Author Interview – Erynn Mangum

Hi Erynn! This is so fun for me, because you’re the first author interview I’ve gotten to do where I knew you first as a friend and THEN as an author! I don’t imagine there will be a TON of those up on my blog, but I’m certainly happy to have you here. 🙂

31asN2AFkdL._UX250_Okay, we always start this off with a short introduction. So, give us the 2-minute Erynn synopsis. But be sure to include something not many people know about you (this can be silly: favorite song to jam to, least favorite smell, favorite food to eat when you are sick, etc.).

Oh boy. So, right now, I feel like you could pretty sum up my life with the word “CHAOS”, but it’s not always like this, so we will try to move past that. Right now, though, it truly is chaos – I’m on a deadline, we are moving and have a month-long lag time between houses, we are going out of town, etc. It’s just craziness right now! So, the me when I’m not trying to cram as many Huge Life Things into one month as possible looks like this: I’m 31. I have three beautiful kids – two boys, 5 and 2, and a baby girl who is 5 months – and they all take turns keeping me laughing, crying and spiking my adrenaline levels enough to shave years off my life every day. I am married to a super hard-working guy who works two jobs during the school year because he teaches special education and also works as a realtor, so we all breathe a little better during the summer. We just bought a fixer-upper and so I am really looking forward to fixing-upping. 😉 And I write. Somewhere in all that mess, I try to write as much as I can.

To get us started, I’m going to admit that I probably516xLclBLXL._SX260_ wouldn’t have even picked up one
of your books if we weren’t friends. It’s not in my typical genre. But I’m so glad I know you and I couldn’t wait to read something you’d written. I started with
Miss Match, since it seemed to have so many favorable reviews on Amazon! So, we’ll dive right in there.

Miss Match’s main character, Lauren Holbrook, is so very clearly modeled after Jane Austen’s Emma. She’s a bit snarky, meddlesome, and a bit consumed by matchmaking her friends. Are Austen’s novels a favorite of yours? Any other favorite authors that pop up in your books (or don’t) and provide structural inspiration or just favorite reads?

Oh yes! Jane Austen is a MUST read. I was introduced to her back in junior-high and there was just no turning back. I love anything she’s written. As far as other authors go, I love Kristin Billerbeck, Jenny B. Jones and Francine Rivers. But honestly, these days, I rarely get the time to read, which is SO sad. Any time I have goes straight to the deadlines or to reading to the kids. So we read a LOT of Magic Treehouse, Boxcar Children, Berenstain Bears and Click, Clack, Moo.

We obviously have quite a few other interests that overlap, as I continually found myself smiling and even laughing out loud at the Disney and Princess Bride quotes that are scattered throughout this novel. You’re also clearly a rom-com fan, as Lauren spends plenty of time watching and quoting favorite movies. Tell me about what draws you to the romantic comedies, as your book also reflects that genre. Is this genre found in your life at all? (All romance and sugary sweetness and head-over-heels love? If so, could you have your husband call my husband?)

Um, yeah. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist past the altar. 😉 Just kidding. But seriously. Except I don’t want to turn your single readers off to marriage, so…kidding? And romantic comedies – I LOVE rom-coms. Love them, love them. I could watch one every night. And honestly, I try my best to present a more realistic side of romance in my books. My husband is definitely not super sugary and we tend to be pretty boring. But I like our shade of boringness. This stage of life with the three kids and the two jobs and everything else means that we treasure and viciously protect our post-kids’-bedtime routine of snuggling up on the couch with a dessert and watching Parks and Recreation. 😉

While reading Miss Match, I kept thinking to myself “either I’m a slacker Christian or this the relationships in this book are almost a parody of genuine Christianity”. It felt a bit like Lauren and her sisters (especially), and her friends (almost as strongly) had relationships that were solely founded upon their mutual love of Christ. Do you find that in your own life and those around you? I feel like some of my deepest relationships come from outside the church. And I definitely have a wonderful marriage, now, but we went through some rocky times before we both circled back around to our Christian upbringing and actively brought Christ into the marriage. Can you speak to the idea that every relationship in a Christian woman’s life is not JUST Bible study, church, and quoting scripture back to your friends? It felt very convicting, but overwhelming also!

Yes and yes. I feel like each stage of life has been different in my walk. When I was writing Miss Match, I was single and working at my church as a high school girls’ intern. So, my job was discipling and Bible studies and around-the-clock crises of the heart for about two years. I pretty much was either leading a Bible study, writing a Bible study, talking with girls about the Bible or prayer requests or planning a retreat with the youth pastor every single day. So, a lot of that bled into the book.

Now, I’m surrounded by all these children and honestly? There are days where the closest I get to a Bible study is The Jesus Storybook Bible. And then there are THOSE days where I don’t even get that and my prayer life is something along the lines of “Jesus, HELP”. So, each stage is different. Honestly, I miss the intern days a lot – you could totally see Jesus working every single day and lives were changed. It was an honor to be a part of it. And it’s hard to be in the thick of parenting right now and not see the changes I used to see so quickly. But I know that the babies are little for only a VERY short time and that my time of being able to focus on my relationship with Jesus and being more involved in the church will come around again. But right now, as I had a friend tell me, I’ve got these three little sinners in my life and they are the ones I need to be discipling.

That being said, I would say that my absolutely closest friends are the ones who share this bond with me, but I definitely have friends based on other formats of life now, too – my oldest plays sports and so we have sports buddies. And park friends. And neighbors. And the like.

I feel like I WAY over or under answered the question. Ha!

As friends IRL (in real life!), I know that you really are a mama who does it all! You’ve got two boys (5 and 2), and welcomed your baby girl in December! You also spent the entire past year homeschooling! How in the world do you find time to write with three littles underfoot? I feel like some days I can hardly even keep them from killing each other fed! It’s hard to imagine the idea of fitting something so regular, and with deadlines, into my schedule, so I’m curious as to what writing looks like for you, and how it’s changed since you added another newborn to the mix.

I would say most of getting writing done is just forcing myself to sit down and do it. Sometimes that means my house is clean, dinner is in the crockpot, the kids are all resting or napping and there’s a candle burning. The other 97% of the time, it means sitting in a pile of laundry with at least one kid next to me and just having to tune the other kids out while I write as fast as possible. I do my best to get all three down for rest time and naps at the same time so I have at least a couple of minutes of kid-free time to write. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I send the boys outside to play a lot so I can write as well. It’s just making the most of the time I have. When deadlines get close, my husband is really good about sending me to a coffee shop and making me just pound it out after he gets home.

51ykfeUubGL._SY445_QL70_Speaking of being a prolific writer, you just released a novel in November, Katie in Waiting. And you’ve got another new one due out in August, Once Upon Eliza. You produce novels faster than people can grow babies! Do you feel like you have an unlimited supply of ideas? You mention finding plot and character ideas in conversations, FB updates, and Jane Austen books, but it still amazes me that you’re able to come up with something new so very often!

I think I have the problem of too many ideas and not enough time to write them. I’m SO excited for Eliza to release! Sometimes I remember my life when I was a full-time writer before we had kids and I just think about how much I could do now that I’m used to cramming two thousand words written into a single hour. I mean, I could write an entire book in like three days! Ha! 😉

Any dreams of one of your books or series being turned into a movie? Creating a small- or big-screen adaptation just like the ones you seem to adore? Do you have an actress in mind for any of your main characters? I think the transformation of book to film is so interesting and always wonder about the author’s thoughts on it!

I think it would be SO weird to see something you’ve written on the big screen! And from what I’ve heard, there are VERY few authors who are truly satisfied with the movie versions of their novels. However, it would be so fun! I have no idea who I would imagine to play any of the main characters – but it’s fun to think about it… Obviously Colin Firth would have to play SOMEONE.

Finally, give us a little taste of w51A8I-8rITLhat’s to come in Once Upon Eliza, coming soon!

Once Upon Eliza is about a girl who wants to lead more than just a predictable life. She wants to change the world, she wants to be on fire. She wants to have an adventure and marry someone who isn’t the guy she’s known since she was born. She’s a postpartum nurse at the hospital and she’s just got this hilarious dry sense of humor. She has been one of my favorite characters I’ve written so far.

For a full run-down of everything Erynn has published, check out her blog, here: http://www.erynnmangum.com/Books.html

Thank you, Erynn, so much, for taking time out of what has been an EXTREMELY crazy month for you to answer my questions. You are such a blessing in my life and I’m so happy I get to feature a friend on the blog! 

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