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Posts Tagged ‘Author Interview-Paula Moldenhauer’

I’m excited to introduce y’all to my new friend and prolific author Paula Moldenhauer. Paula is not only a Heart’wings’ sister, she’s a teacher, a mom, a publisher (whew, I’m tired already),  and I’m hoping all of you will take a moment to get to know this off-the-charts busy writer-lady. So Paula, are you ready for the third-degree?

Paula Mauldenhauer

You bet–bring on those questions! I’ll do my best. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about God and what He’s done in my life.

Well Ms. Paula, let’s begin with your writing. When did you first realize you wanted to write? And what’s the first thing you ever wrote? (Love notes excluded—of course)

Third grade. Mrs. Duncan’s class. We were told to write a story using personification. I wrote about a pencil and eraser who fought all the time but had to come together to save our classroom. I knew then I wanted to write stories as a career. I still love that little story and used to read it to my third graders when I taught elementary!

Tell us about your family, where you grew up, and where you live now.

In my earliest years we moved a lot. Until fourth grade I was always the new girl in school. Mrs. Duncan’s class was the first year back in the town of my birth, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where I lived until I fell in love with my husband, Jerry, and moved to Denver, Colorado.  Jerry and I have four children, two children-in-law, and as of last week, a daughter-in-law to be! My youngest son proposed the Friday after Thanksgiving from a float in a Christmas parade! It was like our family’s very own Hallmark Christmas movie ending! So fun!

Wow! That must’ve been exciting. Did you cry? I know I would have! How and when was your first book published?

My first book contract was great fun because I received it in front of about 500 of my “best” friends. Barbour Publishing awarded it to me at an American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) conference. My novella, “You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch,” was included in the collection, Postmark: Christmas. That same story was later a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for novella of the year, blessing upon blessing came its way.  It released in 2012, and that year my best writing buddy and I co-authored and indie-published another book, Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal.

Do you have a life-scripture verse? If so, how did that verse become the one God meant for you?

As a child—actually about the same time I decided to be a writer in third grade—I found Romans 8:28 and clung to it. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose” (KJV).  I loved God, and my parents told me He had called me, so I figured He would work everything out for good in the long run.  There was a lot of turmoil in my childhood home, and I can’t over-emphasize the importance this verse played in my life. It was my life-line through a lot of confusion and hurt.

When I started writing, I bumped into Psalm 32:8 in a devotional book I read. I was praying about my decision to pursue writing as a career, and I asked the Lord if I would be published. Every time I prayed about it, I heard that Scripture in my mind, “I will lead you on the best pathway for your life. I will guide you and watch over you.” I’m not sure what version of the Bible that particular wording is from. I think the New Living Translation is the closest, but no matter which translation I read, the same meaning held me together. God knew best and was leading me. That thought helped me handle a lot of disappointment and struggle.

In recent years the Lord opened Isaiah 61 up to me as a life calling. I paraphrase part of that passage in the mission statement I have for my writing and speaking. “I write/speak to join with the Holy Spirit in setting captives free and healing the broken-hearted. To call forth the true essence of life, person, self. To be a part of the grand Love Story with Jesus.” This is also the passion statement for my indie publishing company, Free to Flourish.

Has there ever been a special moment when you felt the presence of God leading you in a direction and you had no idea where He was leading? Tell us about that.

As a young homeschooling mom, I felt significant disappointment around the fact that raising our four children meant I didn’t have the time to write like I’d dreamed of doing since I was a third grader. The Lord promised me that as I fulfilled His call to mothering and homeschooling, that He would be the keeper of my writing dreams.

A few years later He led me to start a devotional website and to write for an on-line homeschooling magazine. I wrote faithfully for four years, sending a weekly devotion to subscribers, and the Lord grew that list of readers. It was a wonderful experience. Then He asked me to put my writing away for a time and focus fully on my family. In 2015 He prompted me to gather those devotions from years before and to combine them with new content to create a devotional book series, which I called Soul Scents: A Journey in the Son’s Embrace. The Lord sent me a team including artists, designers, editors and formatters. I literally had an artist (Lisa Joy Samson) sit at my kitchen table and offer me cover art right after Carmen Barber, who is now my right-hand gal, offered to format the series! Our team released a new book every quarter of 2016! It was stunning, but He wasn’t finished.

This fall He prompted me to release several fiction pieces, and an indie publishing house, Free to Flourish Publishing, was born. I never planned that. I still write for traditional markets, both fiction and non-fiction, which is the part of the writing dream I prayed and planned for all along. But I never knew I would love managing the whole process of producing quality books. He literally put the opportunity in my lap and wouldn’t let me ignore His leading. I’m just barely glimpsing how the Lord is pulling my life together, making sense of it, and honoring His promise to that tired young momma to be the keeper of her writing dreams.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

I love singing, time with those I love, and walking/hiking in nature.

What is the greatest life changing moment in your life to date?

There is no way I can pick one unless it is the decision I made as a seven-year-old to follow Jesus. It was the best decision I’ve made. The second-best choice is close—marrying my sweet Jerry. But I think life is full of defining moments. Sometimes the hardest decisions are the ones with the greatest long-term payoff!

Please give new writers the counsel you wish you had received when you first entered this writing journey.

I have to refer to your earlier question about life verses. This journey is best lived in reliance on Jesus. For most of us it is not an easy road. Many times, I’ve wished for a more stable life with a consistent salary that didn’t require giving so much of my heart and emotion into my job. But writing is not really an occupation for me, it is a vocation. Maybe as Christian writers we need to wrestle with that. Is writing about goals and career and financial success, or is it about pouring out the grace and truth our Lord pours in. If it is the latter, every day is a success, rejection letter or new contract. (Even if it doesn’t always feel like it!)

Give us a tour of your new release or releases and a glimpse into why you wrote this/these book/books.

This Christmas season I am excited to release a novella collection called Tinseled Tidings. The individual books are available on Kindle, and all three are combined in a paperback collection.

rsz_1tinseled_tidings_small_grinch

First in the collection is a re-packaging of You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch. This playful love story grew in depth as my heroine processed something I was processing—what does John 10:10 look like for someone who has walked through a lot of pain. How do you let go of fear of destruction and scarcity and step into the abundant life Jesus promises?

rsz_tinseled_tidings_small_scrooge

Book two, The Joy Scrooge, grew out of my very confusing relationship with celebrating Christmas. The hero is grieving and can’t celebrate without some inner healing. My reasons were different, but to step into holiday celebration hasn’t been easy for me either. (You can read about that in the free Advent devotional found at www.paulamoldenhauer.com/gifts.) Thankfully in the story, a spunky pediatrician wearing an elf costume teaches the hero and his son to drop the Scrooge ‘tude and embrace joy! The Holy Spirit is doing that with me.

Tinseled Tidings small Fruitcake

The third book, Fruitcake Fallout, is an historical set in World War II. It grew out of Song of Solomon 4:7, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee” (KJV).  We’re the bride of Christ. He covered us with His blood and dressed us in robes of righteousness. Sometimes I think we miss out on the beauty of a deeper relationship with Him because we’re hung up on our imperfections—the very ones He cleansed us from. He sees us as altogether lovely—and so of course that’s how the hero of this love story sees the heroine, even though she looks at herself quite differently.

I love this collection because it is light and fun and encouraging. I have crazy costumes, a retired policeman who spouts silly poems, a family legend about a love potion—and then the Holy Spirit shows up as together we write and drop these nuggets of grace and truth into the story. It’s a breath-taking experience for me as a writer when that happens.

A Packaged Deal, releases later in December, and a novella in Barbour’s Bouquet of Brides collection, releases in January.

Here’s a summary of the stories in The Tinseled Tidings collection:

You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch ~ Retired police officer Rick Stanton dons a Grinch costume for the holidays and “patrols” Christmas, Florida to promote the festive town. Everyone falls under his charm except the person he most wants to impress—Postmaster Edie Hathaway. The Grinch is stealing Edie’s heart, but will Edie learn to trust him before he gives up on love?

The Joy Scrooge ~ Spunky pediatrician Krista Fjeld loved Tait Skroog for most of her life, but when Tait and his young son, Timmy, move back to town, she is shocked by the change in her old heart-throb. Embittered by his wife’s death, Tait is paralyzed by fear and grief. Will Krista convince him to embrace life—and her—or is the risk too great for everyone?

Fruitcake Fallout ~ Family legend says that the Preston fruitcake recipe makes young couples fall in love. But when WAC Evelyn Preston sends one to her high school crush stationed overseas during WW II, she snags the wrong private! When Willie Baxter tries to clear up the unintentional deception, will Evie give his poor smitten heart a chance?

Paula, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us. May God continue to bless you and your family! Here are the links to some of Paula’s wonderful books. Check ‘em out—great Christmas presents for friends!

Soul Scents: A Journey in the Son’s Embrace:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B0777GW59P

The link for the Tinseled Tidings collection:

https://www.amazon.com/Tinseled-Tidings-3-Book-Series/dp/B077BWG77T

 

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