by Monica Sanchez
Lisa M. Prysock is a USA Today Bestselling, Award-winning Author of Christian and inspirational books. Born in Minnesota, she has lived in the Midwest, Southwest, and the South before settling in beautiful, rural Kentucky with her husband of twenty-five years.
They have flourished and thrived in the bluegrass state amidst the rich history and heritage, scenic horse farms, and thriving local culture. These factors, along with their faith, are a constant source of inspiration for many of Lisa’s books.
Lisa writes in the genres of both Historical Christian Romance and Contemporary Christian Romance, including a multi-author Western Christian Romance series, “Whispers in Wyoming.” She is also the author of a devotional. She enjoys sharing her faith in Jesus Christ through her writing. She continues the joy and adventure of her writing journey as a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and LCW (Louisville Christian Writers). Lisa’s books are clean, sweet, and wholesome. Readers will find inspiration, romance, and family-oriented material in her books. She gives a generous portion of the proceeds to missions.
In a heartwarming interview with our Interviews Editor Monica Sanchez, Lisa talks about her faith, writing journey, and beyond.
Every beautiful story has an interesting beginning. Tell us how the beloved children’s character “Curious George” became an inspiration to you when you were a young child and how did it help you with your writing?
Thank you so much for this fun question. When I reflect on my writing journey, my earliest memory is from a day in kindergarten class when the teacher announced we could have about an hour of free time. Instead of playing with the toys, I was the nerdy kid who wanted to make a little book.
I couldn’t spell many words yet, but it didn’t deter me from drawing and coloring the scenes for my first story, my own concoction about the character of Curious George. I brought my finished pictures to the teacher and asked her to help me write a sentence for each of my pictures. She complied, graciously allowing me to dictate my sentences to her. Upon completion, she handed me my first little book after stapling the pages together. Inspired by the Curious George animated television cartoon stories and books (among many others) my mom read to my two younger sisters and me, I was so proud of that first little book.
In reflection, I appreciate the time my teacher took to help me complete this project of my imagination. It has become a treasure in my earliest writing memories and marks how deeply I’ve always felt drawn and called to writing and creating stories.
Tell us about your relationship with Christ and what He means to you today.
My decision to follow Christ is the greatest decision I’ve ever made in my entire life. To describe my relationship with Him, I can see how it has blossomed over the years from a young age. I’m thankful I had parents, grandparents, teachers, family members, and friends who impacted me for Christ.
There are mile marker moments in my life where I felt God’s presence as a young child, like the moment I became aware of the beauty of a sunset view from my bedroom window. The time I found a butterfly in a cocoon makes me realize He was telling me something about my life. I would end up in a cocoon for a long time, but eventually I would emerge with a strong relationship with Him. Then, at age nine, blessed to have grandparents who lived a life in the ministry, I witnessed my first miracle and saw the power of God firsthand while holding my grandfather’s hand. A visiting evangelist had come to our church with a healing ministry, and we were all going to pray for a man who walked with a severe limp due to one leg being shorter than the other. When we prayed for it to grow, in seconds, I saw God lengthen this man’s leg to equal the length of the other. You don’t forget those kinds of miracles.
I remember choosing to follow the Lord in water baptism at age thirteen. In the next few decades, life had both valleys and mountaintop moments. I feel like I drifted for a time, but He eventually blessed me with a good husband, three beautiful children, and a home of our own. In the darkest valleys, I learned to pursue and cling to Him. As I studied the Word, prayed, and worshipped Him, my relationship grew and grew. He has a way of healing us from life’s wounds and turning the ashes into a thing of beauty. Truly, as the Psalmist wrote, He has become my eternal Rock, Redeemer, and Refuge, giving me a life of purpose and joy.
I maintain my relationship with Him by doing my best to spend time with Him in prayer, Bible reading, and worship each day. It’s an intentional decision to keep Him first and at the center of my life. These things are absolutely integral to my relationship and journey with Him.
People sometimes wonder what’s their purpose, or what plans God has for them. How did the topic of discovering identity and purpose motivate you to write “To Find a Duchess?”
The Lord deeply etched this story into my heart because it resembles my own journey. I had floundered in finding my calling to write. The dream had died for me along the way as becoming a wife and mother unfolded in my life. Little did I know, difficult times in life had left me with a need for spiritual healing and a deeper walk with Him before God could call me to writing. As a result, in times of waiting, I always felt a sense there was something more than being a mother and wife.
These roles were important and integral in and of themselves, and this identity was foremost and central to who He’d created me to be, but I longed for another way to contribute to sharing Christ with others. He’d hinted at something more over the years and the deep sense of longing to do something more was powerful inside me, like a fire shut up in my bones.
When He revived my dream to become a writer for Him in my late forties as my children were nearing the end of their homeschool journey, I was stunned, delighted, and surprised, but it finally all made sense to me. He’d given me the hints over the years to keep me going in the waiting process while I gave my all to raising my children and eventually homeschooling them. When the door burst open for me to write, I knew this was the other purpose He’d ultimately groomed me for, and one I’d been longing for since childhood.
Like the heroine in the story discovering she hadn’t married merely a gentleman farmer but a Duke who’d now made her a Duchess, it was such a surprise by the time it finally came along, and an utterly surreal moment in my life to see this dream of becoming a writer come true. I could also understand all the writerly quirky idiosyncrasies about myself … like loving far too many books, having gobs of notebooks over the years full of partially started stories I’d handwritten, my obsession with writing journals, and so many other things. The pieces to the puzzle of my identity in Christ all finally fit together.
What inspired you to create a story in the civil war era in the romance novel Minnesota Bride? How did the characters of the book show their Christian beliefs?
A fellow author invited me to write in a multi-author series where each author would choose a different state from the Civil War Era for a setting. A huge fan of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, I could hardly wait to get to writing it. In my research for the Brides of Pelican Rapids stories, I’d already discovered many things about Minnesota during the time of the Civil War and decided to place my story there. Since I was born in Hastings, Minnesota, this was another draw for me to choose this state. I decided to make my story centered around the Minnesota governor’s daughter and dove deeper into my research about this statesman and his family. I found his wife had a charitable and Christian spirit, actively participating in many charities during her husband’s time in office. I also discovered this governor had been on hand when Lincoln announced the proclamation for war and the need for soldiers. The Minnesota governor was the first to pledge thousands of soldiers to Lincoln. This got my imagination rolling and I thought, what if his daughter had also met Lincoln and decided to become a spy for the good of the country because of her deep love for freedom, equality, country, and God? These are honorable and Christian traits which were wonderful to bring out in the characters in the story.
There are many people in the Bible who can relate to the genre of Contemporary Romance such as Boaz, Ruth, Mary, and Joseph. How did the Bible influence the imagery for your stories and the character’s personalities in “Geneva?”
Geneva is a Welsh character who had to leave her entire world behind to flee from a scandal and a difficult time in her life due to no fault of her own. After crossing the Atlantic and coming to America, she also needed to find forgiveness before she could fully love again and embrace her new life. This theme marks the story because she is a spunky character who, like many of us, might not come to forgiveness easily. With new beginnings for this character, there are also many Easter themes about the cross, our Savior, and even Welsh and American Easter customs and symbolism mentioned in this Antebellum Era novel. The Welsh custom of the groom giving a spoon with his own carvings about the hopes and identity of his future marriage and bride comes to life in the book, reminding us God created us to enjoy marriage and family. The importance of hospitality is highlighted by the sharing of a Welsh recipe for Bara Brith, a type of currant bread, at the end of the novel. Themes of the importance and value of family, friendships, forgiveness, kindness, and freedom also abound in the story. Readers tell me they also enjoy the humor.
What was one life experience that helped you to write “The Victorian Christian Heritage Series?”
I would attribute my gardening experiences and growing up in a family with many aunts, uncles, and cousins, and the love and acceptance I have felt in being embraced and accepted into God’s family of believers as an answer to the life experiences which helped me write the series. In Book One of the series, Hannah’s Garden, Hannah is adopted into a preacher’s large family of nine children during Victorian Era Kentucky. Long after her adoption, she is still struggling to come to terms with her past, her present, and accepting forgiveness for a decision which led to an accident. Hannah struggles to accept the fact she is now deeply loved and has a new family and a place in the world to call home. Her adoptive parents advise her to accept forgiveness and the new love and acceptance she has been given by not only them, but her Savior. They advise her not to waste time in sorrow over a rocky past, but to throw herself into the things she loves to do, like gardening and painting. It’s the one story I’ve written where one of the characters is loosely based on my grandfather, a beloved and humble preacher who greatly influenced my life toward Jesus. He always prayed for me and showed me so much love. I knew I belonged whenever He was around. It made a difference for me.
What did you like the most when you read Johanna Spyri’s “Heidi” and did her writings inspire your works?
There are a number of things I loved about Heidi. Number one, she was this only child, and I often dreamed of having my parents to myself since I had to share them with siblings. It makes me laugh to think of this now because I wouldn’t trade my siblings for the world, but as a child, I fantasized about this scenario. I also loved Heidi’s loft bedroom and how she could ramble about on the mountains with Peter, the neighboring boy who took care of the mountain goats. Then, when Heidi has a chance to go to Frankfort and be a comforting friend to Klara, it’s such a lovely moment in the story that ultimately leads to a healing miracle. Heidi experiences a whole new life while she experiences being in Klara’s world where she leads a privileged life. After reading the book, I highly recommend watching the Shirley Temple rendition of the story on television. It brings the book to life in a fascinating way with incredible mountain views and wonderful acting. I love that grandfather is brought out of his hermit ways by having Heidi come to live with him and that great faith is depicted in the story in numerous ways.
In the novella “When We Dance-Billionaires & Debutantes” what inspired you to create the character Clayton James Bridgewater, III? How did a secret from the past make him pursue his faith and a closer relationship with God?
When Clayton falls in love with Mia, the granddaughter of the woman his father loved before he married Clayton’s mother, his family threatens to cut him out of his inheritance. This drives Clayton to his knees in prayer, leaving him with an encounter with God that changes him forever.
While you were teaching yourself to play the violin and the piano, did it help you think of new ideas for your writing? If so, what type of genres came to mind?
I wish I could say yes, but the answer is no. Someday, I hope my time practicing these instruments will become more natural and inspirational toward my writing, but for the most part, the activity lends itself to refreshing me for returning to writing when I need to refuel.
Since I am inclined to the arts of music, dance, and song, but not nearly as talented in these gifts as others, I seem to use every bit of concentration to focus on finding the correct keys and strings, and producing the proper notes, melody, and timing. This leaves little room for much of any other thought in the process except maybe for the lyrics and what those mean. Similarly, if I listen to any music when I’m writing, I generally choose instrumental music so I can focus on finding exactly the right words for what I’m creating in literature.
How did you regain your faith when you came across challenges in life? How did it help you create voice, imagery, and the plot for your stories?
I have found it integral to lean into God when life’s challenges come. If we walk away during the tough times, we become fair weather friends to God, and this isn’t what He’s looking for. We are soldiers at war while we live on this earth whether we like it or not.
The truth is, life is full of ups and downs. We must be true to God and faithful to Him in the hard times and the good times if we are to be worthy followers. I admit I didn’t always do this well, and a few times, I’m sure I must have given up. There were times when I slipped away and drifted from Him, desperate for Him to miraculously rescue me. Thankfully, in His great mercy, He always brought me back.
Yes, I do use these experiences to develop my characters and plots. We are human. We make mistakes. We fail. We make wrong choices sometimes. We get angry. We become hurt. Many times, we are being tested. We aren’t always as loyal to God as we should be. When things look the darkest, we struggle the most to find our faith for a good outcome. I realize now, He is often looking for us to mature and ask Him for help. We begin to learn we can’t do one day of it down here on Earth without Him. There are also those heartbreaking times when God says no, and we don’t understand why. We don’t understand when God doesn’t heal a loved one, or God says no to a dream.
I draw upon all of this life experience to help me write meaningful stories reflecting the genuine and real human struggle to know and find God and to walk in His purposes for our lives. I’ve experienced tragedy as well as triumph in my life and try to put both experiences in my stories so readers can relate to these struggles and find inspiration, courage, and maybe even a way to overcome whatever they are facing in real life.
When you were in eighth grade, what inspired you to create poetry and how did your faith help you to become successful in your writing?
I had a fabulous English teacher named Miss D’Aurelio in 8th grade who inspired her students to write something every day. She gave us each journals to write in and took the time to read what each of us wrote. She entered some of my poetry and a short chapter story into several contests that year. I was elated to learn my poetry and short story each earned awards.
I think sharing my faith has given me a purpose in my writing, which makes it richer, gives it a quality it would not otherwise have, and makes my work more powerful than it would be without my faith. In fact, I find my faith such an intricate part of my soul that the element of faith has become inseparable in my creative writing process.
While growing up and living in more than one region, how did it help you with your writing and how did your grandparents become an influence in your life?
Thank you for this question. I did experience a great deal of moving in my childhood and early adult life. I’ve lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Kentucky. With a father in the military and my grandparents in full time ministry, the Lord allowed my family to move around quite a bit. It wasn’t always easy, but it made me adaptable, taught me about the history of many different places, and gave me firsthand experience with a variety of cultures, introducing me to all kinds of people from many walks of life. This has given me a think-outside-the-box mentality and creativity in my writing. I learned different dialects. I saw similar threads in particular regions that brought those people together.
I learned to appreciate diversity on a much greater scale because of this exposure to many different places in our country, but consequently, I also placed a deep value of appreciation and thankfulness when God showed my husband and I where to sink our roots for our own family here in beautiful Kentucky. We became enthralled and inspired by the bluegrass music, foods, and culture in this great state. We feel a strong thrill when the tradition of singing “My Old Kentucky Home” on Derby Day begins—even if only watching from home on our television—and truly enjoy the rich heritage and history in the area. The horses, the hats, the plantations … the universities, churches, farms, and deep respect for God, country, and freedom is all evident here.
All of the moving and eventually finding a place to call home has definitely impacted my writing. It also gave me the freedom to let my hair down and embrace the word y’all (considered atrocious grammar by traditional northern Yankees like myself). For the first time in decades, I know where the light switches are in the house. It’s something not to take for granted and if you’ve ever had to move around a lot in your life, you’ll get it.
My husband sometimes teases, saying I will probably never stop collecting moving boxes. It’s a treasure to have a home, to plant our gardens, and have stretched our roots into our local church and small town, rural community. One day, Heaven will be home, but it’s a tremendously wonderful feeling to have a place to call home in the meantime. Home and heart are continually emerging themes in my books.
My grandparents lived a great example in everyday life as followers of Jesus. They had five children and were a joyful and loving example to our family. They prayed for all of us and spoke many blessings over our lives. They also gave me many opportunities to assist in their Ohio ministry by helping our mom at children’s church with puppet shows, singing, and teaching at their church in Indiana. My sisters and I participated in many Christmas and Easter programs over the years. Most of all, we were given a firm foundation in Jesus and the Word.
While you were part of a number of multi-author and series projects, which author did you find the most helpful for your writings and why did you like his/her ideas?
When Author Danni Roan invited me to write in her Whispers in Wyoming series with several other authors, western writing became a strong genre in my collection of books. My writing ministry really took off at this point. I found it a fun genre which helped to place me around other inspirational writers who love to write both contemporary and historical westerns. This led me to find my tribe, so to speak. We brainstormed and hosted ginormous annual Christmas parties on Facebook in the Whispers in Wyoming group, inviting many other Christian and inspirational authors to share their books with our readers at these events. Consequently, I met a wonderful cross section of Christian writers from many genres.
I also found help from writers at the Louisville Christian Writers meetings here in Kentucky and my local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) chapter. JoAnn Durgin, Hallee Bridgeman, and others came alongside and are fantastic writing friends who helped me navigate what I call the writing world, to name a few from this experience. Writer’s meetings helped me grow so much. The writers in these meetings share about how to sell what we’re writing and how to make our books the best they can be. I learned everything from finding editors to marketing from these fellow writers who were willing to share their insight, experiences, and vast array of knowledge.
I discovered several writing friends and helpful writing advice on various topics in the Christian Indie Writers Facebook Group by Jan Thompson. There, Christian writers share information and pool writerly resources.
By attending the annual Kentucky Christian Fiction Writers conference, I met more writers who inspired and helped my writing journey along. One of the best things I learned at my first writing conference had to do with speaking a blessing over my own work, one of the most valuable lessons in my journey.
After Whispers in Wyoming, I began to formulate ideas for some of my own multi-author projects and spun off into a number of those, including Brides of Pelican Rapids, Georgia Peaches, Billionaires & Debutantes, and You Are on the Air. Danni has come along with me on several of these projects, as have other writers from Whispers in Wyoming such as Tina Dee and Rachel Skatvold, and I also teamed up again with Kari Trumbo on the Save the Date project. In addition, I’ve been a contributing author to several other multi-author projects such as Westward Home & Hearts by Elaine Manders, Belles of Wyoming with Christine Sterling, of which my contributions later became Silver Aspen, North & South: Civil War Brides also by Christine Sterling, Holliday Islands Resort, with Kit Morgan and George McVey, and An Impostor for Christmas and Mistaken Identity Mail-Order Brides by Cheryl Wright,
I’ve formed deep friendships with so many writers, and many who were contributing authors to these series. What I’m most impressed about with Christian writers is how they come together and help each other. It’s a tremendous blessing. There are many who have influenced my writing journey, I can hardly name them all, but I am thankful for each one.
As you were growing up, which classic literature author was your favorite and did he/she influence you to start writing?
Ah, I would love to answer this because I can see how God wanted to show me a broad cross-section of literature, most of which included Christian themes. For a long time, my favorite childhood classic author was Laura Ingalls Wilder. This evolved again when I read Little Women. I imagined myself a writer like Josephine March, the heroine in Louisa May Alcott’s novel. I read Jane Eyre during these years and never forgot how brilliant the book was in my humble opinion, except for the fact I found the ending a bit on the tragic side. Then I discovered Lucy Maude Montgomery and was blown away by the “Anne” books. Jane Austen became my next writing role model as I fell in love with and discovered a number of Regency writers, but I’d have to say that by far, the Anne of Green Gables books had a kind of positivity and joy to them that many others did not. I loved this aspect and the fact they were from the Victorian Era.
I began to explore Middlemarch, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Dickens, more from the Brontë sisters, and many other classics. I truly loved Jane Eyre, except for the ending, but it remains a favorite. Overall, these works were too dark for me. For a while, writers like Barbara Cartland and Danielle Steele captivated me, but I found them too secular. I became enthralled and enthused to discover writers like Traci Peterson, Janette Oke, Lauraine Snelling, Lawana Blackwell, and other Christian modern-day writers existed. Each of these writers and many more have inspired and helped to spark my journey.
When you wrote your first book, did you keep your old work and use it as an inspiration for your other writings?
Yes, after having a hundred starts and many ideas succeeding in only arriving at chapter two or three, I finally completed a full novel in my adult years a little over a decade ago. The enemy knew I was close to my destiny at this point, and I remember we were immediately plunged into a crisis that drove my husband and me closer to the Lord. We became utterly dependent on Him for everything. We would need this battle to learn how to fight all of our battles the Lord’s way and become more dependent on Him. When we came out of the attack, we were on better spiritual ground, I could hear God’s voice more clearly, and we’d won some personal victories with the Lord’s help.
That said, I soon realized that while I had discovered the ability to write a book from start to finish, the plot was miserable, my character development mechanics needed a ton of help, and in short, it was a complete disaster. Nonetheless, by tucking the completed manuscript into a drawer, I realized I had achieved something of a victory in finishing the manuscript. I drew inspiration from knowing it could be done. With a bit more clarity, plot crafting, guidance, better writing mechanics and tips, some great editors, and prayer, this gifting could be developed into something more. I could create not only a beginning, but a middle, and an ending. I had a talk with the Lord about writing at this point, and He clearly spoke to my heart and showed me I was ready to write His Words, His stories, His way, and He would be my Helper.
In “Hannah’s Garden; A Turn of The Century Love Story,” what was one of the challenges that renewed Hannah’s faith?
Hannah needed to first forgive herself for something she’d done that she felt deeply ashamed about—and haven’t we all been there at some point or another? This was true in my own life, and sometimes long after the Lord has forgiven us, we remain trapped and discouraged because we haven’t forgiven ourselves. We may accept the fact God has forgiven us, but we may feel so badly about what we’ve done that we don’t forgive ourselves. Sometimes we also think people in our lives haven’t forgiven us. While people can fail us, God won’t. These incorrect perceptions of how we see God, and sometimes how we perceive others view us, can lead us to think the Lord hasn’t forgiven us when we’ve asked Him for forgiveness, and He has given it freely. When Hannah finally realized she had been forgiven by people she cared about in her life, she also could accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive herself.
Ever since you published your debut novel, “To Find a Duchess,” in 2011, you have published over thirty novels along the way. How did you manage to achieve such a feat?
I’m so glad you asked this because sometimes I ponder this myself. My answer is a complex one. Part of me looks back and isn’t sure how I’ve done it. I honestly don’t know the complete answer—other than God made my feet quick upon the mountains and gave me supernatural strength and determination. I took off like a rocket once I realized what God could perhaps do with my offering. This is the best I have to offer in my alabaster box. It’s my fragrance I’m giving to Him for His purposes.
I look back and remember many long days and nights, all-nighters, and more than a few 72-hour shifts without sleep to make the deadlines. If just one person escapes the clutches of hell and comes to know Christ, or one person is encouraged in a weary land, or one person finds some sort of comfort in these words, it will be worth it for our King and on that day when we answer for what we have done and not done.
I also think the Lord reserved me in a way for such a time as this. He uses the weak to lead the strong, and I think I’m one of those weaker ones. Because I came to this later in life, I kind of feel like how the shepherd boy David must have felt while He waited for thirty years to become a King over Israel. When God gave me the green light, I hit the pedal to the metal and threw my all into it. There will be time to clean the house, crochet, and scrapbook later … but right now, souls may hang in the balance.
We also know the day will come when no man can work, and each day brings us closer to His return. The harvest is ripe now. The fields are waiting. This drives me to do my part with a sense of urgency. Having waited so long for a purpose, I also feel that I have lost time to make up for. Had I discovered this gifting and reached my healing sooner, I often wonder what I could have gained for the Kingdom that I should have done much sooner but could not achieve because I was not ready sooner, and I think the Lord had other things for me to focus on such as my children and family.
I must not be one of those who buried my talents. The time is now. We—and I speak of my husband and I here because so much of what my husband does enables me to do what I do—must seize the day and let the Lord use whatever He can of my humble offerings. I dare not come before the King empty-handed.
Additionally, my children have all grown and we are empty nesters now, so thankfully, I can put my heart and soul into this with one-hundred and fifty percent dedication. I thank God daily for purpose. I love my kids so much, without this purpose to distract me, I’d probably fall apart. And then there’s the fact I would much rather be writing than doing just about anything else.
Visiting and touring historical sites has been one of your favorite things to do. What are the historical Christian sites you have visited so far? How was the experience?
There are many historical sites I’ve visited over the years, some with my children, some with my husband, and some with the whole family. My favorite Christian historical sites were Westminster Abbey in London and Saint Chapelle in France. These places were absolutely astounding in terms of preservation, historic significance, architectural design, and impact. I was overcome by the sense of reverence and dedication to the Lord these sites held.
As part of my writing research, since many of my books include England and France, we were also blessed to tour many of the state rooms at Windsor Castle, Saint George’s Chapel at Windsor, Kensington Palace—including the room where Queen Victoria was born, Buckingham Palace, Churchill’s underground war rooms, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Arc de Triumph, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. Few other places hold such incredible historical significance and meaning to the freedom and religious freedoms of the western world and much of Europe. I’m incredibly thankful the Lord allowed us to have these experiences. It has truly made me a better writer.
Here in America, my husband and I recently visited the White House and parts of Washington, D.C. for the first time. While political unrest seems to hover over our lives, at the time, I remember praying for our nation heavily with a sense that the Lord will one day soon restore our country and bring revival to our hearts. I had a sense of peace which brought me comfort even though we live in turbulent times. In Kentucky, we visited Judge Speed’s plantation home where Lincoln himself visited. I remember thinking as we walked on some of the grounds close to the house—designed by Thomas Jefferson in a fashion after Monticello—that we were walking in places where Lincoln himself walked. It was incredibly moving and stirred my heart.
I wish I had more time to share about some of our other visits to historical sites, but these are among the most memorable.
When you were thirteen, you started writing stories on a manual typewriter. Though technology has changed, do you still miss the good old days of typing a manuscript on the typewriter?
Oh, I do! Truly, I do! I love the sound of those keys striking the paper, the feel of pulling a finished piece out of the machine, hearing the bell ring on a return, and being able to place those pages into a folder or a binder and actually hold them in your hand. I loved typing class in high school and miss so much about those days. Nonetheless, I think we all can agree, progress has its rewards.
In your website, you state that your “writing dream stems from a desire to be a part of meeting a huge need in today’s culture for providing wholesome entertainment and educational literature that is rich, honors God, and is family-oriented.” How important do you think family-oriented content is for today’s world?
I can’t think of a time in my lifetime when it was more important than right now. People are hungry for moral truth, a moral compass, integrity, and true justice. These can only be found by searching God’s Word. Many of our generation seem to have lost their way. We live in deeply frightening times where sin is knocking at the doors of our schools and coming after our children with ideologies that are deeply disturbing and outright evil. The average conservative in this country is not in despair—I think many of these individuals are outraged and horrified.
The need for wholesome content in our lives is vital. It has become commonplace for vulgarity, filth, and violence to appear on television and in our movie theaters that only twenty years ago would have been unthinkable. Christian writers have a responsibility to bring the light of God’s Word to life in our work. Many have lost their way and they need us to shine our lights brightly so they can find their way back to truth, righteousness, integrity, purity, the grace of Jesus Christ, ethical behaviors, real justice, dignity, kindness, and honor.
So far, you have explored a wide range of genres, including—but not limited to—Regency, Victorian, Civil War Era, Mail-Order Bride, Pioneer and Western stories, Contemporary Christian and Inspirational Romance novels, Romantic Suspense and Mystery, and Romantic Comedy. Do you plan to explore more genres in the future? Has there been a genre you’ve always wanted to explore, but felt kind of hesitant?
For the most part, I’d like to limit most of my writing to Regency, Victorian, Royal Romance, a few more Westerns/Mail-Order Bride, Mysteries, and Contemporary. I do want to write a Colonial/Revolutionary War Era novel. I would also like to explore writing children’s books, YA, teen, or middle grade, and maybe even a few more devotionals. I’d also like to try writing a time travel, dual time, or time slip novel, but I’m not sure which one is right for me to attempt yet. I contemplate it frequently.
Each month, you give a portion of your book proceeds to support Christian missions across the globe. Tell us more about it and what made you do so in the first place.
The Lord instructed me to give the proceeds after my expenses for book covers, editing, and marketing, to an evangelist from the Church of God (he has held revivals in my own Assemblies of God church) to help him carry the Gospel to places right here in America. I think this is so cool because America has always sent missionaries to other countries, but now our country needs revival. I’d like to think this is making a huge difference for people right here in our own nation. He does occasionally travel to other countries, as well.
I’ve seen people healed, delivered, and set free from many things in his revival services and we know he is making a tremendous difference everywhere he goes. He is a very anointed man of God. The model I’m following is based on the model of Lydia, who sold fine purple linen in the New Testament and gave off her substance to help Paul and Barnabas spread the gospel.
I’m not in this field to make a profit for my own personal use or gain. The work I’m doing as a writer is a gift for the Lord to see a harvest of souls. Readers are helping me with this endeavor when they purchase one of my books. I do occasionally go and have my nails done or buy a little treat as a reward to help inspire and keep me going, but whatever extra I have left after expenses generally goes toward the purpose of keeping this evangelical minister on the road and spreading the gospel. My greatest reward will come by seeing souls saved and encouraged in their journey of following the Lord.
I try not to mention it too much because we shouldn’t “let our right hand know what the left is doing” or “proclaim our good works.” We are not saved by our good works. I do think it is good that readers know this is a book mission endeavor for me, a sacrifice of love, a full-time ministry, and then some. Nonetheless, now that it is up and running, I wouldn’t have known to do any of this if God hadn’t put it on my heart in the first place and revived my dream of writing. It’s kind of like His thing.
Which is the most heartwarming feedback you have ever received from a reader? One that has made your day.
There are a number of these which stand out strong in my memory. The most heartwarming feedback belongs to a lady who told me and several other Christian writers in the community that because of our books, she had decided to re-dedicate her life to the Lord. This gave us such great joy. Another reader told a fellow writer and me that because of our books, she felt the Lord prompting her not to read secular books anymore, which sometimes had promiscuous scenes contained in them. Another lady wrote to me and told me how my books gave her such great joy. This made me feel happy all over. We love hearing these kinds of stories from our readers. It’s what keeps us going.
You frequently share Bible verses on Instagram and Twitter. Which is the Bible verse closest to your heart? A verse you often turn to during times when you are low.
Psalm 27:1 is probably the verse the Lord takes me to the most because writers and Christians in general can receive a lot of rejection and scrutiny, both of which can produce fear. The Scripture brings me so much comfort: The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?
Here are a few more I like to turn to when I’m exhausted. We creative types tend to exhaust ourselves when the creativity is flowing, so I rely on these, a LOT–:
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ~ Galatians 6:9
But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31
And when I’m afraid of the future, feeling forsaken, or struggling through almost any crisis, there’s this one:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
There are more I rely on, and one of the greatest sources of hope for me from God is Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Where do you see yourself in God’s plans to touch others through your writings?
Hopefully, right where He wants me. I’m truly thankful He’s done so much with my writing journey that I didn’t expect. Winning an award for my debut novel blew me away. Then, allowing me to become a USA Today Bestselling Author blew me away. He’s also given me contracts with Magnolia Blossom Publishing and Wild Heart Books, and several other small presses for traditionally published books. These things are huge blessings that don’t always come along for every writer. I’m blown away by God’s goodness and grace to me as an author.
You said that when you’re not writing, you enjoy working in the church, among other things. Which church do you go to? How has your church community helped enrich your spiritual journey?
I attend a lovely rural Assemblies of God church in our small-town community. My church family has been very supportive of my writing ministry. My pastor has even purchased many of my books for his wife’s birthday. He made me feel welcome to place some of my bookmarks on the missionary table. He also posted a local newspaper article about my writing ministry on a bulletin board in the education wing. Goodness, it hung there for about four years!
On numerous occasions, I’ve signed and sold quite a few books during our Annual Christmas Bazaar. There are several ladies from my church who support me with likes and comments on social media now and then, and several ladies from my church have purchased my books and signed up for my newsletter.
As an Mpact Girls Ministry Coordinator in my church, over the years I have shared about my writing journey with the young girls in my classes to inspire them to be creative in finding their talents for Jesus. I have also invited some of my writing friends to come and speak at several Mpact Girls events. My author friends were very well received, and I donated some of my books as prizes at these events. I have also donated a few of my books at an auction for a Speed the Light fundraiser held at my church. It was also a great honor to have served as a writing evaluator at my state’s Assemblies of God Fine Arts Youth Convention—always a treasure to see our young people carrying on the writing tradition and developing their talents for Jesus.
Tell us about your family. How have they supported you in your writing journey?
My family has been awesome about supporting my endeavors. My two sons look at me with sweet looks of awe and pride, often cheering me on. My daughter has been very helpful, even managing my social media for a time and lending technical expertise to help Mom find the right computer, audio equipment, and hard drives. She did a fantastic job teaching me how to navigate TikTok, Instagram Reels, and much more. My husband is incredibly supportive and has earned the title of my official plot hole fixer. They’ve all been great about understanding my reclusive ways as a writer on a deadline schedule.
What would your advice be to aspiring writers who are taking the first step in their respective journeys?
Connect with other writers. Be supportive of other writers. Give yourself time to go through learning curves. Ask questions of experienced writer friends. Take time to craft a great plot and develop your characters. Keep something wonderful about Jesus as the central theme in each of your books. Laugh at and learn from your mistakes. Never give up.
Spend time with Jesus every day. Keep it fun for your readers. Don’t be afraid to try something new to sell your books and connect with readers. Remember, there really aren’t any rules. Have fun! Take plenty of time to refuel. Enjoy the journey. Do what works for you, even if you’re doing it a little differently than someone else. Keep learning as you grow. Most importantly, it is okay that the house isn’t as clean as it used to be now that you’ve started writing for Jesus. The family will not starve while you’re making that deadline happen. They will figure out something. Hopefully, they will remember to share it with you. Weekly meal prepping is a total lifesaver. Take a few days off between books to refuel and then a few more to give the fam a bit of extra attention.
What are your upcoming releases? What surprises do you have in store for your readers?
I’m super excited to share that I’ve recently signed with Wild Heart Books and am currently writing A Summer at Sagamore as part of a Victorian series. The novella will release early in 2023.
I’m also delighted to share that I’m writing a new series for Magnolia Blossom Publishing called King’s Crossing, a Victorian Royal Romance series combining two of my favorite genres. Here’s a sneak peek at the watermarked cover for Book 1, The Gardener’s Daughter. This book should release later this year.
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