Sunday, March 08, 2009

Interview with author, Vanessa Davis Griggs

Today we our interview is with author, Vanessa Davis Griggs. Vanessa is the author of six novels and an awesome woman of God. Welcome to Urban Christian Fiction Today, Vanessa. Tell us about yourself. I was born in a small town called Village Springs, just outside of Birmingham, Alabama. I now live in Irondale, Alabama. Growing up in a small community, I loved playing softball, reading, and dancing. Actually, I’ve always loved music. I grew up listening to gospel music and loving the music of Earth, Wind, & Fire which to me has always had a spiritual overtone. I’m a Christian who loves the Word of God, and I enjoy reading and studying the Bible. I’m married, the mother of three adult sons, and the grandmother to two beautiful little girls. As a speaker, I make appearances at churches, schools, colleges, businesses, and conferences. And had you met me early on in life, you would know I’ve always loved to talk. My published books include: The Rose of Jericho, Promises Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace, Blessed Trinity, Strongholds, If Memory Serves, and May 26, 2009 the release of, Practicing What You Preach.

Tell us about your series. What’s the most current release?
My books mostly play off of each other. That’s why people think of them as a series. I didn’t start out intending to do this. It just worked out that way. Two characters, Pastor George Landris and Johnnie Mae Taylor Landris, have consistently appeared in some way in all of my books. I generally introduce new characters with new storylines in each new book. My current release is IF MEMORY SERVES. It’s the third book in what was being promoted as the Blessed Trinity Trilogy that consisted of BLESSED TRINITY, STRONGHOLDS, and IF MEMORY SERVES. But here again, BLESSED TRINITY picked up where WINGS OF GRACE left off.

Can these books be read as stand alones? Or do you recommend starting at the beginning? Yes. I write my books so that if you pick one up and begin, you’ll be fine. When many who read my books learn there are others that can go with it, they want to read the previous books. However, if you have or happen to read my books from the start, it’s fun watching the characters grow and see things unfold as it actually happens. But, I try and give enough back story to ensure it’s not necessary to read from the beginning to grasp the book you’re reading at any time.

Some authors say they don’t like writing series and some readers don’t necessarily want to read them. Do you feel limited at all writing a series? Since I don’t necessarily write my books as though they’re a series, I don’t feel limited. Lots of people will read one of my books not realizing there are others. They’ve told me they were fine. They enjoy discovering a character they might have liked is possibly in another one of my books. I’m often told they’re excited to know they won’t have to go through withdrawals waiting on my next book to come out as they read my others. I get a lot of request to keep doing what I’m doing. That’s always great for an author to hear. And my audience of readers is really growing. Personally, I love my readers and think they’re the best! Many of them bless me so much with their encouraging words.

Promises Beyond Jordan has remained one of my all time favorite Christian fiction books. What inspired these characters? This is a great example of how things evolved out of another book. I had written a book called THE ROSE OF JERICHO. George Landris was a minor character in that book. One morning a few days before Christmas, I heard “Have you ever loved someone that you never had?” in my mind as I lay in bed. I loved that sentence and was going to write it down when I decided instead to type it. I did, and before I knew anything, I’d written four pages. When I read those pages, I knew I had something special. The other characters appeared clearly in my mind, and all that was left for me to do was to get their story down on paper.

How did you learn to write, Vanessa? Any favorite craft books or Web sites you use to improve your work? I’ve always written something, since I was in middle school, which is the best way to learn how to write. The more you write, the more you find what you’re really good at doing and what needs more work. I loved to read good books. I also read many books on the art of writing. When I happened to read a good book, I would look to see what was it that made me think it was so great. I attended writing events and publishing conferences especially after I left my job with corporate America. I love reading nonfiction books on how to become better at whatever concerns me. I read and learned as much about my craft as I could. Another thing: I turned off the television, and it was so nice not having the chatter. I didn’t watch television for five years as I put all of my attention to writing and publishing. My point is: if something is important enough to you, you should do whatever you need to do in order to reach your goal.

You’re pretty prolific. What’s your writing process like? How long does it take for you to finish a novel? Thank you so much for that. I generally get up early (about 6 a.m.) when my mind is fresh and begin to write until I feel I need a break. Most times when I’m in the writing process, I’ll write until about 2 p.m. I stop and get something to eat, watch a little TV, then usually write some more. If I feel I want to stop, I stop. I love getting the book out of me. But the fun really begins when I step into the revising/editing role. I love polishing up the rough, and watching it become smooth. If I write nonstop, I can write a book in two weeks. But the editing and polishing takes a lot longer than that. Give me two months, and I’m generally pleased with a completed, polished book and ready to turn it over to my editor for the next phase of the process.

Tell us about some of your other interest/activities outside of writing and promoting your books. Wow, I suppose what you listed above is what I love to do the most and it’s what I do the most of. (LOL) But I do love spending time and playing with my grandchildren. I love time with family and friends and encouraging people. So, when I’m out speaking or talking to others, I really am having a ball. I like to do things on my Web site and other computer type things where I can create. You know, now that you’ve brought this up, maybe I do need to look at getting a life ;-)

What do you know that you know?
I know that God absolutely loves me. I know that I will be all right as long as I’m in God’s will. And I know that if God promises me something, He will bring it to manifest. I don’t care how long it takes, I just need to remain steadfast, unmoveable, and stand on His promise.

Thanks for stopping by Vanessa. Where can readers find you on the Internet?

Web site:

Thank you, Rhonda! I enjoyed this so much. And thanks to those of you who read my books. Without you, what I do wouldn’t be nearly as special!

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