Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Melissa Henderson

Good morning! Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to author Melissa Henderson. Melissa and her husband, Alan, live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She enjoys writing, reading, and volunteering. Last year, she published her first book! Congratulations, Melissa!

Personal

Good morning, Melissa. Tell us a little about yourself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband Alan and I moved to South Carolina from Virginia in 2017, to be near son, daughter-in-love

and first grand baby. My favorite activities are volunteering in church and community, writing and reading, and of course, sharing time with family.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and anti-cancer medicines, I am now almost a 14 years cancer survivor.

My first children’s book, “Licky the Lizard” was published in 2018. I continue to write inspirational Christian fiction, non-fiction and children’s stories. I blog at http://www.melissaghenderson.com

Wow, Melissa, what a testimony! You are blessed, my friend. I’m thankful you’re healthy and here with us! Congratulations on your storybook baby.

Professional

Let’s talk about your professional life. Why do write in your chosen genre?

From the time I could read, my parents showed me their love of reading and writing. Following their lead for the love of words gave me the opportunity to explore my creativity. I have always written my thoughts in journals and enjoy looking back and recalling special times. There has constantly been a need. A calling to write. I pray that my words will bring others closer to God in some way.

Share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

In “Licky the Lizard”, I would like the reader to know the basis of the story is my own personal experience with lizards. Since moving to coastal SC, I have learned more about lizards and alligators than I could ever imagine.

In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?

One of the hardest parts of the writing process for me is to slow my thoughts down long enough to get them on the computer or paper. When I am excited about a story, words jump out of my mind quicker than I can type.

I can relate to that problem! How about some fun questions? First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Keyboard most times, pencil sometimes

Plotter or pantser?

Originally a pantser, but now turning into a plotter

Tea or coffee

Definitely tea

Favorite thing to do when not writing.

Play with grandson (17 months old and full of joy)

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 a young person, my Daddy took me to church. I remember standing beside him listening to his deep voice sing the beautiful hymns. Throughout my life, God has given me many experiences to allow me to grow closer to Him. From the sound of my Daddy’s voice singing God’s praises, to heartache while losing loved ones, to the cancer diagnosis, to struggling with depression and anxiety, God has been my constant. He has placed people in my life to show me the love and mercy of forgiveness. Each moment and each encounter is building my faith stronger and stronger. If I pause and consider His works, I know He has a plan for me.

Again, Melissa, what a beautiful testimony. Thank you for your encouraging words, my friend. I agree with you, God has a plan for everyone.

Click to Tweet: One of the hardest parts of the writing process for me is to slow my thoughts down. #interview #amwriting @GailJohnson87

About the Book

licky-cover

Licky the Lizard is one nice lizard, and just like you and me, he’s one of God’s own creations. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that we’re really all the same—because He created everything in our world. We feel afraid because of our differences.

About the Author

Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in coastal South Carolina. She was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age by her parents. Melissa continues to write Christian stories and also, enjoys writing her blog.

Connect with Melissa here:

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Cynthia Roemer

Cynthia Roemer on Women of Faith and Fiction for Gail Johnson authorGood morning, dear reader. Welcome to this year’s first edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. I’m so excited to have author Cynthia Roemer with me this morning.

I met Cynthia while working behind the scenes during a 3 Questions Wednesday Interview on Inspired Prompt, and I just had to have her over for a visit. Cynthia is offering an e-book to one commenter. Be sure to leave her a comment to have your name added to the drawing! I’ll leave a reminder at the end of the post. Now, let’s get started.

Personal

Good morning, Cynthia. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Gail. I’m a farm wife from rural Illinois. I love all things country! My husband and I will soon be married twenty-five years, and we have two college-aged sons. I’ve been writing short-stories/Christian articles since my college days and have dreamed of writing novels even longer!

Cynthia, it’s my pleasure to have you here! In my opinion, country is the only way to go. Let’s talk about your professional life. Why did you choose to write in your chosen genre?

Professional

I love history, especially the nineteenth century. I can get caught up in research very easily. There is just something nostalgic and fascinating in learning about the past. We have so much to gain from the wisdom and ways of those who’ve passed before us. I started out writing straight historical, but my critique partners saw a spark of romance in my writing that quickly took root. I love depicting imperfect characters that are drawn together through faith challenges.

I agree. We have much to learn from the past. Talking about books, please share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

The ideas for my novels generally start with a theme verse or message I wish to portray through the storyline and characters. I view my writing as a ministry, and it’s my prayer the Lord will use my novels to speak His truths into the hearts and minds of readers in a subtle, endearing way.

I love a story that speaks to my heart. In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?

I am not a fast writer, so for me, I would say the most challenging part of writing is just finding time to write consistently and make adequate progress. There are so many demands vying for my time. Sometimes just sticking with a novel from start to finish can seem daunting.

Oh, how I understand that! How about answering some fun questions?

First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Keyboard mainly, though I do jot down notes and a rough storyline as the ideas come.

Plotter or pantser?

A bit of both. I start with a rough outline, and then give God the reins to do with it what He will!

Tea or coffee?

Lemonade. I prefer to get my caffeine by eating chocolate! =)

LOL! Favorite thing to do when not writing.

Spend time with family, read, watch old movies, garden, hike, take a family motorcycle ride through the countryside, ride the combine with my husband.

I like riding the tractor with my husband. 😊 Last question . . .

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?

We all have dreams—those driving pulses that spur us to action and set our souls afire. Whether small or great, each of us has deep-seeded wishes we’d like to fulfill. But often life happens and our dreams take a back seat.

For me, it was writing. More specifically, writing books. While in college, I began to research for a historical novel I had churning around in my mind. By the time I graduated, I had written a rough draft of Under This Same Sky, yet I set my dream of pursuing publication aside as I took a job, married, and raised two boys. Though I continued to write articles and short-stories for various Christian publications, my novel lay tucked away untouched for a number of years.

More than twenty years passed before the Lord revived that dream of being a published novelist. At just the right time, He led me down an unexpected path to publication, turning my life-long dream into a reality. To learn more about my writing journey, I invite you to visit my website: https://cynthiaroemer.com/

Whatever your dream in life may be, I encourage you to pursue it, but to allow the Lord time to ripen and mature it. Don’t try to rush it. Instead, enjoy the journey. Let God open the doors and bring about the fruit in His good timing. And while you’re awaiting your dream, don’t forget to make it your goal to touch others’ lives in whatever way the Lord deems best!

Wow! What a testimony of God’s faithfulness. Readers, the last book in this trilogy, Under Moonlit Skies will release in September. Woo Hoo!

Cynthia, thank you for sharing with us. It has been a pleasure, dear friend.

Click to Tweet: More than twenty years passed before the Lord revived that dream of being a published novelist. #interview #giveaway @cynthiaroemer @GailJohnson87

Readers, Cynthia is offering an e-book of either Under This Same Sky or Under Prairie Skies. You get to choose! How great is that? Please leave a comment for a chance to win!

Under This Same Sky Cover

~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~

Illinois ~ 1854

Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.

Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky struggles to make sense of the path the Lord has placed her on and finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.

Book Cover ~ Under Prairie Skies (Final)

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths were destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

Contact Info:

Cynthia Roemer can be contacted at:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Author Newsletter Sign-up

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BookBub

Books-A-Million

AUTHOR BIO: 

Cynthia Roemer on Women of Faith and Fiction for Gail Johnson authorCynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and two college-aged sons. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Book One: Under This Same Sky and Book Two: Under Prairie Skies. Book Three in the series, Under Moonlit Skies, is due to release in September, 2019.

Winner!!!

Les M, you are the WINNER!

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Sylvia Stewart

Good morning! I hope cooler temps have come your way and you’re able to snuggle up with your favorite blanket to enjoy a warm cuppa. If not, never fear. If your region skips fall, winter is on the way. 🙂

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. This morning I have the pleasure of introducing you to author Sylvia Stewart.

Personal

Sylvia please tell us a little about yourself.

Gail Johnson interviews Sylvia Stewart for Women of Faith and FictionSylvia Stewart grew up in the (then) Belgian Congo. Later, she spent 21 years as an Assemblies of God missionary in Malawi, East Africa, with her husband, Duane. While there, she taught some writing workshops, which are now bearing fruit. She started writing Kondi’s Quest to weave a story for the children of Malawi.

In 1992 Sylvia and Duane were asked to go to Ethiopia to found a Bible College. They spent 11 years there, doing mostly Bible College ministry. Sylvia taught college-level English to students who had never taken a grammar class before.

Since retiring from their mission assignment in 2001, Sylvia has published five books. The Mysteries in Malawi series–Kondi’s Quest, Kondi’s Joy, and Kondi’s Secret tells the story of a Malawian girl who struggles both physically and spiritually.

 She has also written two novellas in her Sweet Romances series:  Seattle Rayne and Montana Skye, which is published in a boxed set of seven Christmas novellas called Wonderland Wishes. Montana Skye will be published separately later in 2018.

Wow! You’ve had an exciting life, Sylvia. Let’s talk about your writing journey. 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?

Professional

Since I lived in Malawi for 21 years, it was an easy choice to write a story set in such a beautiful country that tags itself as “The Warm Heart of Africa.” Kondi’s Quest began as a solo novel for pre-teens, and it took me 24 years to complete it and get it into publishable form. Kondi seemed to want more of her story told, so Kondi’s Joy and Kondi’s Secret followed. Kondi is a fictional character, but she is based on Malawian girls that I knew. Her country and culture is as accurately described as possible to the Malawi that I knew and loved.

Seattle Rayne was also an easy choice. I lived in the Seattle area. Also, the female protagonist was a missionary’s daughter who now lived in the USA trying to make her own way in life—an experience that I had gone through, too.  Montana Skye followed as a sequel.

I can see that you loved your work and time in Malawi. Tell me, what is your favorite thing to do when not writing?

I used to do a lot of handwork – crocheting, needlepoint, knitting, cross-stitch and embroidery. I’ve always enjoyed reading a quality novel or a biography. I enjoy a clean movie, but nowadays they are so difficult to find, so recently I most often pick up a book.

I enjoy crocheting and reading too. Please share a writing quirk—a ‘must have’ or a ‘must do’ to get words down on paper.

I usually keep plodding on through a writing stint, even when things are not to my satisfaction, since I figure I can fix what’s lacking in the re-write. However, once in a while I get completely stuck. Then I find that writing by hand for 20 to 30 minutes will start the story flowing again. I often have a cup of coffee at hand, too.

I agree with writing by hand. My first draft is written by hand. Last 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?

Inspirational

Spending time with the Lord is essential for a Christian writer. I find that I need to do that first thing in the morning, or other items intrude and I slide through another day without contact with the Lord. I have a Bible reading plan, and enjoy reading through the Bible each year. However, that was a long time in coming to fulfillment. When I was a young mother, it seemed there was no time for anything other than my husband, the children, and housework. I’ve learned to waken early each day in order to spend time with the Lord.

It’s also wonderful to have other Christian authors to consult with. I belong to Northwest Christian Writers Association which meets once a month. I’m also part of a critique group. If we are unable to meet once a month, we can always contact each other through e-mails for advice. It really helps, on non-productive days, to know that others have experienced the same thing and that you have friends who care about your writing and are praying for you.

This year, I plan to set up a prayer team to cover my writing.

Thank you, Gail, for contacting me and inviting me to be with you. God bless you and anoint you as you write for Him.

Sylvia, thank you so much for joining me today. I enjoyed talking with you, my friend.

Click to Tweet: “Spending time with the Lord is essential for a Christian writer.” Sylvia Stewart on Women of Faith and Fiction @GailJohnson87 @SylviaStewart3 #interview


Sylvia’s Book Links

The Mysteries in Malawi Series

Kondi’s Quest
Kondi’s Joy
Kondi’s Secret

Sweet Romances

Seattle Rayne
Montana Skye


About the Author

Sylvia Stewart grew up in the (then) Belgian Congo. Later, she spent 21 years as an Assemblies of God missionary in Malawi, East Africa, with her husband, Duane. While there, she taught some writing workshops, which are now bearing fruit. She started writing Kondi’s Quest to weave a story for the children of Malawi.

In 1992 Sylvia and Duane were asked to go to Ethiopia to found a Bible College. They spent 11 years there, doing mostly Bible College ministry. Sylvia taught college-level English to students who had never taken a grammar class before.

You can contact Sylvia at these social media sites:

Facebook
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Twitter
Website