Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wow! We are so fortunate. Guess who is here now for a visit!

Have you had a chance to meet Winnie?

Winnie Griggs is a small town girl born and raised in Southeast Louisiana’s Cajun Country who grew up to marry a country boy from the piney hills of Northwest Louisiana. Though her Prince Charming (who often wears the guise of a cattle rancher) is more comfortable riding a tractor than a white steed, the two of them have been living out their own happily-ever-after for 30+ years. (Congratulations Winnie!)
During that time they raised four proud-to-call-them-mine children and a too-numerous-to-count assortment of dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, turtles and 4-H sheep.

Winnie has a BS degree in mathematics and has held a job in the electric utility industry for more years than she cares to contemplate.

Her favorite activities, outside of writing and reading, are cooking, exploring flea markets and pretending the growing army of dust bunnies who have invaded her home will disappear if she just ignores them long enough.

SKC: So you are from the South, huh? One of those places I'd always like to live, if the Good Lord wills it for us.

Before you tell us more about your work, Winnie, how would you say your upbringing relates to your writing?

WG: Well, as far as being from the South, there’s no place else I’d rather live, but I can’t say how that shaped me as a writer other than to say everything you experience in your life has an impact of one sort or another on who you are and what your worldview is. In fact, I do a writing workshop on dealing with character backstory, and that’s one of the points I try to drive home - all backstory is important to some extent, because for fully realized characters, everything that came before, shaped them into who they are today.

SKC: I so agree with you! But I don't often hear that from people. I do, however, like to read the whyfores and wherefores when I get into a story. That's why I sometimes add prologues to my own.

Okay, Winnie, So how does a person who uses one side of her brain for things that deal with logistics and facts get their brain into the creative mode?

WG: Hmm, another how question . Well, I am a ‘logistics and facts’ kind of person – my college major was in Mathematics and I worked for a goodly number of years as a computer programmer. But logic and creativity are not mutually exclusive – in fact I think they feed off of each other. A number of my writer friends have backgrounds in science, or engineering or mathematics or had military careers. I believe everyone has a creative side – a part of themselves that needs to be let loose to ‘play’, to imagine, to create.

SKC: Great answer! What inspires you to keep going?

WG: If you mean keep going in my writing, I just have so many stories in me that are clamoring to be told that I can’t NOT write. If you mean in my life in general, when I need rep
lenishing or reenergizing, I draw deep from the well that is my God and my family and close friends and always find support there.

SKC: So a little of both. Okay. What about when you knew writing books would become the passion of your heart and what message do you filter in your stories, if any?

WG: I’ve always enjoyed writing., but I suppose I first got the bug to try my hand at a full length novel during my college days. Of course it was nearly 25 years later before I actually completed one!

SKC: You are a late author bloomer like me, then which explains why you are still a fairly new a
uthor like me. What do you believe is the KEY to writing a good book so far?

WG: Having a real passion for whatever it is you are writing. The story has to first move YOU before it can move your readers.

SKC: How do you schedule your daily writing time so that it does not interfere with your God time and quality time with family?

WG: That has always been a tough balancing act for me. I don’t really have a set schedule for my writing, though I’d probably be more productive if I did. My day job used to require me to travel quite a bit and I would do some of my best writing in hotel rooms and airports. Since I’m not traveling as much any more I am struggling a bit to find a new routine that really works for me.

SKC: Why do you think so many authors have a difficult time coming up with their proposals? What is it like for you?

WG: Proposals require you to really think through your story and understand the entire arc. That’s a difficult thing for me – though I have a general idea of what t
he story and character arcs will be, I discover a lot of the real ‘meat’ of the story as I’m writing it. I found it a lot easier when I finished the book before I sold, rather than selling on proposal as I do now

SKC: I admit, myself, no proposal is easy for me, especially when it comes to the dreaded synopsis. After you finish your present projects, Winnie, what plans do you have?

WG: I just turned in my first contemporary work, The Heart’s Song, which will come out next June. Next up I plan to write two books set in the same town and period as my current book, The Christmas Journey. These will feature first the hero’s sister and then the heroine’s sister in a book of their own.

SKC: You have plenty to keep you busy then.

Our readers here at A Pen for Your Thoughts usually get excited about the reflection question an author has to ask, in part, because there is always a chance their name might get selected for a book from our guest. What would you like to ask our readers and writers in the next few days and what book will you be offering?

WG: One of my favorite story premises is that of the marriage of convenience, and this seems to be popular with readers as well. Why do you think this is and do you personally enjoy them?

SDC: Good question, Winnie. Thanks. I can’t thank y
ou enough for coming by to visit! Be sure to write down where people can find you and your upcoming books should they be interested.

WG: Thanks for inviting me – it was fun sharing. Readers can email me at and please visit my website, to be entered in my monthly drawing. My October book, The Christmas Journey, can be found at most bookstores and online at or on the site.

I’d like to give away a copy of my March book, The Hand-Me-Down Family (which does employ that marriage of convenience premise) and is no longer available for order.

Our congratulations to Deborah Malone of Georgia. You are the fortunate winner of Winnie's book. Be watching for it soon!


  1. Love your name. My Grandma on my mother's side was Winnie. Never heard it since til now. She was 100% Dutch. Another sister was Minnie, Bena, Gentina,forgot the others.
    All that to say I'd love to win your book. I love historicals. Please enter me. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  2. I enjoyed your interview. I hope to be a late blooming author someday too. You give me inspiration. Please enter me for the book.
    Deborah M

  3. I've enjoyed the interview. I love reading and writing historicals. And I'd love to win your book!
    Sheila C.

  4. Hi, there, Winnie. Great interview. Nice to see you out and about online. :)

    Don't put my name in the drawing. I get all Winnie's books at the story.

  5. please add me to the drawing.


  6. Hi all. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner - took a quick out of town trip and just made it back to town.

    Mary W - Thanks, I like my name too :) I was named after my grandmoter and I find it fun to have a fairly uncommon name

    Deborah M - Good to hear from you. And glad my responses inspired you, even if in a small way

    Sheila - Always a pleasure hearing from a reader who enjoys historicals :)

    Mary Connealy - HI! Good to see you hear (and thanks for saying nice things about my books)

    Edna - you are most certainly added!

  7. I like those kinds of stories, Winnie. I find I sometimes tend toward them too. Good subject to write about and so much you can do with it.

  8. Great post! I do love the marriage of convenience theme. It is fascinating to watch the characters grow together and eventually fall in love. Would love to be added to the drawing.


  9. This isn't an additional entry. I just realized you asked a question: "One of my favorite story premises is that of the marriage of convenience, and this seems to be popular with readers as well. Why do you think this is and do you personally enjoy them?"

    I do enjoy marriages of convenience in novels. It adds a lot 'action' as emotions can be riding high, after maybe losing a spouse, they have conflicting personalities, etc. Love to see them get worked out in a Godly manner.

  10. BJ, Cherie, Linda W - Glad to hear you're among the fans of marriage of convenience stories. Sounds like you like them for many of the same reasons that I do.

  11. I'm looking for Sheila C.
    If you read this, Sheila, please send me an email. I will watch for it. You have been selected winner for Winnie's book. Write shirley at


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