Sunday, August 27, 2006

A New Voice in Christian Fiction -- Nancy Jo Jenkins

When I first heard about Nancy's book Coldwater Revival, I must confess that I didn't buy into all the hype. The word lyrical was often bandied around. Well, when my book arrived and I started reading it, I finally understood. The book has a literary/lyrical voice, and the story is intriguing. I loved it. I've know her online for quite some time, and I'm looking forward to meeting Nancy Jo face-to-face.

Nancy, how much of yourself do you put into your characters?

There is something of me in all of my characters. But my characters are mainly made up of composites of people I know and have known over the years. Creating characters isn't a conscious thing I do. I just see my character, and know his/her feelings and thoughts. This, along with everything else about my writing, comes to me as a gift from our Heavenly Father.

I know what you mean. Isn't it wonderful when He introduces us to these people? What is the quirkiest thing you've ever done?

I have done so many quirky things in my life, it's hard to pinpoint just one. But what immediately comes to mind is the way I tend to mismatch my stockings with my outfits. For twenty-one years I taught school. I would get up in the predawn and dress, but when I got to school and looked down at my feet, my hoisery/sock/stockings often clashed with what I was wearing. That's what comes to mind, but perhaps I'm just too embarrassed to mention the many other ways I am quirky.

When did you first know that you were a writer?

I knew I was a storyteller from grade-school on. I told stories to my sisters, later my children, my students, and now my grandchildren. I love to tell stories. But I didn't discover that I was a writer until about 5 1/2 years ago. Once I began writing, that was it. I knew then that I was meant to write. I feel writing is one of God's purposes for my life, and I pray I'll be able to write for Him for many more years to come.

What is the range of kinds of books you like to read?

I enjoy reading most fiction, especially historicals, romance and contemporary novels. But if a book has a good story, I'll read it, no matter the genre. Mysteries and time travel also intrigue me.

What other books, whether published or not, have you written?

Coldwater Revival is my only completed novel. But I wrote for a long time on my first novel, and then spent some time on a second novel. I completed neither, but I learned so much as I practiced on those two books. I've also written several childrens' books, and hope to get them published someday.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

It's difficult to hold onto your sanity and keep pace with the demands of life. But I found out early on in my writing that I HAD to seek God before I could attempt any mission or ministry for Him. On the days I don't have my quiet time with God, and don't delve into His Word, then I feel totally lost the entire day. So I make that a priority and He somehow stretches the minutes and hours so that I can keep up with life's demands. My husband helps me a lot, also.

How do you name your characters?

Do you recall the vacuum tubes at the drive-in window of a bank? That's how my characters' names seem to come to me. It's like I put my request for a name in a tube and send it up the way, and it shoots right back down to me - straight from God. I don't always get the name I need the very day I send up my request, but when the names DOES arrive, I have no doubts from Whom it came.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Of the accomplishments I have achieved, I am most proud of my family. My husband, our joined family of children, and our precious grandchildren. Our families are a lasting heritage. Many other accomplishments last but for a short time. But our families just "keep on going" like the bunny in the commercial.

If you could be any animal, which one would you want to be?

I would choose to be a doe. Deer are graceful, beautiful, sure-footed and live together in small herds. And I know that does protect their fawns. So, a doe sounds just like the sort of animal I would choose to be if that were my choice.

What is your favorite food?

I love Tex-Mex food and so does my husband. We eat it a least once a week, and usually more often than that. I lived in El Paso for six years. There the Mexican food is more identifiable to the interior of Mexico. I learned to love that kind of Mexican food also. But Tex-Mex is my favorite.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Coldwater Revival is a work of love. I gleaned memories from my childhood, worked with them until they were so deeply embedded in my heart that I felt I was part of the Falin family, of which I wrote. Coldwater Revival is a true-to-life story, with elements of grief-shattering loss, doubts, and a young lady's devastating guilt and shame. But it's also a story of victory, forgiveness and unforgettable restoration for Emma Grace Falin and her family. And it has a very satisfying conclusion.

Thank you for spending this time with us, Nancy. I look forward to your next book.

Remember, Reader, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Coldwater Revival. Someone wins a book every week. It might as well be you.

Also, there's still time to leave a comment on Gail Sattler's interview for a chance to win Kentucky Keepers.


Anonymous said...

Lena - it looks like I get to be the first person to comment on the interview. I JUST LOVED your questions. They were very thought-provoking and made this interview interesting, unique and significant. Thank you for interviewing me and for featuring "Coldwater Revival" on your blogspot. What a wonderful opportunity that is!! I also appreciate your generous words about my book. I am really looking forward to Dallas, and hope that I can sit at your table and visit with you for a while. Your encouragement and help is priceless!
Thanks again,
Nancy Jo

Anonymous said...

Great interview! It is always great to learn about a new author and her book sounds really good.

Jennifer Y. said...

Great interview!! This sounds like a good book.

Anonymous said...

Wooo, hooo!! I love these interviews! They're a great way to get to know more about you authors and your books! It doesn't get any better than that. :-) Thanks Lena and Nancy Jo.