Virginia Smith is the bestselling author of more than twenty Christian novels. She writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to suspense.
Ginny’s books have been finalists for the Daphne du Maurier, ACFW Book of the Year and Carol, and National Readers Choice award. In 2011 her romance novel, A Daughter’s Legacy, received a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. And in 2008 she received the prestigious Writer of the Year Award at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.
Ginny is a wife, mother, grandmother, and inspirational speaker. She and her husband, Ted, live in Utah.
One of your speaking topics deals with your writing journey. Please tell us a little bit about that.
When I first started writing, my goal was to publish science fiction and fantasy. I was only vaguely aware that Christian fiction even existed, and I didn’t read it. I wrote many dozens of stories and even several novels, none of which were published. Over a period of almost twenty years, I collected a staggering 147 rejection letters. (I still have them all!)
Finally the Lord got a message through my thick skull. “I want you to write for Me.” Now, the stories I’d written weren’t bad, they didn’t dishonor the Lord. But my goals were all about me and my success. When God finally made that clear to me, things began to fall into place quickly. Within a few months I’d written a totally different kind of story, a contemporary Christian novel. The Lord has blessed me immensely with God-honoring books since then. (Rainy Day Dreams is my twenty-fourth in eight years!)
Now, there is nothing wrong with science fiction and fantasy. I still love the genre, and hope one day to write it again. This time, though, my goals will be different because my eyes are fixed on Him, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.
God sometimes sends us down an unexpected path in life—one that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Absolutely! One that comes to mind is when God moved my family from Kentucky to Utah. Oh, I did not want to go! I never expected to live west of the Mississippi River, certainly not two thousand miles away from my close-knit extended family. But I can’t tell you how richly God has blessed us in Utah. That’s where I attended my first writer’s conference, got plugged in with a group of writers and joined a professional-level critique group. I credit that group with teaching me how to write. Besides writing, I’ve participated in so many ministry opportunities that just would not have been possible anywhere else. Definitely a Divine Detour!
Let’s talk about your new book, Rainy Day Dreams (Harvest House, April 2014), which you co-wrote with Lori Copeland. Please tell us about it.
In Rainy Day Dreams, Kathryn is sent to Seattle by her father with a single goal: to find a husband. And she is not happy about it. She’s an artist, a painter, and this backwoods town has none of the culture and comfort she loves about San Francisco. She arrives on the same ship as Jason, who has been hired to manage the sawmill, Seattle’s main employer and the reason for the town’s rapid growth. They dislike each other immediately—she thinks him cold and uncaring, and he takes her for a scheming, man-hunting female. But their conflict pales in the face of a real threat to safety of the town’s residents. Word spreads that hostile Indians, angry over their treatment by the government and the loss of their land, are amassing in the lush forest surrounding Seattle. A confrontation is coming, and judging by the reports, it won’t be resolved peacefully.
I’m always curious about the logistics of co-writing. Please tell us about the process the two of you used to work together.
There are a lot of different ways to co-author, but the process Lori and I follow works well for us. Before a word is written, we get together for a brainstorming session. We hole up in a hotel room somewhere and spend a couple of days talking and plotting stories and laughing. (Whenever we’re together there’s a lot of laughing!) We come up with characters and a high-level plot. Then I go home and write the book. During the writing we use Skype to stay in touch and talk about ideas that develop as the story unfolds. Then I send the first draft to her, and she puts her touch on it before we turn it over to our editor.
God often uses our stories to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book
Throughout the story, Kathryn thinks her life’s dream is to paint. She believes that being sent to Seattle is a roadblock to her dream of becoming an artist. (Speaking of Divine Detours!) But she discovers that God’s plans for her lie in a different direction—a better direction.
I needed that reminder. So often I set a goal and do everything I can to drive toward it, and when something happens to block me from achieving that goal, I get frustrated. I need to remember to step back and check in with God. If the roadblock is truly stopping me from accomplishing His plan, then He’s perfectly capable of removing it. If not, then I know He has something better in mind.
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?
Chicken and dumplings! I’m sure it’s a throwback to my childhood, because my mother makes the best dumplings in the whole world.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
A minute ago I mentioned ministry opportunities that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t moved to Salt Lake City. One was a music group. For three years I sang and toured with a contemporary Christian group called The Joyful Sound. We had ten vocalists and a live band, and we ministered to churches and events in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho. It was an amazing experience!
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I’d probably be one of those quirky Broadway tunes that get big laughs—usually at the expense of the singer.
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?
Um…can I be all of them? They all sound fun, at different times!
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Oh, I’m a dog lover too. Unfortunately I travel so much I can’t have a dog. I’ve tried, and the results were heartbreaking. So I enjoy tending other people’s dogs when they travel. My sister’s poodle, Eddie, is one of the most awesome dogs you’ll ever meet. He’s smart, and friendly, and loves everyone. And he likes to play dress-up. Seriously! He has a chest of dress-up clothes, and when you open the chest, he dances around, excited to try something on. Eddie is awesome!
Thanks, Ginny! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thank you! This has been a fun interview!
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For more information about Ginny, visit her website.
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