Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blessings, Magazines and South Africa? Interview with Author Paula Mowery



Addy Townsend hadn’t strolled with Conrad or had a vision in five years. Now Conrad has returned to challenge her to be a blessing to those around her. The Holy Spirit begins to nudge her into service in new ways and she follows.
But when she is blindsided with personal problems, can Addy learn to be a willing vessel even in times of struggle and suffering?

"We all wonder why bad things happen to good people. Can God use even the worst events in our lives to help us feed the world around us? Be the Blessing skillfully provides both food for thought and food for discussion."
 Lisa Wingate, national best-selling author of The Sea Glass Sisters and The Prayer Box

Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife and former homeschool mom. She has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. She began writing in the area of nonfiction creating three Bible studies which were self-published. However, she crafted fiction stories which she shared with friends and family. 
When one of her readers encouraged her to pursue publication, she joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learning more about the world of fiction. Her debut work of fiction is a novella published by Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group – THE BLESSING SEER. She is also an acquiring editor for Prism Book Group.
Learn more about Paula at her blog – www.paulamowery.blogspot.com
Read more of her writing in her monthly columns on www.christianonlinemagazine.com.
Ten Questions for Paula Mowery
What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?
My latest release is a book called Be The Blessing. That is the very topic that is covered in this Christian women’s fiction. A pastor’s wife named Addy struggles to be a blessing to others around her when she is experiencing suffering herself. Christians must understand that no matter what circumstances we are going through, God will use us to touch another for Him. Sometimes, our suffering is the platform used to give us an open door.
What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?
My first book, The Blessing Seer, came out in July of 2012. After its release, my editor asked if there would be a sequel to the story. I hadn’t thought about it, but her question prompted me to mull over the possibility. It didn’t take long for God to inspire the premise for Be The Blessing.
Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?
A couple of years ago I realized I had over fifteen manuscripts in a file under my desk. As my daughter would work on her homeschool assignments, I would write. After sharing a story with a friend, she encouraged me to pursue publication. I felt this to be a lofty goal that I could never succeed in doing. But, God continued to give me stories.
One day I decided to pray and lay out a fleece. I asked God to give me a sign as to whether I should pursue publication, making my writing a ministry. The next morning I received an email from a national magazine accepting my article. This was my yes. Not long after that, my first manuscript was accepted. To me, my writing is a ministry to readers who might be in need of just that particular encouragement.
How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research? What’s been your most memorable research experience?
Be The Blessing didn’t involve going very far since it is set in my town.
My soon to be released story, Forgiven, involved some research that was quite memorable. This story is included in an anthology called Brave New Century with three other stories. The premise of the book is that each story is a romance set in a city in 1900.
For my story I traveled an hour away to Knoxville, Tennessee, to a special museum/library in downtown. I was able to look up actual streets and building names and addresses to include in my story. It was fascinating to look up all of the information and use actual stores and boarding houses.
Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
It is very difficult to pinpoint just one person who has inspired me in this writing journey. I have always been an avid reader of Christian fiction, so there are many authors who have been inspirational. My mother certainly encouraged me early on by bringing home Christian books for me to read as well as journals for me to write in. 
What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?
What has surprised me most is everything that goes into having a book published. First, a writer must find the right publisher at the right time. If that aligns and a contracted is offered, then the editing begins. 
After that, an author must work on promoting her work. Amid promoting the book, the writer must continue to write and hone her skills. There’s so much more than just writing a book.
If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?
I should hope I would tell myself to keep the main thing, meaning keep God central. I promised Him that it would be enough if a book was only meant to touch one person for Christ, because one is enough.
Now to have some fun with travel…
What’s your favorite place you have visited?
One of my favorite places I have visited has been Knysna, South Africa. I went with a mission team to conduct a vacation Bible school for missionary kids while their parents had a conference. This place was a resort-type on the Indian Ocean. We stayed in fancy huts.
We ate in the dining room of the resort. We were there during their winter time. One day it flurried snow and the next it warmed enough for us to get into the Indian Ocean. The staff was so accommodating. We were there for July 4th, and the resort staff actually displayed a huge American flag, lit sparklers, and made us a South African style BBQ.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?
I have always wanted to return to South Africa, but I would like to also go to Australia and Alaska.
And now a fun tidbit—if there was one special travel destination just for writers and you were the founder of it, what would the name be and would it be?
I believe I would call it Writers Refreshed. I would have to have it in my beloved Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. There would be cabins for each writer with a screened-in porch that viewed the mountains. I would limit the retreat to ten writers only, keeping the hustle bustle to a minimum. We would have times to meet as a group and decide what we could do to help or encourage one another.

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