Tia, describe yourself for our visitors.
I’m walking through this thing called life with an amazing, hard-working husband and two children who work hard at working me! One thing I can say is that my family is a team. I believe even my young children understand that. We work together, yet allow each other to be “who we are” and function in the gifts that make us happy and fulfilled. Writing novels does that for me. They allow me to micromanage sometimes (but not without complaint), and they don’t mind that they might eat some kind of casserole at least twice a week or eat breakfast for dinner because Mama doesn’t really like to cook. Despite all of that, I’m dedicated to my family and I’m a loyal friend. And oh yeah, I love Chick-fil-A milkshakes, especially the limited time Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake the offer during the holidays!
How do you find time to connect with God?
When I first looked at that question I keyed in on that phrase “find time” to connect with God. It made me think…should I have to find time to connect with God? Am I squeezing Him into my schedule as opposed to having Him as a priority? It made me think and I hope it makes you think, too. But with that being said, me and God tend to have our conversations early in the morning or in the middle of the night. I tend to hear that still small voice when everything is quiet around me. That usually means my family is asleep and my brain isn’t ticking through the upcoming day’s to-do list.
Do you have a favorite bible verse or quote you wish to share? I have two favorite scriptures: Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” and also Psalms 91that says “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
I’m going to cheat on this one because the list could go on and on. There are authors that have been out for a while that I’m just beginning to discover, so to speak. My goal this year is to read three books a month. I recently read Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night and reaching for the books off of my nightstand. Talk about engaging reads! I enjoy the teachings of Dr. Myles Munroe so I’m working my way through one of his books as well. You have to “live through” his books. They aren’t for entertainment, but for application.
Even though I read across genres, I especially enjoy reading the kind of books that I write – Christian fiction. They’re real, yet refreshing. They can make you laugh, make you roll your eyes, but at the same time, make you think. Also, a couple of years ago I had my first literary taste of legal thrillers. I’d never read the genre before because I didn’t think I’d like it, then I got hooked on Pamela Samuels Young.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
That’s a lot to fit in such a small space. To pack it into a very small nutshell, I was “pushed” into pursuing my true calling after being laid off from a job in 1999. I started to write my book…dabbling here and there….eventually going back to a full-time job. I didn’t get focused on the book until 2002 when I put together a writing and critique group with another aspiring author. In May 2003, I attended Book Expo America in Los Angeles, California and met a sales representative for Moody Publishers. He encouraged me to contact the acquisitions editor and submit my manuscript proposal, so I did. In July 2003, the editor asked for my full manuscript. Then two days before Thanksgiving in 2003, I was contacted and told that they were interested in publishing my manuscript. As they say, the rest is history.
Tell us about your current book.
Steppin’ Into The Good Life is my sequel to The Last Woman Standing. It takes you back into the life of Sheila Rushmore – the woman some loved, some hated, but mostly who people felt sorry for.
As the book opens, it’s been a year and Sheila has still been trying to get over the fact that the man she thought was part of her happily-ever-after – Ace Bowers – left her for another woman. And not just any other woman – but his ex-wife Lynette.
So in her crazy attempt to get closure and convince herself to “move on,” Sheila sneaks into the church to witness Ace and Lynette’s recommitment ceremony. She’s sitting there on the back row among Lynette and Ace’s family and friends. And while her intention is to close the door to her past, she ends up opening her heart to a relationship that will change her future.
What influenced you to write this book?
I think it was a natural “literary reaction.” After reading The Last Woman Standing, some readers felt sorry for Sheila and others didn’t care for her at all. But regardless of how they felt, readers wanted to know what happened to Sheila Rushmore, the girlfriend of two years that was kicked the curb. Well, she’s dusted herself off and trying to get back into life.
Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?
Steppin’ Into The Good Life is written in the first-person point of view of Sheila Rushmore so she’s my favorite character in this book. I like Sheila because at least she’s willing to grow, even though she makes mistakes in the process. Isn’t that like all of us?
What’s next for you?
In 2011, I plan to finish some things that I started. I have several story ideas that haven’t been completely fleshed out so I’ll look back at those. But mainly, I continue to get emails from readers who want to see more from Anisha and Tyson who were in my first book, A Heart of Devotion. By now, they’ve been married about five years and have a son. I think it’s time for us to see what’s going on with them….I THINK!
Where can visitors find you online?