Literary Spotlight: Robin Jones Gunn
Robin Jones Gunn is the bestselling, award-winning Christian author of several books aimed at teen girls, as well as Christina fiction for older women. Her works include the Christy Miller and Glenbrooke series, and the well-known Sisterchick’s books.
Q: What inspired you to write with a Christian flare?
A: Since I’m a Christian, everything I write includes that sort of “flare.” My heart is turned toward God, and that foundation very much affects everything I do. I actually started writing novels because the girls in our church youth group were reading evocative novels they checked out from the library. Some of them told me about images and thoughts that had taken root in their young impressionable heart and these girls challenged me to write the kinds of novels they wanted to read. They wanted stories that would fill them up and give them courage and hope as well as romance, of course. Those girls helped me craft the first novel in the Christy Miller series and made sure it was the sort of story they wanted to read. It took two years to write that first book. Every week, I would read what I’d written to the girls and they would tear it apart. I’d go home, work on it some more, read it to them again and they would tear it apart again. That process was the best training I could ever receive as a writer because I learned to develop thick skin as well as hear the story come together as I read out loud to the girls and watched their expressions.
Q: How has your writing blessed others?
A: I’ve been writing for more than 20 years. Over the years, I’ve received a lot of mail. I’m still amazed when I read a letter from a teen or a mom and they tell me of a life changing decision they made after reading one of my books. Many readers say they feel as if the characters become their friends. I think that’s why I’m now writing the Katie Weldon series as a follow up to the Christy Miller books. After taking Christy and her best friend Katie all the way through high school and most of college and up to Christy’s wedding, now the readers keep asking, “What happens next? What is Katie going to do?” Other readers who pick up some of my non-fiction books say that they felt encouraged and drawn closer to God’s heart. That still amazes me. And makes me very happy.
Q: What is a Sisterchick ®?
A: A Sisterchick® is a best friend. She is someone who laughs with you until you cry and cries with you until you can laugh again. A Sisterchick is a gift from God. Every woman wants – needs – to know and be known by that sort of friend. When we share with other women at the heart level, something lasting and important happens in the friendship and we know we’re not alone to face whatever is before us.
Q: How is marketing a Christian book different than marketing another genre? How has doing free book drawings on radio stations helped with sales?
The important first step seems to be to gather a group of reader friends who want to follow you and read your next book no matter what it is. Then it’s important for a writer to set up a way to continue to connect and communicate with those readers beyond just posting a website. I have a newsletter as well as a Facebook page. I offer giveaways for free books each time I send out a newsletter. On Facebook, I’ve been able to connect with readers by hosting a few “events” such as the virtual tea party. This gives me a chance to personally answer questions in real time as well as offer contests that allow readers to win free books and other goodies. I think the free books offered on the radio stations help with sales in that someone who wouldn’t know about the book or might not get to a bookstore has a chance to connect and dip into the story and see if they would like to read more books in that series.
Carlotta Holton is the author of Salem Pact and Touching The Dead, and is a member of the National Federation of Press Women and an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association.
Carlotta Holton has just received her second award for Touching the Dead from the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest. Click here to purchase the book.