We're welcoming author Virginia Smith back to the blog. Here's a picture of Ginny and her sisters. Beth is on the left and Suzie is on the right.
The theme of leaning on God tends to crop in many of my books lately. I have always said the Lord teaches me through writing, and one thing I struggle with in my personal life is constantly acknowledging that Jesus is the Boss. He’s in charge, not me. I accepted Him as Savior completely and totally when I was twelve years old, but letting him be Lord, day in and day out, is much harder for me. I find myself giving Him control with my words, but in my actions I wrestle control back from Him. At least three of my books have that as a central theme, and it shows up more subtly in a couple of others.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Next month the sequel to my debut novel is being released. Sincerely, Mayla picks up a few months after the close of Just As I Am. Several of the secondary characters from the first book return in this one and I gave them bigger roles. Readers get to meet Mayla’s estranged grandmother, and they get to know a couple of her friends much better. And of course I answer the question so many readers of the first book wrote to ask me: “What happens between Mayla and Pastor Paul?”
(I was privileged to read this book and endorse it. You'll love it.)
I also have another mystery coming out in October. In A Taste of Murder, the heroine goes to a small town Bar-B-Q Festival primarily to meet a guy she connected with through the Internet. A few unpleasant surprises await her – including a body in her hotel bathtub covered in barbeque sauce. It’s a fun book, and I’m learning how to crank up the suspense level a few notches in my mysteries.
Wow! Sounds great. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I’d like to meet Martha Stewart. How has this woman become so successful in so many things? I’d love to pick her brain, find out what’s behind that drive and ambition. She’s famous – or is that infamous – for being harsh and demanding, and I’d like to see if that’s true, and if so, why. In other words, I would like to know what makes her tick. And if we’re going to spend an evening together, I’d like her to cook dinner for me. :-)
Invite me to dinner, too. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?
About half my life. I spent the first twenty-something years as an avid reader, but I never considered writing. Certainly not writing as a profession. I wrote my first short story in my early twenties on a whim, and I fell in love with the process of writing. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the first thing about it, so it took me a long time to learn the basics. I sold my first fiction – which was Just As I Am – more than twenty years after that first short story!
Oh, yes, the long road many of us took to publication. What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Don’t be discouraged (yeah, right!) and don’t quit! I collected 143 rejection letters (seriously – I kept them all) before my first fiction sale. I wanted to quit so many times, but I knew the Lord had placed the desire in my heart. I just couldn’t give up on something I knew He had in store for me, even if it took my whole life to get there.
So seek the Lord’s guidance, and if you are sure He has placed the desire in your heart to write, keep writing. Do everything you can to improve your skills – go to conferences and take the workshops, read books on the craft, join a critique group, take online courses. But most of all, keep writing.
Stuck in the Middle is the first book in the Sister-to-Sister Series. It’s about the middle sister, Joan, whose life is stuck. While her siblings are off building families and careers, Joan is stuck at home with her mom and aging grandmother. Then a hunky doctor moves in next door, and the fun begins. Nothing heats up a romantic interest more than a little sibling rivalry!
I think readers are going to be surprised, though. The story isn’t all fun and games. I tackle a couple of tough issues, like the difficult decisions we face as our parents and grandparents age. And the ripple effect of their parents divorce on young adults who are trying to build relationships of their own. I even touch on an issue that causes a lot of heated arguments in churches these days: the difference between contemporary and traditional styles of music.
I am one of three sisters, and our parents did divorce when we were young (though not for the same reason). So naturally as I wrote this book I found myself replicating my relationship with my sisters in the story. Not that the Sanderson sisters are us, but elements of each of our personalities do show up in the characters. My sisters are totally jazzed about this series, and keep trying to give me ideas, like, “Okay, in book 2 you need to have Allie do this,” or “Wouldn’t it be funny if Tori did that.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is www.VirginiaSmith.org . And I encourage people to check out the contest the publisher and I are conducting to promote Stuck in the Middle. I'm giving away a $500 shopping spree! Details are on my website.
Thanks, Lena! It's always a pleasure to chat with you!
And I love having you here.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book, but if you don't win, be sure to go out and buy yourself a copy. You won't want to miss this series.
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