Novelist Lauraine Snelling, who has authored 80 books since she began her writing career in 1982, gave a keynote speech at the Sept. 25-27 annual conference of the American Christian Fiction Writers. To Everything a Season (Bethany House, Oct.) begins the Song of Blessing series, her fifth historical series set among Norwegian immigrants to North Dakota. Snelling’s work has been translated into Norwegian, Danish, and German; she has more than two million books in print.
How do you manage to be so productive?
God won’t let me go. I love to tell stories, and the stories keep coming and the contracts keep coming, so I think it’s all a God thing. And I’m a stubborn person.
How did you get started writing?
I always dreamed of writing horse books for girls, since I was a junior in high school. I had my first pony when I was five. (Snelling’s first published book, Tragedy on the Toutle , was a YA novel about a horse caught in the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption.)
Why have you focused your historical novels on Norwegian immigrants to North Dakota?
I write about North Dakota because my mother was born and raised there, and I love the Red River Valley. In every book I’ve written there’s a story behind the story. Ingeborg (Bjorklund, the matriarch who figures in many of Snelling’s historicals) is the iconic figure in this. Strong women are my forte. I love writing about strong women and women getting together. We do what needs to be done and we take care of each other, and I have seen that all through history.
Your contemporary novels focus on issues such as cancer and loss; why?
Publishers tried to discourage me from doing contemporaries, but I started writing them after my daughter died of cancer. The Healing Quilt (WaterBrook, 2002) is an evergreen. We comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted.
You started your career pounding out books on a manual typewriter. How are you at social media?
My assistant tweets me, and my Facebook family is my family. I love my people. I try to post every day, and I break all the rules. My page is very personal, and that seems to be working.
I write three books a year. Sunday Home (a contemporary novel from FaithWords) is coming next summer. This fall, there’s To Everything a Season, and another historical next spring.