Shondra: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start as an author.
Natalie: I have been married to my husband, Gregory, for 12 years. We have three children: Jarrett (9), Brayden (8) and Kyla (4). I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost a decade (what?!?). I enjoy reading, writing, playing volleyball, spending time with my family and friends, and attending a moms group each week.
I started writing back in 2009 because I was really struggling with some hard times in my life and needed an outlet. I experienced two miscarriages back-to-back and then my son became very ill with a rare disease. I felt like all I was doing was taking care of people and grieving. I had shared with my husband a couple times that I would love to write a book and he saw this as a great time to encourage me to start writing.
Shondra: What is a typical day in the life of Natalie Replogle like?
Natalie: First of all, I’m not a morning person. Especially when my children wake me up early with their dragon breath asking for breakfast. I then pray to prepare my heart for the day and then pick a verse to meditate on for the day. After the whirlwind of getting my boys off to school, I get my daughter ready and off to preschool. Each morning is different with housework and errands, but during the afternoons, over my daughter’s rest time, I try to catch up with writing, emails, promoting books or whatever is pressing that day. After the boys get home from school we play, work on homework and then it’s time to start dinner. Most evenings we have family time and then bedtime routine. My free time in the evening depends on if I’m in the middle of writing a book or not. If I don’t write, I will either read a book, watch some television (favorite shows or sports) and just hang out with my husband…but I never do housework after 8:00. I think it’s what keeps me sane.
Shondra: Let’s talk about your writing process. What does that look like for you? Do you have a favorite writing snack, food or beverage? Do you listen to music while you write or do you need absolute silence? Do you have to lock yourself in a room away from your family, or do you write in the midst of your everyday chaos (I’m just guessing there is chaos…I have kids too!)?
Natalie: In a perfect world I would lock myself in my bedroom with complete silence and a McDonalds coke on tap. However, usually I have to write at the kitchen table or many times you will find me with a pad of paper scribbling away as I sit outside watching my kids ride bikes or jump on the trampoline, or even waiting in the pick-up line at school. I try to use every spare moment I have.
Shondra: As a busy mother and wife, how do you make time to write? Is it extremely difficult to juggle your job and family/personal commitments with your desire to write?
Natalie: It is very difficult and I have to work at keeping that balance each day. When I first started writing it was just a hobby, now it is something more. It can be hard at times to pursue my dreams while keeping my priorities in order, so I try very hard to only write during my free time. Those windows for me to write are when the kids are gone (once every other week I have an empty house for the day and declare it a writing day). Another time that works is after my kids are in bed for the night. My husband is a pilot and can be gone often, so I try to work as much as I can those nights since it won’t take away from my time with him.
Shondra: What are some things you can tell us that we likely do not know about the life of a writer? (What do you like most about writing? Is there anything about writing that you do not particularly like?)
Natalie: For me, my writing time is very limited, so it is sometimes hard to be creative when I HAVE to be created. Some days the words just flow onto the screen, and then some days it feels like a 5th grader could have written it. I have learned to have thick skin. Writing is all about opinion. Some people will love my books, others won’t. It is hard to bare my soul and thoughts and know I will get both positive and negative feedback, but I’ve learned to be okay with that. Nothing in my writing journey has come easy, nothing. I have worked hard from teaching myself how to write fiction, to moving past rejection after rejection, to working tirelessly to find a publisher, and to learning how to promote my books effectively. BUT it has made reaching this dream all the more rewarding because I gave my all to accomplish it!
What I like most about writing is that I love telling stories. I enjoy taking an idea and making it come alive through the written word. One thing that I don’t particularly like about writing, and it really has nothing to do with writing, is having to promote my books. That is not a strength of mine and it can be very frustrating at times when I don’t know what I’m doing or how to do it better.
Shondra: In what ways and to what extent does your faith influence the stories and characters you create?
Natalie: My faith is very important to me. It’s the foundation of who I am. I try to live a life that everything I do, say or desire revolves around my love for Jesus. Writing these novels have been so much more than pursuing a dream, but also a ministry. All my main characters are Christians, but they each have their own struggle. My heart is that my readers will relate with the characters and feel encouraged, inspired and maybe help them with an area they struggle with in their life. I want to create a romance story that shows a good, wholesome, God-honoring relationship.
Shondra: In A Rescued Love, little Brandon has Kawasaki Disease. I’ve heard this storyline was inspired/influenced by someone dear and near to you in your life. Can you share a little about that?
Natalie: My son Brayden was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease in 2009 when he was two years old. It is a very rare disease that attacks the heart and the immune system cannot defend against it. Unfortunately, it took weeks for the doctors to figure out what was wrong with him and it became life threatening. As a mother, it is gut-wrenching to watch your child suffer from an illness and those days were by far the scariest of my life.
Shondra: And how is Brayden doing today? Are there any lasting side effects?
Natalie: Brayden is doing great and is a healthy eight year old little boy! We truly feel the Lord spared our child and then even showed off a little. A year later we were given the best news that his heart and arteries had completely healed!
Shondra: Are all your characters inspired by real people in your life? Are any of the couples in your books based on you and your husband?
Natalie: My characters are not necessarily based on real people in my life, but rather I create them as people I would love to be friends with. None of the couples are based on me or my husband, but a lot of our humor and how we interact does spill onto the pages.
Shondra: If you could sum up your series in 2 sentences, how would you describe it?
Natalie: This series is about people embedded in circumstances (physical, emotional or mental) that are in dire need of being rescued. They have to work through their issues as they realize that their rescue can’t come from people, but God.
Shondra: I’ve seen the title for your next book…will it be the last in this series?
Natalie: Yes. It is bitter-sweet for this series to come to an end. I have grown to love these characters, but look forward to starting a new series and a new set of characters.
Shondra: Can you give us a snippet from your upcoming book, A Rescued Life? When is it due to release?
Natalie: I actually have not started writing A Rescued Life yet, so I’m not sure on when it will be released. I’m hoping for the end of the year. Even though I haven’t written it yet, I do have a pretty detailed outline already and a good idea of Trevor and Lucy’s journey – and I’m so excited to write it!
Chef and rising artist, Lucy Williams is a free spirit that can’t seem to settle down in life. Her lifestyle choices have distanced her relationship with God, and have also landed her as a suspect in a murder investigation. Detective Trevor Hudson lives a straight and narrow life, determined to have a stable life and never make the same mistake twice…and falling for the wrong woman is at the top. Trevor agrees to take on Lucy’s case despite his dislike for the flighty woman. As Trevor and Lucy work together, the case takes many twists and turns and becomes more dangerous than either of them imagined – for their safety and their hearts. Secrets are uncovered and feelings begin to change and deepen as they search for the truth that will hopefully set them both free.
Shondra: A few quick “fun” questions before we are done…Do you have a “go to” genre that is your favorite?
Shondra: How about a favorite author?
Natalie: I have quite a few… Dee Henderson. Denise Hunter. Dani Pettrey. Susan May Warren. Colleen Coble.
Shondra: What book are you currently reading?
Natalie: Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble.
Shondra: If you had to pick: Beach or Mountain?
Shondra: Dog or Cat?
Natalie: Can I say neither? I know, I know, you never trust a person that doesn’t like animals. Before you bring me out into the town square and stone me…I promise I’m not heartless. I pick a dog (and I do have one, his name is Samson).
Shondra: Ebook or physical book?
Natalie: Depends on where I’m reading, but more often than not, I’d pick a physical book.
Shondra: Warm weather or cold weather?
Natalie: Warm. After this cold winter my husband and I are already dreaming about which warm place we want to retire!!
Shondra: Quiet night at home with a book, or out shopping with your friends?
Natalie: Friends! Being a mom with young kids, I never turn away an opportunity to spend an evening laughing with my friends!
Shondra: And I have to ask…if you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you take with you?
Natalie: McDonald’s coke. My Kindle. Sunscreen (because my sissy, pale skin is coming back with a rockin’ tan).
You can find out more about Natalie and her books at her website or visit her on Facebook.