Welcome, Lisa. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I literally can’t remember a time as a young child when I didn’t feel God’s presence in my life. I can’t remember not knowing that I was His. He was the third parent who would be there with me and listen to me, even after bedtime when my own parents were tired of my yammering and just wanted me to hush up. As I grew up and was baptized, I drew a different and deeper sense of our relationship to our father and creator. I think we’re always seeking to better understand the many dimensions of God--to internalize how broad and deep that relationship really is. It isn’t fully possible, I know. How can the finite ever really understand the infinite?
The farthest I ever came from being active a faith life was in the young adult college years, when it seemed that just wasn’t the focus of anyone around me. There weren’t as many campus ministries back then, and it just seemed like church was a “When you go home to visit” thing for everyone. It’s amazing how God uses the events in your life to fit you for a particular purpose, though, because this is one of the reasons I teach Sunday school for high school seniors today. I want them to see the value of plugging into a faith community in college and being active during this time when they’re making so many of life’s big decisions. It can make all the difference in the choices they make and the outcomes they receive.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Oh, that is hard! I want a retreat with fifty authors! There are so many I admire as writers and so many I love as friends. I guess if I had to pick four, I would retreat with the girls I blog with on www.SouthernBelleView.com, Beth Webb Hart, Marybeth Whalen, Rachel Hauck, and Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. We have so much chatting over life and sharing glasses of cyber-tea on our online front porch, and when we do have the chance to get together in person, it is a blast. They are a joy to be with!
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I do quite a lot of speaking to groups of all sorts, for everything from women’s retreats, to banquets, to professional conferences, to book clubs. Writing is such a solitary profession, and it is a joy to get out and talk to real people. When I was little, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, “professional speaker” would not have been anywhere on the list, I can promise you. I was the kid who was mortified in the first grade when I figured out that, if I put my hand over my eyes, the teacher could still see me and call on me to read out loud.
One of my favorite things about book travel is that I often meet people who have read my books, and they share stories of what the books have meant to them. It’s an incredible gift to have someone tell you, “This book made me write my mother a letter after fifteen years,” or “This story made me stop seeing taking care of my aging parents as such a burden,” or even, “This made me laugh during a terrible time in my life.” As much fun as creating fictional people is, it’s the connections with real people that matter most.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Well, I embarrass myself all the time because I tend to have “duh” moments whenever names are involved. There are days when, honestly, I think I could forget the names of my own children and pets. The only good thing is that I’m to the point where I can pass it off as a result of the dreaded EO-FB (Episodic Over-Forty Brain) disease. Typically I could tell you everything about a person and I could replay what we’ve talked about, but I couldn’t give you a name, to save my life. Even if a name does come to me, at this point, I’m afraid I’m wrong. I probably am. If I get to the Pearly Gates someday, and a fill-in-the-blank quiz with names is involved, I may be in serious trouble ;o)
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
This question comes up a lot when I’m out speaking and via email. Here’s what I usually tell people:
--Finish the manuscript. Just learning to write from “Once upon a time…” to “The end” is the thing that stops most people. It’s almost impossible for an unpublished writer to sell an unfinished manuscript.
--Don’t worry about making it perfect, just finish the manuscript (Did I say that already)? It’s a lot easier to make something out of something than something out of nothing.
--Don’t pay anybody for anything, unless you know exactly what you’re getting for the money and you have checked references. There are so many scams floating around in any entertainment-oriented business. I’ve stopped a few people just short of spending money they couldn’t afford on publishing services that were making ridiculous promises.
--Believe in your story. God wouldn’t have put it inside you unless it had value. You may need to work on it. You may need to work very hard and long, even, but that thing that’s inside you is there for a reason.
--While you’re trying to sell the first book, write a second. You have more than one story in you, waiting to be told.
Tell us about the featured book.
and expressive modern twist on the parable of the Prodigal Son, or, in this
case, Prodigal Daughter." That's a pretty good nutshell for this
story (I just found out that the book got a starred review from Booklist, by
the way. If you heard squealing from Blue Moon
Bay Central Texas last week, that was me).
When Heather Hampton’s family falls into conflict over the sale of the family land, she is forced to return to the family funeral home in tiny Moses Lake, Texas to sort things out and deal with a family mystery and the unresolved wounds of the past. But when local banker, Blaine Underhill, and Heather's crazy family get involved, all bets are off. Suddenly, Heather's quick trip to Texas leads to Valentine's Week in the family funeral home, and a revelation that could change Heather's life forever.
**Right now, we have something brand new going on – a contest in which one reader can win the chance to “Join the cast” of the next Moses Lake book (Firefly Island, 2013) by becoming one of the townsfolk in Moses Lake. I think it will be so much fun to write a reader into the story! For more information and entry form, go to: www.lisawingate.com/jointhecast
Please give us the first page of the book.
The future is a blank page, but not a mystery. --A Tinker’s Riddle (Written on the Wall of Wisdom, Waterbird Bait and Grocery, Moses Lake, Texas)
Is it possible for nine months and three days of your life to haunt you forever? Can memories become like restless spirits, their long, thin fingers always reaching, and tugging, and grabbing? Their fingernails, in my case, would be some variation of floral pink, nicely manicured. Perfectly matched to a shade of lipstick and possibly a purse or some other accessory. Undoubtedly, this is not the norm for personal demons, but try telling them that. They won’t listen, I promise.
There is no escape from those graceful
ladies, with their embroidery-adorned pantsuits and their languid Southern
drawls. When they whispered in my mind, their sentences rose and fell and
rose again, filled with long vowels, padded and powdered with cheerfulness they
couldn’t possibly be feeling all the time. They became the stuff of my
darkest recurrent nightmares—the kind that reprised the most awkward teenage
years and found me wandering the halls of Moses Lake High School with no idea
where I was supposed to go, suddenly aware that I’d arrived in my Pooh Bear
pajamas, or even worse, I’d forgotten the pajamas altogether. Yet,
somehow, I was just now noticing… Moses Lake
Even from thousands of miles away, after the passage of season after season, the High School dream lingered, along with the feeling that somewhere in the tiny town of Moses Lake, Texas, the ladies were still talking about me. “Such an odd little thing,” they were saying, a purposeful twang on the last word morphing it into tha-ang. “All that eyeliner and that tacky, tacky purple lip gloss. Why, those black T-shirts didn’t help her figure, one little bit, I’m tellin’ ye-ew. But how much can you expect, considerin’ what happened?” I wondered if their conversations turned darker, then—if the women whispered behind their hands about things I was never allowed to know. Did they discuss theories, or facts, as they sat at Lakeshore Community Church, making greeting cards, or knitting scarves for orphans, or boxing cans for the food pantry? Did they know what happened…
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love visiting with readers and new friends online. People can find me on:
Blogging Mondays at: www.SouthernBelleView.com
My website: www.Lisawingate.comFind the
Thank you, Lisa. It's always such a pleasure to have you drop by.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Blue Moon Bay - paperback
Blue Moon Bay - Kindle
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