Interview with Angie Thompson

What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Bridgers, was born, indirectly, out of my discovery of the Audio Theatre Central podcast. This team does an awesome job of reviewing family-friendly audio drama--a genre I was already interested in but have become much more excited about since listening to their reviews. As I was listening through the podcasts, I found that they mentioned a couple of Christian kids' audio dramas that are available to stream free online.

Since I have a lot of time to listen while I'm working, I began checking out some of these shows, and in one of them, I came across an episode that was modeled after the parable of the Good Samaritan. After listening to the episode, a couple of ideas and questions kept coming back to me.

First, the conflict in the show was framed as the popular group (priest/Levite) vs. the unpopular, rather nerdy kid (Samaritan). This worked well for the audience and the format, but I found myself wondering how I would choose to frame the conflict if I were retelling the story. Who would be the Samaritans in our day? What kind of person would we be shocked to hear Jesus make a hero?

Second, I realized that I had never tried to play out the Good Samaritan story either in my imagination or on paper. This was surprising because I tend to love the parts of stories (books, movies, etc.) that involve taking care of someone who is hurt or sick--which meant this parable was perfect material for a book I would enjoy.

After letting both of those thoughts rattle around in my imagination, I started writing, and the result was Bridgers!
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read Christian fiction and children's/young adult fiction--especially a combination of the two! While a number of my favorite books are classics, I've also discovered several contemporary authors that I really enjoy. I especially appreciate books with good character relationships and fun, realistic dialogue.

I enjoy stories from almost any sub-genre with a few reservations--the biggest being no magic and very little sensuality. I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries, or of plots involving death in general, especially of characters I've grown attached to. Of course, my family would be quick to point out that that doesn't apply to deaths before the story opens--I've always been a sucker for orphans. I also tend to gravitate toward books with a survival-type premise, especially if the focus is on a group rather than an individual.

Allegory, adventure, Biblical fiction, sci-fi, general contemporary, historical, dystopian, mystery, romance--you might catch me reading or writing any or all of them on any given day.
When did you first start writing?
I don't remember when I first put pen to paper (or was it cursor to screen?), but I don't remember a time when I wasn't "making up stories"--with my dolls, my stuffed animals, or the imaginary characters in my head. In my preschool years, I used to stand and recite them in the kitchen, whether anyone was listening or not. I think I started actually writing down my ideas as a teenager--and trust me, the transfer from brain to paper is still the hardest part of the process for me!
What are you working on next?
So many ideas! I still have years' worth of stories stored in my brain and new ones popping up all the time. There are a couple more contemporary stories (teen or pre-teen) that are still near the front of my mind as well as a piece of biblical fiction set in the book of Daniel that I'm really excited about. That will probably be one of my next projects--unless another new idea comes along to distract me!
Who are your favorite authors?
As a child, I adored Margaret Sidney, Louisa May Alcott, and Johanna Spyri. I was re-introduced to Patricia St. John a few years ago and found her just as good as I remembered. Max Lucado has a way of touching my heart that very few authors have ever accomplished, one exception being Hannah Hurnard's Hinds' Feet on High Places. Janette Oke was one of my first introductions to "grown-up" literature and is still among my favorites. More recently discovered authors I've really enjoyed include Catherine Farnes, Deb Brammer, and Brock Eastman.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When not writing, I enjoy reading, music, crafting, volunteering at church, and spending time with my family.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
:Furious blushes:

If we're counting from the first story that didn't involve dolls, stuffed animals, or my own imaginary journeys, then yes, and I still have pieces of it in my files somewhere. Those characters, their friends, and their various adventures occupied my mind for years--though, thankfully, some of my earliest ideas have no surviving proof except in my own memory.

The very earliest iteration of the story involved a family of eight children--two sets of boy-girl twins, and two boy-girl pairs separated by a year. The younger set of twins was dropped very early on, but the rest survived and even made it into my very earliest "finished" work. The second story I ever wrote was an offshoot of this first story--later disconnected when I changed it to a different time period--and survives in part as the first finished story that I might actually be willing to have read!
What is your writing process?
Most of my writing process happens in my head--exploring characters, creating dialogue, fleshing out plot points. However, when it comes to putting my thoughts on paper, there are two methods I've historically taken.

1) My favorite method: Write the interesting and important parts first. Get the key scenes and the best dialogue on paper before it's forgotten (which can and does happen). Go back and fill in the rest later.

The only problem with this approach is--I don't. When I go back to the story, all the fun and interesting pieces have already been written, and the parts that are left to write a) seem too boring in comparison to the "good stuff" and b) don't motivate me to sit down and do the hard work of writing them. So unfortunately, all the stories I've approached this way are still sitting unfinished. Which brings me to...

2) My most effective method: Write the entire story. From the first page. No skipping ahead, no matter how good the scene is. Write the hard stuff and fill in the good stuff as it comes. Power through, then come back and fix the weak scenes later.

The problem with this approach is--it's hard! And it takes time. And my mind is screaming at me that I'll forget the good stuff if I wait too long. But after a lot of starts and stops, I've discovered that the only stories I've ever finished (good or not) are the ones I approached this way. So this is the way I need to work. (By the way, I still hope and plan to finish some of the stories I started the first way. But I'll definitely be tackling them the second way from now on.)
Published 2017-11-18.
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Books by This Author

Bridgers : A Parable
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,230. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Religion, Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Three boys. One choice. No turning back. When an act of violence presents a rising church star, a struggling pastor's son, and a kid from the wrong side of town with the same decision, each boy's answer will shake the community to its core and shape its future forever. Love and truth face off against fear and pride in this modern extension of one of Jesus' best-known parables.