The first guest on my blog is Missy Tippens whose new book A House Full of Hope is available from Love Inspired right now! She and I met on a writers’ site sxi or seven years ago and have cheered each other on and cheered each other up along the path to publication. I’m delighted she’s visiting here today.
Missy, tell us about yourself.
I’m a wife and mom of three—one in college, two in high school. And when I’m not being a mom, I write. In life before kids, I was a clinical microbiologist. I also spent a few years teaching as an adjunct instructor at our local technical college.
You have a book available now. What’s it about?
A House Full of Hope is the second book set in my fictional town of Corinthia, Georgia. I love creating small towns. I’ve lived in cities/towns of varying size all around the Atlanta area, and I draw on the best characteristics of each. I love a town where people know each other, where they support each other, and yes, where they sometimes get in each others’ business. In this story, former bad boy Mark Ryker returns to the town he fled during high school seeking redemption. Only, he’s not prepared to run into pretty widowed mom of four, Hannah Hughes, the sister of his high school girlfriend. Hannah blames Mark for destroying her family, and she has no intention of ever forgiving him, no matter how much he’s changed or how hard he tries. But he’s so good with her kids…and they get attached to him—Hannah included…
How did you start writing?
I started writing when my middle child was a baby. I had been put on bed rest while pregnant with him, and while stuck on the couch, I read book after book. I decided I wanted to try to write one. Once he was born and we got our first computer, I jumped right in, typing with one hand, nursing him in the other. I wrote what I read at the time, secular romance novels. But as I started to plot a future book, a writer friend told me it sounded like an inspirational romance. I had no idea that’s where God was leading me. But I started to read more of them and joined the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter of RWA. I had found my niche!
Do you believe being a minister’s wife has been a help in writing? How do congregations feel about your books?
I don’t think being a clergy spouse has necessarily helped my writing. But my church family (at all the churches we’ve been since I started writing) has definitely loved and supported me along the journey. They prayed for me as I was struggling through nearly 12 years before finally publishing. And they cheered for me when I finally got the call! They’ve even been wonderful to encourage me by reading my books. What a gift!
What are your writing secrets?
I wish I knew some writing secrets! I guess the main piece of advice I’d offer is to never give up. Like I mentioned, it took about 12 years of writing, re-writing, submitting, entering contests and getting rejections before I finally sold a full-length novel. If you have a dream of seeing your name on a cover, then be persistent. Keep learning and practicing. In fact, I still take several online writing classes a year. I know I’ll always need to improve!
What are you reading now?
I read just about everything, and that often includes inspirationals. I love them and stay pretty busy reading titles that my writer friends have written. I also love women’s fiction and young adult novels. I’m finishing one of Janet Dean’s Love Inspired Historicals and I’m also reading a young adult novel by Sarah Dessen. Next on my list is Sarah’s Key that I’ll be reading for my book club. Oh, and in bits and snatches, I’ve been reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Today is Valentine’s Day. What is your advice for people in love?
Hmmm, let’s see. I’ll be married 26 years in June, so I guess I might have a little wisdom to offer. I’d say communication is key. It’s something I continually have to work on. Be honest and share how you really feel. Speak up and tell your loved one what you need. Don’t expect him/her to read your mind! And pray that God will help you love that person better.
So good to have you drop by. Hope you’ll come back and keep us up-to-date on what you’re writing.
Jane, thank you for having me today! And happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!
Bio: Missy Tippens, 2006 Golden Heart finalist, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been finalists for the Booksellers Best, ACFW Carol Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com.