Shirley Connolly’s interview

» Posted on Jan 27, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Shirley Connolly’s interview

The earl invited me to his bedchamber. Oh my!
If you want to be entered in the drawing for Shirley’s book, I See God in the Simple Things, and/or Amy’s book, A Lever Long Enough, please leave a comment this week with your email address (necessary to contact you if you win) or email me at The drawings end Sunday evening.

Shirley Connolly’s interview:

1.What made you start writing?
That goes back to second grade, Margaret. I have mentioned to others that my dad was a writer. He put a pencil in my hand and some paper, and from the time I was only eight years old I would write little poems and stories. My second grade teacher even took notice. In high school, I was a feature writer on the school newspaper. I loved to write stories, poetry, and articles for the newspaper. When I wasn’t reporting, I wrote fun little features about things that were happening around the school. Later, I
began writing songs and putting them to music to play on my guitar in a small worship group. I always knew that’s what I wanted to do.

2.How long have you been writing?
Officially, since around the year 2000 when I started my International women’s ministry website, Hearts for Christ Ministries, which continued through 2006 until I got too busy with my professional writing. There, I published all kinds of articles and more poetry. When did you sell your first book?
I sold my first book, a novella, in 2005.

3.How do you handle rejections?
They are hard. I started getting rejections back in the 80s when I attempted to write a romance. I sent it in to Zondervan, and the editor there was wonderful to me. She wrote me personal letters and my story made it past a couple of reviews, anyway. I obviously had a long way to go to get something published, however. Later, after I finished school, I got several rejections for some children’s stories I wrote. The impersonal rejections hit me hard but the ones where the editor took the time to explain why, have been for me both growing and stretching experiences. I think because those editors took the time to teach me how I could improve in a certain area, or else they showed me my work had great potential.

4.Why do you write?
It is me, me, me. I can’t even sit down and watch TV without having a pen nearby and some paper, any paper to write SOMETHING on. I just have to, Margaret.

5.What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
That’s something I ask some of the authors that come on my interview blog. If I’m were not writing I would either be reading, or stitching, or outside talking to my animals, or cooking something exciting, and I can’t leave out moving furniture around. (I love to decorate.)

6.What are you working on right now?
I am honing a story I wrote last year. I have a submission out in hopes that an editor will be interested in reading it, but while I wait, I go through it to look for more things that need to get fixed. I also am finishing my second devotional, which is coming out in November. It follows this first devotional, I SEE GOD IN THE SIMPLE THINGS that releases in a couple of weeks.

7.Do you put yourself into your books?
Fiction and Nonfiction both, I sure do! When you read my lighthearted devotional, you will see I do that very thing. With my fiction, I also try to pour myself into the thoughts of the heroine and some of the other characters. It helps me create the dialogue in a more natural way and also work out their thought processes. It helps my books turn out real.

8.Tell us about the book you have out right now.
My historical, Flame from Within, which was my Civil War era novel, came out last spring. I am thankful it has done as well as it has for my first historical. The one I hope to share about today is the devotional coming out soon. I SEE GOD IN THE SIMPLE THINGS. In that book, I share how God faithfully shows us more about ourselves through our simple daily living. Too often, we allow complicated days to dominate our lives, making it difficult to cope with various situations. I SEE GOD IN THE SIMPLE THINGs illustrates through words how everyday living can turn into opportunities for blessing and encouragement instead of moments where we get so down we cannot get back up.

9.Do you have any advice for other writers?
Pour yourself into your book remembering that everything you write will have influence on the reader in some way, whether it is fiction or not.

10.How important is faith in your books?
Extremely important. It has to be laced throughout, even if I do it subtly.

11.What themes do you like to write about?
With my devotional, my premise can come from anywhere! Someone can mention a subject and if I can relate it to how God works in our lives, I’ll write it. With my fiction, I come up with my ideas usually in my sleep, and they can be anything!

12.What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
I haven’t written that many yet, Margaret. (smile) I will tell you, though, I think it is the story I have on the computer right now! (Pray that it will sell one day!)

13.What is your writing schedule like?
From 8 in the morning till about 3-ish. I stop and start throughout the day to get exercise, eat, make my bed, etc. But it is pretty steady six days a week. I don’t get on the computer much at night. That’s when I read and review books a lot.