Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Interview with Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer, author of the newly released Bygones, took time out from her busy writing schedule to chat with me. Enjoy :)

Kim ~ Thanks for spending some time at Relz Reviewz. My readers would love to hear your thoughts:~


Please share some of your writing/publishing journey with us

From my earliest memories, I've dreamed of being an author. I tried for three years in the mid-1990's to find a publisher, but a series of rejections defeated me. So I stopped submitting proposals, but I didn't stop writing. In 2002, I "stumbled" upon the American Christian Fiction Writers on the Internet, joined, and began attending their conferences. My goal at that point was "learn about the publishing world and GET PUBLISHED," but God had so much more planned... Following the Denver conference in 2004--where He led Ruth Seamands to "insist" *smile* I allow her daughter (Brandilyn Collins) to pray for me and subsequently healed me from a life-long burden of shame that was literally making me ill--I truly believed He had placed me on the writing pathway just so I could be at that conference at that time to receive His healing touch.

I did a lot of questioning following the Denver conference about my call to write, and whether or not publishing was something I was meant to continue to pursue. I eventually came to the conclusion that being made whole emotionally and physically was more than enough, and if that was what all the writing was about, then I was satisfied. I mean, think about it--juxtapose healing from constant pain against a writing contract... Which would you choose? Truly, it's a no-brainer. :o) From there I began questioning what I was to do with the healing He had given me.

Because of my health, I had been forced to teach part-time rather than full-time, so I wondered if I was supposed to return to full-time teaching or do something else. In January of 2005, God began prompting me to leave my classroom. I still had no idea where He was taking me, but I stepped out in obedience and told my principal I would be resigning at the end of the school year.

In March I received two contracts--one through Heartsong Presents and one through Bethany House for two full-length historical novels. That was the start of a nine-month floodgate of contracts that resulted in the sale of ten novels. God answered my question resoundingly: I healed you to write. And so, now I write.

(Of course, you realize you've been given the nutshell version of my story! I love sharing the entire story of my healing with women's groups--I get to celebrate it all over again with each telling. *smile*)

Why Christian fiction?

I love being able to include a spiritual thread in my stories. Entertainment is wonderful, and I hope my stories provide entertainment, but I see my writing as a ministry, therefore I want to edify as well. There is nothing of this world that is eternal EXCEPT our relationship with our heavenly Father, so to me it's very important for Him to play a major role in my stories.

What gets you through those difficult writing days?

A whole lot of prayer! I start every day with Bible study and prayer, and it keeps me on course. When I need a break, my four adorable grandsons provide comic relief, hugs, and giggles. What a blessing they are!

What project or book are you working on now?

I am currently completing the sequel to my first historical, Waiting for Summer's Return.


Did the plotline or characters come first?

For me, characters always come first. These people introduce themselves to me, tell me their goals and why they want that particular goal, and the plot comes into play around them. I am very much a character-driven writer.

Do we "see" some of you in your characters?

Since writing is such an intensely personal activity, I'm sure a hint of "Kim" hides in many of my characters. What I find interesting is how often, as I'm writing a story, God uses the character's journey to minister to me and "grow" me in my Christian walk. He is never wasteful!

Marie and Beth are both strong women who have overcome great hardship yet remain vulnerable. Did you intend to write them thatway or do their characters develop in your mind with each chapter?

I knew Marie would have to be strong--raising a child on her own without the support of family, she would have no choice but to be strong. Yet that lack of familial support created a deep hurt in Marie, giving her a vulnerability. Beth, however, took me by surprise. She grew and changed in ways I didn't expect as the story progressed. She wasn't terribly likable, even to me, when I started the story, yet her mother's influence reached her heart, changing her angry hurt to a recognized need. I ended up liking Beth as much as Marie--so much that she stars in Book Two. :o)

If you were casting actors for a movie of Bygones, who would you choose?

Oh, my, I've always said I would need to be in any movie made from one of my books! So, since I'm close to the right age, I'd want to play Marie. :o) As for Henry...Tom Selleck or Tom Hanks would do nicely since John Wayne isn't available.

Why do you write about the Mennonite people?

I come from a Mennonite background, although I was raised Mennonite Brethren rather than Old Order. Still, I admire these gentle people, who live their faith literally on their shirt sleeves and right to their core. Their simpler lifestyle is intriguing to readers, and I hope readers will learn the subtle differences between Amish and Mennonite as they read the stories.


What are you reading at the moment?

Currently I am reading Eye of the Oracle by Bryan Davis.

Where is your favourite place to read a book?

When the weather is nice, I like to be in the screened in porch on the swing hubby built for me. When the weather isn't nice, I curl up in my recliner or snuggle in my bed with a pile of pillows and a quilt. Regardless, I like munching chocolate while I read. :o)

Who inspires you?

GOD inspires me most of all--He brings my story seeds to fruit. Writing truly is a time of worship for me--a time of connection with God. I've also been blessed with a number of human "inspirers," mostly notably my parents, who always encouraged me to write, as well as a handful of teachers and friends who helped me nurture my dream.

Please share some of your faith journey

I had the privilege of being raised in a Christian home and came to the knowledge of my need of a Savior when I was pretty young--eight years old. I'm so grateful for the Holy Spirit's presence in my life. Having been a Christian for so many years, my faith is an integral part of who I am, and every year serving Him is more precious. When I was a little girl, my step-grandma had several wooden plaques hanging on her bedroom wall. One read, "Only one life will soon be passed; only what's done for Christ will last." When I was little, I didn't understand, but now I do, and my goal is to make my life's work count...for Him.

Any last words...

Whatever you are called to do, do it for the Lord's glory rather than to please yourself or gain earthly accolades, and you will be blessed!

Thanks Kim for you willingness to share from your heart ~ it has been lovely getting to "know" you :)

Check out Kim's website for more books and information, here!


Cherie J said...

"Whatever you are called to do, do it for the Lord's glory rather than to please yourself or gain earthly accolades, and you will be blessed!" I loved that! It is so true! Wonderful interview!

Cherie Japp

Cee Cee said...

Great interview. Thanks to the both of you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview!

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