Missy Tippens interview

» Posted on Feb 7, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Missy Tippens interview

Don’t forget if you want to enter the drawing for Missy’s book to email me by this Sunday at margaretdaley@gmail.com.
Missy Tippens:
1. What made you start writing?

I had always read like crazy and thought it would be fun to write a story. But I waited until we got our first computer in 1995. As soon as I had it up and running, I started writing in every spare moment. I wrote that first manuscript while nursing a baby (sometimes typing with one hand), and it only took four months.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I guess it’s been 12 years now, but I didn’t pursue publication until about 1997. So my first sale came along ten years and several rejections later.

3. How do you handle rejections?

Better and better. In the beginning, I would be in a funk for a few days. Now when I get one, I’m really disappointed, but move on quickly. You can’t waste too much energy on rejections because they’ll always be a part of the job, I’m afraid.

4. Why do you write?

Good question. Actually, I think I’ve gotten addicted to creating characters and dreaming up stories. Even though it is hard work, it’s still fun and such a blessing!

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Reading lots more! That’s one thing that I’ve had to limit myself on. I tend to use reading as a reward these days. Once I get my writing done, then I can sit back and relax with a good book.

Also, I think I would find some sort of creative outlet if I weren’t writing. I might make beaded jewelry again, or even try my hand at painting. My dad and sister are very talented artists.

6. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on re-writing a story that I would love to sell to Steeple Hill. I’ve created a small Georgia town and some fun characters. I have ideas for three books about two brothers and a sister.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I think my experiences and emotions always play a part in my books. But the characters are purely made up, usually to fit the story (actually, I tend to create the characters first, then fit the story around them). I have found that I usually to have certain themes in all my books, and I’m sure that comes from my life experiences.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Her Unlikely Family is my debut novel from Steeple Hill Love Inspired, and I’m so excited about it! Here’s a blurb:

Opposites attract when an uptight banker encounters a free-spirited waitress during the search for his runaway teenage niece. As they work together to heal the young girl’s damaged spirit, an unlikely family begins to form…

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up! Persistence goes a long way in this business. Also, go to conferences if at all possible to meet the editors and agents. And if you can’t, try to get involved in some online writers groups (like RWA, FHL, ACFW). You’ll be able to network that way. And of course, always strive to improve your writing. I’ll be working on that one forever! Contests really helped me in making my manuscripts better, not only entering them, but also judging them.

10. How important is faith in your books?

I wrote secular books to start with because they were what I read. But after two manuscripts, I outlined one that had a faith element. I didn’t even realize it. But Sandra Chastain, an author I worked for at the time, read the story idea and said, “This is an inspirational!” It was one of those “duh” moments for me. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. My faith is so integral to who I am that I can’t write without it.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

I write about coming home, about opposites attracting (especially when it comes to socioeconomic status) and stories about family dynamics. It seems that no matter what I write, I always find one of those themes in there.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

I guess I would have to say Her Unlikely Family (formerly Michael’s Surrender) because it was the first novel I sold. It was the realization of a dream! Plus, I just loved those characters. I was glad they got their happy ending, but I hated to let them go. (Only writers could read that statement and not think I’m crazy! )

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Schedule? What’s that? ☺ Actually, I teach in the mornings, then go to Curves for a quick workout, then home to start right into the writing. I do have one day a week for a ladies Bible study and the grocery trip. But most days I get to write until my daughter’s bus gets here. The afternoons are iffy. We usually have homework, appointments, and I have to pick up my middle son. Plus, there is usually a friend or two over from the neighborhood. I try to save my online “stuff” for the afternoons during the distractions. Sometimes at night I get back to the writing, but I’m usually worn out and end up doing more email and blogging.

It’s a crazy life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Thanks for having me on your blog