Gina Holmes sailed into the inspirational fiction market last year with an acclaimed and awarded debut entitled Crossing Oceans. She had already established herself by writing articles and short stories and as the founder of an influential literary blog, Novel Journey (now Novel Rocket), which she started in 2005.
Crossing Oceans was named as a finalist in the ECPA’s Christian Book Awards’ fiction category, as well as a finalist for a Christy Award. It won the first annual INSPY award for general/literary fiction. The book is also currently nominated for the ACFW Carol Award for debut novel, with winners to be announced in September.
A nurse with degrees in science and nursing, mother, and wife, Gina lives in Southern Virginia with her family. Her sophomore release, Dry as Rain (Tyndale House Publishers) will be out this week.
When did you first fall in love with books? What sparked your desire to write novels?
Wow, great question. I first fell in love with books, well, actually… I can’t remember not loving books. My parents were always telling me to put that book down and go outside and play. Ha. It’s funny now but I used to sneak and read them, hoping I wouldn’t get caught. The first book I remember realizing the power of was A Wrinkle in Time. I keep meaning to reread that. My bff recently did and got so much more out of it then she remembered. Ahhhh… books.
My desire to write novels was sparked by realizing I COULD. I was writing magazine articles, poems, songs, anything… when I learned a seventeen year old girl in my church was working on her second novel. Her second novel! I thought if she can do it, why can’t I? And then I read somewhere that if you write one page a day at the end of a year, you have a novel. Well, in six weeks I had drafted my first. It wasn’t very good but it taught me it was possible.
How do you balance writing and the need to live in the “real world”?
Another great question. It’s tough. I find if I write everyday and make myself keep momentum going, it goes pretty well. The trouble is when I get in a funk and can’t seem to write and then weeks pass and then it takes me forever to get back into the story. It seems like I’m not answering your question, but I’m getting there. If I stay in the story, I can keep a pretty regular schedule, do my writing before five, make dinner, and then do publicity stuff and all the rest and still have time to spend with the family. It helps that my kids are old enough to be fairly self-sufficient and I have a really supportive husband who works outside the house. I say shush a lot too. : )
How does your faith play into your work?
You know, nothing gets me further off track then when I think about that question. I am unapologetically a Christian. It’s not lip service for me. I’m madly in love with God and my savior. I desire more than anything to live a life worthy to lay before His throne one day. I believe the Bible is true. I believe God is good and I believe that He makes beauty from ashes for those who love Him. With all that in my heart and mind, how can it not leak out into my stories? If I don’t think about the faith message, it comes out organically. The story I’m working on now for Tyndale is like that. Once in awhile I ask myself, what exactly is your faith message and then I have to push it from my mind so it flows naturally through the characters.
The one place I struggle is trying to show sinful characters without readers thinking I condone their sin in any way. It’s hard to show redemption without needing something to be redeemed from. I don’t want to write “clean” fiction. I want to point to God’s truth, even if that means slogging my reader through the darkness to get there.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Nothing but. When I was six, I was told that my mother had left me. It’s a long story that wasn’t exactly the truth, but one minute I was living with my mom, sisters, and brother, and the next I was in another state with a new mom, my dad, and siblings I didn’t know very well. That whole situation damaged me terribly as you can imagine. But now that I’m grown and I understand the situation, I realize that God used that for a powerful purpose in my life and my family’s. More recently, I met another form of perceived rejection when my (now) ex-husband asked for a divorce. Even when God’s will isn’t being done by us, He keeps true to His promises to give us a hope and a future and to use even bad for our good. Isn’t He amazing?
My whole life has been like that and that’s exactly the message that comes through my writing because it’s the truth as I know it. We don’t always have to understand. We just have to trust.
I’m a terrible pitchman so I should probably just paste the back of the book copy here but your questions have me in a contemplative mood, so maybe I’ll take a stab at the real message.
Dry as Rain tells the story of the rollercoaster ride of one marriage through the viewpoint of the husband. Anyone who’s been or is married knows how easy it is to let misunderstandings and unkind words snowball into a relationship that’s colder than snow. Eric doesn’t feel in love with his wife anymore and she certainly isn’t in love with him when she throws him out of the house thinking he cheated on her. Thinking the marriage is dead, he does what he’s accused of and then learns that his wife was in an accident that erased part of her memory. When she looks at him with eyes of love and treats him the way she used to, his heart immediately thaws and he seizes the opportunity to win back her love before she remembers what he wishes he could forget.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
I hope those thinking of cheating get a glimpse of the real cost of that sin. I hope that marriages that have grown stale will realize that sometimes it just takes one person changing to get both back on the right path. I hope that people judge those who commit infidelity with a little more understanding. (It’s funny that I say that because it’s the one sin I personally would have the most trouble recovering from and forgiving someone for.)
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I like cold canned spinach. Yep, I’m a freak.
I also like cheddar cheese. Sometimes I go through an entire bag of sunflower seeds on a chapter. It’s a nervous habit more than anything.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I’d be a brooding love song.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I would say I’m the little girl in the high heels, but I think everyone who knows me would say the strong heroine. I’m tougher than I give myself credit for most days.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, and/or your favorite pet as a child.
We have a three pawed yorkie named Sophie who is a living teddy bear. She doesn’t know she is missing a paw. I think she was born that way but it doesn’t slow her down. We also have a big old hound dog named Maggie. She is the sweetest, smartest dog I’ve ever had, and one fish named LesPaul after the guitar. My musician husband named him.
Thank you, Gina! It’s nice to have you at DivineDetour.
Thanks for having me. Really great questions.
~ ~ ~
For more information about Gina and her books, visit her website at http://www.ginaholmes.com/.
To read and/or subscribe to Gina’s blog, Novel Rocket, logon to http://novelrocket.com
To purchase Dry as Rain, logon to: