Today on the blog I have an interview with author Tammie D. Croft, and I really enjoyed reading what she had to say. You can read on below and find out where you can get a copy of her books!
1.) When did you decide to become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
I began writing poetry when I was in my teens. I have actually written many poems through the years, but because I took the gift for granted, I never saved any of them. I was very young and never saw an opportunity. I was simply pouring my heart out on paper.
By the early 90’s I was in my late 20’s and had written several short stories that were based on situations or people in my life. Again, I wasn’t really aware of God’s call to publish at that time, so I didn’t keep up with them. I didn’t even begin to journal until much later in life.
Through the next few years and a very difficult divorce, God began to speak to my heart about a book. I had overcome so many issues in life, and I began to recognize God’s urging me to put my testimony into writing.
Finally at age 40, I began the book. However, out of fear of rejection, it took me eleven years to complete. I didn’t think that I would move past the fear, but I did, and the Lord began to encourage me more to move forward with the work. I pushed through many obstacles, and at age 51, I finally self-published.
“Birth of a Heartache – A Broken Life Restored” was revised and completed early 2015.
“Saving Your Marriage is Saving Your Life” was also put into print in latter 2015.
2.) Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from? Why do you write what you do?
From a very young age, my life has been filled with many traumatic issues. As a young girl in my teens, writing was a way to release inner feelings of pain and frustrations that I didn’t fully understand.
As I grew to become a young woman, serious issues did not cease to come against me, so I continued to write in order to express myself through the circumstances.
Once I became a Christian, the Lord revealed to me that I could help others who have or are dealing with the same issues. I have been able to endure and overcome and my writings are for teaching and encouraging people. Unfortunately, there are very few problems in life that I haven’t experienced, yet they have all inspired me to write. My writing ideas come from my life experiences, and will hopefully give me the ability to write Christian fiction. Even though I am in my 50’s now, it is still my dream to be a published writer as an occupation.
3.) Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you? How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I would say that I work a little of both options. I tend to start off with an outline, yet as I begin to write, the outline often changes.
With my writings being more for teaching purposes, the outlines are important. They help me to stay on track and remind me of important points that I desire to get across to the readers.
Due to the way that my thoughts explore an idea, I generally find myself flowing with it, moving away from the outline. I feel sure that when I begin to write more Christian fiction, it will be less by outline and more of flowing thoughts.
Over the years, my creativity has evolved from poetry and short stories to books. The main increase being the revelation that my work is actually worthy of publication. Not because of any secular success, but because of the encouragement that I have received from the Lord and the many comments that I have received from my readers who claim to relate to my story. I have moved away from the insecurities of not being good enough to believing that I’m answering God’s call in my life which does make my writing good enough.
4.) What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing? If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future? If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your book?
I would say that the most difficult part of the creativity process for myself would be allowing an idea to flow without losing the attention of the reader. Expression is very important and I put a lot into finding ways to keep the reader’s attention and their visualization vivid.
I believe that a Christian writer faces many of the same challenges as any other author. Depending upon the type of writing that they do, I’m sure they find it a challenge to compete for topics to write about. With so many books out there to read, an author’s work really has to have a unique topic or story line that stands out above the rest, especially if they are a writer of a teaching style. If they are writing on a popular topic, the content has to be a level above all others, because I believe that a reader who is seeking answers, desires to dwell deeper with each book that he/she reads. Another challenge will always be the competition of beliefs among readers. I feel that Christian writers need a strong understanding of Biblical truths in order to captivate and teach their readers rather than confuse them or cause questions which may lose them. On another note, a Christian fiction writer must find it a challenge to write with full expression, while remaining in the confines of Biblical truths. They can only go so far before crossing the line of Biblical truth and a fictitious story line.
The hardest thing about writing my last book, however, was neither creativity nor other typical challenges, but it was simply not having the time that I needed to complete all of the research that I wanted for the topics that I discussed. I am not an author of a traditional publisher; therefore, I have to work a regular job. My job, plus life as a wife, mother, and minister have made it very hard to pursue my best writing. Time has been a major factor with all of my writing. Time is my biggest challenge. With that being said, all of my books have taken much longer to complete than they should have. Even though each one has been finished in a different time frame, I have yet to complete a work within a year.
My plans are to end my regular job this year in order to go into full-time evangelistic ministry. This will allow me much more time and opportunity for writing and book promotion.
5.) Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
My first frustration was sending my manuscript to so many traditional publishers only to be rejected or ignored all together. I had to come to the knowledge of the fact that it is almost impossible to publish traditionally due to so much competition. If I were a famous, important person I would have a better chance, but since this is not the case, I have accepted the fact that my dependency for publication comes straight from the Lord.
I reverted to Print-On-Demand publishers, but was unable to afford the majority of them and was concerned about the ones that I could afford. I now do self-publishing, and while they may not get the attention that they could, I work very hard to do my own promotion. My prayer has been that God will help me to get the books into the hands of those who need them.
My second frustration has been the time that I spend editing my books. So much has changed with grammatical rules and literary principles through the years and I find myself going to my teenage daughter for help in these areas. Even though I spend a tremendous amount of time trying to edit to perfection, after publication, I still found mistakes and that was very frustrating for me.
My third biggest frustration would surely be promotion. Especially having a regular job, it has been very hard to set up book signings, etc., and reach out beyond my community. I realize that there is so much to do in order to promote. Online is the best opportunity for spreading the word, and there is so much that I need to do in that area, yet I still have the obstacle of time. I have much faith that once I leave the job, I will be able to apply much more time to these ideas and hopefully the book promotion will not be quite so frustrating.
6.) On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
Being able to express my feelings and my passion for teaching is very exciting to me. Being able to share my life’s experiences is most fulfilling when I know that someone else is helped along the way. So many people feel as if no one understands them or how they feel, but the truth is that I understand. Not only do I understand, but I have the answer to the problems and His name is Christ Jesus. Being able to share the joy of the Lord and His mercies in our circumstances is very rewarding to me. Some may think that this is not really creativity, but those who have suffered the same issues as those I discuss, seem extremely grateful that I put my experience into writing because of the help that they received from my words, and that is very exciting to me. It shows me that the traumas that I have faced were not suffered in vain.
7.) What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
I am currently reading the book titled “Destiny” by Rev. T. D. Jakes. I greatly admire Rev. Jakes and his books are very enlightening if you are pursuing a higher calling in your life. Rev. Jakes combines his own life experiences with some story-telling, plus awesome Biblical teachings, which help you to grow spiritually and understand your own calling.
I have been encouraged also by other Christian authors such as Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado, Kay Arthur, and Andy Stanly. While their teaching styles are unique, their messages are all of spiritual growth and encouragement. Beth Moore is another Bible teacher that has a very unique style and her writing of books and workbooks unveil her biblical knowledge.
8.) If you would like and have the time, write a paragraph or two about anything you wish.
“Live life today like there is no tomorrow.” We’ve heard that statement through many years, yet for most of us, it doesn’t really sink in or become a principle until much later in life. When our kids grow up and begin their own families. When our grand-children begin to multiply. When our hair gets grayer, our bodies get stiffer, and our days get shorter. These are just a few things that cause us to live by that principle and try to explain it to the younger generation. Our kids, however, don’t take it to heart anymore than we did when we were younger. There must be a way to help them to realize how short that life truly is and how important that it is to value every day.
As I have watched so many members of my family, church family and very close friends pass away recently; I have truly begun to realize the importance of enjoying my own life now. We are not promised tomorrow, yet we live at such a fast pace that we must believe we’re going to live forever. Life is a journey that we all must take. The Bible teaches us that life is uncertain, but death is sure. According to Hebrews 9:27 – “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” We will all leave this world and we will stand before the Father and give account of the deeds we performed in our bodies while here on this earth. We need to make every day the best that we can, understanding that we are only here by the grace of God and that our lives are to bring Him glory. We should focus more each day on His will for us and less of our own will. We truly need to live each day as if it will be the last.
You can visit Tammie on her website here and find her books their, Amazon, Lulu and Barnes and Noble.