I’d love to take credit for the design of this interview, but it’s all from the mind of Michael Ehret, the only male contributor to our new release, Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection. The guy’s a riot—I get a kick out of him, and his novella “Big Love” is one of my favorites in the collection.
Me? Live tiny? But what about … ?
Today, I’m talking with one of my co-authors for the Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection about whether he could live in a tiny house or not. And when I say “he,” if you’re familiar with the collection at all, then you know I can only be talking with Michael Ehret, author of “Big Love,” since he’s the only man in the tiny house.
But, before we get to whether Mike could live tiny, I have another burning question:
What was it like to work on a collection with six other authors, all of them women? And watch what you say, now, because we’re all listening. But do speak freely, of course. No pressure.
First of all, Linda, thanks for the invite to your blog. I’m glad to be here, even though I prefer spearmint to peppermint. Ahem.
What was it like working with six women? With no exaggeration, I can say that working on Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection with all women was … an enlightening experience and I think it will inform how I write any future female characters. Is that enough? Can I safely back away yet?
No? Truthfully, it was a fantastic experience. Once I understood that every question asked to the group about anything—absolutely anything—would result in a minimum of two dozen email responses (if you’re counting, that’s only four responses from each of them), then it was all good. I got to the point where I would ask Ane, one of the co-authors and pack leader, “is there anything in all of these emails I MUST respond to?” and she would provide guidance.
The absolute best thing, though, was that every one of them is an encourager. And that truly was a blessing to me during this process. Even when editing my manuscript, encouragement was the rule. I hope they were that way with each other, and not just with me so as to not scare “the man” away.
So, we’re dying to know. Could you live in a tiny house?
My wife, Deb and I have actually talked about the idea and, truthfully, we vacillate. Some days we think, yes, indeed, that kind of forced simplicity would be mentally and spiritually freeing. Other days, we’re all: “What about our books (we have hundreds)? What about our CDs (I have thousands)? What about our DVDs (more than enough, if you ask Deb; severely lacking, if you ask me)?”
But here’s what all the discussions actually come down to: We like to entertain. We’re the place where most of the family gatherings take place. Out-of-town guests? Bring ‘em on! We are gifted with hosting and welcoming and just can’t see giving all of that up. So, in the end, could we live in a tiny home? Yes, we could. Would we choose to? Probably not.
Let’s say you made the decision to live in a tiny home. What would it look like?
The best houses we’ve lived in over the years have been older houses. We’ve owned homes built in 1910, 1942, 1937—and love them all. We’re very attracted to the Craftsman Bungalow style of home. So our tiny house would have to have great roof lines, a strong front porch, wood floors, and dark wood accents throughout.
Still, for a true tiny house, maybe something like this. This one is 400 sq. ft, but looks like so much more to the eye. I think I’d be willing to have this as a vacation home somewhere down south where we might spend the winters? Does that count?
How do your characters in “Big Love” interact with tiny houses?
Very differently. My female lead, Berly, owns a company that builds tiny houses—but she does it as a way to provide inexpensive housing for people who are, or nearly are, homeless. But she doesn’t live in a tiny home herself, although she does have a tiny bungalow in Broad Ripple in Indianapolis, so not a LOT bigger than a tiny house.
Rafe, however, is all about the ostentatious. His apartment in Chicago, though not huge, is not tiny house living. He is uncomfortable with tiny houses because of an experience he had as a child when he and his mother lost their home due to unforeseen circumstances. Plus, as a writer for an architecture journal, tiny houses seem like a frivolous fad to him, rather than an up and coming trend. So, he’s not a big fan.
So, Berly and Rafe are on opposite sides of the tiny house phenomenon. What could possibly bring a civic-minded entrepreneur and a high-minded architecture nerd together? That’s the “What if” of my novella, “Big Love.” And I love the answer. Hope the readers do, too.
Michael Ehret has accepted God’s invitation to write and is a freelance editor at WritingOnTheFineLine.com. In addition, he’s served as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). He pays the bills as a marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star. He has a “Big Love” for tiny houses.
You can find our novella collection on Amazon.