Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series -

Well, school's about the start down here in the south. From August 10th on, you will hear collective cheers as parents drop off their children and head for the closest Starbucks. It's amazing how school has become a surrogate babysitter, helping the sanity of many a parent stay intact.

"You're Welcome."

So, for you southern parents, I've got something you may want to read while you're sipping on your caramel macchiato with no whip. (For you northern parents, you have about a month left. So, go lock yourself in the bathroom with your iPad, and you too can read this.)

Everyone, please welcome to my Florida front porch, author Darlene Franklin!

Hi, Darlene! Can you give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Darlene Franklin?

My bio proudly brags that I write full-time from a nursing home! I have found my situation to be the best catalyst for growth that I’ve experienced for a long time. I’m also a reader, a mother and grandmother, a church musician, who loves to color pictures and do word search puzzles. I guess that’s more than 50 words.

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

Do you mean before I included “writer” as a potential occupation when I was only 10 years old? That doesn’t quite count, because I sincerely believed I would be a missionary to Mexico as an adult.

I began writing daily when I was in my thirties, in the wake of a nasty divorce.

What educational background do you have?

I graduated from Cony High School in Augusta, Maine. After that I went to Northeastern Bible College and Southwestern Baptist Seminary.  I had been told that the most important qualification for a missionary was to know God’s Word. I had a double major in college—Bible/theology and music. I loved both subjects, but it left my other coursework very limited. At seminary I started out in music and switched to religious education.

The training definitely prepared for the ministries God has called me to. (I have been involved with missions to a limited extent, just not the way I hoped or envisioned.)  Nor have I been a preschool teacher or a Minister to Children. But I have always been involved with church music (became church pianist when I was twelve.) I started teaching children’s Sunday school when I was only fifteen.

So when I began writing, I wrote curriculum for children’s church and Sunday school. I’ve also written more than three hundred devotionals. Bible study is one of my passions!


I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: rare steaks and hot caramel sundaes—but not together. Probably because I can’t get them by myself in a nursing home!
Favorite Drink: Most often drink: diet coke. Favorite drink: apple cider. I have rarely had good cider since Maine after high school.
Favorite Song: Any number of hymns! Of contemporary praise songs, songs like Blessed Be the Name and He Reins. I studied church music in college and played piano in church since I was twelve.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Almost anything by Philip Yancey. I really relate to his approach.
Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 8:37-39 hands down. God loves me. Period. No matter what.
Favorite Movie: Beyond Lord of the Rings? Different movies for different times. Top favs: Fiddler on the Roof, Field of Dreams, Princess Bride, Casablanca.
Favorite Actor or Actress: I have never disappointed by Leonardo DiCaprio or Meryl Streep. About the time I watched (???), I realized DiCaprio kept surprising me.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Whip Hand by Dick Francis. The most suspense-
filled novel (without being horror) and character driven story I have ever read
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Dick Francis, Charles Dickens. I waited with baited breath for Francis’s annual books. Unfortunately, they’re both dead.
Favorite Sport: baseball. I fell in love with baseball during the Colorado Rockies first season.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Denver Broncos and the OKC Thunder. Regional affiliations—and the satisfaction of finally winning the Super Bowl!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Music, Spanish, English. I did well in everything, but science and math was head learning and not heart learning.
Favorite Subject Now: Bible study and history. The passions drive my writing, not the other way around.
Favorite Teacher in School: Perhaps my Spanish teacher, who wanted me to become a translator. I grew up in Maine, where Spanish isn’t the second language. (French is.)
Favorite Time of the Year: Spring. New beginnings and the end of winter before summer’s heat
Favorite Place to Vacation:  The mountains. Oh, my beloved Colorado!


If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

Maybe Mother Theresa—who was she before she became “Mother Theresa,” world-renowned spiritual leader? What led her to India? How did she keep going during the early years, when it must have so difficult?

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

I might say Deborah—her take on the role of women in the history of faith! Or Abraham and Sarah, for the belief-defying faith. But actually I’d like to chat with Leah. She astounds  me. Jacob didn’t care about her at all, but she gave her sons names that resonate with hope. By the time it came to boy # four, she called him Judah, or praise. “This time I will praise God.” Unspoken: Even if Jacob still doesn’t love me. How did she do it?

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

My daughter’s suicide in 2008 was the first in a series of collapses that radically changed the direction of my career. I lost my daughter, my beloved Colorado, a job I loved, my mother, my health—my independence. I ended up in a nursing home.

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the publisher I had written for stopped publishing. I wondered if God intended for me to stop writing. He didn’t. Instead, my career has exploded beyond anything I could have imagined!

I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. But God is good, and He always proves faithful, doesn't He? What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
       
One of my craziest things was traveling by bus from Mexico City, where I had been a summer missionary, to my parent’s home in Maine by bus. I traveled everywhere by bus in those days.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

This is and isn’t my work. I was hired to write prayers to accompany the text to the upcoming 12 Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women. The texts, by prayer giants such as Andrew Murray and EM Bounds, challenged me and taught me so much. As I studied, I found my prayer life profoundly changed.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

Romans 8:37-39.  God loves me. Period. I am free to live and not be afraid of my failures.


Darlene, it's been a pleasure to have you on Florida front porch! Where can folks find you out there in cyberland?

Here's my Website and blogHere's my Facebook page as well as my Amazon author page
Also, my Twitter handle is @darlenefranklin.

Again, thanks so much for allowing our readers a chance to get to know you better.

Reader, Until next month, May God Bless You, and may you Bless God!

Kevin








 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Author Interview with Jodie Wolfe




I was the featured author Jodie's blog. Come check it out!




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Sins of Tolerance - A Biblical Worldview (An MTL Magazine Column)



This article appeared in the More to Life Magazine's World Column for August 2017:



"One job. That’s all we’ve ever had.

One rule. How simple is that? Imagine how life would be today if we had just one law to follow…
“Don’t touch that tree,” God said. “That’s it. You can eat anything else from this garden. Just stay away from that tree” (Gen. 2:16-17).
Then, the serpent showed up. He questioned the rule. He challenged the interpretation of the one law. He even painted God as an individual trying to withhold information, even deceive, if that were possible. “He’s trying to keep you from reaching your full potential,” the serpent said. “He knows that if you eat of that tree, you’ll be just like him, and he doesn’t want any competition. Trust me on that one” (Gen. 3:1-5).
And ever since, the pockmark of human existence has stemmed from that one decision man made in the Garden: to disobey the one, simple rule.
In the parlance of Scripture, it’s called sin. More definitively: disobedience. Out of this fountainhead found in Genesis 3 comes multiple tributaries of sinful behavior throughout the Old and New Testaments. Each act questioning God’s real intent. Each deed determining an alternative outcome contrary to God’s Word. “You will not surely die…”

Come check it the remainder of the article!




Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Author Interview with Robin Mason




Come check out the interview done on July 20, 2017.


Read on...





Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Susan G. Mathis

Greetings from the surface of the sun! Well, actually, we're a little north of there, but close. "What's he talking about?" Jim Gaffigan, famous comedian, has a three-minute stand up routine on Disney wherein he likens standing in line at the theme park in Orlando in July to standing in line at the DMV on the surface of the sun. How true it is. Not just the Disney analogy, but the sun one. This summer has been brutal. I'll bet Colorado is cooler. And that's where our next guest in The Author Behind the Story series lives.

Please welcome to the sweltering, humid, "Why do I still live here?" (Oh, yeah...the ocean) Florida front porch, author Susan G. Mathis!



Susan, pretend you just met us in the Barnes & Noble checkout line. We are holding one of your books. We see you, and say, "Hey, aren't you her?" as we point to the back cover. Who is Susan G. Mathis?

I’m a versatile writer and author of five books including a novel, two non-fiction books, and two picture books. Crazy, I know. I love doing life with my husband, Dale, traveling, water aerobics, serving others, and enjoying time on Skype and in person with my four adorable granddaughters who live in South Africa.

So, you have already told us you're married and that you have children. Can you tell us a little about them?

I’m happily married to the man of my dreams, my co-author for my first two premarital books, my travel partner, and my best friend. He’s God’s beautiful gift to me.

I have two wonderful adult children, a son who lives in Sayulitas, Mexico, and a daughter (with four daughters) who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. How I ended up with two international kids boggles my mind!

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

My mother quips that I started my writing career when I signed my crayon drawings—on the foyer wall—with a great big “S”! Though I’m not sure that was the start I wanted, I can’t remember not writing.

My journey has been multi-faceted. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path. As the Former Editorial Director at Focus on the Family of 12 unique publications and Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine, I’ve done a lot of writing and editing. Then, in 2008, Tyndale published the first of my two premarital books—Countdown for Couples, and then The ReMarriage Adventure. Last year my two children’s picture books were released—Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. And now I’m a debut novelist with The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. It’s been a really fun journey!

I think you are the second former Language Arts teacher I've had on as a guest. Being one myself, I'm thinking the odds are high that many novelists had a previous life as an ELA teacher. But you had the added bonus of working in the newspaper industry as well as for Focus on the Family! Or as one of our daughters used to call it, Poke Us in the Family.

What educational background do you have?

I grew up in Watertown, NY, got my first degree in NY and my second degree here in Colorado. I’ve taught school, been a staff writer, been an editor, and now write from home. Yippee!

Watertown, isn't that where they get all the snow off the great lakes? We lived in western NY for almost eight years. We've seen out share of blizzards.

Where and why do you live where you do now?

I live on 5 acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains and Pike’s Peak. With such a beautiful view, writing is inspirational. The only thing missing is the ocean.

We've always wanted to vacation out there. Never been west of I-35, though. Why do you live where you live?

I live on 5 acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains and Pike’s Peak. With such a beautiful view, writing is inspirational. The only thing missing is the ocean.

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you? 

I love our current home, but since my husband has Parkinsons' disease, one day we’ll have to transition to a one-level place. Must haves would be a view, room for our kids to visit, and near our loved ones.

When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

Hah! I just texted our salesman about this. We’re looking for a Nissan Rogue or Murano.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?


When I was writing my first two premarital books for Tyndale, I was working full-time as an editorial director at Focus on the Family, managing five magazines and four parenting newsletters. I worked about 60 hours a week and wrote at night and on weekends. The “unusual event” is that somehow, God multiplied my time and energy, and I don’t remember that time as at all stressful or hard. I still look back on it with amazement.

The Fabric of Hope
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category, and if you can, tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Decadent Lobster
Favorite Drink: Tea (in a lovely china teacup)
Favorite Song: At the moment it’s “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own; besides the Bible): Depends on the season of life. I’m always trying to grow and learn. Right now, I’m reading writing craft books.
Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm youplans to give you hope and a future.” In fact, my novel is about this concept.
Favorite Movie: Anne of Green Gables
Favorite Actor or Actress:  Tom Hanks
Favorite Novel (other than your own): There are simply too many to list!
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Ditto!
Favorite Sport: I hated football until a friend patiently explained it to me. Now I love it.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Go Broncos!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: English and History
Favorite Subject Now: English and History
Favorite Teacher in School: John Cecil, a Christian geology professor who was instrumental in leading me to Christ
Favorite Time of the Year: Christmas, of course.
Favorite Place to Vacation: Beach/Ocean, anywhere, anytime!


If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

My daddy, who died three months before I was born.

I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure (isn't the Christian life wonderful this way?...we CAN know, be sure...) you will get all eternity to sit down and chat!

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

Queen Esther. What a strong woman!

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?        

In 2000 I went on a missions trip to China. The day after we got there, the team leader asked to me to take a team of five teenagers into Inner Mongolia for five days. I was the only adult besides the Chinese interpreter. We took a train for 15 hours, sleeping with goats and chickens nearby, to a Mongolian city that had never had an American there. We had a wonderful time, which was broadcast on Mongolian TV, and because I was the only adult American, they called me President Susan! Crazy times sharing God’s love with thousands.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your work and In Your Life by Spencer Johnson really helped me transition from working in the marketplace to working from home.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you? 

I check out the reviews first. I love historical and historical romance, especially mid-to-late 1800s. It can’t have a poorly designed cover, or I pass it by.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

My life verse is Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I live by it!

Susan, it's been a pleasure! That's for taking the time to stop by and give our readers a glimpse into your life.

Readers, if you wish to get to know Susan even more, here are several ways you can do so:


Thanks, everybody, for stopping by. I'm going inside now where the A/C is cold, the lemonade is colder, and taunt the mosquitoes as they try to get inside through the window.

Oh, and one more thing. Feel free to follow my blog!

Until next month,

Kevin
Kevin's
soon-to-be-rereleased
2013 BRMCWC Selah
Award-winning
Debut Novel





Friday, June 23, 2017

The Story Behind Art (A Seriously Write Blog)





"We were listening to Sirius/XM radio on the way to the beach over Memorial Day weekend. They were doing a countdown of the Top 100 most influential rock-n-roll songs of all time. I’m not sure who put the list together, but like so many of these kinds of countdowns, I took issue with many of the selections as well as where some were ranked.

However, one particularly interesting part of this countdown was an interview they did with Robert Lamm, one of the members of the group Chicago. Leading into the next song in the Top 100 (I forget which number it was), they replayed an interview from some time back wherein Lamm explained how he came up with the name to the song, 25 or 6 to 4. Have you ever wondered how that song got its name? Me, too."


Want to read the rest? Click HERE!



Coming Soon!
The Serpent's Grasp!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Liz Tolsma

It's hard to believe summer is almost officially here (although for those of us in Florida, it's been here for a while). We started out as a tinderbox. Now we are about to start looking for Noah's Ark on the horizon. Dry one minute. Flooding rains the next. That's what we get for invading a swamp, I guess.

And should I note that we are nearly at the "six months until Christmas" stage of the year? Consider it a public service announcement. :-) 

It's also hard to believe that this is installment #6 of my Author Behind the Story series! How times flies!

This month, we want to welcome veteran author Liz Tolsma!

So, Liz, tell our audience, in 30-seconds or less, who Liz Tolsma is. Go!

I’m Liz Tolsma, a historical-writing, researching-loving, book-devouring, dog-crazy, gardening nut of an author who loves God, my high school sweetheart hubby, and our three children. I’m happiest in the woods or in or on the water – that is, when I’m not chained to my computer.


Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

The notion first struck me when I was in the fifth grade (I’m not saying how long ago that was), when my teacher told me she hoped I would be a published authress someday. Though my life took detours into school teaching and raising a family, it was an idea I couldn’t get out of my head.

Interesting. I too am in education. Makes me wonder how many authors have been accomplished educators, dabbled in it for a short time, or were in the middle somewhere before chasing this dream. Speaking of education, what is your educational background?

I started my college career at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in the speech pathology department. After a semester, it was clear to me that wasn’t what I really wanted out of life, so I changed my major to elementary education and transferred to Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. I chose those schools because they were colleges true to the Reformed faith. It was important to me to have a solid Christian education before I went out into the world, to have a biblical foundation for the rest of my life. I’ve never regretted that decision, and I’m thrilled that my daughter is going to be following in my footsteps.

Are you married? Single? Have kids?

My husband and I were high school sweethearts who endured four years of long-distance dating while we were in college. We’ve been married for twenty-eight years, and God blessed us with three beautiful children through international adoption. Our oldest and only son is 22 and serves as a U.S. Marine. We brought him home from Vietnam when he was 5 months old. Our daughter will be a high school senior in the fall and came home from Korea when she was 3 months old. And our youngest daughter came home from the Philippines when she was 5 years old. She has multiple physical and cognitive delays. We call her our “lifer” because she’ll always live with us, but she brings us so much joy.

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: chocolate
Favorite Drink: decaf Chai spice tea
Favorite Song: that changes from day to day. Right now, it’s probably Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Inside Out by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck.
Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 8:37-39
Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice. The one with Keira Knightly
Favorite Actor or Actress: Tom Hanks
Favorite Novel (other than your own): That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child because I love so many!
Favorite Novelist (other than you): See previous answer ;)
Favorite Sport: baseball
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): My daughter’s high school volleyball team because they endured a tough, tough season with grace and dignity.
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: English and history
Favorite Subject Now: English and history
Favorite Teacher in School: Mrs. Rice, the teacher who inspired me to write
Favorite Time of the Year: fall
Favorite Place to Vacation: on a beach.


If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

Mary. I’d love to find out what her life was like, raising a child like our Lord. It would be a fascinating discussion.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

I battled breast cancer at the time my first book was released and I was editing the second and writing the third. It taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was and that I can handle the pressures of being a published author better than I thought I could. Even with the fatigue that came with my treatments, I was able to meet all my deadline. I also discovered that I have an amazing, supportive family who wants this for me as much as I want it for myself.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?

Lots of people thought we were crazy for going to Vietnam in 1995, just 20 years after the war. We were warned we would get a very chilly reception since we were going to be in Hanoi, in the north. Nothing could have been further from the truth. We were welcomed with opened arms and fell in love with the country. I'd like to do something even crazier some day and live there for six months or so.

Why do you live where you live?

I live in Wisconsin because this is where I’ve been since I was 8. My husband and I love the quiet countryside, the beauty of this state, and the changing of the seasons (though our enthusiasm for winter is waning the older we get). It’s hard for me to imagine myself living anywhere else.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

It’s hard for me to pick out one book. I don’t really read non-fiction, so I don’t have any “self-help” books that I’ve grown from, but I do read quite a bit of Christian fiction. The books always have such strong themes and messages, and I glean a little bit of knowledge about myself from each one. In the characters, I see myself reflected, and I grow and learn from that.

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

It has to be in the country, on some acreage where I can’t see my neighbors. It must be warm and inviting, and something I could make my own. My husband and I aren’t against fixing up homes because when we’re done, then they reflect our own personal style. I have to have central air, solid surface counters, hardwood floors, and lots of storage.

Funny you should mention those things. My wife and I are in the midst of looking for a new home in a new location. We keep going back to the mountains of North Carolina in our searches, looking for many of the same things you listed. Of course, that's if a condo on the beach doesn't work out! And judging by your answers, you probably get that sentiment, too.


What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?


Romans 8:28, which reads, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” When I was struggling with infertility, the Bible study I was attending studied this verse one week. It was the same week that another woman just my age announced her second pregnancy and someone else asked for prayer for their 16-year-old niece who was pregnant. I had reached my breaking point, and clearly told God I thought this was all very unfair. The Holy Spirit brought this verse to mind, especially the words “all things”. I questioned him several times to make sure I understood that this meant absolutely everything in life, even infertility. He continued to emphasize all things. That’s when I was able to come to terms with the fact I would never have a biological child and was able to embrace adoption as the way to build our family.


Liz, it's been a pleasure having you as part of our Author Behind the Story series!

Readers, you can get or stay in touch with Liz in the following ways:

Her Official Website: www.liztolsma.com
Her Blog for Writers: Pencildancer 
Her Blog for Life in the Midwest: Midwest Almanac 

(With all those pages, makes you wonder how she finds time to write, right?)


Hope everyone has enjoyed the time together with Liz!

Until next time, May God bless you and America, and may you and America bless God!

Kevin 

You can visit Kevin @ www.ckevinthompson.com

A Blake Meyer Thriller - Book 1
A Blake Meyer Thriller - Book 2

Kevin's Selah Award-winning Debut Novel
coming out in second edition June 22!






Monday, June 12, 2017

Confessions of a Middle School Administrator (An ACFW Blog)



Like many of my writing colleagues, I have two jobs. The one I had when I entered this crazy business we call “writing,” and the job of being an author, marketer, bookseller, and all the other hats we authors wear. For me, one is by day, and one is by night. The first one “pays the bills,” and I often hope the second one will usurp the role of the first one someday.

At least, that is what I’ve been saying since my first book was published.


Read on...






Friday, May 26, 2017

Welcome to the Cuckoo's Nest (A Seriously Write blog)




I just got done with another session of Saturday School. The last one of this school year, actually (I’m writing this on May 20th). As an assistant principal of a public middle school, I must point out that there are other pieces to the educational puzzle besides reading, writing, and arithmetic. Acceptable behavior in a group setting is a biggie. Classroom disruptions derail the academic process, which is why we get together in the first place.

Unfortunately, in a society that is slowly lessening the consequences of laws and rules day by day, it’s harder to get students to understand why certain behaviors are unacceptable, especially in a school setting. I mean, they go home and hear parents and relatives talk that way, so why can’t they? They hear the profane language in the movies they watch and the music piping through their ear buds. So, why Mr. Administrator, Mrs. Teacher, do you have a problem with it?

Read on...






Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Author Behind the Story Series - Janet Grunst


Greetings from the sunny South! If we do not get some rain soon, it will be the Sahara West!

It's the second Wednesday of the month. That means it's time for another page in our "Author Behind the Story" series! This marks interview #5 of the series. I hope everyone has enjoyed the series so far as much as I have. It's fun getting to know new people. It's even more fun getting to know the authors behind the titles I see on Amazon, Facebook, the store shelves of Barnes & Noble, your local, independent bookstore, and elsewhere. A book title and cover is great, especially when it's a great cover. But who is the person who wrote the pages in between? That's why we're here. So, when you finish reading this page, you can scroll down our home page and catch the rest of the series!

This month, we welcome - to the blog "Where imagination meets eternity" (drum roll, please) - Author Janet Grunst! 

Welcome, Janet! So, here we go! Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Janet Grunst?

I grew up in a Navy family and had the opportunity to live in many different locations, mostly on the west coast and east coast, but also in Spain. I was fortunate to be able to live most of my adult life in Virginia – my favorite place of all.

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life? 

I’d worked in the mortgage lending and banking industry prior to having children and knew that when the time came for me to seek employment outside the home I wanted to work in ministry. In my mid-thirties as a stay-at-home mom of two little boys I began writing two special interest columns in local papers. In one of the columns, I interviewed people in town who ran home-based businesses. It was fascinating to discover the creative things people came up with to market from their homes. That’s when the dream of writing fiction began to dog me. Could I write fiction while taking care of my children? God made a way.

That's cool. What educational background do you have?

I went to high school in Los Altos, CA and then to San Diego State for college. It was in the midst of the Vietnam War, and San Diego seemed a less hostile place for a conservative girl with a military background. I left before completing college because I was engaged to someone serving in Vietnam. When he got out of the Army, I worked in the banking industry so he could complete his college education.

So, what is your marital status? And do you have a family?

My husband and I were married in 2003. We met through Community Bible Study, the ministry I was employed in and in which we had both served for many years. Ken had a grown daughter, and I had grown sons. His son-in-law is a Colonel in the Army, my oldest son is a Commander in the Navy, and my youngest son is a Major in the National Guard in addition to being an intelligence officer in his civilian job. Ken has two grandchildren, and I have eight grandchildren, four of which are 15 month old quadruplets.   

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food:   healthy~ fish———less healthy~ popcorn
Favorite Drink: healthy~coffee/ice water————less healthy~diet Coke
Favorite Song:   Mary, Did You Know
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Favorite Bible Verse: But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” John 1:12  (It helped me to mature to being a receiver, not just a believer — from religion to relationship.)
Favorite Movie: There’s a tie 1. Pride and Prejudice (The 1995 version – most like the book – absolutely delicious!) 2. Ben Hur (The 1959 version)
Favorite Actor or Actress: That’s tough. There are many. Charlton Heston, Susan Hayward
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Pride and Prejudice
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Jane Austen
Favorite Sport: To watch – golf. To do – walking
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): The US Naval Academy – Go Navy ~ Beat Army!!!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: History & English
Favorite Subject Now: History
Favorite Teacher in School: Can’t pick a favorite
Favorite Time of the Year: Living in Williamsburg, VA ~ it’s all good
Favorite Place to Vacation: Great Britain and Ireland

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be? 

Milton Hershey, a man who continually failed in business, before he created his chocolate empire. He built a town, homes, hospital, and schools for his employees and the needy.

I didn't know that about him. I just know he's been responsible for my weight gain over the years. I wonder if he'd build me my own Planet Fitness???

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?   

The Apostle John, a man with many answers about the future.

Amen to that. Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

In late 1993 I had to put aside my writing for many years because my life circumstances required I return to full time employment while raising two sons on my own. God was very gracious and answered an earlier prayer. I was able to get a job in ministry. Years later, with my husband’s encouragement, I returned to pursuing writing.

Why do you live where you live? 

We left northern Virginia eleven years ago to get away from the congestion and traffic. Williamsburg, VA, part of the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown), was our retirement destination. It is a charming and interesting college town (The College of William & Mary – the second oldest college in America). It’s not far from the Richmond, Virginia Beach, the mountains, the beach, and rural countryside. It has a small town atmosphere in the best sense yet is also sophisticated as people from all over retire here. 

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

One of my favorite devotionals that I read periodically is 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Meyer
It really inspires and motivates me to be intentional about praising God in all circumstances. In the early nineties, when I was experiencing many trials, I discovered it improved my attitude as I faced each challenge.   

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

My husband and I designed the home we live in to meet our specific needs and wants. It is a ranch style with a walk-out basement and it overlooks a pond and two golf fairways. Ken is a golfer and a luthier, (a guitar builder) and wanted a large workshop in the basement with lots of light and a storage area for his woods. My writing space is on the main level at the opposite end of the house. Given that we are both introverts, it works beautifully for us. J

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I enjoy reading historical novels, biographies, non-fiction, and history books. I’m usually drawn to them because it’s a subject I’m interested in reading.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9  It’s a powerful reminder that no matter what I am facing, that the Lord is always with me.

Janet, it has been a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for taking the time to be  part of our blog series. May God bless your writing endeavors!

If you wish to connect with Janet, you can find her here:


Until next time, 

Kevin


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