March 30, 2012

This Writer

(Me and Jenny, looking conspiratorial. As usual.)

I'm not much of a "tag" person, but this particular series of questions-and-answers looked interesting and I decided to go ahead and fill it out. It is a "getting to know you" sort of questionnaire, and you may find out something new about me by reading it.

for your information...

1. I am a youngest child. My sister, Jenny, is five years older than I, and my brother is nine years older. They sound like much larger age gaps when written down than they seem to me.

2. My family and I currently have five animals: Buster, my cat; Esther, our lollipop-addicted kitty; Snickers, our beefy outdoor cat; Taz, my cousin's chubby tabby; and Avery, my cousin's new bunny. I also hope to get a lovebird, which would make it an even six.

3. I would love to travel to an assortment of places like Britain and Sicily and Southern France...if I could just do it without the traveling bit.

4. I am severely antisocial and have difficulty coming out of myself when I'm around strangers. This is part of the reason why I'm so thankful that Jenny and I were published at the same time: we did all the publicity together.

5. Jane Austen is the one classic writer I would have loved to meet, not because she was witty and brilliant (although she was), but because she sounds like a pleasant person in her own right.

6. I love letter-writing and letter-receiving.

7. At some point in the future, I would like to open a combination tea shop and bookstore.

8. I almost always have an "upstairs" book and a "downstairs" book, plus any number of extraneous and therefore less important ones.

9. I believe in writer's block.

10. Dialogue comes easiest to me in my writing.

11. I was fourteen when I finished and published my debut novel The Soldier's Cross.

and for your further information...

1. Who are your top 3 favourite classic fiction authors and your top 3 favourite modern fiction authors?

I have recently discovered that I do not have very many “favorites” in the realm of literature, although I do love many books. Indeed, I think that may be the problem: there are so many books that I heartily enjoy, I have difficulty narrowing the field. This is particularly difficult with authors. With some writers I like only a few of their works; with others, I like their works almost universally, but must be in the right mood for them. At any rate, I will do my best.

Jane Austen is probably my first love, sappy though that may be. Her stories comfort me, help me to relax like a cup of tea. They are homey and beautiful, and simple without being simplistic; they seem to embody good things.

Robert Louis Stevenson is a recent discovery and, so far as my nebulous classification goes, a favorite. But I already did a post on him, so I shan’t elaborate.

Charles Dickens is a fantastic writer, but I have to be in just the right mood to be able to stand his dark, sad storylines. I just recently read A Tale of Two Cities, which blew me away and left me pathetically sobbing into tissues. Ask my cousin; she’ll bear me out.

Modern authors? Oh! dear, that’s even harder. I’m not sure I habitually read three modern fiction authors. If C.S. Lewis counts as modern (which I say he does; he was only last century), then he makes one. Then I would add Anne Elisabeth Stengl, because her stories fascinate me and I love how she incorporates the classics into her own writing. And of course, Jennifer Freitag, who needs no explanation.

2. Which character in John Bunyan's immortal classic, The Pilgrim's Progress, do you identify with the most in your spiritual journey? (Christian, Faithful, or Hopeful)

Sadly, I see more of myself in some of Bunyan’s villains—or see some of Bunyan’s villains in myself. I would love to say truthfully that I am like Faithful, steadfast and courageous to the end, but I can only look at him and admire. As for Hopeful, I am horribly not. I am much more likely to sink into the Slough of Despond or sit in Doubting Castle. So I think that, if it comes down to a choice between these three, I am most like Christian.

3. In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, we see that Sam's and Frodo's responses to Gollum are different. If you were in Sam and Frodo's place during the times where they had the opportunity of killing Gollum, would you kill him and be rid of his trickery and wickedness, or would you feel pity for him having carried the Ring yourself, knowing its temptation, and show him mercy?

I don’t think I could kill him in cold blood, and I respect the mercy Frodo shows him. At the same time, being of a practical bent of mind, I should probably kill him if it were an act of self-defense.

4. Which do you enjoy more: reading a book or watching a movie?

In general I would say that I prefer reading a book, but sometimes I like to “veg” and watch a movie instead. I can’t do either indefinitely, and I am glad to have both options.

5. What is your favourite kind of music to sing, hear and play and who do you think was the greatest music composer of all time?

I am not musical myself; I played violin for about a year, but although I enjoyed the instrument itself, I decided for various reasons to stop taking classes. I like a somewhat eclectic mix of musicians—Loreena McKennitt is a favorite, but so is Fernando Ortega (!) and most of Owl City (!!). I also enjoy soundtracks: North & South, The Prince of Egypt, Peter Pan, The Last of the Mohicans, and BBC Merlin are just a few I’m fond of.

6. Which two books of the Bible do you tend to read the most?

I try to maintain a balance in how I read my Bible, and not to focus too much on any one book. I do frequently read Paul’s GEPC epistles: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. I love the Psalms for the variety they contain; Job has incredible depth and a poetic beauty, in the last few chapters especially; the Minor Prophets I find encouraging in the way many of them unite justice and mercy. But really, how can one choose a favorite?

7. Is there a figure in history that you love the most, and why?

I tend to grow attached to figures who had a particularly dashing charm—Stephen Decatur, Alexander Hamilton (I admit to being a terrible Southerner), the Black Douglas, Simon de Montfort. I suppose I am a bit of a romantic. At the same time, my mind goes to those men and women whom no one remembers and who are nameless now, but whose lives have been immortalized in Hebrews 11: the ones “of whom the world was not worthy.” I think those are the ones I love the best, because they are the ones I most desire to be like.

8. Is there a book or movie that you've read/watched and you've wished something had gone differently and would like to re-write it?

Oh, Ashley Wilkes, why did you have to go and kiss her? I liked you right up until you did that. Now I just want to hit you over the head repeatedly.

9. What are your two favourite scenes in The Chronicles of Narnia?

There is such a wealth of beautiful passages in Lewis’ books that choosing two is difficult. But perhaps not so difficult, for the first two that spring to mind can be called my favorites. I particularly love the scene of Eustace’s “un-dragoning”; its poignancy brings me to tears every time I read it. And for a second favorite, I would say the scene in The Horse and His Boy where Shasta speaks to the Voice.

“I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”

10. What are some of the books (fiction + non-fiction) or movies that have inspired and changed your life?

To dodge the question, every book changes my life: my brain (and my mind, which is a different matter) is never quite the same again. As for particular titles, I hardly know which ones to mention. Perhaps Henry Scougal’s The Life of God in the Soul of Man. Perhaps Ian Toll’s Six Frigates, which planted the seed for The White Sail’s Shaking. Perhaps Iain Murray’s The Forgotten Spurgeon, or A.W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy, or even Robert K. Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandra, which gave me the courage to start reading histories. Maybe the stories Jenny wrote when she was just starting to put pen to paper, which awed me and sparked the desire to write. I owe so much to books of all kinds.

11. What do you love most about the place where you live?

Jenny already answered this, and she said exactly what I had intended: my people. I don’t much care where I live, because it’s my family and friends who make up my home.


  1. A bookstore/tea shop sounds absolutely heavenly! I could easily spend all day someplace like that, and, if you were to open one, I'm sure it would be the best of them all! :-)

  2. The Black Douglas! Hurray! At last, someone else who knows who he is! :) I'm generally not much of a tag person myself either, but I enjoyed reading your answers.

  3. I am so glad you joined in my tag, Abigail (despite, like I said to Jenny, it being something you don't normally do)! I really enjoyed reading your answers, and the "random facts" were really lovely to read =D. Thank you for doing it!

    Funny, I have 3 sisters and there is a big age gap between me and all of them as well :). (Sarah is 7 years older than me, Mary nearly 5 years older, and Gracie is 8 years younger), but we're such close friends and so the age differences hardly matter (especially with my older sisters).

    I wouldn't have known that you were antisocial :), being so friendly and sweet! I'm not like that at all (antisocial I mean), but I am definitely very shy with strangers... until they become friends :). Oh, and I didn't know you used to play violin... can you still play a bit?
    I love your favourite scenes in Narnia as well... they are so beautiful!!

    I just love the picture of you and your sister, Abigail. You're so pretty, both of you, and it is a nice photography shot!

    In His love,
    ~Joy @

  4. Rhoswen - Well, here's hoping!

    Gillian - Ah, yes, the Black Douglas isn't well enough known. I believe I first met him in Thomas Costain's book The Three Edwards and of course he immediately appealed to my sense of the dashing and dramatic! I would love to do a story centered around him, but no further ideas have sprung up yet.

    Joy - I'm glad you enjoyed the answers! The questionnaire was fun to fill out, although I had difficulty coming up with eleven random things about myself.

    I could probably pick out a few songs on the violin still, but unfortunately I no longer have one. If I did, I would probably play it for enjoyment. It's just that I'm not very musical, and the time spent in taking lessons was time I'd rather have used to do something else. It is a beautiful instrument, though.

    I like how conspiratorial the two of us look in that picture, as though we'd just come up with a plan to assault the cameraman. (We hadn't, I promise!) Jenny looks especially sly and sneaky...

  5. This was great fun to read, Abigail! Thanks for giving us some of these peeks into yourself. I love that picture of you girls, also. :D

  6. Quite honestly, you and I are cut from the same cloth! It's always amazing to read your answers; it's so much fun, for one thing, and for another I'm usually nodding an inordinate amount of times. "Yes, yes, yes, me, too!"
    As C. S. Lewis said, "You too? I thought I was the only one!"
    Hey - okay, random idea, but it's worth a shot - would you care to, perhaps, have another correspondant in the form of handwritten letters?

  7. Hi Abigail,
    It was really interesting reading your responses to Joy's tagging. Joy, my younger sister, introduced me to both your blog and Jenny's. They look really inspiring and deep. Very few young people nowadays enjoy rich and deep things, instead of superficialities. Joy really enjoyed your book and I plan to read it myself someday soon.

    I've 'followed' your lovely blog and am looking forward to reading more posts:)
    It'd also be lovely if you could visit my blog sometime at:

    love in Christ,

  8. Grace - Thanks! The photo was taken by a member of our church (if you follow Jenny's blog, you may have heard him referred to as "Uncle Raymond"). He's an excellent photographer and always manages to catch us in some very typical moment.

    Mirriam - I'd love that! The same idea has crossed my mind several times, but I felt awkward proposing it. I'm glad you did, because there's nothing better than a good old-fashioned correspondence. If you want to shoot me an email, we can exchange mailing addresses.

    Sarah - Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the answers here and have had fun reading through the Scribbles posts. Your own blog looks very intriguing; anything focused on history piques my interest!

  9. Really? I'm so glad!!! I know it can be awkward suggesting something like that, but you said you liked letters and I thought "What have I got to lose here?" I'll email you now =)

  10. FYI; the only email I have of yours is the squeakybooks one, so I emailed you there. =)

  11. For some reason the email didn't show up. I don't seem to have your email address, so perhaps you could try again? I'm sorry it's being cranky!

  12. I've just posted your guest post, Abigail, on my blog:

    Thanks so much for writing the post again. I really enjoyed reading it =D, and answered many of the questions we were discussing in the e-mails.
    God bless,

  13. Have you read the book Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens? I think it may be my favorite of all his books. It is also a very big book. There's a mini tv series by bbc based off of it.

  14. I have read Little Dorrit, and seen the mini-series! Both are very good. Dickens does a spectacular job of not only creating a huge story that holds your attention, but managing to tie together all the threads by the end. I don't know how he did it, but I think he must have been a genius.

  15. I completely identify with wanting to hit Ashley Wilkes over the head repeatedly. :D Melanie is such a wonderful character--she doesn't deserve a weak idiot like him!
    Loving your blog, Abigail-- I discovered it recently through my sister and I'm looking forward to reading all your posts!

  16. I tolerated Ashley at the beginning, but by the middle I simple despised him. He was profoundly lily-livered.

    So glad you're enjoying Scribbles! I just started looking through both of your blogs and am especially enjoying the posts on literature and period drama. They cannot be appreciated too much.

  17. Lily-livered! What a perfect word (or word couplet, that is) to describe Ashley!

    Thanks for stopping by my blogs--and for following The Quest for Stories! I was so thrilled!


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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