Casey Herringshaw writes inspirational women’s fiction that tackles the harder aspects of the human condition, but with a passion to share the love and grace she in turn has received from her Heavenly Father.
Casey lives in Eastern Oregon in a county larger than Rhode Island, one that has a greater population of cattle than actual people. Though she lives 130 miles from the nearest shopping center, you won’t find Casey complaining. Surrounded by her family and the menagerie of farm animals, her family quietly lets her be her quirky self and create fiction to her heart’s content.
When Casey isn’t writing, blogging, Facebooking, or Tweeting (all to build platform, of course!), you will find her most often with a book in hands, her knitting not too far away, but always willing to lay it all down to help a family member.
I understand you began writing in high school. When did your love of writing turn into a serious pursuit of publication?
My writing enthusiasm actually began in Junior High, when my loving Dad, saw I had no head (at the time) for figures in science and math and decided to try a different approach. Which basically boiled down to cooking and writing. After a handful of short (I mean short) stories, I began writing my first novel length story in high school. I think during my senior year, I realized this is what I wanted to do. Period.
One of the first milestones a writer experiences is reaching The End. You’ve done that. How did it feel to complete your first romance? What did you learn during the creation of the story?
Well first off, I don’t write “straight” romance. But because I have been greatly loved in my short 20 years, I like to include that love both from our Father in heaven and my family into my stories. But my fiction tends more toward the gritty side of life. 🙂
Writing “The End”? There has got to be no greater accomplishment at this point in my journey. That is 90,000 words! 90,000 words that took energy and time and love to put on the screen. I think the greatest thing I learned while writing these last two novels is that nothing is set in stone. Nothing is perfect. We just have to be willing to keep learning.
You joined American Christian Fiction Writers and made some great connections. How did this come about? In what ways has your involvement in ACFW helped you grow as a writer?
In 2009 I stumbled across Cara Putman’s blog and it was filled with pictures from this ginourmous writer’s conference. I instantly drooled, especially when I started identifying my favorite authors in those photos. I mean, come on, total envy was setting in big time! But discovering her site eventually led to discovering ACFW’s website and I joined just a few days later.
ACFW for me has been a life-changing experience. I honestly don’t think I would still be writing if I hadn’t joined. I would still have the love for creating fiction, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it. ACFW has given me constructive avenues for my writing, guided me through potholes and given me the sense that I am never alone on this journey. There is something so incredible about opening your emails in the morning and knowing you are not the only one out there that loves to write Christian fiction. I think ACFW is going to seem even more than real come September!
Casey’s High Points
I’m sure your final in the Frasier is a high point on your writing journey. What led up to that final, and how did you react when you heard the news?
Oh goodness! That is one call I never, ever, ever expected in a million years. (okay maybe 10 years down the road, but not this year, this story!) I entered the Frasier for the learning experience. I had such a great experience last year with my judge’s comments I wanted that feedback again.
I knew Susie (Susan May Warren) was calling the finalists on the day they were supposed to be announced, but all I expected was an email with my comments. Instead I was exercising. No one was around to read the ID except my brother who can’t fully read yet. He rattled off the numbers, but I blew it off as someone calling for my Dad. 15 minutes later the phone rings again.
“I think it’s the same number.” My brother shouts over the exercise bike.
What is this? But I keep going and brush it off as again, someone for my dad.
Then I get off the bike and check the call back number. Andrew Warren. I start shaking. No. Uhuh, this isn’t possible that Susie was trying to call me? Did she leave a message and now I don’t get to talk to her?? I could kick myself, but I’m too anxious to get to the machine and hear the message.
It’s Susie. She wants to talk to me. It’s about the Frasier. And it’s good news.
My hands were quaking, my breathing sporadic and I think Susie probably thought some alien had taken over the phone line when I could barely string together 10 coherent words.
Like I said, totally unexpected. But I’ll never forget that conversation I had with Susie and her utter encouragement.
Wow! One of only six finalists out of nearly a 100 entrants. That’s impressive! I know there will be many cheering for you at the My Book Therapy pizza party. I wish you the best. What have been some other blessings in the years since you began your first story?
The little things along the learning of writing fiction have kept me going and motivated me in so many ways. Hearing from one of my critique partners that what I’m doing sounds really, really good. Having the encouragement from other writers/ authors like Susan May Warren and Chip MacGregor to just go with what I wanted to write. (this back in April 2010). And then the success stories of the new authors, such as you Keli, my Alley pal, Krista Phillips, Katie Ganshert, and so many more. Their drive, drives me.
Casey, the Encourager
You give back to a host of people in many ways, one of those being as a contributor at The Writers Alley. Please tell us how you came to be an Alley Cat and how being part of this group blog helps you pay it forward.
Pepper Basham and Sherrinda Ketch both talked about this blog long before they brought the rest of us into it and I had gotten to know Pepper from her blog, the rest from there is really history.
What can I give back? More like what I can take in! Seriously, I don’t know how those other 9 wonderful ladies put up with me. But I so appreciate that they do. We laugh and learn and bounce the good and bad off each other and we ALL have a passion for writing. We want to share that passion. It’s contagious on our loop! And hopefully that spills over onto the blog as well. 🙂
You’ve blessed many a writer with your Encourage an Author posts. What do you learn from your talented guests?
I have been blessed immeasurably through what God has taught me through my guests on OEA. Every time I think the time has come to hang the hat and bid farewell, God closes that door and says, “No. Not yet.” And those “no” answers usually come in the form of an email from a grateful author who had their spotlight at just the right time.
That’s ALL God. I couldn’t orchestrate ANY of it and each time that happens I know I’m right where God wants me. He has taught me that more than anything during this experience.
Who are the people serving as your greatest encouragers?
Oh goodness. I’m so blessed! My parents for one are HUGE cheerleaders. Then in the writing world, I’ve made very good friends with Julie Lessman and Laura Frantz, both of whom pray me through many of my writing struggles. My Alley Cats who are always there for any reason and have cheered me on in so many ways. And then the wonderful writers such as yourself and names I mentioned earlier who are so genuine and so kind that just in being them, they encourage me!
Casey, the Avid Reader
I’ve seen many great book reviews penned by you. How many books do you read a week? What are your favorite kinds of stories? Who are some of your must-read authors?
I read an average of 2-3 books a week depending on what other things I have going on. Generally about 2. My favorite stories are Women’s fiction (my genre of course. ;-), I do enjoy comedy and chick lit and then historical.
Must read authors? Do we have an hour or two?? 🙂 I love me a good Julie Lessman novel, Susan May Warren, Tamera Alexander, Siri Mitchell, Janice Thompson, Candace Calvert, Laura Frantz and Kathryn Cushman. But there are so many more, it’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Let’s Learn a Little More About Casey
You’ve compared writing to pencils and chocolate in blog posts. If you were to compare yourself to a type of shoe, which kind would it be?
Didn’t see that question coming! 🙂 Let’s see…a shoe? I think it would be a tennis shoe. The kind that can take endurance and run in spurts, but when the time comes to walk for long distance or stop and consider the situation, the support is provided to keep going and going and going. A good pair of tennis shoes won’t wear out easily! And hopefully that will be me in my writing tenacity.
You’ve spent years living on a farm. What are your favorite and least favorite farm chores?
Favorite? Mowing the lawn. Yep. I’m crazy and proud of it. 😉 But it’s also my mom’s favorite activity and it’s often a “fight” to see who gets to it first. 🙂
As for least? Shoveling. Manure. But thankfully that has become less of a chore since we had a new member join our farm family. Nothing better than a John Deere in the field. 😉
You’ve said you crave solitude. If you could visit your favorite place to get away from it all, where would that be?
I am actually very blessed to have a bunkhouse/bedroom separate from the main house that I go when I crave my solitude, decorated in my personal style. The ideal of ideals would be a cabin in the middle of the rolling hills surrounded by nothing but uninterrupted prairie. I love people and love to be around them, but when it comes to my home, I want to be as far away from civilization and another neighbor as possible. 😉
You’ve recently changed your profile picture, and I love it. What do you consider your best feature? Would your family and friends agree?
Oh, thank you Keli! (I’m blessed with a very talented cousin). I would consider my smile my best feature. A smile can always brighten someone’s day and I think my family would agree that I try to keep that smile in place a good deal of the time.
You’ve blessed many others, including me. What are some words your nearest and dearest friends would use to describe you? Would you agree?
I’m not sure what my friends would say…but I think I know what I would like them to say.
I would love for my dearest friends (and especially those that aren’t yet) to be able to see Jesus in me. No matter where I go, what I do, that Jesus would shine though me.
I would hope that these friends would also see how much I appreciate life. That the love for what God has given me in their friendship, in the blessing of doing what I love, in the grace God constantly gives me, that I do so love the life I live!
Casey’s Question for You
I love to listen to music and think that the music we listen to tells us a lot about us as a person. So my question for you: What song best describes you?
Casey has generously offered to give away an adult bracelet she has designed along with Janet Dean’s delightful novel Wanted: A Family.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Casey by midnight July 25th (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.
On July 26th I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.
Congratulations to Leanna Morris, winner of the drawing.
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Prizes mailed to U.S. addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Learn More About Casey
Visit her website/blog ~ Writing for Christ
Visit her group blog ~ The Writer’s Alley
Friend her on Facebook ~ Casey Herringshaw
Follow her on Twitter ~ @c_herrinshaw