As a writer, I’m always interested in what motivates my fellow writers. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask author Derinda Babcock a few questions. Before she began writing historical fiction and short stories for the Christian market, Derinda was an English Language Acquisition teacher for almost twenty-five years. She is also a mother and grandmother, who lives on a small ranch in Southwestern Colorado with her husband. Derinda and I met through our literary agent, Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.
Q: As an education professional, do you notice a difference between writing fiction well and writing grammatically correct?
A: Yes, I have noticed a difference. Though the purpose for each kind of writing is to communicate well with readers, their needs and expectations differ depending on the type of text they read and what they intend to do with the information. This requires a different style of writing. I’ve had to “unlearn” some of my grammatically correct teaching in order to please fiction readers and writers. I used the MLA style manual while at school, but most editors prefer the Chicago Manual of Style, or their own styles. The lack of consistency sometimes bothers me.
Q: Along with short stories, do you write full-length novels?
A: Yes. Colorado Treasure, Texas Love and Dodging Destiny are both first books in trilogies. The first is set primarily in the Denver and Silverton, Colorado, area in 1895, while the second is set in Kansas territory, 1857. Our agent, Joyce Hart, is shopping them around to publishers now.
Q: In your writing, do you favor a particular period in history? Does it have anything to do with why you live on a ranch?
A: So far, I prefer the mid to late nineteenth century, because so many important changes happened during this time in our country’s history. I lived on a ranch long before I started writing, but I think living in Southwestern Colorado and being surrounded by so much history influenced my stories, especially Colorado Treasure, Texas Love.
Q: What do you hope contemporary women will learn from your historical fiction?
A: Though time periods may differ, life and heart lessons are the same.
Q: In your studies of French, German, Spanish and American Sign Language, have you found that body language differs or remains the same in various cultures?
A: Body language across cultures is a fascinating and complex subject. Understanding facial expressions and hand clues was especially important when I tried to communicate with people who signed to me in American Sign Language. Comprehending subtle, unspoken cues while talking to students and parents with different languages was the difference between bridging communication gaps to form relationships, or raising barriers. Culturally acceptable personal space differences were the most noticeable. This concept was key for me to understand when I worked with students from around the world.
To learn more this talented author, click on Derinda Babcock to visit her website.