Monday, April 24, 2017

Random Doodles 4/25/2017

I was traveling last week and my knitting was going almost as fast as we were.

I've been so proud of myself for this project. I ordered a batch of custom dyed yarn from my friend Merry Elizabeth at The Writer Knits Etsy Shop, found a pattern, consulted with my housemate/best friend/big sister about how to purl, and merrily went along making it. It's a Daisy stitch. I tried to make a chart for it and that was a complete failure, so I just photocopied the pattern out of the knitting recipe book and carried that around. It's a scarf; long and thin, and I have no idea how long it will end up being. It's about the yummiest thing I've made, and that's including the autumnal jewel tone craft spun silky yarn with sequins that I knitted into a scarf for my housemate. *swooning*

I've not been very motivated to write this week. Knowing April was going to be super crazy busy, I set my Camp NaNo goal really low, at 6,000 words. I had that done halfway through the month. After my book came in the mail, I haven't really done any writing. Just enough to make it by for my Write Everyday For A Year challenge. More than a hundred words a day, anyway. It's mostly been blog posts and poetry.

I wrote a poem in ten minutes on Friday night, to humor my friend Phoenix (Phoenix's Facebook Page) who wanted a word war. I don't even know exactly what to make of the poem. It's odd and I think I need to revise it. I was tired.

I planted peas last week, and found a frog, and weeded ten feet of a twenty-eight foot garden bed that didn't get planted last years so is all full of grass and weeds and things. I'm going to plant it this year so the grass and weeds and things need to go.

I've got my glass globe up in my apple tree, and am continuing on my rock wall down there in my corner. The bulbs I dug up from the garden next door last summer before the house was sold, took, and are sprouting. So are my irises. The lilacs out front got badly crunched by the heavy snow this winter and need to be cut back and thinned out.

I drew the other day too. It's been a while since I've done that.

All in all, as much as I love words and writing, I've not done a lot else in the past year, and I'm enjoying a bit of a break. I've been doodling on some poetry and writing some non-fiction pieces, as well as reading a lot - I should do some book review posts, I think.

(PS: When I dated the title of the post, I almost wrote 2015 instead of 2017. Welp.)

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spinner of Secrets, Update Nine

So, I got my proof copy in the mail on Saturday.

 Saturday, April 15th:
Excited? Maybe a tiny little bit.
I TOTALLY did not shriek loudly half a dozen times today.
Also I broke the rules and shrieked in the library. (It was just me and my librarian, Julia, who was excited too, so it was okay. At least, she didn't tell me to SHHHHH.)
I ran away this morning to go write at the library for two reasons: one, because the current story I'm working on works much better if I hand write first and then type in into the computer, and two, because today was Saturday; that meant it was the last chance for my proof copy of my book to come in the mail before Monday. I could handle waiting until Monday, but waiting to see if I needed to wait until Monday, that was hard. So I went to the library and wrote for an hour or so, then walked home again, checked the mailbox, got my book, ran upstairs to show Hannah, then went back down to the library to show Julia, because I was too excited to sit still.
I proceeded to continue being very excited up until this point, at which it is 8:00pm and I am finally starting to settle down and I am going to go watch a movie.
But people.
I have a book.
I have a real, honest to God, print copy of my book.
*distant shrieking*

It's been four days and I feel like it's been eight weeks, it's been so much happening in such a short period of time.

And of course, Elli needed to be in the picture.

It's spring, have a happy rabbit. I need some tea.


Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spinner of Secrets Available for Pre-Order!

My release date is May 14th, 2017! I'm over the moon excited, as you can probably imagine.

This story has been nearly two years in the making and I'm so excited to have it coming together so well.

It will be available in paperback as well as on Amazon Kindle. If you pre-order it now, you'll get the e-book delivered to you on or around the 14th of May, depending on where in the world you are.

Amazon Kindle Pre-Order


PS: I definitely have not made lots of loud squealing noises that spooked my rabbit recently... Absolutely not.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spinner of Secrets Cover!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Here it is, the cover for Spinner of Secrets!

Where will the journey for love take you? Will it be worth the fight?
 Letta is a peasant girl, whose father was outlawed and killed when she was small. Though her name means truthful one, she finds herself submitting to her step-father's will, and complying with his lies and trickery.
 Prince Kyle is her reluctant husband. His mind is focused on one thing: avenging the murder of his childhood sweetheart.
 They must learn to trust each other when a strange little man forces them to fight for what is important to them, in a desperate race to save their child's life.

So, what happens next? 

Well, I will be assembling a book launch team to help me spread the word about my book over the next two months. My release date is June 13th, 2017. If you're interested, please let me know, either in an email to writer.annie.t @, or in a comment here, or in a message on my Facebook page.

Of course, follow my Facebook page for updates, and subscribe to my blog, over there in the right hand tool bar. 

Now, if you'll excuse me... I have to go shriek into my pillow.


Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spinner of Secrets Cover Reveal Party!


I feel like this is a great way to do an event. I will probably be in my pajamas all day long. At least my yoga pants and hoodie. While I like to get dressed up, sometimes a girl just wants to flop. I anticipate going through at least two pots of tea today.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Spinner of Secrets Cover Reveal Party!

The party is tomorrow! 

Bob was so helpful in working with my cover designer. He carried all my photos and information around. Bob is a USB flashdrive that my parents got me a couple years ago and Dad somewhat regretted. I have a Minion. 

Anyway, if you haven't already, head over to my Facebook page and join my Cover Reveal Party. I'd love to have you!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spinner of Secrets Cover Reveal Party!

Two days to the party! I'm so excited for this! (And also quite nervous because this is new and I have never done it before, so hopefully it works smoothly!) 

Hop over to my Facebook page to sign up and get notified about the party!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spinner of Secrets Cover Reveal Party!

I don't want you all to miss out on the fun stuff I have planned for Sunday! Besides, while I am a part time introvert, a party isn't that much fun without some company. Elli doesn't have a Facebook account, so this is one instance in which she can't help out.

Spinner of Secrets Update Nine and Cover Reveal Party!

Hey people! I'm late again, but that's because I was out all day Monday... and all day Tuesday... And now it's Wednesday and I'm finally sitting down to do this post.

It's time to reveal the final cover for Spinner of Secrets! I'll be hosting a Facebook party on Sunday, April 9th. The event runs from 10am to 8pm (EDT, which means Eastern Daylight Time. Yes, I had to look it up) and there will be a couple giveaways during the day, plus another at the end of the whole party.

Hop on over to my Facebook page, give me a thumbs up if you want, and mark that you're attending the event so that you'll get notifications!

Here's the link for the event:

Facebook Cover Reveal Event

(Facebook is not affiliated or associated with this event. Hosted by Annie Louise Twitchell on Facebook.)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Character Interview with Sam Bridge

This was supposed to be posted on Monday but I was sick over the weekend, which completely threw off all my mental schedules. 

Today I'm interviewing one of my friend Sam's characters. I actually got to beta read her WIP, Moon Angel, that Selene is from. I really loved it and am looking forward to when it's available. 


Hello, my name is Selene. I am 19-years-old and have spent the last year, trying to find my feet, after having recently left home and gone off to explore the world on my own. I love the outdoors and the night sky, and would classify myself as an introvert.

ALT: What is your full name?
SC: Selene Carter

ALT: When were you born?
SC: September 15th in the Spring. (Southern Hemisphere). Laji (Elviran Moon cycle).

ALT: What was/is your relationship with your father? With your mother?
SC: I never really knew my birth mother and father as I was separated from them at a young age. My adoptive father was wonderful and my relationship with him was good, but something happened about a year ago and we stopped talking.

ALT: Siblings?
SC: I was an only child, so no siblings. My adoptive father didn’t have any other kids either.  

ALT: Did you graduate high school? College? Beyond?
SC: I was homeschooled, so never went to high school. I guess I would have liked to go to college and study, but my adoptive father wanted me to go into the family business.

ALT: What do you most value in your friends?
SC: Being able to be myself around them. They’re the ones who know everything about me and I can relax when I am around them. I love the way they help me to think on the happy times, and not dwell on the bad.

ALT: What do you do for a living?
SC: I am unemployed currently, but am looking for work. I used to work in the intelligence sector, but had a disagreement with some of the management and had to leave quickly.

ALT: What's your strongest sense? Sight, hearing, smelling, etc?
SC: My strongest sense is my sight, I’d say. I can see in the dark pretty well too.

ALT: What do you wish your special talent was?
SC: If we were talking about super powers? I think the ability to read minds would be useful. Being able to know what people are thinking would make life a lot easier.

ALT: What are you most proud of in your life?
SC: I walked away from a toxic situation in my life. I knew it was the right thing to do and I am proud of myself for having the courage to do it. I don’t know how my life would look right now if I had stayed where I was.

ALT: What are you most afraid of?
SC: That the mistakes I’ve made in the past will catch up with me and hurt those I love.

ALT: What's the worst thing you've ever done? Why?
SC: I irreparably hurt a lot of people because the other people in my life made me think I was doing the right thing.

ALT: What are you like when you stay awake all night?
SC: I’m quite a night owl actually. Most of the time, staying up in the night air actually refreshes me and gives me more energy the next day.

ALT: What type of clothing are you most comfortable with?
SC: A comfortable t-shirt and pair of loose pants or shorts are fine. I am not too fussy when it comes to clothes, although I love hoodies! And sneakers. And if it’s in black, then that’s even better.

ALT: What are your hobbies and interests?
SC: I like to exercise. I’m a bit of an exercise junkie really. I love swimming. I find the motion of it very therapeutic and relaxing. I really love to travel too. I also like to fly.

ALT: Fly? Like in an airplane?
SC: Yeah… let’s go with that.

ALT: Biggest trauma?
SC: When I was sixteen, I lost my one of my best friends in a bombing. I was almost killed myself and it took a long time to recover from.

ALT: How do you react in stressful situations?
SC: I’m normally very calm and rational. If it was fight or flight response, I think I’m usually a fighter.

ALT: Best way to cheer you up?
SC: Time with my close friends. Blankets and hugs always work too. When my best friend and I used to live close to each other, we would do girly stuff like painting nails or just watch a movie together to cheer each other up.

ALT: When and where were you happiest?
SC: In a forest somewhere, lying under a big tree, or even better- in the tree, especially at night. I find forests to be very tranquil places and they allow me to think.

ALT: Where would you most like to live?
SC: Ideally, I would love to live in the country somewhere. Somewhere quiet and not too busy, but not too far away from the city either.

ALT: What parts of loving come easily to you? What comes hard?  
SC: Really loving someone doesn’t happen too often for me. I find it hard to trust others, as I have been hurt many times, and with that comes sharing parts of myself with others. I am a good listener and I think other people find it easy to open up with me, but I find it hard to return the favour. I still try to see the good in people, however. 

All characters owned by their respective authors.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spinner of Secrets, Update Eight

Real quick update today, I'm super busy, but here's my weekly post!


I have a new tablet, the first piece of tech I've bought brand new, and I managed to get my stuff to sync properly so I have my stuff like I had before. It will be a little interesting adjusting to the new keyboard, but I'll have it figured out soon.

Mom and I went to a book sale this weekend, and I ordered some books online. I wound up with a big bag of books, three VHS movies, two DVD movies, an audiobook, two particular books I really wanted that I ordered on Ebay, and four Indie ebooks from Amazon.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spinner of Secrets, Update Seven


*heavy breathing*

Spinner of Secrets is ready for the next steps. Professional proofreading, then back to me for formatting, and my friend Hannah has offered to help with the cover design.

It was so hard getting here.

I had to learn to let go of so much. My insecurities, my feelings of inadequacy, my pride, my disbelief in myself. I desperately wanted to get this story published and to do that, I had to learn to be brave.

I shared a poem several weeks back, called Jump.


It was so important for me. I had to learn to stand on my own two feet and I had to learn to decide, this is good.

Not good enough.

Not just okay.

Not that will do.


I don't really care if other people don't think it's good. I didn't write this one for other people. I wrote it for me. I wrote it to tell a story and in telling the story, I learned my own.

And while I want this story to connect with other people and for other people to enjoy it as much as I do, I'm not sure if that's the most important thing for this book. There will be other books. It's inevitable. I'm as likely to stop telling stories as I am to stop liking rainy days and good books. But this book, this journey, has been about me growing up, about me learning myself, about me connecting with myself.

But there is this aching
inside me, right behind my ribs, just below my heart,
that begs me to go and jump off a cliff and
never mind whether people accept me or not.
Never mind whether they like me or not.

Never mind them at all.
(Ache, unpublished)

So in a way, yes, I am very selfish and jealous about this book. And in another way, I'm not. It's grown up just like me. And I'm learning to let it fly on its own. It may crash, it may fall. That's okay. Things do that. 

I learned to ride my bicycle without training wheels, when I was about six. We were at my friend's house, riding our bikes around in front of the log house and the mobile home. My bike was small, pink, and very girly. I loved it. It looked a lot like this one: 

My best friend and his brother decided it was high time I was a big girl. I was happily riding around and they called me to a halt in front of the front steps, dashed inside, came out with a couple of wrenches, and took my training wheels off. Looking back, I can see how it would be comical to have a six year old and an eight year old, expertly wielding wrenches and taking things apart, but at the time I was just a bit concerned. I was afraid I'd fall down without my training wheels, but they said I needed to try it. 

So I tried it. I probably fell down, but I don't remember it. And I didn't fall down much. The glorious crashes I've had came much later. 

The interesting thing is that I wasn't upset with them, I wasn't angry, I wasn't even especially scared. I was nervous. I really wanted to get it right and ride my bike without the training wheels. I wanted to make my friend proud of me. I wasn't afraid of getting bullied or teased if I failed, not from him anyway. Maybe from his brother. While I knew I could have Daddy put the wheels on again when I got home, I didn't really want him to. For one thing, I thought that the boys would take them off again next time I was up there, and they probably would have. For another, I didn't really want them on again. I wanted to do it myself. I might fall down, I might crash. But that was okay. I didn't care. Skinned knees were nothing compared to the feeling of wobbling around the driveway on my own, without anyone holding me up. 

While I'm not a risk-taker, necessarily, I have always liking surprising people, surprising myself, and trying new things. I didn't bat an eyelash at jumping off the cliff when I was five - the cliff being a sand hill, the jump being two feet before you touched down again and just slid down the hill. Climbing trees only failed because I wasn't coordinated to keep my balance very well. Airsoft, letting the boys throw me into the pond, sword-fighting and getting good enough to beat my brothers and my best friend... I loved it. I loved seeing what I could do. Testing limits. Where I could go. How much could I do. What sort of thing happened if I tried it a little differently. The absolute best way to get me to do something was to tell me I couldn't. (Or tell me to get out of the way and let the boys handle it.)

Somewhere along the way, I got scared of that. I got scared of this desire in myself to try something new. 

And now I'm getting it back again. 

I've got a few cliffs to jump off, I think.

Spinner of Secrets is approximately 23,800 words - 3,000 or more added since I began this last set of edits. 

And look! My friend Kirsi made pretty art for me! 

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Artwork by Kirsi Grace
Forest photo by Annie Louise Twitchell
Bicycle photo by Unknown

Monday, March 6, 2017

This Writing Addiction

I'm addicted to stories and words.

I can't help it. It's a part of me and it always has been. I have made stories since I could talk. So much of my life has been centered around stories, either mine or someone else's. I inhale air and exhale words. 

Even if no one reads them, I will still be making stories. Even if I never write them down, even if I never tell a word, even if they exist only and solely in my mind, I will still be making stories. It's in my blood. It is my blood. From a non-scientific view, my DNA is a double helix of sentences and paragraphs.

I will teach them to have hope and I will teach them the meaning of pain and I will show them the stars as if they could shake hands with them. I will teach them to believe in themselves and to know that they are beautiful. I will teach them to dream and to believe in impossible things. I will teach them to be passionate for what they believe in and I will teach them to find peace in an ending that is not what they have hoped for.

And at the same time I will teach myself that.

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Monday, February 27, 2017

Character Interview with Petra Grace

Hey people! I'm really excited to be interviewing one of my friend Petra's characters. I hope you enjoy this one, I sure did!

Petra is a chocolate-loving, day-dreaming, Pinterest-browsing writer. She’s a Christian, who’s currently finishing up her high-school diploma through an online school. She enjoys friends, photography, music, academics, running, and anything that has to do with the written word. She’s loved to read and write, from the age that she could hold a book or a pen in her hands… And she’s been avidly pursuing both ever since. You can find her on her scribbling down things on her blog, snapping photos with her camera, or obsessively scrolling through Pinterest.

Saylor Philips is one of the millions of young women affected by the devastation of WWI. She was raised alongside her brother by her Aunt, after her father died and her mother was hospitalized for clinical depression and the PTSD that the war gave her. She had her first anxiety attack when her mother received the telegram with the news that her father was dead. This was when she was 5. For 10 years after that, she struggled needlessly with severe anxiety, depression, and the side effects of growing up without her parents. When she was 14 years old, William Godfrey walked into her life and things began to change. She wasn’t bullied as severely at the village school anymore and she found out what it felt like to have a real friend. Fast forward to present day (the beginning stages of WWII)… Saylor’s mental health hasn’t gotten better with time, but she’s matured into a beautiful 18 year old. She’s now living at an undercover school, posed as a nurse for the war effort. In the opening pages of the book, she receives a telegram telling her that William is missing in action. With her graduation and promotion to a spy on the front lines, she manages to arrange for her first mission to be in Amsterdam - where William was last seen. In the meantime, she loves to laugh with her roommate, take walks in the countryside of England, and she adores linguistics.

ALT: What is your full name?

SP: Saylor Philips. Funny story, actually, my mum never gave me a middle name. She always loved my first name, but after she and my dad racked their brains for weeks, they couldn’t think of a second name that sounded right with the first and last ones all put together. So, I’m just Saylor Philips.

ALT: Are you married? In a relationship?

SP: Oh, heavens, no. Well, I’m not married. The relationship bit is a little bit complicated. My boyfriend - who also happens to be my best friend - is missing in action at the moment. I hope to find him very soon and the plan is for us to be married when the war comes to an end. Perhaps when I next see him, I can convince him that we should be married before the end of the war… The war has made me realize one thing: never take a single second together for granted. Live as though it might be your last moment together.

ALT: What was/is your relationship with your father?

SP: My relationship with my father came to an abrupt halt when I was five years old. My mum and I were in the kitchen making biscuits when the telegram arrived with the news of his death.

ALT: With your mother?

SP: The last time that my mum was herself were in the moments that we were making biscuits together, before she knew about my father. She shut down after that and was hospitalized, leaving my Aunt Emily to raise us and provide funds to take care of my mother.

ALT: Siblings?

SP: I have one younger sibling, James. I would have had many more, but the war took my parents and their wishes to have a house full of children never came true. James and I have always got on quite nicely.

ALT: How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period of time?

SP: I fall in love at the pace of a slug. Not the nicest image, I know, but it’s true. Because of what happened with my parents and the experience of being severely bullied for several years has made me quite cynical. It takes me months to actually learn to trust someone and years for me fall in love.

ALT: What parts of loving come easily to you? What comes hard?

SP: The elated feelings of a romance come quite easily. I think they do to everyone, to be completely honest. But love isn’t a feeling - it’s a choice. And I’ve had to learn that. I had to learn to forgive my mother and choose to keep loving her, even though I didn’t hear from her once after my father died. I had to choose to keep loving William when he was being frustrating about my mental health. It’s a choice - not a feeling. The feeling comes easily, the choice is nearly impossible.

ALT: If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?

SP: 1. That my parents were both alive and well. 2. That William was here by my side, instead of missing. 3. That the war would come to an abrupt end right this moment.

ALT: When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? Second?

SP: Well, with a bit of giggling and blushing, I can admit that if William is in the room, he’s usually the only thing I notice. If he’s not there, I’ll notice what atmosphere the room has. Secondly, I’ll notice how many people are in that room.

ALT: When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice first about you?

SP: I expect that it’s my hair, to be completely honest. I have the curliest, darkest hair that you’d ever see.

ALT: Did you turn out the way you expected you would? The way your parents expected?

SP: Short answer: No way. Long answer: The war happened, so I think most people didn’t turn out how one was expected to.

ALT: What really moves you, touches you to the soul?

SP: Children. They’re tiny little humans, with the brain power of a fighter jet. They’re quite brilliant really and they’re as loyal as they come.

ALT: What's the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn't/couldn't/wouldn't?

SP: I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Before my father died, my mother was the strongest woman I knew and she was a heck of a good mother. After my father died, my aunt took on the role of mother and she is the strongest woman I know. I hope to be a mother in the future, after this cruel war is over.

ALT: What do you consider to be your special talent?

SP: Linguistics, without a shadow of a doubt. I remember the first Latin conjugation that I ever learned. Languages have stuck with me ever since.

ALT: What are you most proud of in your life?

SP: Definitely my aunt and my brother. But especially my aunt. She’s been the silent strength that’s held this family together. She worked day and night shifts when I was in primary school, just to pay tuition and my mother’s hospital bills. She’s doing it all over again with James now.

ALT: Did you like school? Your teachers? Schoolmates?

SP: Yes and no. I hated school with every fiber in my body. My schoolmates would bully the living daylights out of me. The stabbed me with their words every single day and one time the physical bullying got so bad that my shoulder was dislocated for an entire week. Thankfully, that was the week that William entered the picture and he’s the son of a doctor, so he was able to fix my shoulder. My teachers turned a blind eye entirely to the bullying. I’ve often wondered if the village school was being payed by the government to be an experimental school - one of those schools that allow everything from the students and the teachers aren’t allowed to step in. On the other hand, I loved academics. I always have and I always will.

ALT: Did you graduate high school? College? Beyond?

SP: In England, we do things a bit differently. Especially during the war. I got through primary school, secondary school, and my aunt was going to take on another job to put me through college when an official from undercover school visited and offered to take me on because of my linguistic abilities. I’m just weeks away from graduation and promotion to a mission on the battle front.

ALT: What do you do for a living?

SP: Once I graduate, I’ll be able to send home a check to my aunt. It won’t be much at first, as they virtually payed for my entire program. They haven’t given me an official title yet, so I’m not sure what my position is.

ALT: Have you traveled? Where? When? Why?

SP: I haven’t ever traveled before, aside from going to London a few times. The first time was with my parents, when my little brother was born. My grandmother lives in London and she wanted James to be born near her home. My parents complied and we went to London for my mother to give birth. The second time was with Aunt Emily for a job interview. The headquarters of the company she was applying for was in London and that was the branch that they interviewed people at. She dropped James and me off at our grandmother’s house and went for the interview. The most recent trip was after I was enrolled in this program. I needed to go to a formal dress fitting and it just happened to be in London. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be traveling to Amsterdam to search for William and begin my first mission as a graduate.

All character owned by the author. Used with permission.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Character Interview with Abigayle Claire

Abigayle has been inspired to write since she could spell her own name. Her passion wasn’t completing the stories (she did that twice and decided it wasn’t for her), it was jotting down the ideas.

But in 2015, a story grabbed her—one she had to finish. Inspired by a crazy dream in a genre she no longer read, Abigayle set off on a journey to write her first novel and she hasn’t looked back since.

Writing is her ministry, freelance editing her job, and reading her pastime—all of which prove that God really does know what He’s doing when He inspires a 6-year-old with a pencil in her left hand.

Abi on Facebook: Abi The Author
Twitter: Abi The Author
Goodreads: Abi The Author
Pinterest: Abi The Author
Youtube: Abigayle Claire


Josiah Martin is a Christian farmer in the heart of Kansas. When he’s not struggling with his INFJ passion to introduce the world to God’s redeeming love, he can be found out of doors or eating homecooked food. He’s looking forward to supporting his beautiful fiancĂ© and their family with his newly acquired job as a commercial corn farmer.


ALT: What was/is your relationship with your father?

JM: We are very different. He tells me that I’m a lot like Mom—I feel more than he does. That alone brings us to many differences of opinion. But because we respect each other, we still maintain a healthy relationship and aren’t afraid to hash out our differences.

ALT: Were you overprotected as a child?

JM: We were very protected, yes, but it did us more good than harm. We don’t watch much television or interact personally with many non-Christians. But when we do, it’s not complete culture shock. I think we’ve reached a fairly healthy balance, although Mom and Dad might have approached some of it better.

ALT: In your relationship with others, how do you interact differently with family than with friends? Why?

JM: Um … I don’t know that there’s a big difference. I’m an extroverted introvert. So once you get to know me, it’s pretty much the same all around.

ALT: How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period of time?

JM: Hehe … Dad thinks I fall easy, but I disagree. It’s so gradual I don’t even realize it until it’s happened. Then the rest of time is spent with me getting the courage to approach the girl.

ALT: What do you most value in your friends?

JM: Loyalty. They don’t have to tell me all their secrets or spend all of their time with me, but if we’re going to be friends, we’re going to be friends. Don’t flake out on me or there’s no going back.

ALT: How do you decide if you can trust someone? Experience with others? With this person? First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?

JM: My first inclination is to see the good in people, but I try to approach even a trivial relationship prayerfully and with common sense. Strangers are exciting challenges to overcome. But I have to see them make decisions and learn their track record before I know how trustworthy they are.

ALT: When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? Second?

JM: First, how many people I know. I’m going to hang with family and friends for the most part. Second, who’s hurting. I’m going to approach the people that look like they need someone to listen next.

ALT: Did you turn out the way you expected you would? The way your parents expected?

JM: I think Dad and I both expected me to outgrow some of my tenderheartedness. It’s not a bad thing, but being so sensitive can wear me down. I have several sisters with a manlier heart than me. Mom expected I’d like vegetables by now.

ALT: What really moves you, touches you to the soul?

JM: Pain. I’m drawn to people who are lost or hurting. I have to fix that if I can.

ALT: What's the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn't/couldn't/wouldn't?

JM: Meet my grandparents. My mom’s parents died when I was just a few years old, so I don’t remember them. Dad’s parents are still living, I think, but I’ve never met them.

ALT: What's the worst thing you've ever done? Why?

JM: Probably shove my older sister Belinda off the hayloft, because I don’t usually get physical when I’m angry and knew how wrong it was to intentionally hurt a girl and did it anyway. She landed in loose hay but narrowly missed the pitchfork. Yelling at my dad was also not okay.

ALT: What are you most afraid of?

JM: Death. Not for myself, really. But seeing something innocent die or someone who didn’t know God yet pass away makes me feel guilty, like I should have tried harder to make a difference while they were alive.

ALT: What type of clothing are you most comfortable with?

JM: Jeans and a plaid button-up shirt.

ALT: What does your handwriting look like?

JM: I quit cursive as soon as Mom let me. My print is straight and tall. None of the letters touch.

ALT: How do you react in stressful situations?

JM: I have to be able to sit down and think of the best solution or blow off steam

ALT: How imaginative are you?

JM: Not very. Things have to make sense in a logical, black & white manner. I like trying to find the most economical solutions to life, though.

ALT: What's your sense of humor?

JM: Sneaky and teasing.

ALT: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

JM: Raising a family in the heart of America where I can support them off my farming, supported by the woman I love. That or Ginger’s pumpkin chiffon pies.

ALT: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

JM: Humility. You have to have enough ego and confidence to keep people from walking all over you.

ALT: On what occasion would you lie?

JM: I would withhold information if I thought it would benefit people I love. I don’t think I would ever lie outright (I’m good at deflecting these things) unless it would save a life.

ALT: What is your greatest regret?

JM: Not seeing through a distant friend of mine sooner. Could have saved a lot of trouble and heartache for several people I know.

ALT: How would you, if you could, choose to die?

JM: Peacefully at home in old age and happiness.

ALT: Best way to cheer you up?

JM: Feed me, ask me what’s wrong so I can vent without feeling like I’m bothering you.

ALT: Best way to annoy you?

JM: Being petty, giving me a task I can’t succeed at, not trusting me, infringing upon my rights, dismissing my values. … That’s a pretty long list.

ALT: Most embarrassing thing that's happened to you?

JM: Throwing up while singing Silent Night in kids’ choir. I ruined Lydia Long’s curly hairdo.

All characters owned by the author. Used with permission.