Interview with Ginger Garrett

» Posted on Apr 21, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Ginger Garrett

This week I’m hosting Vickie McDonough with Finally a Bride and Ginger Garrett with Wolves Among Us. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (April 24th) evening.

Interview with Ginger Garrett:

1. What made you start writing?
As a newlywed, I was battling infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. I went to every bookstore I could find, hoping for a book of comfort. I went to both mainstream stores and religious stores, but no one had written a book that was meant to comfort women like me. Plenty of books at that time dealt with the ethical and moral issues of using technology to pursue parenthood, but I could not find what I most wanted to read. That hurt, because books had always been such a source of comfort and joy for me. So I decided to write for myself what I needed to read. I journaled as a way to encourage myself to keep going; I wrote down scripture that moved me and comments that wounded me, moments I wanted to remember and heartache I wished I could forget. Writing began as an escape, but as I continued, I began to see it as a way to help others.

The defining moment came when I saw a pregnant woman on the street. For several years, I secretly loathed pregnant women. I was filled with rage at the injustice of life. Everywhere I looked, I saw women who seemed to have an easier life than me. Richer women, thinner women, more beautiful women, women with children, with successful careers…It was as if a looping tape ran through my thoughts constantly: “Look what she has that I don’t.”

But I kept praying. And reading the scriptures, and struggling to keep still at the feet of God. And then one day, I got my miracle. I looked at a pregnant woman, a woman who seemed to have everything I did not, and the tape in my head changed. For the first time, I asked, “What does she need that I have?” When I asked myself this, my world changed forever. My blind eyes were opened to the suffering all around me, and the calling God had given me to reach out to others. He didn’t remove my own suffering—not for a while, at least—but instead, He changed me because of it.

And while I still didn’t get pregnant, a new life was born for me just the same. Only, the new life was my own. I began to research how publication worked. I knew that I could communicate comfort and hope through the written word, and I wanted to explore that option. From there, I was connected to an agent and Stephen Arterburn, and began writing nonfiction.

The fiction came later. I was writing a nonfiction book on Esther, and it kept coming out as a novel. The publisher didn’t mind, and CHOSEN: THE LOST DIARIES OF QUEEN ESTHER, was published in 2006 and recognized as one of the top five novels of the year by the ECPA.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
My first book was MOMENTS FOR COUPLES WHO LONG FOR CHILDREN, released by NavPress about eight years ago. Since then I’ve written and published every year, including novels, children’s books, nonfiction and celebrity collaborations.

3. How do you handle rejections?
I tell my agent, Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, that my ideas are just that: ideas. They aren’t children. It’s okay to tell me my ideas are stupid. He rarely does, though. He’s too kind. But every market, and every genre, has its own rules and expectations. Sometimes my work isn’t a good fit. I try to listen to the rejections and understand what it is telling me. Am I lacking a skill set, or is the market just slow? Did I pick the right title? What can I work on for the next go-round?

4. Why do you write?
Because I can’t sing or dance. And because I love beautiful words. Reading a beautiful book or poem is like running an IV to my soul; it revives me at some deep level I can’t explain.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
Making up stories is a compulsion, so I always do that. But I also am busy as a speaker, and will be traveling to Thailand this summer to speak.
My other great passion is dogs. I volunteer as a “foster mom” for Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta and help raise one of the biggest breeds on earth. My male Pyrenees just had a puppy check up and weighed 130. He needs to fill out a little, too. I call him my “baby,” and kiss him on the nose constantly. I praise God for making dogs! What a constant source of joy for me.

6. What are you working on right now?

I just finished DESIRED: THE STORY OF SAMSON AND DELILAH. Told from the point of view of the women who loved him (his mother, his first wife and Delilah) the book offers an epic love story that will surprise even the readers who have already read the biblical account.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
In writing WOLVES AMONG US, I did in several ways. The Inquisitor character, Bastion, challenges people to understand the necessity for persecuting suspected witches. His arguments were taken directly from the “Christian” witch hunter’s manual of the 1500’s, which was later discredited by the Church. His Scriptural arguments are so slippery, so logical and reasonable, that unless you know your Bible very well, you’ll be tempted to believe everything he says. He frightened me because he exposed how vulnerable I am, how vulnerable we all are.

And wouldn’t you know, I was watching a DVD from a famous Christian writer who specializes in marriage issues, and he set out one of the exact arguments from the witch hunter’s guide, and used it as a reason to enforce a particular gender role. He had no idea, I am sure, that his words echoed the Inquisition and were used as a reason to burn women at the stake. But everyone in the audience nodded and smiled, not understanding that what he was saying wasn’t just fundamentally wrong: it was fundamentally dangerous.

Now with the Rob Bell controversy, I think people are beginning to understand that we have to be always on our guard against false teaching. Not everyone who takes the pulpit will handle the word of God correctly. But if we do not know the Scriptures for ourselves, how will we know the difference?

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
WOLVES AMONG US just hit bookstores, including Wal-Mart. Based on the true stories of the witch hunts of medieval Europe, readers will follow the tale of a heart-weary wife who witnesses the power and seductive theology of an Inquisitor. I hope readers will feel as I did when researching the book: if we don’t know what the Bible says, how can we ever be protected from making these same deadly mistakes? The Church, meaning the world-wide body of believers across all denominations, has made many such mistakes.

I am not writing an anti-authority book, however. I’m endorsing the authority of Scripture, and sometimes that is a sharp line of distinction. There have been a few people in every turbulent time who understood the difference. Bonhoeffer comes to mind as one example.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Fear is always present when we write. I don’t know why. Only God can create without fear, I think. But we are made in His image, so we recognize that fear doesn’t belong with us as we work. It’s a struggle to banish it, so I usually don’t even try. I just write scared. That’s my advice: write scared.

10. How important is faith in your books?
It’s hard to answer that. God is the center of my life, the rock I try to build upon. I don’t know who I would be, or what I could write, apart from that. I’m obsessed with God, with Scripture, and searching for His footprints in history.
And I’m discouraged when people dismiss Christ because of the mistakes of the Church. That’s one reason I have written three novels about the three most famous mistakes: the bitter divorce between Catholics and Protestants in the 1500’s, the fear of science in the great plague of the Black Death, and the witch hunts and Inquisition of medieval times.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
I love writing about the same event from different character’s points of view. I want readers to see how the characters see each other from a distance, and how so often each is wrong in their judgments and assumptions.
And I love to write about the struggle women have, in any age, to find their voice, to own their strength, and to serve God.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
Whichever book I have just finished is always my favorite. It’s like saying good-bye to houseguests who overstayed their welcome. I am just flooded with relief to have it gone. And that feeling seems a lot like affection at the time.

13. What is your writing schedule like?
When the kids are in school, I hit the gym then return home and work until lunch, or about 1pm. Then it’s errands and housecleaning. I try to stop at least thirty minutes before they get home and read one of the books I’ve got open around the house. Moms just need a few minutes to gather their energy! I think a mother’s day is like doing a triathlon: you have to divide the day into sections, and concentrate on getting through each one with grace and efficiency. Motherhood is a contact sport, to be sure.