Good morning dear reader. It is so good to be back. I had the best vacation, but I must confess that I missed you guys. I’m happy to be visiting with you and the lovely Jill Weatherholt this morning. Jill is offering a book giveaway, (US only), so don’t forget to leave a comment.
Good morning, Jill. Tell us about yourself.
I work a full-time job with the City of Charlotte, so I’m a weekend warrior writer. I do manage to get some words written during the week, but the real writing happens over the weekend. But, I’d never be able to do all that I do, if it weren’t for my real-life hero, Derek. From the beginning, he’s been my number one supporter, beta reader and brainstorming partner. He’s there when I have those meltdown moments, and he’s a great cook, too.
Growing up, my best friend and I used to exchange multi-page notes, detailing the events of our day. I recall one such note being over twenty single-spaced typed pages! Yes, on a typewriter. Fast forward, forty-something years and the note writing was replaced with short stories, journaling, and then ultimately writing books.
I’d never planned on being a published author, but sometimes God gives us a special gift that takes us completely by surprise. My path to publication was fast and somewhat painless. At times, I’ve felt guilty, especially when I see writers who’ve received countless rejections and have shed many tears, but I know this is what God wants for me, so I’m simply following His lead.
The statement, “I’d never planned on being a published author” made me think of the following scripture.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).
If we merely follow His lead, our plans are sure to change. Yes? Let’s talk about Jill Weatherholt, the writer.
Where did you get the idea for your latest WIP or your current release? And what inspired you to choose the setting of your story?
My current release and second Harlequin Love Inspired book, A Father for Bella, came about in 2012 while participating in the National Novel Writing Month, better known as NANOWRIMO. I’m a huge fan of this competition, as my first book, Second Chance Romance, was also a NANOWRIMO project. Each book was merely a rough and incomplete draft, but I met the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days and learned a great deal about myself.
The idea for A Father for Bella was sparked after hearing a news report about a woman who’d lost her firefighter husband in a fire. Once I mapped out my heroine’s backstory, I knew I wanted the setting to be a fictional town in my favorite part of Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley. Although I’m now living in North Carolina, I grew up in Virginia, and for me, that will always be home.
I travel through North Carolina and Virginia several times a year. Both are beautiful! Next question…
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my family. In 2012, my mother was diagnosed with dementia. Spending as much time as I can with her is a priority. My father is her full-time caregiver, so I like to give him a break, whenever possible.
Golfing is another thing I like to do. Derek and I both enjoy playing. In fact, I was the one who got him hooked on the game when we first started dating. Although we don’t play as much as we used to, we live on a golf course, so when the urge strikes, we don’t have to go far. In the evenings, before our friendly Jeopardy competition, we both enjoy working jigsaw puzzles. We always have a puzzle going on opposite ends of the dining room table. We listen to music, talk and brainstorm story ideas…it’s my favorite time of the day. Of course, during the warmer seasons, I love to watch our hummingbirds.
I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, Jill. I know dementia can be hard on a family. Praying for you all. Jigsaw puzzles and hummingbirds are favorites of mine too.
Please share a writing quirk—a ‘must have’ or a ‘must do’ to get words down on paper.
Since I’m easily distracted, disconnecting from the internet and phone is a must when I write. Several years ago, I purchased an Alphasmart Neo from eBay. It’s a portable word processor that can be taken on the go. Since the product is no longer manufactured, it was the best $25 I’ve ever spent.
I totally understand the distraction thing. So many distractions. We definitely have to guard our writing time. 😉
Final question. This year’s theme is First Things First. Setting our priorities is a must if we’re to be about our Father’s business. What advice would you offer someone struggling to spend time with Him? And, how has spending time with Him changed your life?
Growing up, my Mamaw always started her day reading, The Upper Room devotional and then her Bible. My grandfather, a Methodist minister, died young while preaching a sermon. In the years that followed, my grandmother remained strong in her faith and trusted God for everything. I’ve followed in her footsteps, and I do my best to make God first. I don’t just start my mornings with Him; He’s with me every minute of the day. If He wasn’t, I don’t think I’d be able to get out of bed in the morning.
I agree with you, Jill. I don’t know what I’d do without Him. Thank you so much for sharing with us on Women of Faith and Fiction.
Click to Tweet: “I’d never planned on being a published #author, but sometimes God gives us a special gift that takes us completely by surprise.” ~ @JillWeatherholt via @GailJohnson87 #WomenofFaithandFiction
When single mom Faith Brennan discovers the Virginia Inn she grew up in is for sale, she’s determined to make a bid. Even if that means going head-to-head with handsome real estate broker Joshua Carlson. But competing with Joshua would be a lot easier if Faith’s young daughter wasn’t growing so attached to him…and if Faith could stop picturing running the Inn with Joshua by her side.