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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MEET THE CHRISTIAN WRITER


Dr. Linda Beed



Wanda B. Campbell


Cheryl Donovan


Zaria Garrison


Ashea Goldson

Carrie Elizabeth Greene

Michelle Larks

Shelia Lipsey




Welcome to our Christian Writers.

Do you have a few questions for them?

To get you started, can our panel please answer these two questions:


1. Why did you choose to write Christian fiction/non fiction?

2. What would you say to an aspiring writer who is discouraged?


29 comments:

Shelia Goss said...

Do any of you write in multiple genres? If so, what challenges have you faced writing both Christian fiction and contempary fiction?

Michelle Larks said...

I have written in different genres. My concentration is now Christian fiction. The challenges faced in writing for both is turning it up for contemporary fiction and then turning it down a notch or two for Christian fiction writing. The parameters for Christian fiction writing is a little more restricted, which makes it more of a challenge.

Zaria Garrison said...

1. Why did I choose to write Christian fiction.
I didn't choose it. God chose me. I began my writing career writing secular/erotic literature. My first novel was a murder mystery erotic novel. My first book Baring it All actually won several awards and has a 4 star rating on amazon.com
But God showed me that he didn't want me writing those stories. He wanted me to write for him. And he gave me a new name to write under. Zaria Garrison

2. For a discouraged writer I would say to pray. Pray and ask God to show you how he wants you to proceed. He may want you to use your writing as a tool to teach, to encourage or to entertain. Look to him for guidance and he will show you your career path.

Duchessdon said...

From Cheryl Lacey Donovan

I chose to write Christian non-fiction because I believe this is one of the first un-churched generations we have seen. Many have been hurt by the church or feel that the church is hypocritical therefore christian books are a way to get the gospel out to the masses. When many won't pick up the Bible they will pick up a book. This will in turn hopefully steer them to the greatest book of all.

maxxgrl said...

in reference to Duchessdon ... as a Christian writer both fiction/ and non-fiction how do you reach readers outside your genre?

-- is it a personal goal to reach those who stay away from the label 'christian fiction' because of the traditional or taboo subjects that aren't discussed openly without the fear of the self-rightous judging a writer?

-- or do you write strickly for established christian audience

-- also, when writing to glorify God in your written words, does that automatically classify you as a Christian writer... and if so, does this limit your audience and how one crosses over, leaving their readers with the same message.

extremely curious for each your point of view.

Shelia Lipsey said...

I basically write in the Christian fiction genre. I have been told that my novels could easily be marketed as contemporary too. I also write nonfiction (when I have the extra time). I would love to write in both contemporary and Christian to reach a broader audience of people with my God given messages. As for challenges, the Christian fiction genre can be tough at times because some people don't give it a chance at all because of their beliefs. But God has to reach whom he chooses and I do my best to promote and market them as best I can.

Shelia Lipsey said...

This is specific answer to Maxxgirl about reaching readers outside the genre that I write. The type of Christian fiction I write I dub as "perfect stories about imperfect people". This means that what I am divinely given to write addresses everyday issues that people live, face and deal with. This opens the door for me to touch the lives of ordinary people who face various issues.

Linda Beed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Beed said...

1. Why did you choose to write Christian fiction/non fiction?

To some my response may sound spiritual, but it is my truth. On a whim I entered a short story contest. The content came from what is synonymous with all I do – my faith. That entry became the first chapter of my debut novel Business Unusual that has been categorized as Christian fiction.

2. What would you say to an aspiring writer who is discouraged?

To any author who is discouraged I say that you must believe in yourself. What you are called to do will not always align with the view of the literary industry. Learn your craft, accept sound advice and criticisms and do what you have been called to, to the best of your ability.

BTW, tune in tonight to the live Be Not Discouraged workshops (The Writing Plan & The Writer’s Plan), they will truly help those needing encouragement and seeking information regarding the process of writing and developing a writer’s plan.

The Writing Plan
6P/PST - 8P/CST - 9P/EST

The Writer's Plan
7:15P/PST - 9:15P/CST - 10:15P/EST

Hope to see you there - Linda!
www.lindabeed.com

Linda Beed said...

Great to see you here Sheila, you pose a great question.

My first release Business Unusual is definitely Christian fiction. Since then projects for future release have stepped into the realm of inspirational, nonfiction and historical. The challenge for me at times is remaining focused on the specific genre when working on more than one project at a time.

Linda!
www.lindabeed.com

ashea goldson said...

Although I also write non-fiction and poetry, I must say that I didn't choose Christian fiction. It chose me. I just write what was natural to me and to who I am, and since I am totally in love with God, everything I think,believe, and therefore write is christ centered. Now that doesn't mean that everything I write is preachy, but everything I write has a spiritual message,whether it's obvious or not.

ashea goldson said...

In response to the second question about the discouraged writer, I would say to develop tenacity and resilence. Never give up on the dream God has placed in your heart no matter what circumstances may come, no matter what people may say. Remain steadfast, pressing toward the mark. Keep writing and trust God as your source.

ashea goldson said...

I believe that my books reach out to all people, even though they've been cateogorized as Christian fiction. The stories are about real, hurting people facing real problems.Not only are not all of my characters saved, but some of them rebel against the church altogether. Some will never become saved in my story because this is a reality of life, but my story, through the reality of Jesus, will always offer hope to the reader. Hopefully my stories can reach any person, even those who may be in a dark place in their life. In fact, those are the ones I'm aiming for to give them hope.

Tee C. Royal said...

Oops, I posted my questions in the wrong area, so I'm posting them again here:

Would you share your experiences with book clubs? Has it been easy/hard for you to secure Book of the Month selections for groups that aren't church groups?

What's been one of your best experiences to date, as a published author?

It's a balance to write to uplift God's Word, yet not be too preachy. How do you balance the two?

What are some books you've read recently (not including your own), that you would recommend?

ashea goldson said...

I would absolutely love to share my experiences with bookclubs. I feel that's what I'm here for as an instrument to be used to help others.It has been hard for me personally,to secure Book of the Month selections for groups that aren't church groups, and sometimes difficult even with church groups. It's a very competitive market and there is always a range of Christian fiction books to choose from as well.

My best experiences have been testimonies from readers on how my book impacted their lives, uplifted them, and in some cases, turned them toward a different path. That's whaht I hold onto.

I try to keep my words real, to remember truly where I came from, and to remember that's it's only by His grace,and mercy that I'm here now. I try not to get caught up in so much Christianese that an outsider wouldn't understand. I also try to show the very compassionate, yet human side of Christian characters so that they don't come off as lofty or superficial. Finally, I try to give the Holy Spirit time to correct me in all that I write so I'm writing it the way He wants, the way it can reach out to anyone's heart.

Wow, now that's hard because I read so many now that I'm a literary radio show host.There are so many that i have enjoyed, too many to name. Most recently though,I read The Last Woman Standing by Tia McCollors, and The Ideal Wife by Jacquelin Thomas. I'm finishing Angela Benson's Sins Of the Father right now.

Author, Shelia E. Lipsey said...

I love interacting with bookclubs. I consider them to be at the top of the list when it comes to getting the word out about your book(s) Plus bookclubs can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in your writing as seen through the readers eyes. What the readers is able to take from your writing determines how well you are doing in your craft; so I love bookclubs. The only thing that I have to say that I would like to know more about is how do you find bookclubs? I know of the larger bookclub, like RAWSISTAZ, but I would love to see an uptodate database comprised of bookclubs all over the United States. That may be an impossible thing to put together because it would have to fall in somebody's hands to do it. I know that blackrefer.com has a pretty nice database. But bookclubs are one of the main ways to go, in my opinion. So here I am, bookclubs, if I can do an interview, chat, visit or telephone chat, please contact me. shelialipsey@yahoo.com

Linda Beed said...

Tee,

Would you share your experiences with book clubs? Has it been easy/hard for you to secure Book of the Month selections for groups that aren't church groups?
My experience with book clubs has been mixed. Most have been gracious in reaching out to offer to read the book. There are others that have not followed through with their offers.

What's been one of your best experiences to date, as a published author?
To date my best experience as a published author has been my children acknowledging their pride me accomplishing what I set out to do despite the discouragement of many in the industry.

It's a balance to write to uplift God's Word, yet not be too preachy. How do you balance the two?
This is a question often asked in interviews. My response is simple, what some call preachy may be food for the soul for another. A writer will never be able to satisfy every reader or reviewer. Our job is to write what has been placed in our spirits.

What are some books you've read recently (not including your own), that you would recommend?
Recent reads I would recommend include:
The Soul of a Man –A Triumph of My Soul Anthology
Chosen – by Patricia Haley
Unsigned Hype – by Booker T. Mattison
Illusions – by Wanda B. Campbell
A Prisoner of Birth – Jeffrey Arche

Linda!
www.lindabeed.com

Michelle Larks said...

I'd like to respond to multiple posts.

To the discouraged writer, I'd like to say keep your head up and continue on the path God has chosen for you. Sometimes things in life don't come easy, but if you continue to have faith, things will work out as God has planned.

I like most authors love to meet with bookclubs. I love explaning in greater depth books I have written, why I have written books or chosen certain themes, as well as sharing some of my life lessons with them.

wanda said...

Why did I choose to write Christian fiction?

I didn't really have a choice. Writing Christian fiction is a gift from God. I consider my writing style and subjects "edgy" or "taboo". I bring to light what's normally swept under the rug in the church. I also use writing to show that Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven and that same forgiveness is available to everyone.

wanda said...

My experience with book clubs has been good; however they have all been Christian groups.

I reach out to non-Christian groups. Individual members read and enjoy the book, but I don't get the book of the month selection.

Some Christian book clubs are hesitant when they here the subject matter, but once they read the book they're happy they did.

Duchessdon said...

To Maxxgrl

thank you for your questions.

as a Christian writer both fiction/ and non-fiction how do you reach readers outside your genre?

I actually write in the non-fiction category so my writing is generally personal testimony or info gathered from talking to others that have experienced and overcome the situations I write about. Therefore my writings appeal to anyone, christian or not, who has experienced domestic violence, single parenthood, etc. I infuse biblical references and principles because those are what brought me through.

-- is it a personal goal to reach those who stay away from the label 'christian fiction' because of the traditional or taboo subjects that aren't discussed openly without the fear of the self-rightous judging a writer?

I do wish to reach the masses. I think too many people have turned away from the church because of holier than thou attitudes I want people to know that that isn't God's way. I love Him, I know Him and I am flawed. I thank Him for His grace and mercy. Let me show you how it's worked in my life. It is what it is. This is my message

-- or do you write strickly for established christian audience

No

-- also, when writing to glorify God in your written words, does that automatically classify you as a Christian writer... and if so, does this limit your audience and how one crosses over, leaving their readers with the same message.

I don't believe it does. I see myself as an inspirational writer who happens to be Christian as such I speak of God regularly. Hopefully as I do I will lead someone to know how He can enrich their life.

Thanks again for the questions

Duchessdon said...

To TEE

Thanks for the questions

Would you share your experiences with book clubs? Has it been easy/hard for you to secure Book of the Month selections for groups that aren't church groups?

I have yet to experience discussions with book clubs directly. I hope to do so real soon. I think the topics I cover are universal (domestic violence, single parenting, etc.) so hopefully book clubs will see the value in that.

What's been one of your best experiences to date, as a published author?

My best experience to day has been the first time someone told me my book encouraged them to move forward with their life.

It's a balance to write to uplift God's Word, yet not be too preachy. How do you balance the two?

I write about issues that are commonplace. I simply use these experiences and infuse biblical principles that apply.

What are some books you've read recently (not including your own), that you would recommend

Don't Give in God Wants you to Win

ashea goldson said...

It is not a personal goal to avoid the label and/or labeling of Christian fiction. I just write the story that's in my heart, stay true to it and let the ministering begin.

To maxxgrl:
No, I definitely do not write for strictly Christian audiences. In fact,I am seeking those who are lost first.

I believe that writing to glorify God, with the premise of christianity as a foundadtion (not buddahism, hinduism, Islam, etc.)is Christian writing. Moreso, Christian writing should have a clear spiritual message based on the word of God. I don't believe anything I do in God will limit me. Doing his perfect will only frees me. Again, I write the story that's in my heart, and don't worry about the labels. I trust God to draw the people who need to read my book.

PatriciaW said...

Great discussion. I don't have any questions at the moment, but I wanted to pop in.

maxxgrl said...

thanks for responding to my questions. Great blessings from you all!

Ty said...

Great line-up! I enjoyed the Q&A.

Lyn Cote said...

I tried to write for the secular market but I never sold. God only let me sell when I finally got his word that was what I was to do. Before I went to a writing conference in spring of 1994, I asked God why I kept hitting a brick wall. He responded at the conference when a top NYC editor read my work and said, "You're writing for the inspirational market." Now over 25 inspirational novels later, I guess she was right! GRIN That's how God has to handle me. I so rarely ask Him His opinion, that He has to get it in FAST!
http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Thanks to all the authors that contributed such heartfelt, thoughtful answers to the questions. You've blessed me immensely!

Melissa
Words + Faith = Inspiration
http://melissawathington.net

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