Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Teen Week-- An Interview with Tricia Goyer

Tell us a bit about yourself Tricia!

I'm a stay-at-home-writing-mom-who-loves-my-husband-and-is-addicted-to-email-but-more-addicted-to-God :-)

I also help my husband lead children's church (his passion) and I mentor teenage moms (been there done that).

What prompted you to write for teen girls?

I did everything my own way during my teen years. I lived DRAMA. I got hurt, hurt others, messed up, had regrets. I'm at a good place right now, living with a man I love, three kids, writing tons of books, and I wanted to offer hope for the teen years. Of course, I also wanted to be REAL with teens ... so I share my advice by first sharing my mistakes.

What has the response been so far?

It's been AMAZING. I've gotten tons of responses from teen girls who have said, "This book really made me think ... about God ... about myself ... about my future." I love it!

I've also gotten notes from youth leaders and parents who thank me for putting into words what they've been trying to say to teen girls.

How did your experience as a mom and a teen play into the writing? Did you have to silence that "mom" voice so you could write to the teens?

Yes, no mom voice here! Actually the scripts in this book are stories I first told to my daughter who is now 15. I didn't want to be one of those moms who say, "Just do what I say." I wanted to share with my daughter my mistakes and ideas for making better choices.

Nobody likes a lecture, but we all love to hear, "Let me tell you a story."

What do you hope teens take away from your book?

I hope they will stop and think about God, about themselves, and about their choices. I hope they start designing a script for their lives :-)

Tell me a bit about your overall publishing journey.

My writing journey began in 1994 when I attended my first writer’s conference with my friend, Cindy Martinusen. Cindy and I went to the same church and we both had dreams of become writers. Everything at Mt. Hermon was new to me. I just followed the instructor’s directions. It took two years of hard work, but I was soon writing magazine articles for publication. Over the next five years, I also worked on missions’ curriculum, a devotional book, and study notes for the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan). (My friend, Cindy, is now a published author too of four novels!)

During those years, in addition to writing, I was also raising three small children. In 1999, I felt God asking me to start a crisis pregnancy center in our town. I didn’t want to do it. I was busy enough writing and taking care of kids. I also was working on novel projects—with no success. I had novels make it to committee many times, with no contract!

Finally, I relinquished my dreams to God. I knew I needed to be obedient, even if I never got a novel published. Instead of closing the writing doors for good, the opposite happened. God brought people into my life who shared these amazing stories from World War II. I knew those were the books I was meant to write. Two years after the pregnancy center was up and running, I had the contract for my first novel, “From Dust and Ashes” (Moody, 2003). I remember answering the phone and hearing a “smile” in my agent’s voice. As she told me, one of my favorite songs by Fernando Ortega was playing in the background, and I felt delighted that God granted me such a gift.

How do you balance family life, writing, speaking and homeschooling?

I spend the mornings homeschooling my three kids. I work with them until noon, and then I write in the afternoons. Of course, there’s also music lessons, sports practice, grocery shopping, etc. so I when I write, I HAVE TO produce words.

When I’m nearing a novel deadline I write 2,000 words a day. When I’m not on deadline, I’m usually writing articles, future book proposals, and research for the next novel-to-be.

I also volunteer at my church and I love to have people over. I’ve found, as a writer, getting out and connecting with people in the community is one of the best things I can do. It pumps me up to see God at work on a daily basis. Being a servant to others (outside of writing) feeds my soul in a way that only makes sense in God’s eternal way.

Overall, I balance by asking myself, "What's the most important thing I need to do today." I do that first, then I move on to the NEXT thing. Also, I spend the first hour of every day reading my Bible, working on a Bible Study, such as Experiencing God, and praying. He comes first. He gives me the wisdom and strength.

That is fabulous advice, Tricia! You make it sound possible and I like that. What advice would you give another mom who desires to write?

1. Just do it! 500 words a day adds up!

2. Here are some places to find help:

My blog to help writers:

Articles on writing:
(There is a TON of articles down the right side.)

American Christian Fiction Writers.
It's $40 a year, but they have an AWESOME email loop.

Fellowship of Christian Writers ... a free group!

The Writers View ... Also free and recommended!

And during the month of November I'll be writing about balancing kids and writing on my blog:

Finally, please check out Sally Stuarts Christian Market Guide. It's at the library. And check out other books on writing. There are wonderful ones out there!

What advice would you give a teen who desires to write?

The same!

I actually have a monthly writing class for teens ... and they ROCK.

Look at the magazines and books you like to read, and mimic the STYLE (not the words). How many paragraphs to each article? How does the article start? How does it end? Then submit your work to the publications you read. They LOVE teen writers.

Any other thoughts you would like to add, something I didn't cover?? Do tell!

God has wonderful dreams for what He longs to do in your life too. When it comes to my books , I depend on God to unfold the story as I research and write. I have faith that He sees the end of the story, even before I write one word. It's the same with our lives. God sees the end of the story. And He knows how to unfold each chapter before us--with His perfect end in mind. It's our job to stay tuned-in, ready to face the next plot twist with His guidance, wisdom and strength.


Thank you, Tricia, for dropping by today and telling us about your book-- My Life, Unscripted. Please hop over to Tricia's website to find out more about her. You can buy this book for your teenage daughter at Amazon or your local Christian bookstore. And be sure to check out all her other books as well!
Pin It!


Heather@Mommymonk said...

Thanks for introducing us to Tricia. I wasn't going to read it because I don't have teens yet, but her website was a great encouragement to me as a writer.

Bernadine said...

Awesome interview!

Elisa @ Extravagant Grace said...

Lovely! Thanks for the inspiration and links, too!