Good morning and welcome to the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction. And please welcome my friend, guest, and multi-published author, GAY N. LEWIS!
Gay, it’s so good to have you with us today. Take a quick gulp of coffee and let’s begin. I want to nose around in the background nuts and bolts of your writings. Was there a moment, and when, you knew writing was one of your life’s goals? Please share with your readers some of the major moments that brought you to writing books.
Hi DiAne, Thanks for inviting me to coffee and a visit. The coffee is delicious, and as you know, I love to talk about my favorite author, me! LOL. That’s almost true. I enjoy telling silly stories about myself, but I have a difficult time sharing deeply personal things, so I usually stick to writing faith and humor.
On my blog last week, I told about my encounter with a red light. I stopped at it, stayed for a few minutes, and then proceeded through it. Little did I know that there was a cop behind me! He pulled me over and didn’t appreciate my explanation. I thought the light malfunctioned. He assured me it was in working order.
I’ve always wanted to create books. I remember an incident in middle school. With homework done, I decided to compose a story about a teenaged girl. An older guy sat at my home room table, and I had a crush on this bad-news jock sitting next to me. He suddenly confiscated my notebook, read my tale, and then made fun of it. His reaction crushed me at the time, but my desire to write stayed with me. Bullies! Will they ever go away? I wish I could remember this dude’s name. If I could find him on Social Media, I’d say, “Nanny-nanny-poo-poo. Remember how you made fun of me? You were wrong.”
I’m so glad his foolishness didn’t cause you to cower in the shadows. I think we all have a bully in our early teens like your el-jocko, and isn’t it weird how those memories stick…either to drive or hinder us. I’m glad God used him to drive you to success.
How did your adorable angel named Sarah originate? Is she a model of someone special in your life?
Oh, my, DiAne, Thanks for loving Sarah. I named this haphazard angel, an accident-in-the-making, after Abraham’s wife, Sarah. The two Sarah’s have nothing in common, except maybe a lack of faith. The Biblical Sarah demonstrated doubt from time to time, and so does my Sarah. I’ve always admired Mrs. Abraham. Even when she was ninety years old, she was so beautiful her husband feared for his life and claimed her as his sister! We need to use the moisturizer Sarah used. We should try Olive Oil. It worked for her, and she lived in a desert, sun-drenched area. You and I live in Texas, and the Texas heat couldn’t be worse than Sarah’s Canaanite lands.
Readers want to know about the lives of the authors they read. Besides being a mom and preacher’s wife…tell us a little about Gay Lewis when she’s not in front of the keyboard of her computer.
When my work is done, I’m in a chair, reading fiction. Hubby loves nonfiction, and often interrupts my book time to read some of his. So, in a sense, I’m reading two at the same time! I go to the fitness center four times a week for yoga. I hate it, but I go. I’m grateful the center is nearby, but exercise is not natural with me. That’s one reason I wrote the book, Sarah and the Angelic, Magical, Makeover. Sarah doesn’t care for machines and work-outs, either. Like Sarah, I’ve had my weird experiences there, and like her, I’m thrilled when I’m done. Many of Sarah’s chaotic experiences have actually happened to me. (Like falling off the treadmill. Sarah did that in Sarah and the Angelic, Magical Makeover or recently my experience with the red light and the cop…. sigh. That will appear in a Sarah book one of these days.)
I spend many hours daily caring for our oldest daughter. She’s been diagnosed with early onset dementia, and it’s heartbreaking. I know you lost a child several years ago, so you understand the sorrow. We watch her diminish a bit each day. Not just her body, but also her mind. There’s no one to fill in the gap but her dad and me. She’s in an assisted living facility. I’ve written about dementia and Alzheimer’s on my blog, but not often. As I said to you earlier, sharing personal sadness is a problem for me. I’d rather bring smiles to faces. Here’s a link to my blog from two years ago when I wrote a little about dementia.
Boy, we’re soul sisters with that gym thingy. I don’t like to sweat and don’t like to be around people who do. My mom also had Alzheimer’s and it’s such a dreadful disease…you lose the loved one, but they’re still with you. Maybe someday they’ll find a cure, or better yet, maybe our Lord will return and Alzheimer’s and death will be defeated!
I clicked on Amazon this morning, preparing to ask questions of you, and stopped counting at eighteen books. Girl, did you ever imagine you’d have such a library of books to leave to posterity? How did you arrive at this point? And don’t tell me “one book at a time.” I know better—at least I think I do.
You’re too funny DiAne, and you are a good writer. I love reading your stories about Crissy Crosby, the teen who enjoys rodeos and horses. I’ve read two of the Roped Series, when will other additions be out?
No, I never expected a library of books with my name on them as author. I’m still amazed how God uses Sarah, and I pray He gives me more ideas to use her in the future. I’ve written two serious, Christian books, but the others are all humor and faith. My readers seem to respond to my humor easier than my serious subjects.
Which book was your favorite story to write?
Hmmm, I can’t say which story is my favorite. It’s like asking a mom, which kid is your favorite today? You love them all, but there are some days when one is easier to live with than the others. The most difficult story to write was Mattie’s Choice. It’s historical and features two women who married abusive brothers. The story makes one think about the choices we make in marriage. I enjoy all my Sarah books. Since it’s the New Year, and we all seem to need to diet, I really like Sarah and the Angelic, Magical Makeover.
I know you’re a master at humor, but I’m here to tell you readers, this lady’s not the least bit shabby in the drama, desperation, and dread department either. I’ve read “Mattie’s Choice,” and while there was so much tension, it surely should make younger readers think and seek help in their for better or worse situations. Sometimes worse, is indeed worse than we can imagine. Mattie’s story was a heart wrencher, but shows how God took Mattie’s horrid situation and work it for good in their lives. And He does that for us too.
What decision or incident stands out as a major turning point in your career?
The turning point was my first novel, Mattie’s Choice. It’s the serious, Women’s Fiction book I mentioned to you. I was getting nowhere with it. No publisher wanted it.
I decided to try my hand at writing about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans find romance. Sarah is a total, whacky, sweet, angel. My first book was entitled, Little Angel Screw Up. When I completed it, I emailed it to Prism Book Group, (now a division of Pelican Book Group). The publisher accepted it and sent a contract within three days. Sarah was off and running. However, the publisher didn’t think the title was appropriate for a Christian book, so the title was changed to Sarah: A Mission of Love. I guess that does sound better than Little Angel Screw Up, but that designation fits Sarah. After I became a seasoned writer and toned down the story somewhat, Mattie’s Choice was published.
Now for the question I always ask our writers—Please give our readers, especially those new writers, your best words of counsel for this market and the times in which we live.
Writing is easy. Marketing is not. Technology changes rapidly. Learn tech stuff. Network with other authors and study the market changes. I’ve always been published by small publishers, and I’m grateful for each one I’ve had. There was too much I didn’t know when I began, and they provided the knowledge and expertise I needed. Once you become a seasoned author, you might want to self-publish. However, please pay for good editors. Nothing will destroy your brand as much as a poorly edited book.
And all published authors say “Amen” to your words, Gay. Writing is the fun part. The real work begins before the release date and never ends.
Will you give us a whisper of what’s up next for Sarah? Or perhaps you’re going to surprise us with a sequel to Mattie as in Mattie’s Choice. You know, inquiring minds want to know.
I’m working on another Sarah story. She is on a mission to find a mate for a man who sits in jail. There’s a nurse working in the treatment center, and Sarah thinks the two would make a good match. Right now, as I write this, Sarah is sitting on a cloud scratching her head and wondering how to appear inside the man’s jail cell. Should she merely materialize as an angel with gauzy wings and pop in and out several times? She could talk to him with each appearance. “Hi! How come you’re in a place like this?” After several ghostly visits, maybe the guy would request a doctor’s visit to cure hallucinations. On the other hand, maybe she should crash the cell as Darth Vader and scare the guy into having a heart attack. The guards would take the incarcerated dude to the hospital, and voila, he’d meet the nurse. Yes, that might work. Poopty doopty. The measures she must take on these earthly missions.
Is there a special verse or event in your life that has carried you through rough times? And did God teach you something you’d like to share with those of us reading this interview?
Philippians 4:13 New King James Version (NKJV) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I’ve found this verse an encouraging comfort to me as I face trials.
And we all face trials…until Jesus comes…His word, His grace, and His mercy are sufficient to see us through. I know we can all say “Amen” to that too.
Gay, it’s been such a treat to talk with you and I encourage each one of you to grab any of Gay’s books for these cold winter evenings…you won’t be disappointed. And thank you Gay for Sarah…she uplifts our hearts and makes the message of God’s love real to those who are searching.
Those commenting to this post will have their names tossed in the hat to receive the ebook of their choice by Gay Lewis…what a treat! Thank you, Gay. Please list your email address with your comment and select the “Sarah” book of your choice.