Friday, April 23, 2010

My Friend Virginia - Interview & Giveaway

Well, it's been a rough week for me (stupid flu) so here's hoping Friday is a good, nausea-free day, eh? And to ensure that it starts off bright, let's welcome the lovely Virginia Smith. I had the pleasure of taking one of Ginny's classes at the ACFW conference in '07, when her Love Inspired novel Murder by Mushroom was coming out, and let me assure you she's a fun lady!

As usual, leave your comments below for a chance to win!

~*~

About Virginia

Virginia Smith recently contracted her twelfth book in four years. Previous books in the Sister-to-Sister series include: Stuck in the Middle and Age before Beauty. In 2008 she was named Writer-of-the-Year at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Stuck in the Middle was a finalist for American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2009 Book of the Year Award. A Taste of Murder was a finalist for the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

Ginny and husband, Ted, divide their time between Lexington, Kentucky, and Salt Lake City, Utah, escaping as often as possible for diving trips to the Caribbean. Admittedly, her adventurous outings are often as much fun as they are “book research.”

~*~

What's your latest book?

My newest book is Third Time’s a Charm (Revell, January 2010), the funny and heartwarming story of a professional young woman struggling to balance career, church, budding romance, and a personal crisis. As if that weren’t enough, a couple of matchmaking sisters crank up the tension and the fun. This is the third book in the Sister-to-Sister series, following Stuck in the Middle and Age before Beauty, but you don’t have to read those books before this one.

When I created the Sister-to-Sister series, I modeled the characters after my relationship with my own sisters, so the books are very close to my heart. Plus, I drew heavily on personal experience to write this book. Third Time’s a Charm is lighthearted in places, but it confronts some tough issues, too.

Oh, that sounds like fun! What's your favorite part of the story?

There are several scenes I really like in this story, such as the part where Tori meets Ryan’s parents’ farm and gets splattered with ... uh, something disgusting. Or the part where she tracks down her father and receives a huge shock. But the ending of this book is probably my favorite part. I always pay extra close attention the last line of a book, because I want to leave readers with a satisfied feeling. And since this book concluded a series, I wanted that last line to be really special. I prayed about it, and wandered around the house mumbling to myself. The words finally came, and it was one of those moments a writer loves, when you type them and then stare at them on the screen with chills zipping up your spine. I think it wrapped up the series perfectly!

And this is Roseanna resisting the urge to peek ahead to the last page . . . bad, Roseanna! Wait until you get there! LOL. What was the hardest part to write?


The hardest part to write is also one of my favorite scenes. It’s the part where Tori tracks down her father, and discovers that during the years he has ignored her existence and she had no idea where he was, he lived ninety minutes away. She is heartbroken, because she thinks of all the special moments in her life that he could have shared. And then when she decides to confront him, she discovers something that wounds her even more. It’s hard to watch your characters suffer. But it also makes them more real.

Very true. Now, speaking of real . . . and dream . . . what would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?


Actually, I don’t find myself inspired by my surroundings. My office is nice, with a good desk and a curved keyboard and all the ergonomically correct furnishings. The desk is a little cluttered, especially when I’m working on a book because I don’t take the time to clear it off regularly. But the important part of my office is the door! I like silence – no distractions. In fact, in the house we owned before the one we have now, my office window had an incredible view of gorgeous mountains. I had to keep the blinds closed, otherwise I’d just sit and stare out the window all day.

LOL. I think most of my writing has been done in “the cave”--the space between the printers in the little desk space I could chisel out. Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

When I’m writing, I have three documents open – the manuscript file, a spreadsheet where I record details like names and descriptions and anything else I have to remember, and a browser window so I can access the Internet. I use Thesaurus.com constantly to find just the right word, and I Google all sorts of information to help me as I’m going along. For Third Time’s a Charm, instance, I Googled D&G jeans to find out how much they cost. And I Googled “Find a Person” to make sure I recorded the steps for tracking down someone correctly. (It’s ridiculously easy, by the way. A little frightening to realize what information is publicly available about a person through the Internet!)

Ever wonder what we did before Google?? I mean SERIOUSLY! But anyway. What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?


I didn’t realize how much influence and weight the marketing department has on the finished product. Things like the title and cover and back cover copy. Actually, I was relieved to discover that, because they certainly have more expertise about those things than I do! I’m happy to leave my “baby” in their capable hands, so they can dress her up to face the public.

If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving or gifts to charities allowed!)


Let’s see. I’d probably buy all new office equipment. I would love to have a nice color laser printer, and an oversized monitor. On the other hand, I’d also love to splurge and take a trip to Ireland. My husband and I visited Dublin briefly a few years ago, and we fell in love with the city. I’d love to see more of the country.

I'll be generous and extend the gift to be enough for both. ;-) Any funny family stories about living with a writer?


I have a hard taking off my editing hat, and it drives my husband nuts. I critique the plot of every television show or movie we watch. He’ll sit there and listen to me rant about gigantic plot holes, and unrealistic dialogue, and unsatisfactory conclusions. Then he shakes his head and says, “It’s tough living with a writer.”

Oddly, my hubby does that more than me. So what are you writing right now?

I’m working on a romantic suspense novel about a young woman who gets pulled into a deadly game of wits between ten wealthy businessmen. I’m having a lot of fun with it!

Oo, sounds intriguing! Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

A Daughter’s Legacy will hit bookstores in May. That’s my first attempt at straight romance, and I had a blast writing that book. It is set in a zoo, and to research the book I worked as a zookeeper for a day! I learned a ton about the inner workings of animal care, and a lot of my research showed in the book.

Oh, what fun! Can't wait.

~*~

Thanks for chatting with us, Ginny!

Readers, you can check Ginny out on the web at www.VirginiaSmith.org. On her Books link, she's got sample chapters and links to multiple places where you can purchase them.

Void where prohibited. Contest ends 4/29/10. Winner will have two weeks to respond before another winner is selected.

22 comments:

  1. AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!!!! This book sounds completely amazing! I would love love love to have it! Ginny, you sound like so much fun! Here's to hoping I win... :)
    1joy4you@gmail(dot)com

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  2. Great interview. The would needs more good sister stories. Count me in.
    jancline@ymail.com

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  3. This books sounds really cute! Just came across your blog. I'm in for a giveaway.
    s.bofferding@hotmail.com

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  4. This book sounds great! I came over from Christian Book Giveaways by Carmen. shondaet@gmail.com

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  5. Looks like another great book.
    csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

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  6. This sounds like fun.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  7. great interview/posting

    thanks for the chance to read this wonderful book :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  8. Hi Roseanna, Hope you are well over the flu by now...it's definitely no fun. But this book sounds like a fun read and I would love to be entered to win it. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  9. I read about this book over at Carman's blog. We are discussing this over at ACFW bookclub right now and it is a great book. Don't sign me up as I have a copy, but just wanted to comment.
    Deborah M.

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  10. I'd really love to read this book. Looks very good! Thanks.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  11. Hi...

    I would like to join the contest. I am from Malaysia and your post did not mention. If its not a US only then count me in too...

    estherym@yahoo.com

    Love in Him...

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  12. We posted about your giveaway at Winning Reading.

    inspiredbyfiction[at]gmail[dot]com

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  13. Please enter me.

    Wendy
    ebeandebe at gmail dot com

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  14. Carman sent me over. Your book sounds terrific! Great interview! Please enter me.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  15. Fun interview! I landed here via Carmen's blog. I'd love to win this book!

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

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  16. Would love to win a copy of this!

    kateh12783@hotmail.com

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  17. This book looks really good.


    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  18. I would love to read this book.
    debp
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

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  19. Great interview, i'd love to win a copy :)

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  20. Looks like a great read! This author is new to me so I'm excited to read the book. Count me in on the giveaway. Carmen sent me.
    plhouston@bellsouth.net

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  21. Great interview! Sounds like a book I would be very interested in reading. Please enter me. Thanks!

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

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  22. If your give is open to Canadians as well, please throw my name into the hat! This one sounds great :)

    jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete