Oh, goody, Virginia Smith has written a murder mystery. Welcome, Virginia. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
So far my books have covered a variety of spiritual topics. I like to write about God’s unconditional love, and that showed up in Just As I Am and Sincerely, Mayla. Many times, the spiritual themes come straight out of my personal life, like with Stuck in the Middle and Age before Beauty. Those books focus on knowing God as the perfect and loving Father, and not allowing our relationship with our imperfect, earthly fathers to interfere with that.
In Murder at Eagle Summit, the spiritual theme is again very personal to me. The main character has done some things in her past that she isn’t proud of, and she’s keeping them buried. She learns that God can cleanse her and make her whiter than snow. There’s an old hymn called “Whiter than Snow.” The fourth verse goes like this:
Lord Jesus, before You I patiently wait;
Come now and within me a new heart create.
To those who have sought You, You never said "No"
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
What an awesome lesson, and one I need to hear over and over again.
Don't we all? What other books of yours are coming out soon?
This year is a busy one for me. The second book in the Sister-to-Sister Series, Age before Beauty, just came out in February. Of course, Murder at Eagle Summit comes out this month. And then in June, Scent of Murder will hit bookstores. That story follows Murder at Eagle Summit and A Taste of Murder (October, 2008), and focuses on the third member of the classical music trio. It’s probably the most suspenseful book I’ve written so far.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Billy Graham. You may find this odd, but I didn’t know much about the man until last year, when I heard Jerry Jenkins (who worked with Graham on his autobiography) speak about the time they spent together. The way he described the peace that flows from Billy Graham made me want to meet him. Obviously, God has given this humble man a unique gift, and I’d love to hear him talk of God’s grace and redemption in person.
I admire him, too. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?
Some writers say they knew when they were very young that they wanted to become a writer. Not me. I never considered it until my late twenties. Of course, since I have always loved science fiction and fantasy, my first (still unpublished) novels were all fantasy novels. Honestly, two of those (there were six!) are really good, in my humble and completely unbiased opinion. J I’d still like to see them published some day. But it wasn’t until I decided to dedicate my writing to the Lord and write a story where He was featured in the pages that I had any success. That was Just As I Am, and it came out in 2006. That was more than twenty years after I started!
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I feel your pain! If you’ve ever read any interviews with me, you know I collected a TON of rejections before my first book contract. (143 – gasp!) But then after the contract for Just As I Am, I started selling everything I submitted. I didn’t really think I was immune to rejection, but I did enjoy four years without experiencing it. Until recently, when I received a particularly painful rejection, and I was surprised at how depressed I was. I’d thought after ten novels and dozens of articles published, I could handle one, “Sorry, but this isn’t right for us.” Let me tell you, it still stings. I still called my mother and cried.
So I can say with completely authority: rejection is a part of the profession. If you really want to pursue this crazy business, get used to it. And I mean that in the most loving way possible – get used to it. Don’t let it stop you. Learn to deal with it, and to get over it as quickly as you can. There are so many reasons for rejections. Some of them you can control – like your own skills. You can work to improve them. Some reasons you can’t control – like the market. A couple of years ago, I attended the editor panel at an ACFW conference and watched all the editors say they wanted to acquire contemporary fiction, no historical. All the historical fiction writers in the audience heaved a huge sigh of despair. Last year at the same panel, almost every editor said they’re actively acquiring historical romance, and this time the heavy sighs came from the chick lit writers. As a writer, you cannot control the market. All you can do is write the best book you’re able to write.
Publication is not the measure of how good you are as a person. It is not the end-all and be-all of life. So don’t base your self-worth on achieving it. If God called you to write, then write. Set goals, and work toward achieving them. Don’t let rejection affect you enough to sidetrack you.
Very well said. Now tell us about the featured book.
I’m excited about this book, my seventh and the first set outside of my home state of Kentucky. The classical trio introduced in my last romantic suspense, A Taste of Murder, head west to play at a wedding in Park City, Utah. A romantic ski resort seems the perfect place for a wedding. Until a murder on the slopes turns everyone at Eagle Summit Resort into suspects … or maybe victims. Liz Carmichael, the bride's cousin, saw a shadowy figure on a chair lift in the middle of the night. But was it the victim or the killer? Liz goes to the police -- and finds herself giving her report to her ex-fiancé, Deputy Tim Richards. After a three-year estrangement, she could finally make things right with Tim. Unless the killer finds her first.
I have a terrific video trailer, created by Tinkertime Productions. You can watch it on my website (http://www.virginiasmith.org/) or here’s a link to the video on Tangle: http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=00a94b40fbcc1505920a
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://www.virginiasmith.org/. I also have a bi-monthly eNewsletter, with a sign-up form on my website. I keep my website updated with lots of fun stuff, including giveaways. And not just of my books – I give away other people’s books, too, like you, Lena. I’ve recently ventured into Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/people/Ginny-Smith/1557400143) , and I’d love to get new Friends there.
Thank you, Ginny, for spending this time with us. I always enjoy it.
Readers, if you don't live close to a store that carries this book, here's a link where you can order it:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.