Good morning to the Diamond Mine. Terry here. Hope each of you are busy with shovel and pick, bringing to life the gem which God has given to you. I’m so pleased to introduce you to my friend and new author, PJ Gover! Our Texas gal has a story to tell which will give our readers a peek into the life of PJ Gover as wife, mother, and writer for our Lord – and maybe an update on her picture mascot, Moo COW!
TP: PJ Gover, our readers and fellow authors want to know about your call to writing. How did that happen? When did you know you wanted to write and why?
PJG: I sensed God’s calling to teach His Word when I was in College. I am a long-time Bible teacher and never viewed myself as a writer even though I researched and wrote out my own lessons. Due to health concerns, I was unable to continue weekly teaching, although I occasionally substitute for other teachers. Eight years ago, my husband suggested I do my teaching through writing. Two years prior to that, a friend asked me to write weekly devotionals for a group at church. That started my email devotional ministry which led to a Christian book and gift store hiring me to write their one-year devotional book. A spiritual ministry website asked me to serve as their guest devotional writer for about a year. The Secret Place Devotional Magazine and my 10,000 member church’s newsletter and grief ministry website also published my devotionals.
Five years ago, I felt God’s leading to write a novel based on my father and his secret work as a rocket scientist during the Cold War of the 1960s. He was a devout Christian who died under mysterious circumstances. I wanted to honor God and my father with a Christian novel. It turned into a thriller. I have since written a sequel and my literary agent is shopping both to publishers.
TP: Can you share with us when you came to faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ?
PJG: I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior as a child. My faith growth is a journey. 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
TP: Many of us are busy in other pursuits, other than editing and writing, or your Wednesday update post? For you, it’s more than the next picture of MOO COW. When you’re not in pounding the keyboard, what occupies your time?
PJG: Family, of course, especially our two-year-old grandson. My husband and I are leaders with college students at our church. We host retreats at our ranch for our church’s college and singles groups. We’ve had more than one couple contemplate marriage while at our ranch! It’s a special feeling pouring into the next generation.
TP: You have something else to offer to our readers and that is about life on a Texas ranch. Can you offer a story which highlights life in the rugged Texas outdoors?
PJG: No specific stories, but all aspects of the ranch offer inspiration for my writing––devotionals and novels. My devotionals can be found on my website www.PJGover.com. The well-worn trail to the big pond made by generations of Black Angus cattle leads me to consider the Christian legacy I am leaving for generations to follow. The time we accidently left the barn door open and the cows deposited their ‘leavings’ throughout makes me think how we open the door to sin and the residual mess may take months or even years to deal with. Only God can lead us out of sin and into newness of life. And when the calves get to a certain size they’re shipped to market. The way mama cows ‘cry’ for their babies must be how God grieves when we wander from Him. The ranch also makes an appearance in both of my thrillers.
Please share with us a little bit about your family. Are they often an inspiration for your writing? My husband and I will celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary this October! I do find inspiration from him and our daughter (even her dog) for my novels. My main character shares my daughter’s career and looks a bit like her too. I utilize some of their same mannerisms. Neither my son-in-law nor the two-year-old has found a place in my stories. Yet! But I’ve written two books just for the little one!
TP: In our day and time, our country is a mess, the distractions are high for an author. What advice would you give to a new author who is just beginning to write their perfect baby?
PJG: Learn the craft. Read, read, read. Take a course. I took Jerry B. Jenkins Your Novel Blueprint online course. There are many out there to help guide. I knew nothing about plot, structure, and dialogue and needed all the help I could get. But writing devotionals helped me learn to convey my message in a tight and efficient way. Above all, trust God.
TP: Can you share a definitive moment when the Spirit of God spoke, led, or placed you in a life-changing situation?
PJG: When I was a senior in high school I was coming out of a devastating situation. As a high school senior, one night I was in my bedroom sobbing out of deep emotional pain. I had come out of a traumatic situation lasting years. My father had died when I was eleven-years-old. After being raised in the church, my family basically dropped out after his death. I was not praying, reading scripture, or even contemplating godly things that night. God was the furthest thing from my thoughts, and yet, the words of John 3:16 burst into my mind. God’s Spirit brought it back. I immediately looked up and stopped crying. The verse is a salvation verse and one I had memorized in Sunday School as a child, but in that moment, God brought special meaning. He touched my heart in a way I will never forget. The words of the verse, “…shall not perish…” jumped out. In that moment, under the situation, I was perishing. As a child of God, I realized I would neither perish eternally nor in that situation. God was real, His Spirit all powerful. I would survive.
TP: Now I’m more than sure, our readers want to know about your writing journey—what genre? You’ll soon have a new book out? Can you give us sneak peak to what it is about? Do you offer other books? Where can we find them?
PJG: My one-year devotional book, Celebrate Thee Date, is available at https://4homestore.com/devotional-books. My agent is shopping my Long Shadow Series, Christian thrillers based on my father whose life informs the novels. In the first one, in present day his granddaughter searches for clues to clear his name and solve his fifty-year-old murder. The Vice President of the United States, the mafia, and the Russians make an appearance. The second book in the Series involves a woman in present day trying to reconnect with her sons she was forced to abandon during World War II. In the granddaughter’s quest to help the woman, she encounters a German arms dealer and a secret international consortium bent on destroying the nation of Israel. The granddaughter’s faith journey grows from little interest to full reliance on the power of God and prayer. Stay tuned!
TP: And finally, do you have words of encouragement and hope for some of the new writers among us… Words of wisdom from a Biblical Christian and student of the Word?
PJG: We don’t know the plans for our writing, but choose to walk in faith and trust anyway. No matter what happens on our journey, God is still in control. I am not. You are not. He is sovereign and worthy to be trusted and praised. We are to be obedient to His Word, His leading, His wisdom.
TP: Do you have a special or favorite verse of scripture that carries you through the rough times? What about a favorite one you breathe when you’re just thanking and praising God for life’s journey?
PJG: I believe in Scripture memory, so I have a number of verses memorized. It gives me instant access to His Word and allows God another avenue to reach my heart, as evidenced with my John 3:16 experience. A favorite one is Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Claim a favorite verse and memorize it now.
For praising God, I love Revelation 4:8, 11. “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.” V11 “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory, honor, and power. Thou didst create all things and because of Thy will they existed and were created.”
As a celebration of PJ's new fiction career starting, she is giving away a copy of her devotional book, Celebrate Thee Date. Please leave a comment below with your email to be entered for a chance to win her book! Thanks, PJ for being with us this week.