Here at the wenches we pride ourselves in passion. That’s all a wench is, after all, a passionate person. So today, I’ve got an interview with another passionate lady. Now, she’s not a wench, but she is amazing. A deeply spiritual woman who is equally open minded and respectful of others spirituality. She’s a leader in my other writing group, 10MinNovelists, and always has time to help anyone who comes to her with a question. (I know this because she has helped me immensely with some research for my WIP)
And she does all this while homeschooling her kids, being a wife, and working on her own writing. Crazy, huh? You’d think she had a clone somewhere. I wish I could say that this interview took place in her kitchen over a plate of cookies and tea, but sadly she lives in Texas and my budget wouldn’t allow that. So below are the questions I emailed her, and the answers she responded with. A more well spoken woman I’ve not had the chance to read an email from.
- Introduce yourself, will you?
I was born and raised in north Texas. I married my high school sweetheart, and after six years of him serving in the Navy, we came back and made our home here. I’ve been an avid reader since my first grade teacher sandwiched my desk between hers and a bookshelf as punishment. Since then, I’ve always had a book in hand or in whatever bag I’m carrying now that I’m the mother of two girls. I’ve been writing since middle school when I wrote my first 35 page story in my “spare” time during a semester of computer literacy. My boredom in school is one of the reasons that I homeschool my girls. We spend our days pursuing our passions together, sharing interesting tidbits and discoveries we make. When I don’t have time to read, I love to do crossword puzzles, play Words with Friends, or beat my husband in solving the puzzles on Wheel of Fortune.
2. Tell us a little bit about what you write.
I write Christian historical fiction. Set in the 1920’s, my Seasons of Healing series follows Dr. Matthias Mason, his son Matthew, and two orphans, Abigail and Samuel Morgan, who learn that love heals all wounds. I also plan to write five companion novellas set at the turn of the 20th century, each with a unique twist on what it means to love and be loved. That said, I don’t write the feel good, entertaining Christian fiction. My characters are flawed people, from different religious backgrounds, with varying levels of faith. They wrestle with who God is and struggle to trust Him and to live out what they profess to believe. While in the end, God always proves Himself faithful and loving, my characters don’t become perfect saints. My lead characters also aren’t the stereotypical white middle-class American Protestant men and women. One of my POV’s, in Surviving the Stillness, is young man who is Catholic and half-Sioux. I love crossing cultural and denominational lines and showing how God shows His love in a myriad of ways. Also as a historical-fiction author, I feel a burden to be honest about our history. I intentionally show how men can twist and pull scripture out of context to support oppression and hate.
- How do you make time for it all? Kids, husband, writing and church? I’m tired just thinking about it.
If you love something or someone, you’ll make time for them. The hard part is identifying what you love and making it a priority over things that entertain and give momentary pleasure. I’ve never been disappointed with a day spent with God, my family and writing. Those are my priorities. My philosophy for life is summed up in the Latin phrase, Ora et Labora, prayer and work. If I want something to come to fruition, whether in my relationship with my husband or in writing a book, it will only be accomplished if I am willing to listen and follow God and put in the work necessary to see it finished. It also requires diligence to not allow other things to steal my time. When I find something neglected, the culprit is often a time sucker like TV or Pinterest. I will fast from it until the rest falls back in place, and often, I find I don’t miss it. If I do, I will make a plan to be intentional about when I give my time to that pursuit.
- Your fairly religious, so does that come across in your writing?
My books are all character driven. Their ugly messes, hard hearts, bitter struggles, and harrowing circumstances are all opportunities for God to intervene. Their struggles become my struggles. Sometimes I find myself arguing with God over the unfairness of my characters’ circumstances or questioning why on earth they shouldn’t just walk away. In Surviving the Stillness, I wrestled with Dr. Mason’s inability to show his love for his son. Then there was this moment where Dr. Mason acts fatherly towards his patient, Abigail. God showed me that it wasn’t that Dr. Mason couldn’t, but that he was afraid of losing his son like he lost his wife. From that moment, I’ve watched God begin to heal that wound in Dr. Mason’s heart.
5. What have you written/published to date?
The only book I’ve published so far is Surviving the Stillness, but I’m already halfway through writing book two of the series. I’ve also been a regular contributor for an online inter-denominational webzine called the YOKE. To date, I’ve written six articles for them and also edited the monthly webzine.
- What are your plans for future publications?
I’m still putting together my writing plan for 2015, but I will definitely be releasing Book 2 in the Seasons of Healing series and one of the novellas based on Dr. Matthias Mason and his wife Helen’s college days and first year of marriage. I fell in love with Helen’s backstory of being a survivor of the Battle of Wounded Knee and how she became a doctor despite being a Catholic, Sioux, and a woman. Then I fell in love with how she challenged Matthias’s worldview and opened his eyes and heart to what it means to love sacrificially. Beyond that, I’m going to focus on blogging and spending more time with my readers and seeing where God leads and opens doors.
Jessica White may in fact be superwoman with all that on her plate. But if she is, she’s handling it with aplomb. I’ll post her links below so you can find her book, be sure to check it out.