SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Vanessa Davis Griggs: My name is Vanessa Davis Griggs. I’m a motivational speaker, an author, married, the mother of three sons, and the grandmother of two little girls. A former employee of BellSouth, I left after 18 years of service to pursue my call to write and speak. My novels include: Destiny Unlimited (out of print), The Rose of Jericho, Promises Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace, and my latest release, Blessed Trinity.
SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?
DAVIS: Blessed Trinity is Book 1 of a trilogy which actually picks up where Wings of Grace left off. There’s a lot going on in this book as we learn a little more of what has happened with familiar characters such as Pastor George Landris and Johnnie Mae Taylor from previous books, while meeting a host of new characters like Faith Alexandria Morrell and her sisters, Hope and Charity. Needing help as they guard a devastating secret, this mysterious trio of sisters joins Followers of Jesus Faith Worship Center led by Pastor Landris. Only there’s a lot going on with Pastor Landris, the church as well as members of his family. How can Faith and her sisters find comfort when others in a position to help are wrestling with so many issues of their own? When one sister suffers a crushing collapse, faith may be the only way to unravel the mystery shadowing all concerned.
SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
DAVIS: Besides being entertained, I’d love for people to learn things they might not have known before they began reading the story. In Blessed Trinity, I deal with real life issues such as Bipolar Disorder, Alzheimer’s, the inner-workings of mega churches as well as family. I hope people take away the message of love—the things we’ll do for it or what we do because of it. It’s not a romance book though. So, if pure romance is your thing, this is not the book with it.
SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?
DAVIS: Before I was published, I worked for BellSouth. When I left at the end of 1996, I didn’t have a book ready or a publisher waiting for me in the wings. After working on a book called Destiny Unlimited, I sought a traditional publisher, going through the normal rejection letters. But people kept asking for Destiny Unlimited so I decided to start my own publishing company (Free To Soar) and publish it myself. The truth is, I was really just trying to satisfy the few people who wanted copies so they would quit asking me about it. That was 1999. In 2000, I published my next novel: The Rose of Jericho. Unbeknownst to me then, this book would end up propelling me to places I never knew I’d go, namely, a sequel entitled: Promises Beyond Jordan (and to what has now become a series). That was 2001. At the end of 2002, I received a call from an editor at BET Books who wished to acquire the rights to Promises Beyond Jordan. I signed a two-book deal and Promises Beyond Jordan was republished in 2004 by BET Books/New Spirit followed by Wings of Grace in 2005. At the end of 2005, I was in talks with an editor at Kensington/Dafina. By the first of 2006, I signed a three-book deal with Dafina. Blessed Trinity, the first book in the trilogy, was released May 2007. It picks up where Wings of Grace left off. The second book in the trilogy will be released May 2008, with the third book slated for October 2008.
SORMAG: Do you think an agent is necessary?
DAVIS: I wouldn’t say an agent is necessary although I will say a person should do what’s right for them. When I say not necessary, there are several publishers who don’t require an agent for you to get a book deal. However, many people find an agent may be able to protect certain rights they would have normally signed away or an agent can possibly negotiate a better advance or overall deal. Also, there are a myriad of publishers who won’t allow a submission unless it’s from an agent. If you choose to go without an agent, then you need to hone your knowledge of publishing, publishing contracts specifically, and what’s involved to ensure that you end up with a good deal when it’s all said and done. I don’t have an agent, but I have been courted by one just recently in fact.
SORMAG: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
DAVIS: That writers like to do different things in and with their writing. We don’t like to write the same things over and over again (most of us don’t, anyway). We desire for it to be exciting…fresh, but sometimes non-writers don’t understand what’s going on and they lash out with negative and hurtful comments as though people who write don’t have feelings. Of course, I tell people if they’re going to be writer, they need to develop a thick skin right from the start.
SORMAG: In honor of Mother’s Day, what is a special moment you shared with your mother?
DAVIS: My mother was out of town attending a funeral on Mother’s Day. So I decided to visit her the day before Mother’s Day. We had a great time with a few of my other siblings talking and laughing with our mother. I’d planned something special for Mother’s Day, but it’s like my mother told me: When it comes to us, Mother’s Day is everyday for her. So my special moment this year was watching my mother laugh and me being thankful that I was blessed to hear that wonderful sound one more time.
SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?
DAVIS: There’s a book I read when I was in elementary school, but I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me. Nevertheless, I can recall the story and how it made me feel. It was wonderful. I remember reading that book and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines and thinking that making people feel a story like I felt when reading these two was exactly how I wished I could someday make people feel. Mind you, I didn’t have any tangible aspirations of being an author (just wishful thinking; when I was growing up, people didn’t look at being an author as a job to attain to). I just knew I wanted whatever I did to always feel real to others. Now that I write professionally, that’s what I strive to do with each and every book I pen. I want to make you feel like you’re right there; and that whatever is happening, you’re quietly sneaking a look and a listen into their world.
SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?
DAVIS: I’m appreciative of the various sites that promote and inform others about books. I also use Google to search my name. Many times, people may have something out there but didn’t tell me about it. Searching your own name is a great way to stay on top of what’s going on, especially if you’re an author. Of course, I have my own Web site which is a great asset. It allows people to check me and my books out or get photos of me and/or my books as needed without my having to send them. Recently, I’ve become active on MySpace.com which has been so much fun. I get to meet a lot of people, but what I found is that it’s given me yet another outlet to give back. I get messages all the time from aspiring writers or sometimes just people who need a little encouragement in life. Also, using MySpace.com has introduced people to my work who otherwise might not have ever known I existed. For certain, I’ve acquire new readers because of the net.
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
DAVIS: My Website: www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com
My email address is: Vanessa@VanessaDavisGriggs.com
My snail mail: P. O. Box 101328, Birmingham, AL 35210