Monday, May 18, 2009

Welcome Missy Tippens!!

Good morning to all our friends here at Five Scribes. I’m excited to introduce Missy Tippens, our guest blogger today. I’ve known Missy for so many years, first as prime contest competition and friend through Faith, Hope and Love Romance Writers, and most recently as a fellow Seeker in the group of contest-entrants-turned-close-friends in Seekerville. Missy writes Contemporary Inspirational Romance for Steeple Hill Books, Love Inspired line. Don’t let her fool you. There’s a touch of Yankee under that soft Southern charm. Great combo if you ask me : )

Good morning, Missy!!

You are a very diversified person and a Southern Belle to boot! Would you introduce us to the various bits and pieces of your life and how you stay sane?

Thanks so much for having me today, Audra! I’m thrilled to hang out with y’all today. (Yes, I had to use “y’all” since you mentioned Southern Belle. LOL) I was actually born and raised in Kentucky and have lived in Georgia since 1984. Now I live about an hour outside Atlanta with my pastor husband and three kids. I’m active in my church and starting this past winter have been writing full-time. More about other careers in the next question. As far as staying sane, well, don’t ask my family about that! Just believe me when I say that I am.

You have an interesting academic background. Fill us in on why you chose to write books and if your education influences your writing.

I was actually a biology major, bio-physics minor in college. Then I went on to get my masters in clinical microbiology. So it’s hard to imagine what made me want to start writing. But I’ve always loved to read. Then when I was put on complete bed rest while pregnant with my middle child, a friend brought me a bag of books. And I was hooked. I decided then I wanted to try to write one, but I waited until we got our first computer in 1995. I wrote that first manuscript while nursing my son, typing with one hand! Of course, it’s in a drawer somewhere and will never see the light of day. But I was on the road to doing something I love. :)

Through the years, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and have also taught at a local technical college, all the while writing whenever I could. Just this year, I decided to write full-time.

How have associations like Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers influenced your writing?

I don’t think I would be published today without RWA! I’ve learned so much from conferences and from my local chapter, Georgia Romance Writers. As you also mentioned, I’ve been a member of the Faith, Hope and Love chapter for years and have learned a lot about writing inspirational stories from the generous authors in that group. And of course, all the RWA contests have made a huge difference as well—from the great judge feedback to getting editor requests. I actually sold my first book through a contest request!

I didn’t actually join ACFW until just a few years ago. But I’ve really gotten a lot out of the annual conference. It’s an amazing way to network with editors and agents.

I was so thrilled (and relieved) the day you received The Call, not only because I knew you were a great writer, but also because our entries had come up head-to-head in so many contests. Sometimes you won; sometimes I won, LOL! What’s life like now on the other side of the fence?

Oh my gosh, I used to hate to have to go head to head with you, Audra! But what fun competition! That’s one thing I’ve loved about the Seekers. We supported each other even while meeting in contests. I could truly be happy for you when you beat me. Sure, I grumbled, especially if you won a cool prize or a read by a particular editor. But it was also almost like a win for me as well. (Audra and I have always joked that we’re actually twins separated at birth because we’re alike in so many ways!)

His Forever Love is a June ’09 release, currently available through Tell us something about it and the message you hope folks take away with them.

It’s a story about unrequited loved and about fitting in. And it’s a friends to “lovers” story (of course there are no love scenes in a Steeple Hill book, but you know what I mean!). It’s also about finding God’s plan for our lives. Here’s the blurb:

In Magnolia, Georgia, local legend says that a couple who holds hands around the “forever” tree will have an unending love. Even so, Bill Wellington held Lindsay Jones’s hands around that tree years ago...and then left her behind. He chose the big city, and now he wants to bring his grandmother there. But to his amazement, he finds that Granny has a boyfriend—and a vibrant life. A life that includes Lindsay, Granny’s caregiver. Bill never thought he’d want to come home, yet Magnolia clearly has its charms. As does Lindsay, who makes him long for a second chance at forever love.

What is the overall message you’d like your readers to associate with you and your books?

I tend to write stories about accepting people for who they are and about forgiveness. I love reunion stories, too. And love writing about opposites attracting. I guess I just love writing! I hope to tell heartwarming stories that make you laugh and cry. A pretty tough goal, but my goal nonetheless. :)

Would you share a writing tip with the Five Scribe readership?

I like this tip, because it’s something I learned the hard way! Don’t keep re-working the same manuscript over and over. Keep plugging ahead with new ones. You’ll get better with each one, and then once you make that first sale, you’ll have something ready to go to offer your publisher asap. (My first two books are 16 months apart, so I know what I’m talking about!) :)

Audra and the other Scribes, thanks so much for having me today! I’ll be giving away a copy of my new release, His Forever Love, in a drawing from those who leave comments. Please leave contact information.

Thank you, Missy for joining us today! If you haven't had enough Missy, she is also hosting in Seekerville. Check back later in the week to discover the lucky winner of His Forever Love!


Audra Harders said...

Good morning, Missy and everyone who joins us on Five Scribes today! It looks like a hectic week ahead, and this is only Monday!

Coffee is on, so help yourself to a cup. Grab a cinnamon roll, too : )

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Audra! Thanks so much for the yummy cinnamon roll. Do you hear me chewing?? :)

Donnell said...

Good morning, Missy. I feel like I'm waving hi to some I know. I have many friends in Georgia Romance Writers and they are a stellar group! I also love inspirational and judge it frequently in the Daphne, and Steeple Hill among others is producing quality reads. Of course couldn't stop there, had to judge Touched by Love this year, and from what I see people are really getting the message... their tales were *inspirational* I was born in Texas so I'll say howdy and ya'll back atcha and I'm so excited you've joined The Five Scribes today! Welcome.

Missy Tippens said...

Dowdy, Donnell! :)

Thanks for judging the inspirational category in contests! I always love having judges who "get it". Especially those who enjoy the category.

Well, I'm thinking of a second cup of coffee. And I may need another cinnamon roll to go with it...


Missy Tippens said...

Oh my gosh!!! That was supposed to say Howdy, Donnell!!! LOL

So sorry, Donnell. You're not dowdy!! :)

Donnell said...

LOL, Missy, I thought I'd miss some combined acronym. But that's okay, I'm downright dowdy at times ;) Howdy back atcha!

Audra Harders said...

Hi Donnell!
You've done so much judging! Thanks for supporting Inspys : )

All you southern belles! Oh wait, is Texas, just Texas, or do they have their share of Belles??

Anyway, Missy, how did you get the idea for the Forever Tree? I love the premise : )

Missy Tippens said...

Audra, great question. I went to a local RWA chapter (GRW)meeting, and Cheryl Wilson did a program on creating legends. If you haven't read Cheryl's books, you need to!! (C.L. Wilson) She writes amazing fantasy, and I don't normally even read fantasy. But hers are outstanding. Lord of the Fading Lands is the first one.

Anyway, at first, I didn't think her program would be very applicable to my writing. But then I decided to try to come up with a legend for my contemporary romance. And the idea just hit me! Having people hold hands around the Forever Tree would lead to forever love. :)

Ausjenny said...

good interview I loved Missy's first book and would love to read this one too
ausjenny at gmail dot com

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Jenny. I'm glad you stopped by! I've got you entered. :)

butterflielover3 said...

Hi Missy Great interview. I read the excerpt of His Forever Love and it sound wonderful. Have a good week.

Edna said...

good Morning, a beautiful day here in SC, the sun is shining but the wind is blowing. God is good to us. I have looked at all three of your sites and received your first newsletter, just don't see how you have time to write all this, and then your books, so good. You are a great author, and as I sit here deinking a cup of coffee watching Matlock and looking at the internet, I would like to ask you to put me into the drawing for a book you are giving away,


Missy Tippens said...

Thank you, Butterflie! I appreciate you stopping by.

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Edna! Thanks so much for your sweet comments.

I hope you've checked your email. You just won a copy of my book on the Seekerville blog! :)


robynl said...

love the cover of the book;
really enjoyed the excerpt I read and hope there is a second chance for both of them if that is what is meant to happen.

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks for stopping by, Robyn. Yes, they definitely have a second chance at love! :)

Audra Harders said...

Thank you for joining us, Missy! I hope you'll join us again to give us insight on your next book : )

The winner of Missy's book will be posted at the end of the week.

Good luck!