Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Diana Derringer

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with my next guest. Diana Derringer is one of the sweetest ladies, you’ll ever meet. Let’s get started.

Personal

Who is Diana Derringer?

I grew up in the middle of nowhere in south central Kentucky. Our home was the gathering place, whether for a few hours, a few months, or, after my parents became foster parents, a few years.

My father filled our home with books, led us on long walks in the country, and challenged us to become the best we could be. My mother read to us, chauffeured us to school events, and taught me my first memory verse, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 KJV).

While still in college, I married my high school sweetheart. Shortly after graduation, I became a social worker on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I also taught occasional classes at Campbellsville University. Other life passions have included serving on mission trips and as a friendship family for international university students, teaching youth Sunday school, traveling with my husband, and singing in our church choir.

My devotions, articles, poetry, drama, planning guides, and Bible studies have appeared more than 900 times in 40-plus publications, including several anthologies. My blog, Words, Wit, and Wisdom: Life Lessons from English Expressions, explains the meaning of English idioms and other unusual sayings. Although originally intended for English as a Second Language students, readers with English as their first language have gradually become my primary audience and now suggest most of the topics for my posts. I also write radio drama for Christ to the World Ministries, which has an outreach to more than 50 countries, many closed to or with severe restrictions on Christian ministry and missions.

Professional     

I enjoyed your “Another Think Coming” post. 😊 Who is your all-time favorite character? This can be one of your own or another author’s character.

I find it hard to choose only one character. However, I have probably quoted from Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place more than any other book. Every year, youth in my Sunday school class hear Corrie’s story. We also role-play her struggle to forgive one of her concentration camp guards. I conclude with Corrie’s words, “I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.”

I love Corrie ten Boom’s story. What is your latest book about?

The title of Beyond Bethlehem and Calvary: 12 Dramas for Christmas, Easter, and More! reveals its content. The story behind the book is not so obvious. I originally sent these short dramas for a large collection CSS Publishing planned. When their big book idea fell through, they asked if I wanted my dramas back or to leave with them for future consideration. Rather than reformat for another publisher, I left them with CSS for smaller collections. To my surprise, about a year later, they sent a book contract.

Flexibility, ease of production, and themes that meet us where we live make Beyond Bethlehem and Calvary suitable for large or small groups, whether in a church setting or on the most rugged mission trip.

Thank you for sharing the story behind the book, Diana! Now, what is your latest read about?

Betty Thomason Owens’s Annabelle’s Joy, the last in her Kinsman Redeemer series, offers a nostalgic but realistic look at southern life in the 1950s. From the moment I stepped into Annabelle’s world of loss, struggle, uncertainty, humor, and faith, I felt welcomed and gradually grew to love the people and places she loved. With all their issues, quirks, and failings, I found myself cheering for them and celebrating with them. When Annabelle finally embraced her new life and love, I closed the book, satisfied that, for a moment, all felt right in the world.

Annabelle’s Joy is a keeper. Please, tell us about your writing/reading process.

I am a list maker. I keep lists of books to read, tasks to accomplish, writing plans, and assignments. I hope a windstorm never hits the inside of my house. Unfortunately, my lists outpace my time, so I must prioritize their contents, praying for guidance in choosing each day’s focus. Yet, once I get into writing mode, my thoughts grow freer and I go with the flow. The finished product often looks far different from my original plan.

Isn’t it amazing what we end up with when we leave it in the hands of God?What is your best marketing tip?

Build strong relationships. Whether in person, on social media, in workshops, or any other setting, offer something of value and offer it in a way that says, “I care about you. I hope this meets your need.”

I love that! Do you choose a word or a scripture for each year or each story? Please share.

I don’t choose a word or scripture for each year or story. However, I do have several scriptures that offer daily guidance. A favorite, Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) reminds me, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I also begin most days with a prayer for God to work through me in everything I say, do, and write.

Perhaps I should choose the word still. Many times I must remind myself to slow down and be still in God’s presence. When that happens, I usually quote Psalm 46:10 or sing Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Be Still and Know.” 

Steven Curtis Chapman is a great artist. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read, learn, and write faithfully. Read what you want to write, read to sharpen your skills, but also read for fun. Attend conferences; subscribe to blogs, podcasts, and other online resources; and take advantage of one-on-one opportunities with experienced writers and authors. Write, edit several times, let your writing simmer, and edit again before you submit. Establish yourself and hone your skills with articles and other smaller pieces before tackling a book.

I believe it’s important to encourage each other in our daily walk. Would you share a word of encouragement with our readers?

Learn from every experience and remember the hardest times often offer the greatest lessons. That applies personally as well as professionally. Our family has experienced multiple health crises since 2004. I offer a snapshot of those events in my blog post “Tough Cookie.” As in the Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities, so also in life, the best and worst of times often coexist.

As a writer, enjoy acceptance notices and the opportunity to share, but also learn from rejections. Explore new publishers, rework submissions, refine skills, and seek God’s guidance every step of the way. I am so thankful several of my early submissions were rejected, as they were definitely not ready for publication.

Remember to rejoice always,pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Great advice, Diana! We must learn from rejections or we lose the ability to grow. Moving on… Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes and no. As I mention in my website “About” page, I loved books before I could read and scribbled thoughts before I could write. However, other than a Christmas story in the local newspaper when I was a high school senior and a couple of articles shortly after my college graduation, I never published anything else or seriously thought about it until 2005. The most significant turning point came when I attended the 2008 Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. My writing changed from hobby to profession, and I have not looked back.

Inspirational

I believe connecting with other Christian authors will change your life. Final question, Diana. From where does your inspiration come?

Inspiration comes from anything and everything: people, billboards, sermons, travel, troubles, nature, the Bible, memories, random thoughts that pop into my head after I go to bed … I keep pen and paper or my phone with me most of the time to record thoughts before they escape. Rather than writer’s block, I suffer from writer’s overload. Every day offers new surprises and new opportunities to share a bit of good news with a hurting world.

Diana, thank you so much for joining me and sharing with our readers. Readers, you can learn more about Diana here:

Website

Facebook author page

Twitter

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Goodreads

Instagram

Amazon author page

Build strong relationships. Whether in person, on social media, in workshops, or any other setting, offer something of value and offer it in a way that says, “I care about you. I hope this meets your need.” ~ @DianaDerringer via Women of Faith and Fiction @GailJohnson87 #marketing #interview #amwriting

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Bonita Y. McCoy

Hello, dear reader! Thank you for joining me. Author Bonita Y. McCoy is with me this morning. Bonita and I work together on Inspired Prompt. I asked her to come and share her new book, Twisted Plot with you today. Let’s get started!

Personal

Who is Bonita Y. McCoy?

Bonita Y. McCoy is a woman who is saved by grace and depends on God’s mercy every single day. She is a wife to a wonderful man and a mother of three grown sons and two daughters-in-law.

Professional

Love the picture! Bonita, who is your all-time favorite character? This can be one of your own or another author’s character.

That’s a hard question. There are so many good ones. I don’t have a favorite. I guess one would be Scrooge, another Elizabeth Bennett, and Rebecca in Ivanhoe.

All great characters. Now, please share what your latest book is about?

My latest book is a cozy mystery called Twisted Plots. It is published by Winged Publications. The tagline reads “Amy Kate Anderson is southern trouble in high heels.”

Unique cover! ❤ Let’s talk about your writing process.

Gosh, my writing process has been going through a lot of transformations over the years. When I first started, it took a while for me to get the characters and settings figured out. Now, my character sketches go much quicker and unless I’m working on a new series with a new location my settings don’t take as long either. 

I do character sketches, then move into the plotting of the story. I usually have a beginning scene in mind before I ever start the plotting and then I try to plot out 30 scenes. I write in scenes not chapters. I also try to know my theme for the story because that helps me stay on point and not chase as many rabbits. Once I have the 30 scenes, I start the actual writing, knowing that other scenes will come to light as I go along.

Character sketches are my favorite part of writing. What is your favorite marketing tip?

I have two marketing tips that I am putting into practice myself in 2020. One, you can’t do it all, so choose one aspect of marketing and learn to do it well, and two, actually do market your books. You must market in order to grow your readership and your business. I learned this the hard way.

I agree. Learn something well and do it. Moving on . . . What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read as many of the books on writing as you can. When I asked the Lord in 2019 what I needed to focus on for my writing, He said craft. So, I started reading the books on the craft and boy did I learn a lot. Time well spent.

Studying the craft is very important. Do you choose a word or a scripture for each year or each story? If so, please share.

I go between these two. Some years I have a scripture. Some years I have a word or phrase, and some years I have both! This year I believe the word for me and my husband is streamline. We are streamlining several aspects of life.

I could use a little streamlining myself. LOL! Next question . . . Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I have always written. When I was in Junior High School, I was on the journalism staff for two years. Then as a senior, I worked on the yearbook staff and at a part-time job doing ad layouts for a newspaper over Christmas. So, when it came time to choose a major, I picked journalism. It seemed a natural thing.

It always amazes me how we find our gifts. From where does your inspiration come for your stories?

All over! The weirdest things will spark a new thought or idea for a book. I have a box where I keep them all written down, so I’m never out of ideas.

Inspirational

Final question . . . I believe it’s important to encourage each other in our daily walk. Would you share a word of encouragement with our readers?

God knows you inside and out. Trust Him to lead you right where you need to be. If you are walking with Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you. God is a sure thing.

I agree, Bonita. Thank you so much for joining me. Reader, you can connect with Bonita by following the links below.

“I don’t have a favorite. I guess one would be Scrooge, another Elizabeth Bennett, and Rebecca in Ivanhoe.” ~ Bonita Y. McCoy via @GailJohnson87 #interview #writing

Social Links

www.facebook.com/bonitaymccoyauthor

www.instagram.com/bonitaymccoy

www.bonitaymccoy.com

www.amazon.com/author/bonitaymccoy

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About the Book

Amy Kate Anderson is Southern trouble in high heels.

A Fire—

A Murder—

What’s happened to her quiet little town of Pine Lake?

Book shop owner, Amy Kate Anderson, thought she was having the worse day ever … until they wheeled a body out of the coffee shop next door and her friend, Matt Murphy, co-owner of the Beans and Leaves, became the number one suspect for the DA.

Can Amy Kate find a way to help her friend and keep her dreams for her bookshop from going up in smoke? Or will the handsome Lieutenant Gabe Cooper have his way and leave Amy Kate fishing for clues among the ashes?

In this delightful whodunnit, the people of Pine Lake, Alabama, will welcome you with open arms to their small town, but be careful, mystery, murder, and Amy Kate’s trouble magnet lurk around each corner.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Patty Smith Hall

Good morning, dear reader! I’m excited to introduce you to author Patty Smith Hall! Patty has a fantastic story to tell, so I won’t keep you waiting.

Good morning, Patty. Tell us a about yourself.

Personal

I’m a wife, a mother and a grandmother to the sweetest little boy on the planet(I’m a little bias!). I’m a Georgia girl who loves to mess around in my garden, sit out on my back deck and spend time with my family. I started writing almost twenty years ago and have been published for the last ten years.

Patty, I think every grandmother should be biased! Now . . .

Professional

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

My writing is my ministry, a way of showing the world that Christians are real people with very real problems, the only difference being is that we (hopefully) rely on our faith to help us through them.

Exactly. Please share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

Most of my characters are named after family and friends, and they love it! Of course, none of them are villainous, though some of them have asked me to use them that way. It’s my way of showing them how much I love them.

I love that. Thomas Kinkaid painted initial inside his puzzles. Now, in your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing/working process?

Typing! I’m a terrible typist! I spent my typing class flirting with the boy sitting next to me!

LOL! I love your honesty! How about some fun questions? First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Pen, and not just any pen. I use a Pentel EnerGel with navy blue ink. I’m weird about my paper too—I use Vera Bradley notebooks. They’re wider and I can get a thousand words per page.

I’m picky about my pens. I’ll have to check out the notebooks. Plotter or pantser?

I’m a little of both. I plot out a story on notecards, usually scene by scene. But if a character throws a wrench into a scene, I’ll follow him and see where things go.

Tea or coffee

Sweet tea with two lemons and extra ice.

Now you’re talking! Nothing beats sweet tea and lemon! Crushed ice, please. Favorite thing to do when not working?

I love to spend time with my family, especially my grandson. He’s two and learning new things every day! I also garden, read(a lot!) do word puzzles and binge-watch BBC with my husband.

You’d love it at my house. 🙂

Inspirational

This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

As I mentioned before, I don’t type well so I write all of my manuscripts long-handed. Which makes things interesting when you’ve got multiple deadlines looming and you’re a find-and-pick typist. I had played around with tablets and writing apps, but nothing worked for me.

When the iPad Pro came out, I thought it might work for me, but the price was out of my range. We were in the midst of losing our home and money was very tight. Things were so bad, I thought about giving up my writing and finding a steady part-time job to help out.

One particularly bad day, I decided to go to the mall and window-shop but when I got there, I couldn’t make myself go inside. I sat right there in the parking lot and just poured my heart out to the Lord—all my failures and mistakes, my worries about this writing ministry I’d started. I was just finishing up when my phone rang. It was the local public television station that I donated ten dollars a month to (remember, we watch BBC shows.) They wanted to let me know that I had won the grand prize from a recent drawing.

An iPad Pro and an Apple pencil.

God showed up when I needed encouragement the most. I still have my doubtful moments, but then I look at that tablet and remember that God has a definite plan for this ministry. All I have to do is follow Him.

Patty, I love this. What an amazing testimony! Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And thank you for visiting with Women of Faith and Fiction.

ClicktoTweet: “They wanted to let me know that I had won the grand prize from a recent drawing.” ~ Patty Smith Hall for Women of Faith and Fiction @pattywrites @GailJohnson87 #authorlife #amwriting


The Southern Belle Brides Collection

Hometown Bride by Patty Smith Hall
Marietta, Georgia—1870
Jilly Chastain never lied, but when her mother fabricates a marriage with her childhood sweetheart, Grayson Hancock, Jilly goes along with it, never expecting Grayson to show up, ready to make their make-believe marriage real.


A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 35 years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.

You can connect with Patty Hall on Facebook and Twitter.