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 eHarlequin.com. 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!