Patricia, describe yourself for our visitors.
I’m an award-winning author of four published books—all inspirational nonfiction. But in general, I write books that help people heal. In fact, I started my career as a newspaper journalist, writing for The Denver Post—primarily “human interest” articles about people trying to figure out life, family, work, love and how to cope with it all. Now I wrestle with those questions in books.
How do you find time to connect with God?
In the mornings, before starting the day, my husband and I will often read from the Bible and talk the lessons and wisdom—then pray together. This is new for us. We’ve been married 35 years. I regret all those years we didn’t pray like this. But you start where you are. And, thank God, we’ve learned the value in getting up early and seeking God together. It’s good for our relationship and for our family. After the day, however, before bedtime, I seek private time with God. I turn off the TV, the phone and so on and get quiet with the Lord. I like to write down my prayers, questions, feelings about the day—and in these times, if I seek Him, God will answer. Sometimes during the night. Sometimes right then. What I’ve learned is there’s nothing on TV more important than what God is saying. But I have to take time to listen.
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Too many to name! And it depends on what I’m ready at any one time.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
I’ve been writing since I could read—always writing stories as a way to look for answers to life questions. That led me to newspaper journalism. After working about 12 years in newspaper journalism, I taught journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. As a faculty member, I started writing and selling personal essays to national publications—USA Today, USA Weekend, the New York Times Sunday magazine, NPR Radio and others. With that exposure, I got my first book deal with Penguin Putnam for my book on racial healing, My First White Friend. That was 15 years ago. With my two latest books, I now have four published books in print.
Tell us about your current book?
God’s Great Blessings is a daily devotional exploring the godly virtues that God blesses. But which virtues? I decided to find out while reading through the One Year Bible and seeing how passionate God is for blessing His people. The other surprise was that blessings are conditional—tied to the way we live. So it’s true: God don’t bless mess! So I started studying those character traits that, in fact, God will bless. Then I wrote them down. Over time, I had enough to fill a book. I pitched the idea of a devotional on virtues to Tyndale House, which published my book on prayer, I Told the Mountain to Move, and they gave me the green light. Then they assigned the project to their One Year brand. The result is my new devotional, the One Year God’s Great Blessings Devotional. It’s a daily guide through 52 virtues that God blesses.
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
By going to the Bible—and actually reading it. As a lifelong Christian, and as an author, I’d written a few one-day devotionals for the Upper Room and other magazines. But I’d never written an entire book of devotionals. But this time, by persistently reading my Bible—the entire Bible, that is—I ended up with this published book. Behind it all, to be honest, was my desire to receive God’s favor and blessings. But how does that happen? I searched the Bible and the path to blessings was challenging, but it wasn’t hidden. So I decided to write about that path. The devotional format is a good one for this book because it’s a daily journey. The road to blessings unfolds day by day, at God’s pace. I needed to learn that.
What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
That godly character matters to God. Big time! We’ve had so much preaching about speaking our miracles and calling out demons and so on. But the Bible is practical. It teaches courage and persistence and honesty and thrift. It says that modesty makes a woman beautiful. And that discipline, by controlling our tongues, leads to long life. And that living with love leads to prosperity. This is practical stuff, right there in God’s Word, and godly character is the key that unlocks God’s blessings for us. I pray others will see that there is power in seeking this wisdom, then living it.
What’s next for you?
I plan to go back to the place where I started as a writer—writing personal essays that explore the challenges, joys and mysteries of daily life, then pitching those pieces to national news and general interest publications. We’re in the era of the blogs. But I made a name for myself in that arena and I miss it. So I hope to do more of that kind of writing. Then for fun, I hope to finish a detective novel I started a couple of years ago. The character and story have a religious angle. So it’s a good fit for a Christian writer like me. So stay tuned!
Where can visitors find you online?
Please visit my website at www.patriciaraybon.com. You’ll find lots of information there about the things that matter to me most as an author—good writing, power prayer, wise living and life-changing faith.
Visit Patricia Raybon’s Virtual Book Tour at http://bit.ly/PatriciaRaybonVirtualBookTour.