About Angie: An avid reader and incurable story-spinner, Angie Thompson also enjoys volunteering in her church’s children’s program and starting (but not always finishing) various kinds of craft projects. She currently lives in central Virginia near most of her incredible family, including two parents, six brothers, one sister, and four sisters-in-law—plus two nieces, five nephews, and several assorted pets!
When did you decide to write Bridgers, and why?
I was inspired to write Bridgers in August 2017, not long after listening to an audio drama adaptation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I really wanted to explore what this story and these characters might look like in a modern day setting, especially because I think we’ve gotten away from just how uncomfortable the parable would have made Jesus’ original audience. To us, “good Samaritan” has come to mean a helpful stranger, and we tend to forget how much hatred, fear, and distrust was attached to that name in the Jewish culture. Obviously my modern parallels can’t be exact, but I found myself convicted while writing this about how often I tend to judge people by what they look like and where they come from, rather than taking a step farther to learn what’s in their hearts.
What does your writing process look like?
In the early stages–a lot of imagining. A lot of running through different scenes and conversations in my head and trying to gauge whether there’s enough for a full-fledged story. In the later stages, a lot of forcing myself to stop talking in my head and get words down on paper! (Okay, on screen, since I do most of my writing on my computer, but that just sounds odd.) I don’t usually work with an outline, but I’m learning that I have to write the story in order, at least for the first draft. If I let myself write the parts I’m most excited about first, it becomes exponentially harder to go back and write the rest, so I’ve learned to use those favorite scenes as a sort of carrot. As in, “You want to write that scene? Get moving and write the things that lead up to it, then!”
What was the hardest part of writing Bridgers?
Finding and keeping the right balance with DaVonte’s character was probably my biggest challenge for this book. I wanted to make him a believable part of his environment without getting too deep into too many uncomfortable issues, which meant walking a fine line between what was going on around him and what he was actually involved in. Also, I had to be careful to keep his perspective on God within reasonable bounds for the little knowledge he had and not to make him act and think like someone who had been raised in a Christian home their whole life (aka, me).
Which of your characters is most like you? Do you write yourself into a book?
Of the characters in Bridgers, definitely Levi! I’m not *quite* that shy or fearful, but I definitely relate to him on a lot of levels. I also gravitate toward trying to work out my salvation in my own strength (or weakness), and Pastor Allison’s advice on that subject came directly from lessons God has been and is continuing to teach me.
As a rule, yes, I definitely write myself into books! Usually it’s not through a character who’s exactly like me (in age, family, status, etc.), but a lot of my thoughts, attitudes, and struggles end up playing into my characters’ lives. That said, I also love to write characters that are people I’m not but want to be or people I’d like to be friends with in real life.
Favorite book? Has reading influenced your writing?
Ah, the favorite book question–the bane of a reader’s existence… 😉 I have so many favorites it’s ridiculously hard to pick! Growing up, I adored Louisa May Alcott and Five Little Peppers (still do), so I probably have to go with one of them.
And yes, I would say that my reading has definitely influenced my writing. I was a very advanced reader from an early age (I first read Little Women at age five), but my mom and I had a hard time finding newer books that were both interesting and appropriate for an advanced young reader. A big part of my goal as an author is to write the stories I wanted to read growing up–not necessarily geared toward children but free of the kind of inappropriate content that’s so rampant in modern fiction.
What advice would you give other writers considering indie publishing?
Well, I’m only a little more than a year in, so I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but here’s my advice.
1) Do your research. There’s a gold mine of information out there, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. Research saved me a lot of mistakes upfront that I would otherwise have made!
2) Be patient. The publishing process (even indie publishing) takes longer than you think, but it’s worth it to take your time and get things right.
3) Go for it! Take your time and do your research, but don’t let yourself get bogged down with everyone’s opinions and advice. Get enough information that you feel comfortable with the direction you’re heading, then go do it!
Thanks so much, Angie, for your time! It’s exciting to feature you here!
Were you an early reader? Do you like to write?