Friday, May 25, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Michelle Stimpson

Camille Robertson used to be part of an hot R&B girl group, until they fell apart and Destiny's Child pushed them out of the top spot. Now, after turning 30 and putting on a few pounds, Camille wants extend her fifteen minutes of fame. The only agent she can find to represent her, however, says that the only way she can break back into the music industry at her age and her size is to start with gospel music. In a last-ditch effort to regain her lost celebrity-hood, Camille joins the nearest mega church and weasels her way onto the praise team so that she can revive her career (and hopefully her pocketbook as well). But joining the church under false pretenses doesn't turn out quite the way she's imagined. God had a plan of His own for this diva.

Bestselling author Michelle Stimpson has penned several works, including the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, national bestseller Divas of Damascus Road, and her latest release, Someone to Watch Over Me. She has also published more than forty short stories through her educational publishing company. Michelle holds an English degree from Jarvis Christian College and master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a part-time language arts consultant and serves in women’s ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Michelle lives near Dallas with her husband, their two teenage children, and one crazy dog.

How did you start out your writing career?

If we want to go waaaaay back, writing started, for me, by keeping a journal. I started writing my journal during a tough time in my pre-teen years, and that was the beginning of how God would use those skills I inadvertently practiced for years through the journal.

What did you learn while writing this book?

This book taught me the importance of doing what I do for the right reasons. Thankfully - and through God's promises - He has brought me to a place where I make Spirit-led decisions as opposed to money-led, opportunity-led, or desperation-led. Writing this book was a conformation for me.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I want readers to think about how we often try to "use" God for our own purposes and goals. People are quick to speak out against a woman who marries a man only for his money - for what he can do for her. But how many of us are "married" to Christ because of what He can do for us? As Camille learns, God is loving and He will meet us where we are, but He will not be mocked.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

The story came first. I've been holding on to this story for quite some time, but I wasn't sure when I'd actually get to it. Camille came to me later.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

OK - this is going to sound crazy - but a recent revelation I've had about being a published author is that it doesn't matter who publishes you, you still have to get in the prayer closet, then get out there and market because (for economic and technological reasons, I believe) most publishers have basically become book printers and distributors. I hope that will change soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love the creative process. But because I'm a project-based thinker (right now, anyway), I don't like doing all the back-end marketing work. By the time a book comes out, I'm already two or three projects down the line from that book, so I always feel a little disconnected.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

I KNEW this, but I can't say I DID this: Pray, pray, pray! Not in a "God, please, please, please help me" way - but more strategically.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do: Your best work.
Don't: Be pressured to do/write things that do not line up with the person God has called you to be. In the end, we all have to answer to Him for this gift.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That creative thinkers don't follow the "rules" in our heads. You can't just give us a spreadsheet with a bunch of deadlines and steps and expect it to be done. That's not how we think. Some of us would probably be categorized as special education students (not trying to make fun of the label, by the way) because the way we operate is often so non-linear that it doesn't even make sense to us sometimes.

Tell us something few know about you?

I hate to exercise, but I do it anyway.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time - what's that?

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I keep my FB stuff going pretty regularly, and I'm getting back into tweeting. I just have to be careful about tweeting because if I'm not careful, I can tweet some mess!

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Name your top five favorite books of all time.

1. In Search of Satisfaction
2. Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free
3. Tumbling
4. Driven by Eternity
5. The Bible

Who was the first author you ever met?

I think both Victoria Christopher Murray and Sharon Ewell Foster. When my first book (Boaz Brown) was released, the three of us were doing a book signing at CushCity in Houston.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know it takes faith.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

I don't have new any books scheduled to come out after Falling Into Grace, but I will be re-releasing Boaz Brown this fall. As you may know, this was my first book, and it asks the question: What if the "right" man is the "wrong" color?

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

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