Courtney Walsh F.A.Q.
I googled “Courtney Walsh” and got photos of a Jamaican cricket player.
Confusing, right? For the record, that’s not me.
So, when did you start writing novels?
2009. After my first two scrapbooking books were released, I had a heart-to-heart with God. I’d been feeling a little lost in knowing my purpose and I guess I needed a refresher. My husband was doing something he was clearly called to (children’s ministry) but I knew my calling wasn’t the same as his. “What am I supposed to do, Lord?” I asked in a moment of desperation. The answer came to me quickly and kindly. “Write.” I started writing my first novel the next day.
Oh, I know. It’s one of those hobbies that people compare to Trekkies or something, and I’ve sustained my share of mockery as a result of this crazy passion I had for scrapbooking. I’m not sure what it is…fear of my own mortality, or simply the desire to capture every little detail of my life…that draws me to scrapbooking. I think it’s the need to tell my stories. Combine great photos with a great story and an artistic outlet and I’m hooked! You could be too…it’s really simple. I promise.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No. I always wanted to be an actor. I studied theatre in college and spent a summer at Circle in the Square in New York City. I also got a degree in journalism to appease my parents who wondered what on earth I’d do with a degree in theatre. Interestingly, I’ve used both degrees in my life. Frequently.
Do you have a “day job”?
I have a day job, a night job and an everything-in-between job. My husband and I started our own business in 2014. It’s a performing and visual arts studio in Rockford, IL. We teach private lessons in voice, piano, guitar and have classes in various aspects of musical theatre. We also do mixed media art workshops and produce large full-scale musical productions for kids ages 8-19.
Why do you drink so much coffee?
Scroll up one question for answer.
What inspired you to write “Paper Hearts”?
Paper Hearts was actually a version of the very first novel I ever wrote. At the time, it was called Saving Dr. Willoughby and while parts of the story were fine, it lacked that something special. My husband and I lived in “The Sweetheart City, Loveland, Colorado for two years, and one day, while driving home past the wooden hearts on the lampposts, I wondered what it would be like to feel like the only single girl in a town obsessed with romance. I started to reinvent my story on that backdrop and Paper Hearts was born.
Where did you get the idea for the Sweethaven series?
We have friends who own a cottage in southern Michigan. It’s the kind of place where the homes are passed down through the generations and people leave their “real lives” to spend their summers on the lake. It absolutely captivated me, the small town charm and the whole idea of living that way…and naturally, the big Common area seemed like the perfect place for a scrapbooking retreat, so the story sort of came to life after they let us stay there for vacation. I am eternally indebted to them.
Which of your characters do you most relate to?
Before I wrote Change of Heart I would’ve said Jane from the Sweethaven series, but writing Evelyn changed that. I think she has the most “me” in her. She’s a people pleaser. She struggles with anxiety. She wants to figure out what God has for her in this life and make him proud. I wish I could take her out for coffee.
What’s your life’s motto?
“Everything worthwhile is on the other side of fear.”
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Change of Heart is her fifth novel and is set in the same town as Paper Hearts. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing and visual arts studio. They have three children.