Christian novelist Molly Noble Bull is a native Texan. She graduated from Texas A&M University at Kingsville, the daughter and granddaughter of ranch managers—real Texas cowboys—and she spent part of her growing up years on a 60,000-acre cattle ranch.
She is a monthly contributor to a blog for readers of western fiction called Bustles and Spurs. She also writes a monthly column, Books That Inspire, for South Texas Living magazine. Her novel, Sanctuary, won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the inspirational category. Last year, her long historical, Gatehaven, won the grand prize in the Creation House Fiction Writing Contest. The book subsequently released last month.
Molly and her husband have three grown sons and six grandchildren, and each of her three sons is involved in the Texas ranch business.
What sparked your novel writing journey?
Two fourth-grade teachers told me that I was talented in writing, and that gave me the courage to set out on my writing journey. It must have been because of my story-telling abilities that captured their interest. It sure wasn’t because of my spelling, grammar and punctuation skills. You see, I am dyslexic. Yep. It’s true. I tell all about it in a non-fiction book I wrote with four other Christian authors titled The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities.
But today, I will be mostly talking about Gatehaven, my Christian Gothic historical.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
I’ve had gobs of detours in my life, so far, and God has taught me something important every single time. Today, I will tell you about the first one.
I was in about the second or third grade, and in those days some children walked home from school. I cannot tell you what happened at school that day. My memory began as I stood in front of the school, waiting for the light to change so I could cross the busy street and go home to the garage apartment where we lived.
A car was parked across the street—a tan sedan. I’d never seen a car parked in that spot before, and I felt uneasy, crossing the street and walking down the sidewalk near the car. But that was the way I always walked home. When the light changed, I headed for the sidewalk.
The sidewalk was about two feet from the curb, and the grass looked green and newly cut. It’s amazing what details a child can remember at times like this. The man in the car had a jacket that he wasn’t wearing, and it was folded neatly on the back of the seat on the passenger side. I could only see the back of the man’s head. His hair was black, and he was looking at me via his rear-view mirror. I think he was smiling because his cheeks were puff out.
I was scared—real scared. But I kept moving forward. This was the route all the children I knew took when walking home from school, but I was the only one on the sidewalk on that day. The window on the passenger side must have been open. The man’s car was parked as close to the curb as he could get it. When I got even with him, he said, “Would you like a ride, little girl?”
“No,” I shouted and started running.
My mother had told me never to ride with strangers. I guess she forgot to tell me what to do if the stranger wouldn’t take no for an answer. I thought that once you said “no” to the offer of a ride, the stranger would simply drive off. That didn’t happen. He slowed his car so that he was driving right beside me.
At the first intersection, I raced across the street without looking. As I neared the second intersection, a thought came to me. I could cross the street, run between two of the houses on that street, go down the alley, and go home that way. In that instant, another thought came to me that I think came from the Lord. The voice said, “No, Molly, you just keep running down that sidewalk.”
I did as the Lord told me and kept racing down the sidewalk. When I got close to our garage apartment, I slowed down, panting, least I run right past where we lived. There was a three lane driveway in front of the garage apartment and an outdoor stairway at the far end. I raced up the steps to the first landing, and I hurried up the rest of the steps to the big landing at the back of the house where the entry door was located. I grabbed the handle on the screen door. The door wouldn’t budge. It was locked from the inside.
“Mama,” I yelled. “Let me in. A man is after me.”
In that moment as I waited for my mother to open the door, I looked down. The man stood on the first landing, looking at me. I couldn’t identify that look then. Now I know it was pure lust. My mother opened the door, and I raced inside.
Mama went out onto the porch then. The man said, “I just wanted to tell you, lady, what a cute little girl you have.”
“Thank you,” she said. “We think so, too.”
Then the man turned, got back in his car and roared off. We never saw him again, but Mama walked me to and from school after that.
I thank and praise the Lord for walking me home from school that day. Had He not, I might not be answering these questions.
Had I taken the detour down that lonely alley that day, would I ever have married or had children? Or would my life have ended before it really began?
How does your faith play into your work?
The day God walked me home from school was a turning point in my life. Clearly, the Lord was real and cared about me. But it took a few years before that fact soaked down into my soul. When it finally did, I dedicated all my books to the Lord, and every one of my published novels have these words on the dedication page.
But to God give the glory.
Let’s talk about your new book, Gatehaven (Creation House, February 2014). Please tell us about it.
Gatehaven is a Christian Gothic historical novel that is kind of scary but the Lord is weaved into it. Rather than tell you more about my book, I would like for you to turn on your sound and hear a video based on Gatehaven.
What inspired the story and the setting?
I’ve always liked suspense and stories set in interesting locations like castles and mansions filled with secrets and mystery, and of course there must always be a romance as well. But Gatehaven had another purpose. Many people know nothing about the occult. So I tucked information on that topic within the pages of Gatehaven—without being preachy, I hope.
You’re also re-releasing a western romance from back in 1986. Please tell us about that.
Yes. The Rogue’s Daughter is my first indie e-book, and it will be published later this year. Zondervan published The Rogue’s Daughter back in 1986 as a Serenade/Saga Christian Romance, and I am including the cover of the Zondervan version first (below). It’s the one with the girl and the cowboy on the cover, standing together… I especially like the new version because the girl on the cover is an actual photograph of an ancestor of mine.
I love to hear what readers think. So please leave a comment. I would especially like to hear what you think of my covers and the video. I am giving away two free copies of Gatehaven to anyone willing to write a review after reading the novel.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I live in South Texas, and Mexican food is what I like to eat above all else. But when I am writing, a chocolate bar really sounds good.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I like to sing. I’m a second soprano. My husband is a low bass, and though he is very athletic, we met in choir in college. If I hadn’t been a writer, I might have been a singer.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
What an interesting question. I never thought of that before. In my early teenage years, it would have been a love song. I hadn’t met my husband yet. Today it is also a love song—a praise to my Lord and God in the name of His only begotten Son, Jesus.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Outwardly, I am the funny girl in a crowd who makes folks laugh, and there is always a dash of humor in all my novels. There is even a pinch of humor in Gatehaven. Inwardly, I am more like Mary, Martha’s sister, because I love to sit and listen to the Lord and His Word.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I don’t have any pets at the moment. But I am a dog lover too. I also like horses.
Thank you, Molly! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
It was a pleasure to be here. I hope you will invite me back.
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For more information about Molly, visit her website. Until midnight on March 17th, the Gatehaven e-book will be sale priced at $2.99.
To purchase Gatehaven and other books by Molly, logon to:
The video was kind of creepy, but very intriguing. Good job! I really like the covers of both books. The cover of Gatehaven beacons readers to pick it up and eagerly begin reading. I remember the Serenade/Saga Christian romances! Love the new cover!
I would be happy to leave reviews.
Thanks mucho, Kathy, for a wonderful interview. Pay the Lord continue to bless you, your family and your ministry.
Molly Noble Bull
Oh, my. I meant to say Pray the lord, not pay. Yes, I still make mistakes. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.
But God is bigger than any mistake I could ever ever make. The Bible says that someday, when I get my new body, I will see Jesus as he is because I will be like him.
Molly Noble Bull
Molly, it was nice to get to know you better. You have a rich family history, a great sense of humor, and a wonderful witness for the Lord.
Kay, I agree with you! Gatehaven looks like a great read!
I’m glad you like my covers, and I would be thrilled if you read and reviewed Gatehaven.
It’s kind of scary, even creepy, but it has a strong Christian message.
For anyone interested in buying the Gatehaven ebook, when I logged onto to one of the retailer sites tonight it was still selling at the special, reduced rate. Hurry to your favorite ebook retailer now and check it out!
Thanks for mentioning that apparently the sale is still on, Kathy, and thanks for including Gatehaven in your blog.