Stephenia H. McGee began writing at a very early age—in first grade. She now writes stories of faith, redemption, and life steeped in the South. The author of more than half a dozen books, her latest, In His Eyes, is set during the Civil War.
The mother of two very active little boys, Stephenia currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and their sons.
What started you down a writing path?
I’ve always loved books, and I wrote my first story from the words on my first grade spelling list. Then, on our trips home from college, I would tell my husband about my story ideas. One day, he stopped at a gas station, bought me a notebook, and told me to start writing things down. A couple of years later (after I had been studying the craft) I went to my first writer’s conference and that’s when I knew for sure I didn’t want to do anything else.
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Absolutely. I planned on becoming a veterinarian from a very young age, and actually have a degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences. However, through a series of events, God reworked my plan to become a veterinarian (and then a horse trainer) and placed me firmly in the writing world, which is where I truly belong. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I look forward to my work every day.
Let’s talk about In His Eyes (By the Vine Press, May 2017). Please tell us about it.
In this story Ella pretends to be a Yankee officer’s widow in order to survive and take care of a rescued child. That is, until Major Remington returns home to a wife he did not marry. It takes place at the very end of the Civil War.
What led you to write a story set at Belmont Plantation?
This is such a fun story, and I love how God put it all together. While sketching out the ideas for the plot, I knew I needed a house in the Mississippi Delta near the river. While researching online, I saw this one very old picture of Belmont Plantation, and not only was it beautiful, it stood exactly where I needed it to for the story. When I clicked on the link, I discovered the house had recently been purchased, restored, and opened as a bed and breakfast. I dug around and found the owner’s name (who happens to have been born in the small town I now live in) and sent him an email. I told him who I am and asked him if he would be interested in discussing the possibility of featuring Belmont on one of my novels. He sent back a reply later that day and—this is such a God thing—showed me a picture of one of my other books (The Whistle Walk) that he was currently reading while on a business trip! He said he would love to see Belmont on my next book, and everything went from there.