- Are you of Indian heritage?[+]
Rainwater is my married name, and my husband's
heritage includes Cherokee descent. My maiden name is McGrath, and I am 100% Irish.
All four of my grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from western Ireland in the latter
part of the 1800s.
- Where do your ideas come from? Who or
what inspires you?[+]
My initial reaction is to say that I have
no idea where my ideas come from. But truth be told, there are sources. I always
had an absorbing interest in the Civil War. A close second was the pioneer period
of the West. So it was natural for me to choose those times and settings for my
novels. As mentioned in the About Me section,
some of my ideas about the medical aspects of the stories came from personal experience.
I was blessed with the opportunity to care for the bodies and spirits of soldiers
and veterans while I served in the Army, including repatriated POWs and MIAs returning
from Vietnam. Some of their stories and their nightmares have made their way onto
the pages of my novels. A simple note in a medical record made by a nurse was the
inspiration for a major plot turn in Arrow. But nothing has been more special than
drawing on the circumstances and emotions that my parents experienced and wrote
about in World War II. The scene in True Colors where Michael must decide
whether to remain at his present position-and near his love-or answer a deep calling
in his soul that would take him away is based on letters my father wrote after he
had made a similar decision. In fact, some of that scene is taken word for word
from those letters.
Certain writers have influenced me. Louis L'Amour. Grace Livingston Hill. Richard
Paul Evans. But inspiration? I see that as something else altogether. On some level
I am inspired by the beauty of creation-going into the mountains west of Denver
usually gave me a boost for writing the mountain scenes in Arrow. Civil War museums
and books and movies did the same for True Colors. Sometimes song lyrics
serve to inspire, or even phrases from overheard conversations. But God was my Chief
Source of inspiration for every scene of each book. I asked Him to write these books
with me, and I offered them as my gift back to Him. I am certain I could not have
written or finished them without Him.
- How did you get started writing?[+]
Unlike most authors will say of themselves,
my desire to write does not go back to my childhood. When called upon to write term
papers or themes in grade school and high school, I did so with a genuine lack of
enthusiasm. But I remember once in the eighth grade, we were given the assignment
of writing a short story. I hated the whole idea of such a monumental--and not to
mention what I thought was a worthless--mandate. We could write in any setting or
time period we wished. The bad news was, it had to be written from the point of
view of a person of the same age and gender as ourselves. Worst of all, it had to
be written in the first person!! Now, that was taking this writing thing too far.
But you didn't fail to turn in an assignment in those days, so I began to write.
I wrote at first just to have something to turn in, and didn't care what grade I
got. The more I wrote, the more I began to personally like the character and the
story, but thought that anyone else would see it as dumb. Finally the day came when
we handed them in, and I was done with it. The next week, the teacher had graded
them and was about to hand them back to us. I sat there thinking about what I could
do for extra credit to bring up my grade since I knew this one would sink me. The
teacher said that before she passed them back, she wanted to read one that was an
especially well written and gripping story. I knew who wrote it, the same girl who
always got straight A's in every class. The teacher got about two sentences into
the story when I realized she was reading mine. She read aloud about the 12-year-old
girl who lived in the mountains of Appalachia with her widowed mother. A girl who
never wandered more than a few feet from her dilapidated cabin, who rarely even
stepped outside anymore, for she had recently gone blind. When the girl's mother
became seriously ill, the terrified 12-year-old had to find her way down the mountain
to seek help using her memory and her other senses. When the teacher was finished
reading, my eyes peeked at the kids around me to see their reactions. They seemed
mesmerized. Then she told who wrote it, and everyone looked at me in shock. Instead
of feeling proud, I wanted to crawl under my desk. Now everyone knew what kinds
of things went through my mind when I was alone and thinking up stories. I still
have that problem sometimes-exposing my thoughts to the world.
My other brief stint as a child writer was also in grade school. My girlfriend and
I co-authored a book based on The Black Stallion series. And I mean heavily based
on. Can you say "plagiarize?" We didn't know the meaning of the word. Writing that
story was fun for me, unlike the kind that was forced on me. But I never wrote for
fun again until I was in my 30s.
All of my children were in school then, and I had time to read again. I read everything
from Westerns to ancient history to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Some of the novels I read were genuinely bad. Poorly written and uninteresting.
I thought, I could write better than this! Right. Two decades of writing, studying
writing, editing, rewriting, re-editing, etc, etc. later, the books made it into
- Are your books Christian fiction?[+]
I am a storyteller, and my stories are
definitely shaped by my Christian world view. They are redemptive but not overtly
theological. Biblical values and acts of faith are embedded in the story. It is
my desire that hearts will be drawn closer to God through the "lives" of my characters.
For the reader interested solely in being entertained, he or she has certainly come
to the right place. Woven throughout these stories are elements of loss and triumph,
committed love and long-haul character. You don't have to be a Chri-Fi reader to
have a desire to indulge in wholesome, conscience-nurturing stories.