Jill Eileen Smith

» Posted on Mar 5, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Jill Eileen Smith

This week I’m hosting Ann Shorey with The Edge of Light and Jill Eileen Smith with Michal, the first in a series about David’s wives. If you would like to be entered in the drawings for these books or only one, please leave a comment this week on one of the blogs with which drawings you want to be entered in. Also you have to leave your email address to be entered (I need it to contact you) or you can email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end on Sunday evening.

Jill Eileen Smith’s interview:


1. What made you start writing?

I wanted to read a novel on King David’s life and couldn’t find one that satisfied me. So I began to write the book I wanted to read.

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

I used to write poetry as a teenager, then stopped any creative writing for about eight years. When God figuratively tapped me on the shoulder to dig up the gift He’d given me, I began with poetry again – about 24 years ago. I began my first novel about four years later. Eight novels and 20 years later, I sold my first novel series.

3. How do you handle rejections?

Rejection feels like a physical blow. Tears usually follow for the short term, but by the next day I tend to make plans to try again. Before I sold, one rejection hit me especially hard. I wasn’t sure I’d recover from that one, which led me to do a lot of praying. I had to give my desire to be published to the Lord yet again, and this time I wasn’t sure He’d give it back. In time, He did, but it was several months before I knew that.

4. Why do you write?

I’m wired to write. I’ve tried many crafts to fill the creative need over the years. I’ve written articles, devotionals, blog posts, emails, and more, but I am happiest when I write fiction. There is something about that creative process that fills me with a sense of joy like no other. If I ignore that need to write for too long, I can get pretty crabby. ☺

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

What I do now, I guess. I’m a wife and mom first – always have been – so I take care of domestic needs and chores most mornings. Some days I run errands. I’m in that sandwich generation with elderly parents and adult kids and that poses its own set of issues. (That’s not really “free time” though, is it?) ☺ I do make time for myself though – I read every day, as often as I can, especially to unwind before bed. I love to travel too, when the pocketbook allows. ☺

6. What are you working on right now?

Book Three in The Wives of King David series – Bathsheba. Abigail is on my editor’s desk, so I’m trying to finish the first draft of Bathsheba by June. It’s not due until December, but I need time to rewrite. And edits for Abigail will come in between.

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

Sure. I think every author does to some extent. It’s not a conscious thing, but I sense my emotions, my insight, my impressions of life seeping into the characters. I don’t think the characters reflect me, per se, but my experiences with people or with circumstances in my life come through. I am not like Michal, Abigail, or Bathsheba, and yet I can certainly relate to them in certain ways.

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

Michal: A Novel is the story of the life of King David’s first wife. Here’s the blurb:

Can their epic search for true love survive a father’s fury?
The daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege—but one that is haunted by her father’s unpredictable moods and competition from her beautiful older sister. As a girl, Michal quickly falls for the handsome young harpist David. But soon after their romance begins, David must flee for his life, leaving Michal at her father’s mercy in the prison that is King Saul’s palace.

Will Michal ever be reunited with David? Or is she doomed to remain separated from him forever?

You can go to the book’s website – http://www.thewivesofkingdavid.com – for book club questions, Bible study questions, and more. (It’s not up yet, but should be live in February.)

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

The most important thing for a Christian writer to do, in my opinion, is to keep the Lord their primary focus. Pray about your writing. Pray with an attitude of absolute surrender. Right before I got the final call from my agent telling me that Revell wanted to buy the series, I remember sitting in my car listening to Amy Grant sing “Sweet Will of God.” I was crying and praying and once again had to surrender the entire dream of publishing to Him, no strings attached. Hard as it is, I still try not to focus on the publishing. The goal of life is to complete the work God gave me to do, whatever that may be, and of pleasing Him. We cannot know until it happens if we will ever see our books in print, just as we cannot know anything about our futures. Life isn’t about being published. It’s about obeying Jesus Christ.

10. How important is faith in your books?

Since this is biblical fiction, the faith element is intrinsic. David was a man after God’s own heart, and his faith is just a big part of who he is. Michal, on the other hand, struggles to understand God and doesn’t share David’s love for Him. Ultimately, the story’s focus is faith.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Forgiveness and surrender come through everything I write. In every genre, in every pre-published book, in my current projects, absolute surrender to the Lord comes through somehow, some way.

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

I think the favorite answer I’ve heard to this question is, “the one I’m writing now.” How do you pick a favorite? It’s like choosing one child over another. ☺ Though I will say, I’ve spent far more time on Michal than anything else I’ve written, so naturally I love the story. But give me time – I love Abigail’s story too, though it’s quite different. And I’m just getting to really know Bathsheba. ☺

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Schedule? LOL! I can’t say I have a set schedule. Right now I’ve set a word count of 1000 words a day, five days a week. (That might translate into more words, less days, just so I make the goal.) I might not start writing until 9 p.m. or I might begin at 10 a.m. Every day is different. But I have a goal to finish a first draft by a certain date, so I do my best to stick to my goals until it’s finished.