This is a super-busy week because I’m heading to the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference on Thursday. I’ll be teaching a couple of workshops, hanging out with some of my writer/editor friends, and hopefully petting a banana slug.
To get everyone in the writing mood (since you will be hearing all about the conference from me, I’m sure) I’m excited about hosting an author interview AND a giveaway of two books.
Gwen Faulkenberry and I have known each other for about ten years. I had the delight of working with her at DaySpring and then staying in touch as a friend and fellow writer. She has recently published two books with Summerside Press, A Beautiful Life: Devotions for a Woman’s Heart and a Christian romance novel Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado.
I asked Gwen a few questions about her life and writing so you can get to know her a little too…
Tell us a little bit about you and your family. I am 37 years old, and have been married 15 years to Stone, the best guy on the planet. We have three great kids, Grace, 8, Harper, 6, and Adelaide, 2. I am mostly a stay-home mom, but I also teach English part-time at Arkansas Tech-Ozark, a college near my home, and write cards for DaySpring.
What is the first thing you ever remember writing? I wrote stories that my fourth grade teacher “published” and put on her class bookshelves. The other kids would check them out and read them during reading time.
You’ve written both fiction and non-fiction, how are they different? (This is a hard question for me to answer. I’ve typed in several different answers so far and they all sound stupid.) For me, so far, the non-fiction has been a lot easier. I’m not saying I think non-fiction is easier to write in general, but just that in my experience with these two books, the devotional was by far the easiest. One reason for that, I’m sure, is that it was about 1/3 the size of the novel.
But also, it’s just pretty natural for me to get excited about beautiful people and share things the Lord is doing in my own life. The stories and reflections sort of just gushed out, like I couldn’t type fast enough. When I got done I had tons of things left to say; it was like a casual, fun conversation with readers that I didn’t want to end.
My novel was totally the opposite. I felt just as annointed for the work, but it was painstaking. I labored over single words and phrases. I wanted it to be a literary masterpiece that would entertain and people and also challenge them spiritually, conveying the redemptive power of God’s love. I loved writing it, but I was so glad when I was finished!
What inspires you? Good music, good books, teaching, nature, listening to the stories of people around me, anything beautiful.
You’re busy raising three kids—how do you find time to write? I have a wonderful support system. My parents are retired, and my sister-in-law stays home with her kids. They help me a lot with childcare. And my husband is amazing. I also don’t sleep much.
If you could tell other women who want to be published one thing, what would it be? I suppose it should be easy to give a pat answer here, but I don’t have one big statement to make. My own journey to publishing success has been something I never could have predicted.
I believe what’s most important is to trust the Lord. Don’t strive. Move in His peace and don’t try to force anything. Do your best at whatever place in life He has you. Work hard at the craft of writing. Listen and learn. Get help from people who know what they’re doing, and follow their advice.
Be willing to not be published if it’s God’s will. At the same time, if you know it’s a dream He’s placed in your heart, don’t give up on it. I’ve come to believe great writing will find its way into the marketplace, even if it takes a long time.
What is one of your “beautiful anomalies”? Although this is definitely not something I see as beautiful, I know God doesn’t see the way we see. Your blog post reminds me of that, Holley, and I thank you for it. I believe I am cursed by a genetic propensity to gain weight.
My husband can eat a mixing bowl full of granola every morning, topped off with a pound of bacon and a three-egg, four-cheese omelette, and not gain an ounce. On the other hand, if I eat more than a grape for breakfast without walking it off before lunch, I am apt to go up a dress size. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s close.
What has God taught you through the writing process? He has taught me that He’s a lot smarter than I am, and that He is big enough to do anything He wants, whenever He decides. His resources are not limited and He really doesn’t need my help making things happen. My part is to do my work faithfully, in quietness and trust, which of course I’m not always good at. But, He doesn’t seem to hold that against me. In fact, I believe He likes me anyway and keeps leading me onward and upward!
Gwen graciously gave me two signed copies of A Beautiful Life to share with you! To be entered to win one, leave a comment telling us a book you’ve enjoyed reading lately. The random number generator will pick the comments and I’ll announce them first thing Thursday morning before I head to California.