enjoy?
I love creating a solid world for the ghost-like stories that flit across my imagination. I write to see where the story will go and what the hero or heroine will do. I find that story is often the best way to explore relationships, deep ideas, and flights of fancy. I understand the world, others, and myself, better as I write.
I also love researching for my stories. For Vasilisa I studied, amongst other things, balalaika music, hopak dance, thundersnow, how animals sense the world, and the games of professional chess players.
In writing Fourth Sister, I learned about the fighting techniques of the naginata (which is like a cross between a spear and a katana and is used mostly by women), the protocol of a tea ceremony, how to make a haiku riddle, and much more.
I just finished a German based retelling of The Princess Who Never laughed, and I enjoyed learning about court fools, inventions of the renaissance, the Black Forest, and many different Grim Fairy tales.
A huge bonus of publishing is seeing the joy of my readers as they experience those worlds and explore those ideas.
What does your journey to writing look like?
I’ve always loved stories. Some of my earliest memories are laying on the carpet listening to my dad read. We explored the worlds of Narnia and Middle Earth. We cried with Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place. We voyaged with The Kon-Tiki and to Grass Beyond the Mountains.
However, I didn’t like writing until I was a teen. I was the math geek. Then one evening I started creating a story to help my little sisters go to sleep. It backfired. We stayed up for hours continuing the tale. My first novel, The King’s Trial, was born in those late, whispered nights.
I spent about twelve years of motherhood where the only writing I did was journaling. But those twelve years of journaling added up to a couple million words and when my youngest started sleeping through the night and I had energy to write, I’d already developed a writing habit.
Now I write whenever and where ever I can. God and family comes first. Then comes writing.
What does your writing process look like?
The early morning hours are my favorite and most productive writing times. On a good day I can get in a thousand words before anyone else wakes.
Story ideas come all the time–between laundry and cooking dinner, in the middle of helping a child with school, or at 2am. To capture these ideas, I keep a notebook with me at all times, from a tiny one that I tuck into my purse to the 8″x11″ one in the kitchen. I write small, I write sloppy, but I catch the ideas–and later I type them into a more readable form.
For each story I start by completing an outline which goes over the main beats of the story, character development, motives, themes, etc. Then as I write, I create a spread sheet for a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. LOL. It helps me keep track of the important elements and also gives me a quick summary of the story. When I make a change that impacts earlier elements of the story, I go back and add that detail to the spreadsheet.
ML Farb is an author of exciting and inspiring novels for the whole family.
Each novel has the delight of fantasy and the detailed research of historical fiction, with characters who are believable, complex, and flawed. Her writing is rich and poetic, with spellbinding imagery and quick pacing. She writes to inspire the reader to think deeper and be kinder.
Several of her books are Whitney Award Nominees and she has international reviews from Australia, Greece, France, and Great Britain.