This will be author and speaker Virginia Smith’s first time at Florida Christian Writers Conference, so we want to spend a few minutes getting to know her.
Virginia is a relative newcomer to the publishing world, but she’s hit the ground running. Her first novel, Just As I Am, was released in 2006, and this month she’ll celebrate the release of her seventh, Age before Beauty. In March of 2008 she was honored to receive the Writer of the Year Award at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.
Seven books in three years. You’ve been a busy lady, Virginia!
Ginny: First off, my friends call me Ginny, so I hope everyone at Florida Christian Writers Conference will feel free. Yes, I’ve been busy, and enormously blessed! But I certainly didn’t start writing three years ago. I spent more than twenty years learning the craft, practicing my skills, and collecting a ton of rejection letters (one hundred forty-three) before the Lord gave me the idea that would become my first published book. I call myself the Queen of Perseverance.
Many people would have given up after that many rejections. What kept you going?
Ginny: What’s the alternative—stop writing? I can’t imagine ever not writing. It’s too much a part of who I am, who He made me to be. I never doubted that God gave me the desire to write. I wasn’t sure if His plan included publication or not, and that was hard. At times I thought maybe He wanted me to keep writing stories that nobody would ever see except my family. But I never doubted that He wanted me to write, and to keep learning to do it well.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Ginny: My husband is a motorcycle enthusiast (when you see me at the conference, ask me how many he owns and watch my eyes roll!), and I enjoy going with him on long motorcycle trips. I’m strictly a passenger, though. You’d be surprised at the brainstorms for books I’ve gotten on the back of his bike! Plus, we love scuba diving. In fact, in the days just before Florida Christian Writers Conference we’re taking a quick trip to Mexico to do a little diving in Cozumel.
Give us a brief preview of what you’ll be sharing at Florida Christian Writers Conference.
Ginny: I’m presenting two workshops. Write Fiction Without Being Preachy is a topic that’s close to my heart – I love stories with a good message, but I dislike fiction that comes off as preachy. So I’ll be presenting tips on getting your point across without preaching at your readers.
Then in Creating Great Characters I’ll outline techniques to make characters so vivid and realistic your readers will add them to their prayer lists. I’ll also be on a panel of writers in the Career Track, and I’m on the team that will be critiquing manuscripts.
Any parting advice for conference attendees?
Ginny: Spend some time in prayer before you arrive, and ask the Lord to prepare you to receive from Him during the conference. Then go with a servant’s heart. There will be so many opportunities to be a blessing to someone else while you’re there, and if you’re focused on other people, you won’t have time to obsess about yourself. Just relax, and have fun, and come prepared to learn whatever He wants to teach you.
Virginia Smith left her twenty-year profession as a corporate director in 2006 to launch her writing career with the release of Just As I Am. Since then she has received contracts for ten books and published dozens of articles and short stories. Her recent releases, A Taste of Murder and Age before Beauty, were both awarded 4 stars by Romantic Times.
Ginny and her husband, Ted, divide their time between Kentucky and Utah, and escape as often as they can for diving trips to the Caribbean. Visit Ginny on the Web at www.virginiasmith.org