Friday, October 15, 2010

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with Lisa Wingate

Welcome Lisa Wingate to the Nest. A few months ago I was excited to receive her book, "Beyond Summer" in the mail. As I picked it up and began reading I knew within those first few pages that Lisa was talented. She brought the characters to life and left me with a huge smile. A nugget of wisdom showing me I could make it through anything with the Lord on my side. At times we just get so caught up in what is around us we forget to look up to the God who has everything in His hands and in perfect timing. I am so blessed to interview the most wonderful ladies on earth. They all share a common ground and that is building their lives upon their faith. As I read over again today our interview tears flowed as I read Lisa's words. They were just what I needed to hear today. Don't you just love it when the Lord does that? It's like a kiss from heaven. Sit back and enjoy my friends. I love Fridays!!

(Robin) Lisa, tell me a little about yourself

(Lisa) I’m a wife, mom, Sunday School teacher to high school seniors, and small-town girl. I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember. My older brother was a good writer, and when you’re the youngest in the family, you want to do what the older kids do. When he won a school award for his poetry, I immediately went to my bedroom and created my first book, The Story of a Dog Named Frisky. The Frisky story was the start of many partially-completed writing projects.

A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, put the idea if being a writer into my head, when she told me I would be a writer one day. Growing up, I often wrote in response to things I felt were wrong in the world. I wanted to create something that would cause people to stop and think, to treat each other and the world around them with greater kindness and grace. Those desires eventually led me to write my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, which was published in 2001.


(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
(Lisa) Although I have never really lost my faith, I did go through a religious coming of age. During my early teens, my family stopped going to church. I attended youth group and church camp with friends, but it was difficult, not having a basis of faith at home. A few years later, after my first son was born and we had moved to a small, close knit community, a wonderful church invited us, we joined, and never looked back. Church family and activities are a central part of my life and the basis of my writing. Writers can't help but write what they live, and for me faith is the underlay of everything in life.

(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Lisa) After the birth of my first son, my grandmother visited me. She told me the stories that I later included in my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses. I had an epiphany and realized that life is not a just trip from here to there, a trip from what you have to what you want, but a journey with some of the best things in the middle. By worrying about keeping up with all the "Jones" my age, I was missing the joy of new motherhood. I feel so blessed to have learned my grandmother's lessons and to hear from readers about what those stories have meant in their lives.


(Robin) Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Lisa) This verse reminds me that the gifts we have are given by God, and as long as we're using them, we can just trust God to produce results in His time:

Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. -- 1 Peter 4:10


(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Lisa) Friends who’ve walked along the path beside you through life’s joys and challenges are valuable beyond measure. As time passes, each friend becomes more dear to me because we have shared more. One of the qualities I look for in a friend is, quite simply, reliability. I try to show up for people when I promise I will, and I hope for the same in friends. If I tell someone I'll do something, barring natural disasters or the stomach flu, I'll come through. Years ago, a Sunday school teacher asked my younger son to answer questions on a homemade Mother's Day greeting card. On the question "One thing I like about my mom is..." my son had written, "You always keep your promises." That was the best compliment I could have received!


(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Lisa) In terms of classics, I love anything by Twain, because the writing is real and timeless. Reading Twain makes you realize that, when you take away the modern trappings, people really haven’t changed all that much. There’s a little Huckleberry Finn in all of us. I enjoy the writings of Will Rogers for the same reason. Rogers’ humor is dead-on today, just as it was when he penned it. I’ve loved sharing C.S. Lewis with my sons as they’ve grown up, as well. Gift From the Sea is another tiny, but favorite classic.

In terms of modern writers, I enjoy reading anything by Debbie Macomber. Luanne Rice, Adriana Trigiani, and others. I loved Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook, because it encompassed so many of the feelings I had while dealing with Alzheimer’s disease in my own family. I enjoy any story that explores life in a positive way and ends with the belief that all things are possible. Right now, I'm reading Jenny B. Jones's newest. What a sweet book!


(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Lisa) When life gets crazy, I head for the woods. Living in the country, we have beautiful spaces for walking and enjoying whatever the current season has to offer. There's something healing about just sitting and listening to the birds calling and a stream trickling by. In my quiet places--or sometimes not so quiet, when a gaggle of kids are sharing an afternoon at the old swimming hole--I can reconnect with the things that matter most.

(Robin) What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Lisa) Wow! I dunno ;o) I'm proud of my children, and I've worked hard to be a good mom and a Godly example for them. I'm proud of the stories I've written, and the fact that readers say those stories encourage them to try to make the world a better place. I hope that's a legacy I leave with the people I meet, either through the pages of a book or in person. I really do want do be a force of encouragement in the lives of the people I meet.


(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Lisa) Being a country girl, I love all things natural--the sunset, the birds, the kids playing in the field, the horses in the pasture. Being a mom of boys, I've spent many happy afternoons in the yard, helping build sandpile cities, or aiding in the capture of crickets to feed pet lizards. I'm happiest outside and with my family--unless it's midsummer in Texas, in which it's over a hundred degrees, and no one is happy outside!


(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Lisa) We are all here on earth, I believe, to be good to each other. I want to feel that I am making a contribution to a better world. Being a good wife, mother, daughter, is all part of that. Being a writer who inspires and reflects life's ups and downs, issues and success, and causes readers to grow is part of that.


(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Lisa) My grandmother's gentle stories of her past joys and regrets were her way of giving advice when I was conflicted over career or mothering choices. She told me to "Be patient, everything doesn't have to work itself out today." That bit of advice struck my soul and was an 'aha' and has been a guiding light through the busy years of motherhood.


(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Lisa) Far and away, my greatest achievement is raising two great boys. Having grown up with brothers, I always envisioned that I’d someday be the mother of lacy little pink bundles who didn’t play with bugs, and smell like fish, and leave sweaty football clothes in the corner behind the toilet. In the last twenty years of motherhood, I have learned, however, that boys are wonderful when they’re your own. My sons remind me to appreciate life’s little wonders each day. I think I’ve been given exactly what I need. I want them to have an appreciate for faith and family that will sustain them and enable them to pass good values on to their future families also.


(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Lisa) Today I'm sending off the manuscript for my February, 2011 book, Larkspur Cove. This new series in set in a lakeside community in central Texas. With a mystery and a little romance, they convey a sense of community where people know and care about each other and get involved when there are concerns.

The preliminary manuscript for me July 2011 book from NAL Penguin/Putnam, Dandelion Summer, just came back from the editor, so I'll soon be taking a second pass at that book. I'm so excited about the combination of elements in that story, and am really looking forward to spending more time in that story universe!

Another "first" for me this year is running a big contest. I'm doing a giveaway for an amazing author/reader event, Kathy Patrick's Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend, in Jefferson, TX in January 2011. My publishers and I are giving away registrations for the winner and a friend, lodging at the famout Delta Street Inn and a queen's basket. Interested parties can go to my website to enter www.lisawingate.com  It's been quite a challenge to get all the details together, but entries are pouring in and it will be so fun!


(Robin) How do you define success?
(Lisa) Readers sometimes write and tell me that my books and the characters were a blessing, but the truth is that, through the books, I’ve been blessed in a thousand different ways. So many people have shared their own life experiences and their experiences with the books. When I hear from readers, it’s one of those full-circle moments—the fulfillment of a dream that began when an amazing first-grade teacher told me I’d be a writer someday. If there’s one thing I take away from being an author, it’s that sense of wonder at being able to do something I think I was meant to do all along. That's success, I think. Success is in finding a way to use your gifts and talents to uplift and encourage others, and to leave the world, and other people, better off than you found them.

Lisa, I am so glad your brother began writing! What a gift the Lord has given you. What a gift He has given us that we might know Him better. You are just lovely and a wonderful guest. Thank you for sharing your heart and letting us peek into your life. We can clearly see the Lord shining brightly.

Again, I always grab hold of a nugget to carry away and today it is your grandmother's words of wisdom,  "Be patient, everything doesn't have to work itself out today."  How very true and how easily we forget. Blessings to you Lisa. I pray continued success through your life in reaching others for Christ Jesus.

If you would like to see all Lisa is doing just click on the link and it will take you to her website:
www.lisawingate.com
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