I am thrilled to have Yvonne Lehman as a guest this week on my blog. She is a beloved author and founder of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Please enjoy reading about her journey as a writer as she encourages us.
If you leave a comment, you will have a chance to win her latest book, Crashing to Christmas.
Questions for Yvonne.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer.
A: When I was a small child I loved to read books. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, in a sense of rebellion against the usual reply of, “A nurse, or a teacher,” I said, “I’m going to write books.” I made up stories about a bad boy named Buster and told them to my cousins who were rapt listeners. But…as I grew up, it never occurred to me that I could really be part of a writing profession.
Q: What was your path for your first novel
A: I was teaching a Sunday school class of girls ages 17 until married. Since there were race relations problems in our area, I wanted to invite a few black girls to visit with us in the class. The church wouldn’t allow it and for six months I contemplated leaving the church. However, I decided God and I were a majority and rededicated my life. Then I saw an ad in Decision Magazine about the Billy Graham School of Christian Writing and realized I had always liked writing papers in school and re-wrote the Sunday school lessons before teaching them. Long story… but that led me to the School and into the writing profession that changed my world and my life completely. My first book was Red like Mine, a story of mixed races.
Q: Do you have a writing routine?
A: Having written for over thirty years, I naturally gravitate to the computer. My schedule is basically get up at 6:00 a.m., breakfast, devotion time, email, exercise, dress, work on whatever project needs to take precedence (deadline, my Novel Retreat, new proposal, compilations, workshop preparations, etc.). Afternoons are whatever I need to get done, supper at 5:00, work on projects, walk the dog, clean kitchen during Wheel and Jeopardy, popcorn and TV at 8:00 p.m. Get to bed around 9:30 or 10:00 and read ‘til about 10:30 or 11:00. I grocery shop, do the laundry, and clean house when I “have” to.
Q: What kinds of things inspire your writing?
A: My main inspiration comes from writers conferences. Being around other writers, aspiring and published (still aspiring to be published however), reminds me I am with a group of people who understand each other, have goals, continue to learn and strive. We learn from each other.
Q: What advice would you give someone just starting out in writing
A: Go to writing workshops and conferences, take courses, join a writers group, get on the internet loops, relate to other writers, read the writing books, read what others write.
Q: What’s the most satisfying thing about being a writer? Most frustrating?
A: After holding the “print” book in my hand, seeing that title and my name as the author, the most satisfying is having someone say they really enjoyed reading the book, or it inspired them in some way, or they learned something. Most frustrating is having to market and promote. Making the change to technology is to me probably like going from a horse and buggy to an automobile.
Q: What do you think the Lord will say to you about your writing when you go to heaven?
A: He will say, “I let you do it because you have an active imagination and enjoyed learning about how to write books, but the reason I did that was to lead you into providing a conference where other aspiring writers could learn and have their world changed too.”
Q: Tell us about Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers conference? How did it start?
A: I was married with children when I attended the Billy Graham School, realized I needed that training and inspiration, couldn’t afford the time or money to go there each year, or to the only other conference center (Mount Hermon), decided a conference was needed for me and others in North Carolina so after much effort and failure for 2 ½ years, I started the conference. The Dean of the School volunteered to be my emcee for a few years and contacted editors and writing teachers for me. I didn’t have enough sense to know I couldn’t do it, but the Dean knew and even got a donation from the Billy Graham Association. It has been successful because God decided to show what he can do through a willing person even if the person has to learn and grow along the way instead of already being endowed with expertise.
Q: How can we get in touch with you?
A: I can be contacted through email: email@example.com – will soon have a Blue Ridge Views site but don’t have it yet.
Q: Where can my readers buy your book?
A: Crashing into Christmas (three connected short stories) can be purchased through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas or internet outlets such as Amazon.
Yvonne Lehman, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 books in print founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, is now director of the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat. She has joined Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas as Acquisitions and Managing Editor of Candlelight Romance and Guiding Light Women’s Fiction. She earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Her recent releases include Love Finds You in South Carolina—book #1 and book #2 (Greenbrier) and a novella in Reluctant Brides (Barbour). Her 50th novel is Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC (Abingdon), which she signs periodically at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge TN. Her first non-fiction book is Divine Moments (Grace Publishing – a compilation of 50 articles written by 37 authors). The second in the series is Christmas Moments (Grace, November 2014). Crashing into Christmas (Lighthouse – November 2014). She blogs at www.christiansread.com and Novel Rocket Blog. firstname.lastname@example.org