Saturday, September 26, 2009
Come Get to Know Nancy with Me
With almost 350,000 books in print, Nancy began her book writing career with the release of her first novel, Sonoran Sunrise. (Barbour, 2001) Since then Nancy has published eight novels, three novellas, and coauthored one nonfiction book. Her book, Tucson, made the CBA bestseller list. Nancy’s books have won awards such as the Heartsong Contemporary Book of the Year, and have finaled in prestigious contests like the National Reader's Choice Contest and the Holt Medallion Contest. Nancy has also published many articles, devotions, and short stories in magazines such as Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family Clubhouse. Nancy is currently working on a nonfiction book for Barbour, Inspiring Thoughts for Gardeners.
SDC: Before we get going, Nancy, I noticed your theme scripture over at your blog: "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it." Habakkuk 2:2. I love that verse. Is that the verse that keeps you going as a writer?
NF: From the first time I heard Habakkuk 2:2 after being called to write, the verse resonated in me. I want to write the vision God has for me. I want to share Him with my readers. That is my purpose. I don’t see writing books as a form of entertainment, although reading is very enjoyable. I see writing as a way to encourage my readers in their faith, and to urge them to always consider God, and His will for them.
SDC: Tell us about your publisher and the experience your experiences in working with Barbour and what you have coming out this month.
NF: This month (September 2009), my book, Painted Desert, releases. Painted Desert is a compilation of three of my previous Heartsong books, An Ostrich a Day, Picture Imperfect, and Picture This.
Barbour has been wonderful to me. I love the people there. As an example, when Rebecca Germany, editor for Heartsong books at the time, heard of a need in Barbour’s nonfiction department for authors to write a book for mothers. She gave them my name to consider. I was invited to submit, which led to my coauthoring the book, Prayers and Promises for Mothers with Rachel Quillin. Since then, I have written for several of their devotional books, something that I love to do.
All of the people that I’ve worked with at Barbour have been wonderful.
SDC: What kind of response to you receive from readers who have not yet come to know the Lord, or who have been influenced greatly by your writing?
NF: Many of my readers are already Christian. I’ve received many encouraging letters, where readers have expressed appreciation for a certain struggle my character happened to be engaged in that paralleled their life. I’ve also had many comments about the reader being encouraged to seek God more, to pray, or study His word more in their daily lives. Those letters are very refreshing.
I’ve had a few notes that brought tears to my eyes. Letters from those who were going through, or had gone through a particularly difficult time in their lives and my story helped them in some way. I can only give the thanks to God, because He gives me the words to say that will touch hearts.
SDC: How do you thread faith, love, and hope along with the reality of life work together in your stories?
NF: Faith, hope, and love are, or should be, a part of every Christian. Christianity isn’t something you can take on and off; Christianity is a way of life. I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter what work you do for God, all are important. Therefore, no matter what my characters do, as long as they end up living for God, their life will show their faith, hope, and love.
SDC: How long did you have to wait before getting published the first time?
NF: I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I felt called to write, and try to get published in 1995. I didn’t try very hard that year, but in December, I sold my first short devotional. From that time, I began to write more, and realized I needed to learn how to write and publish. I wrote many articles and short stories in the next few years. My first book, Sonoran Sunrise, came out in January 2001.
SDC: Right now as I ask these question, I have a candle lit at the corner of my desk. Just the scent gets my creative juices flowing, but I have a difficult time sitting in this lonely office for two long at a time before I have to go say hello to my husband. Does a room or special place or thing play any part in your story writing and how?
NF: If I had a scented candle burning on my desk, I would be sneezing so often, I couldn’t write. I began writing when my youngest daughter was only two-years-old. I’ve always had an open door policy with my five children. They know when I’m writing, but they also know they can interrupt, if it’s important. Of course, what’s important to a young child, or even a teenager, may not be as important to me, but I always try to be there for them, because they are important. Due to this policy, I’ve learned to write faster, and get into the story quicker, than I might have otherwise. I do have times when I shut the door to my room, and everyone is supposed to leave me alone, but that never works. However, they have learned that they might have to ask me a question more than once as I pull myself out of the story. (They’ve also learned that when I’m driving, or walking through a store, talking to myself, I’m usually talking to a character, and they shouldn’t be too embarrassed.)
SDC: I notice you are a faithful Calvary Chapelite. (smile). My husband pastured at two small Calvary Chapels for 14 years. Now he works and teaches in more of a support roll in the ministry but we don’t have a CC nearby. How does your family and the ministry with your church correspond with your time to write and do research for writing?
NF: When I first began to write, I realized that God had to come first, then my family. I always pray about ministry, and whether God is calling me to serve in a certain area. Last year, my Pastor’s wife asked me to take over the ladies Bible study in our church. At first, I didn’t think there was any way I could do this, but as I prayed God removed obstacles, and showed me this was His will. I write my own lessons, and we delve deep into each verse. Does this take away from my writing time? Yes. Do I care? No, because the first day I taught the study, and every time since, I’ve known this was what God wanted.
I might be able to write more books, or do more research, if I didn’t homeschool, or if I backed away from the ministry areas in church, but I would not be right with God. I feel it’s very important to do the work God has prepared for me. (Eph. 2:10) I am very content with this, although there are times when the characters are doing interesting things in my head, that it’s hard not to ignore everything else.
SDC: What question would you like one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner of your newest book coming out?
NF: Many people express awe that I’m a writer. I tell them my work is no more important than anyone else’s, as long as we do what God has for us to do. What work are you doing for God, and how long have you done this?
SDC: It’s been a real pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts, Nancy. Please include your URL and where people can find your books.
My books can be ordered through www.christianbook.com, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or any online book outlet. Painted Desert is available now at most book stores.
READERS: Be sure to answer Nancy’s question above to try to win a copy of her book!
Many congratulations to Edwina Cowgill of Newnan, Georgia way! We hope you enjoy the story, Edwina, and thanks so much for taking part!