Friday, May 16, 2008

Virginia Smith Interview -Win SINCERELY, MAYLA

Ginny Smith PhotoI’m so pleased to welcome back the warm and wonderful Ginny Smith. Her current novel is Sincerely, Mayla, the follow-up to Just As I Am. Let’s chat with Ginny!

THE BIO

Virginia Smith is a writer of humorous novels, a speaker, a snow skier, a motorcycle enthusiast, and an avid scuba diver. Since leaving her twenty-year profession as a corporate director, she has written numerous books, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and Stuck in the Middle (Revell, February 2008). An energetic speaker, she loves to exemplify God's truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truth in Star Trek.”

THE INTERVIEW

JA: Your latest book is Sincerely, Mayla. Tell us about it.
VS: The quirky young woman who enjoyed a starring role in my debut novel, Just As I Am, again takes center stage in Sincerely, Mayla. This time she has set her cap for Pastor Paul—if only he would give in and accept the inevitable. When he stubbornly resists her charms, she goes off to sulk at her grandmother’s. Soon the house fills up with strays: a sullen teenage runaway and an angry ex-friend. As Grandmother serves up huge portions of guilt along with her famous fried chicken, Mayla realizes being a control freak is an inherited trait.

I just love Mayla. She is such a unique character, and she’s so much fun to spend time with. Apparently a lot of people agreed with me, because I can’t tell you how many people wrote demanding to know “What happens to Mayla next?” And especially, “What happens between Mayla and Pastor Paul?” Well, now everyone can find out!

JA: Mayla dances to her own beat, but she has a really good heart. What’s your favorite thing about her?
VS: I love her relationship with the Lord. Because she didn’t grow up in a church, she had no pre-conceived ideas about what her relationship with God was supposed to look like. So she doesn’t wrap her prayers in fancy language or “official” requests. She talks to God like He’s her constant companion – which He is.

JA: Mayla struggles with control issues, which really spoke to me. What advice would you give someone facing the same struggle?
VS: I struggle with control issues, too, so I know where you’re coming from. I had to discover what Mayla eventually realizes, that refusing to put God in control is, in essence, telling Him you don’t trust Him to work things out the way you want Him to. Once I realized that, it was easy to turn over the tough issues to Him. Okay, maybe it still isn’t easy, but it’s getting easier!

Ginny Smith - Sincerely MaylaJA: What do you hope people take away after reading Sincerely, Mayla?
VS: I hope people enjoy spending time with Mayla. I want them to laugh and maybe even shed a tear or two before the book ends. I strongly believe that fiction should entertain, not preach, so I hope all of my books are primarily entertaining. But because I am a Christian, and because Mayla is a Christian, elements of God’s grace show up naturally in the story. So if someone wants to learn a thing or two, they can. But mostly, I just hope they like the story!

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
VS: I write in two genres – contemporary and mystery/suspense. In the mystery area, I’ve got a series coming out soon about a classical music trio who play at weddings. Everywhere these girls go, somebody dies and they get sucked into the situation. The series tagline is “When Murder Comes to Town.” The first, A Taste of Murder, comes out in October. Then Murder at Eagle Summit is April 2009 and Scent of Murder will be released in June 2009. I’m working on Scent of Murder now.

I am really excited about my new Sister-to-Sister Series. The idea for this series came straight from my own life – my relationship with my sisters. They are amazing women, fun and energetic and creative and lively. I wanted to write a story that relays the depth of our feelings for each other, and that lets readers get a peek of just how much fun we have together Book one, Stuck in the Middle, came out in February, and the second book, Age before Beauty, comes out February 2009. That book is finished, and I’m working on the third, Last but Not Least.

JA: Congratulations on being named Writer of the Year at the 2008 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference! How did it feel when they called your name?
VS: Thank you! That was one of the most amazing moments of my life. When the conference director started reading my bio, I recognized the first line. I was sitting beside my agent, Wendy Lawton, and I grabbed her hand and squeezed. My heart started pounding so loud I didn’t hear another word until he announced my name. Then people all around me were standing up and applauding, and Wendy had to shove me out of my seat telling me to, “Go! Go!” When I stood up on that stage, I just kept thinking, “Lord, you are amazing. Thank you for this special gift.” And that’s exactly what it is – a gift from God. I’ll cherish that memory always.

JA: You went from being a corporate director to becoming a full-time author. What inspired you to take the plunge?
VS: My husband and I had a long distance marriage for the last 4 years of my corporate career. My career specialty took me first to a company in Florida, and then I was hired away by a company in Kentucky. But my husband worked for the state of Utah, so we lived in two houses. When I sold my first novel, he said, “Okay, it’s time to stop this. Are you ready to be become a full time writer?” Was I ready? You bet! I jumped at the opportunity. I know I’m really blessed to have a husband who is so supportive of my writing – and I’m glad he actually wants to live in the same house with me full time!

JA: What’s the last book you read that made you tingle down to your toes?
VS: Just yesterday I finished reading a book that won’t be available until September. I got a galley so I could consider writing an endorsement. Sharon K. Souza’s Lying on Sunday is an absolutely amazing book. It’s about a woman who discovers that her husband has died in another woman’s bed, and then is served with divorce papers less than an hour later. It was one of those books you can’t put down. I got so involved in the main character’s life, her relationships with her children and her parents and her best friend, and especially with her husband, I felt like I was living in the story. To me, a book that draws me in so deeply that I forget to notice the author’s writing style (a hazard of being a writer!) is a good book. This one is that kind of book.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
VS: My website address is www.VirginiaSmith.org. I invite people to stop by often. I run contests to give away books by me and other writers on the “Fun Stuff” page all the time. I also have a bimonthly eNewsletter that has a little bit of everything – updates about my books, reviews, devotionals, links to cool blogs, and contests. At the end of March I gave away a $500 shopping spree to an eNewsletter subscriber! People can sign up through my website.

It was great to have you visit the blog again, Ginny! May God continue to bless you in your writing journey!

JEN’S REVIEW

“I’ve always said if the Lord had intended His people to live in snow He would have put the garden of Eden in the middle of the North Pole.” So begins Sincerely, Mayla. With these opening words from Mayla Strong I immediately related to her. And even though she’s a bit younger and more impulsive than I am, I stayed with her through the whole book, feeling her struggles, laughing at her joys, rooting her on as she tries to fix things.

Nobody can handle serious subjects quite like Virginia Smith. She deals with several “hot button” topics here, but with such a light touch that it never comes off as preachy. This is just Mayla, living her life, trying to be the person God wants her to be, and hitting a few speed bumps along the way. Smith has written a funny, touching sequel to Just As I Am. If you haven’t read it, you will still enjoy Sincerely, Mayla., but you’ll probably enjoy Mayla’s story a lot more if you know how she started.

WIN THE BOOK

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Sincerely, Mayla just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll combine the responses of my Blogger and ShoutLife blogs to pick a winner at random on May 23rd. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) ShoutLifers will be contacted via ShoutMail. Good luck!

17 comments:

Virginia Smith said...

Thanks so much for participating in the blog tour for SINCERELY, MAYLA! And thanks for the terrific review. I appreciate it!

Donna Moore said...

I would love to read this book. I loved Stuck in the Middle which is from another series. Please enter me in this drawing. runninmama[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

tetewa said...

Sounds great, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

windycindy said...

Happy Friday! I love reading her interviews! I haven't read her first book to the new one! Her next book sounds very interesting,also! Please enter me in your drawing. It is appreciated.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

ChristyJan said...

Just the word "quirky" has me more than interested in this book.
hawkes(at)citlink.net

Carolynn W. said...

The book sounds fun, thanks for the chance to win!

stampedwithgrace said...

I loved Just As I Am and can't wait to read more about Mayla!

Jennifer AlLee said...

You guys are going to LOVE this book!

Hey, Ginny, thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to read what you've got coming next!

traveler said...

This book is wonderful captivating and I would enjoy it greatly. Thanks for this great giveaway.

Carole said...

I've read lots of good things about this book and would love to win a copy. Thank you for the opportunity!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

petite said...

This book has me interested and I enjoyed the interview greatly. Thanks for this chance.

rebornbutterfly said...

this book has been at the top of my to read/buy list.
please enter me :)

i'm from shoutlife, so plese contact me there

anne said...

This fascinating and wonderful book beckons me. Your interview gave me insight into this special novel. Thanks for this chance and the wonderful giveaway.

ellie said...

What a wonderful book you have featured here! A am delighted to read this interview and love it. thanks.

dolls123 said...

Congrats on Writer of the Year !!

dolls123[at]gmail[dot]com

Jennifer AlLee said...

The winner is... Carole! Congrats and thanks to everyone who stopped by :+}

Jennifer AlLee said...

In a "Musings" first, the winner already won the book on another blog. What a lucky lady!

So, the new winner is... tetewa! Unless she's got the book already...