Good Afternoon! Today for “Interview Monday” I had a wonderful chat with author Lisa Worthey Smith about her writing and her book, Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird and other tales from Life In My Father’s World, which recently ranked #24 in the 50 Indie Books Worth Reading for 2015/2016!
1.) When did you decide to become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
My love for writing probably began while on the newspaper staff in high school. I carried that into being the editor of the community college student paper, and into various jobs and volunteer positions after that. I toyed with stories through the years. Then I had an extraordinary experience that seemed to captivate people, and it easily translated into a Biblical lesson. Not only did people tell me I needed to write it down, I believe God wanted me to as well, so I did!
2.) Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from? Why do you write what you do?
Very simply, I write to point out the hand of God all around us. I do that by using ordinary things such as birds and my garden to help people see truths from a biblical perspective. All of Creation all speaks to the Creator, so I use the obvious!
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?
The idea definitely takes on a life of its own! I couldn’t orchestrate anything as beautiful as that which God already has in motion! I am just an observer. God teaches me and I pass along what I learn.
I do confess to making lists and even acknowledge it can be obsession. All right, it is an obsession. Sometimes those lists do fall into an outline, and I have also been guilty of diagraming Scripture but, we’ll not get into that.
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 hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your book?
The hardest part of the creative process for me was simply making time to get it all down accurately. The creative part is fun, making time to get it on paper (well, on the computer) was the challenge.
Christian writers face the same challenge as other Christians, listening to and being obedient to God rather than the noisy world. I have been told to “leave out the Bible parts and don’t mention God. Just tell the sweet little stories. The God-stuff will be offensive and you will lose readers.” No doubt I will lose readers who do not want to hear the name of God. I have been attacked (verbally) more than once and have been called names I wouldn’t repeat. On the other hand, some listen and hear the truth, and I have received thank-you letters from readers who have learned something new or seen God afresh. As God told Ezekiel to tell the people regardless of whether or not they listened, my job is to point to Him, whether or not anyone listens. As we draw ever nearer to the end of time, we know that the persecution will grow more intense and thus the challenge to continue to share the truth will become more and more costly. That doesn’t change the calling.
Books come together quickly for me, sometimes in a few days unless laundry, or dishes, or the dog, or the sunshine, or lunch… get in the way.
5.) Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
Waiting and marketing are my frustrations. Waiting for someone who has a hand in the work, editor or cover design…is not easy for me. I want to share the stories, and become impatient when I have to wait for the process. Invariably, I find errors or creative changes during that time that I would have missed otherwise. So, it is a good thing even though I rarely see it at the time.
The marketing is time consuming and I do not like to “toot my own horn.” So, I give away books and blog with the idea of giving people a taste of my writing and message with the hope they will be blessed by it and return.
Do I lose points for only listing two?
6.) On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
When God teaches me something new so I see more of His love and provision and plan it just absolutely thrills my heart! For instance, I fished a dead frog out of our pond and immediately wondered if the mommy frog told him to get out but he argued that he wanted to stay just a little bit longer. I titled it “The Slightly Disobedient Frog” with a picture of him belly up. The truth I learned that day is obedience to God is for my good and disobedience has consequence no matter the good excuses I manufacture. I just LOVE when God gives me a visible example for a biblical truth. When that translates into someone else realizing that truth too, it is an enormous blessing to me!
7.) What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
I just finished Joel Rosenberg’s The Third Target. I like his writing because it includes plausible enactments (with plenty of page-turning action) of prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. I also like Oliver North for those same reasons.
For the past decade, I have lead a Precept Bible study, by Kay Arthur nine months of every year. There is no fiction or non-fiction that comes close to spending time in the Word of God. Her studies changed the way I study the Bible completely!
8.) If you would like and have the time, write a paragraph or two about anything you wish. Don’t forget: Name all of your published works and your buy links. Send me a picture. Send me a bio. You social media links you want the public to know. And send over anything else you think would draw attention to your work. (Book covers, trailer links, etc.)
My desire is to point people to the hand of God at work all around them. I want to encourage and equip them to see that for themselves in order to grow closer to Him and to be able to share with others in a simple way they can understand.
I have been called the parable teacher.
I help those
to find the blessing in their lives – even when brokenness prevails.
Finding truths in everyday events and nature itself, I use those truths to show a
intentionally designed by the loving hand of The Creator - Life in My Father’s World.
From High School newspaper staff to college newspaper editor, then newsletters, curricula, procedure manuals, Bible study, and even a cookbook along the way, I have long enjoyed putting pen to paper. My teaching opportunities include crafting, painting, work seminars, Sunday School, Bible School, Bible studies, High School, and on and on. Time in the corporate world gave me experience dealing with different personalities and helped develop my communication and organizational skills. Little did I know at the time, God was using each of those experiences to shape me for this very period of my life. (Don’t you just love the way He works?)
Though successful in the workplace, He little by little began to insert life events that got my attention and took the focus off my abilities and my career and put me on my knees before Him. (Is there a better place to be? I think not!) My Father, who loves me, allowed suffering to enter my life to the point of taking away many of the things I considered important well, previously considered important, that is. With my former “jobs” and abilities sidelined, He put me in a place of brokenness to show me His purpose for this phase of my life. All long the way though, He has shown me blessings I would have missed had I remained in the workplace. God even placed a little hummingbird (Oscar) in my life to demonstrate the blessing (yes, blessing) of brokenness, and teach me about such things on a level I could understand.
Sharing our story (Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird, finding blessing in brokenness) has touched many lives. So, I am thankful;
thankful that my Father cares about me enough to pull me aside to teach me such beautiful truths;
thankful that He even uses little bitty birds and broken down old women to help other people find His hand at work;
thankful that He uses brokenness to reveal His beauty and blessings.
I share my life in my Father’s world with you in an effort to draw you nearer to The God Who created you and loves you.