If you like southern writers, you’ll enjoy this interview with Martin Wiles who has written Grits & Grace & God, a devotional offering spiritual truths. Hailing from South Carolina, he’s an associate editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and has a publishing record as long as a Carolina farmer’s tall tale. He’s about to launch a new book, in August called Grits & Gumbo and Going to Church. I’m happy Martin was able to visit me to share his writing journey with us.
Martin, when did you decide to become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
I played around with writing a little when I was in college. For some reason, I began writing poetry. Poetry had never been a genre of literature I read earlier in my life, so I’m not quite sure why I was pulled in this direction. When my father died in 2009, I became serious about writing. How the two were connected, I’m not sure. My father never wrote anything except the sermons he preached and the Bible studies he taught. Nor did he ever have anything published. Though I have written a few articles, most of my writing which began at that point was devotions.
My ideas come from real life and my personal experiences. I write short devotions because I believe more people will read something brief. Studies about our decreasing attention spans support my philosophy. God has taken me on a number of unpleasant journeys during my lifetime, but he has also taught me some important spiritual and life lessons along the way. I attempt to share these with readers who may be experiencing similar occurrences in their life. I also see spiritual lessons all around me every day through my life experiences and those of others.
What’s the most difficult part of writing?
For me, the most difficult part of writing is continually coming up with new illustrations and making sure I don’t repeat themes I’ve already written about. Keeping my writing fresh. Though Christianity faces many challenges in today’s society, I think the opportunities for Christian writers are wide open. While many may be fed up with and discouraged by traditional religion, they are nevertheless hungering for truth. Through my website, books, and other avenues, I can give them the truth they are looking for in a neutral setting with no strings attached.
Writing my last book wasn’t difficult. I had hundreds of devotions to choose from. The most challenging part was choosing which ones to use and hoping they would fit the editor’s desires. Since I write five days each week, I always have a number of devotions to choose from for a book.
Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
One is the editing process. Since I’m a freelance editor myself, I know how frustrating it can be for an author to please an editor. For me, once I’ve written what was on my heart, it’s difficult to change anything, but over the years I’ve learned to take an editor’s advice whether I enjoy it or not. The finished product is always better. Another frustration is the rejections. They seem to mount up quicker than the acceptances do. This too just comes with the territory. And I suppose the temptation to be jealous of other writers is also a frustration. Through the advice of sound Christian authors and editors, I’ve also learned to let go of the jealousy and instead to be glad about what God does for every author.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
The flip side of rejections is the challenge to find a publisher who will publish my book, accept my article, or publish one or more of my devotions. When the acceptance letters come or the contract arrives, the sweat of the creative process becomes worth it.
What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
At the moment, I’m between books, having just finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore. My favorite authors include Ann Tatlock, Cindy Sproles, Charles Stanley, and Max Lucado. Ann because she is a superb writer of historical fiction. Cindy because she has a way with words that makes the story or devotion come alive and because she is a dear friend who believed in me seven years ago. Charles Stanley because, for me, he is the most profound Bible teacher in my generation, and Max Lucado because he has a knack for making the Bible come alive.
Thanks for visiting my blog today, Martin. How can readers buy your books?
Here are the links.
Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). He is an author, minister, and freelance editor. His most recent book, Grits & Grace & God, is available on Amazon. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (http://lighthousepublishingofthecarolinas.com) His next book, Grits & Gumbo and Going to Church is scheduled for release in August 2016.
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