Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Novel Journey Lady Has Come by for a Visit: Join me in welcoming Gina Holmes

In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans released April/May 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers. To learn more about her, visit: or

SDC: Before you tell us about your newest release, please fill us in on what keeps you going!

Gina: What keeps me going is my faith in God and knowing that He has my back and best interests at heart, then there’s the love of my life, my husband Adam who gives me such joy. They say if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, but with him it IS true. Who knew love could be so wonderful and selfless? And then there’s my children. I have 5 now. 2 by birth, 3 by marriage and each one of them individually would fill my heart but together, I know I must be the most blessed woman in the world.

SDC: What theme do you run through all your writing, if any? What kind of response do you hope to receive from readers who have not yet come to know the Lord, or who will be influenced greatly by one of your books?

Gina: What a great and insightful question. I think it is sacrifice and that no matter how dark things seem, they are not. Those who belong to the Lord have Heaven to look forward to, the troubles of this world are quite temporary.
I would love it if non-believers would read my books and sense something deeper, something pure and lovely and crave that for themselves. I hope that I’m planting a seed that only God can water.

SDC: How do you make faith, love, and hope work together in your stories?

Gina: Man, you ask tough questions. Let me drink some more coffee and think about this … (Gina slurps, spills some on her shirt, tries to clean it off and makes it worse… okay, I’m back.)
Honestly, I don’t know. I mean it works in stories I suppose because it works in me on a personal level. When I went through the really dark periods of my life, I never thought God would abandon me. I knew He was using the experience to refine and beautify my spirit. I knew that as surely as I know my own name. I didn’t understand it fully at the time but I know He loves me. I know what His word says about the plans He has for me to prosper and not harm, to give me a hope and a future. All of the tough situations of life, He promises to use them for our good.

SDC: How did you find your first publisher?

"When you have a publisher that is on fire for your story,
you go with them."

Gina: Well, I have an agent, Chip MacGregor and he subbed a few chapters of Crossing Oceans just to see the reaction. Several publishers were interested but only one pursued me. Let me tell you when you have a publisher that is on fire for your story, you go with them. That type of enthusiasm is worth gold.
I met with Karen Watson at ACFW’s conference, we talked, and I knew she was very interested because she said so. Over the course of a year, she kept asking Chip when I would be finished and finally we sold it to them before it was completed.
Crossing Oceans--Sometimes love demands the impossible

Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain . . . or makes it harder to cross.Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But life has a way of upending even the best-laid plans. Now, years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter.
As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love to change everything—to heal old hurts, to bring new beginnings . . . even to overcome the impossible.

SDC: Sounds intriguing, Gina.What’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?

Gina: The one I paraphrase above. Jeremiah 29:11 “’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. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Why? Because like I mentioned above, I had gone through such a long period of sadness and pain in my life. I died to self in such a heart wrenching way. It had to do with my previous marriage. Every night I would get on my knees before God praying for things to be different. Praying for the love I ached for and through all the tears and pain I clung to that above. Looking back, I can see what He was doing in my life, though He certainly didn’t cause the behavior that led to the suffering. God filled in the gaps during my loneliest times and became my husband. And that verse proved once again to be true. He has prospered me and given me a hope and future. I love my Lord and loved Him in those dark times too.

SDC: I love that area of scripture. Okay, what question would you like one of our viewers to answer to help me select a winner to one of three books I'm offering to share this week?
Gina: "What tear jerking movie or book is your favorite of all time?"

SDC:  That's another great qustion. I'm anxious to hear the answers that come in.
 While we wait, please let the readers know where we can reach you and where we can find your books, Gina! We have greatly appreciated having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts!

Gina: I can be found easily enough through or through my personal website
My book is available through Books A Million, CBD, Lifeway, Amazon, B&N, Walmart and Samsclub and local bookstores I’d imagine.

Thanks so much for having me. Really great questions.

Okay to the readers and visitors.  Please be sure
to answer Gina's question above. And even if you have won in the past, don't hesitate to write in again. I will be drawing names in
a few days.  Your continued presence is a great blessing here at
A Pen for Your Thoughts.

Congratulations to Lindsey Freitas of Oregon City, Oregon. You have just won two signed book copies. Be watching for your books and thanks so much for following A Pen for Your Thoughts.


  1. Great interview. And your book sounds good, Gina. Let me see. My favorite tear-jerking movie? Probably Mel Gibson's "Braveheart"
    It was both romance but also full of action, but fierce action that a person can't forget.
    Shirley, I would love to be included to win one of your books.
    Janice Ian

  2. Gone With the Wind is the biggest tear jerker of all time. Loved it.
    Great interview.
    Count me in.
    Betty Fimple
    Windsor, Ca

  3. The movie that makes me cry the most (I cry at almost every movie) is "Imitation of Life" starring Lana Turner. Good grief, you would think after seeing it 10 times, it would know what's coming!
    Loved the interview.

  4. Wow! there are a lot of movies that are my favorite and that make me cry. I dont know if i could put down one.
    But I love your interview. Your book sounds good too.
    I dont need to be in the contest. I have all of Shirley Kiger Connolly's books and love them.

  5. great question...some of Nicholas Sparks novels bring a tear to my eye.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  6. Great interview! Gina, congrats on your release!! It sounds fantastic.

    It's a big joke between me and my movie-buddy friend. I cry at just about every movie! LOL But the first I thought of was Phantom. I've watched the DVD several times (and saw it at the theater 3 times), and I still sob uncontrollably at the end! :)


  7. The biggest tear jerker author is Karen Kingsbury. I don't cry easily, but she can jerk my tears in no time flat.


  8. You really do ask hard questions. Thing is, I don't drink coffee!!!

    "What tear jerking movie or book is your favorite of all time?"

    It probably will be Leota's Garden each time because of lost relationships because of misunderstandings. That is such a heartbreaker for me.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com.

  9. I loved the interview! Truly heartfelt and touching. Now to answer the question so hopefully i can win a copy of one of Gina's books, my favorite tear jerker movie is City of Angels starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan.

  10. Great interview! Gina's novel is sitting on the top of my stack of books to be read. I really look forward to it.

    Oh boy, the truth be told, I sob like a little girl with most of the books I read. But the one that comes to my mind right now would be Waking Lazarus, by T. L. Hines. It was something the little boy said to his basket-case of a father. See, I am getting choked up just thinking about it – lol.

    Count me in.

  11. The movie that moves me the most is "August Rush." If you haven't seen it, you must! It is the story of a young boy, his mother, and his father. All three of them have been separated from each other since the boy's birth. The movie is the story of their search for each other and it is amazing and uplifting how it comes to pass.

    As for the book(s), that would have to be Karen Kingsbury's Baxter family series and her series about 9/11.

    I would love to win this book because I am currently going through some of the darkest times I have ever endured and crave anything, in addition to my Bible, that I can draw strenth from. This story sounds like it could do just that.

    Jan Marie

  12. Congrats again on your book, Gina. Loved the interview. As to tear jerker novels, anything by Karen Kingsbury or Nicholas Sparks. As for about Blind Side?


  13. August Rush was awesome. What an amazing premise. Only saw parts of it and my family filled me in but still the premise...sigh. I asked the question because I needed new material and got a few movie titles I'll be checking out soon. Thanks! Thanks also for the kind words about the interview and those of you who bought Crossing Oceans. It's definitely a tear-jerker is the consensus. I cried writing it so, I had a feeling...

    Loved TL Hines' Waking Lazarus as well. He's a wonderful writer and human being. Thanks everyone, especially my sweet hostess. :)

  14. I absolutely loved "Gone With The Wind"


  15. I have short term memory and the last movie that made me cry was The Last Song.
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot com

  16. What a great interview. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses.
    As for the last movie or book that made me cry--there's too many of them. One of them was "A Walk to Remember" (since many have mentioned Nicholas Sparks.

    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

  17. Well, I'm not sure about a favorite, but I really love "Gone With The Wind".

    Deborah M.

  18. I just wrote a post on tear-jerker movies - those I love and those I don't love. ;-) One of my favorites is "Love Comes Softly", and "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea" are amazing, too. :-)

    Great interview!

    kindredspiritreviews at gmail dot com

  19. Ok, I admit I'm quirky. The movie I cry during every single bijillioneth time I've seen it is "Armageddon" with Bruce Willis. My four grown boys think it is hilarious that I bawl my eyes out each time, but that final scene....


    Good interview and I look forward to reading Gina's book. I've been seeing your work for a long time, Gina, and am glad you found your story! Good stuff.

  20. Gina, your interview was great. I have not read any of your books so I have added you as new author and your book to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

    I have been an avid reader for over 55 yrs and I am looking forward to reading your books.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  21. Great interview!! I really like to know more about authors.
    As far as tear jerker novels, I would have to say Karen Kingsbury. I don't think I have read one of her's that I haven't cried at!! She is such a good writer.
    As far as movies, I don't watch many but one I saw when I was younger was Anne of Green Gables. When Mathew dies it really draws tears:)
    Please enter me.


  22. Great answers. Thanks ladies!

  23. Francine Rivers makes me cry, in a good way. My daughter too, and my mom. I guess it's a family thing.

    Wonderful interview. I really enjoyed reading this.