Q&A Session!

And… we’re diving right in!

Know how last week I said I would do a Q&A session? Well, here is that post. (Yay!)

First of all, THANK YOU so so much to four very special followers:

Thank you so much to you awesome gals for submitting Q&A questions! I really hope you enjoy my answers. (And they each have blogs, so go take a look, y’all.)

And TRILLIONS of thank yous to everyone who filled out the blog survey. It is truly much appreciated. Rest assured that your feedback has been taken to heart.

So… here we go!

From Issabelle

Thank you, Issabelle, for submitting a question!

Q: What was the first story you wrote?

A: *cringes remembering my first stories*

Okay, so when I first started writing at four years old, I plagiarized EVERYTHING. American Girl books, mainly. So honestly, I don’t remember the first story I wrote from my own head. But here are some titles I do remember, which I believe I authored when I was five or six years old. (Maybe seven?)

The Accidents – This one was about a girl named Joy (I wasn’t very creative with names yet!) who kept getting injured because of the crazy stuff she would do. (Yeah, this is STILL me.) I don’t remember all the mishaps that came to pass in that story, but I do remember that at one point Joy danced on the school bleachers and fell off. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Christian Short Stories for Kids – This one was a collection of about five stories. I don’t remember all of them, but one was about a girl who put lipstick on at school so her mom wouldn’t know (’cause her mom didn’t let her). Then the mom came to school and the girl frantically tried to get the lipstick off but apparently it was permanent or something. ๐Ÿ˜‚ And the mom forgave her. (Yay!) Another was about some siblings who were told not to play in the “thorn fields” and did anyway. Then the little brother was badly cut by a thorn and they tried to heal the wound. Their father found out and forgave them. (Yay!)

So yeah, those are a couple stories I remember!

Thanks again for the question, Issabelle!!

From Grace

Ooh, thank you for all these questions, Grace! They are awesome. I am extremely excited to answer, so…

Q: When did you first start writing?

A: I was four years old when I first learned to write, and as soon as I learned I began writing stories like crazy. I wrote in crayons and markers and highlighters – and sometimes wrote on the wrong stuff. Once my dad left some VERY important papers out and I wrote a story all over them! IN. CRAYON. I’m sorry, Papi!

Needless to say though, the stuff I wrote then could be called “stories” for a four-year-old, but they were hardly stories. I would say that I wrote my first resemblance to a novel when I was seven years old, maybe eight. At seven I began buying 200-page composition notebooks from Dollar Tree and wrote in those, mostly novels about girls going on adventures. Then at eight I wrote a series of six novels about the characters and world in Mario Super Sluggers. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Q: What’s your favorite part of writing?

A: The powerful connections I make.

I’ve found that writing makes me much more empathetic. It makes me connect with people I seemingly have nothing in common with. I mean, think about Temira from The Apostle’s Sister. Not only does she live 2,000 years ago, but she’s the sister of an apostle and a mother of two. Not to mention all the other differences between her life and mine. How could I possibly connect enough with her to write a novel from her POV? Yet I do. Because at first glance it may seem I can’t relate to Temira or even to Paul. But through writing, St. Paul and his sister have become real to me. So real. They felt pain and joy and hopelessness just like me. They were real people, after all. They’re in the Bible. And because I now realize how real they were, I feel with them and I empathize.

And when I read other authors’ books, I empathize with the characters and situations in those books although I may be so different from them. Take my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t remember what it’s like to be a little girl, not even ten years old yet (I honestly can’t remember my life before I turned ten). I don’t know what it’s like to be that little girl during Jim Crow in the deep, racist South. I don’t know what it’s like to be the daughter of a lawyer who makes the hated decision – to defend a black person. Yet I empathize with Scout.

I want to give readers that same experience when they read my books. I want to help them build those connections, and in turn they will share that compassion with others, and the world will be a better place. If only one person is impacted, that is enough for me and I will rest assured they will make the world better. Nothing is too small for God.

Writing is a very powerful tool to draw people closer to God. My favorite part of it is that God has mercifully given me that gift, and I can use it to bring more sheep into his fold.

Q: Who has been your biggest support (in life and your writing career)?

A: Oh, my goodness, I count myself extremely blessed to have so many supportive people in my life.

I go to a Christian school where everyone is family. My principal and teachers are always so supportive, not only of me, but of every student. They’ve helped me through the toughest times and done so much for me, both in life and in writing. Just last week my principal got me into a writing event because she knows about my aspirations. And when I once got Top 15 in a writing contest, my Tech teacher had it announced in the school newsletter.

Then there are all my school friends. My friends always listen and never laugh at what I want to do. In fact, they tell me I’ll do awesome. I FaceTime one of my best friends every week, and the other day during our call I was telling her about some discouragement I was facing. She told me, “Joy, never think you aren’t enough!” I so needed to hear that.

I don’t know what I would do without my parents – I have so much to be grateful to them for. They’ve always stood by me and I know they always will. My older brother inspires me. I talk to my grandfather once every week. Everyone in my family is so supportive.

So I can’t say one specific person. I’ve been blessed with such a huge support system.

Q: What genres (aside from Biblical fiction) do you want to write in?

A: Excellent question!

Biblical fiction will definitely always be my specialty. It’s the genre I mainly want to be known for. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever write in other genres.

One of my life goals is to get some historical fiction written and published. I would love to write stories set during the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, because I’ve always found those time periods and events so fascinating. I would really love to write a historical fiction about the evils of racism, since that’s a subject I’m very passionate about.

And I REALLY want to write a fiction novel delving into Mexican history. For those of y’all who didn’t know, I am a proud mixed girl, half Mexican and half Caucasian! I want to write a novel that shows how much I love and appreciate my culture and background. Mexicans have suffered racial discrimination, and that includes discrimination against biracial kids. Biracial marriages have been looked down upon in the past and are sometimes still looked down upon. As a biracial kid myself, I’m very passionate about that subject. And it’s been around forever, like in the Bible with Jews and Gentiles!

So yes, historical fiction. And I honestly wouldn’t mind writing contemporary fiction if inspiration for that kind of novel ever strikes.

Thank you again for your questions, Grace! They were so well thought out! XD

From Madisyn

Thank you for submitting questions, Madisyn! I was literally so excited when first reading them because they are DEEP. I love deep questions! So…

Q: What/Who first inspired you to write?

A: My love of writing was sparked within me before I even learned to read. I remember being so jealous as I watched my older brother read and write. I used to endlessly demand when I would learn to do all that cool word stuff, too.

When I was five years old I began reading American Girl books. I loved the author bios on the back covers, and began to dream of how awesome it would be if I had my own bio on my own back cover someday. I checked out as many books from the library as I could and devoured them in one sitting. I would visit the bookstore, select some books, and sit there for hours reading them so I wouldn’t have to buy them. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I enjoyed playing at the park, being a ballerina, watching Curious George, and other little activities, of course. But writing was always my real passion. After a while I would get tired of doing anything else. Unlike a lot of kids, I could sit perfectly still for hours upon hours reading or writing. While other kids were excited over the new TV show, I was excited over the new story idea.

Reading the Anne of Green Gables series was what finally drilled into my little head that writing was the thing I needed to do. I admired L.M. Montgomery so much. After reading that series, writing was something I couldn’t escape. Every day my hunger for it grew.

And here I am now, still doing it! XD

Q: What inspired you to begin your blog?

A: I had heard a lot of advice that aspiring writers should have a platform. It’s a great way for people to reach you and communicate with you.

And I just love talking about my writing life and what I’m doing for the growth of Christ’s Kingdom. I hope that through sharing my journey, I can inspire and help others. I pray that every word on my blog will be used to bring someone closer to Christ. I don’t know the situation of everyone who reads my blog, but I know that many people (and not only teens) are dealing with loneliness and tragedy. I want them to feel comforted and encouraged by everything they read on here. A blog is a great opportunity to witness, to create a safe place on the Internet while it’s so often filled with negativity and hatred.

Q: Besides the Bible, what is a book that has touched your life?

A: So many! I’ll list some fiction books first:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Completely transformed my relationship with Jesus. It helped me feel, more profoundly than ever, that a Christian’s mission is to spread love instead of hatred and light instead of darkness. It forever changed my view of the human race and taught me how merciful God really is. It made me more determined than ever to stand up for what’s right and help to put an end to racism.
  • The Two from Galilee Trilogy by Marjorie Holmes: This series is what made me feel God’s calling to be a Biblical fiction writer, and inspired me to begin writing The Apostle’s Sister. It made me see, for the first time, that Jesus really WAS a breathing human with feelings just like ours. So were all other Bible figures. That realization changed my life.

Next, here are some nonfiction books that touched my life:

  • A Trip Into the Supernatural by Roger J. Morneau: This book is so incredibly powerful and moving. I highly recommend it. It’s what convinced me to become a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian.
  • The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by David Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards: This book made me so sad and yet filled me with so much hope at the same time. It taught me to be more grateful to God, and more faithful through suffering.

Q: What is your favorite Bible verse/story, and why?

A: My favorite Bible verse is Romans 5:8 – “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 verse of the day image
Image Credit – Faithlife Proclaim

I love Romans 5:8 because it basically just sums up the whole Bible. The Bible, in its every word and every story, is all about how God sent Jesus to die for us because he loved us while we were still sinners. STILL sinners. That word “still” is so significant to me. It means that God didn’t wait to love us until we accepted him, he loved us while we resisted him. It means that God loves sinners forever, although not everyone will repent. He loves even those he knows will not repent, and he grieves over them.

It’s just incredible to me that Jesus died a painful, shameful, horrible death, all while knowing I was ungrateful. This is such a powerful verse.

My two top favorite Bible stories are:

  • Jesus calls a child the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-6). I think this story is just so beautiful. I love how Jesus told the disciples, “Unless you become like little children, you will never enter heaven” (18:3). It’s amazing how Jesus honored the children, while other adults looked down on them and patronized them. Children are just so pure and innocent. There is no hatred in their hearts. They don’t see color, they don’t see gender, they don’t see disability. They’re so accepting. Sadly, they are taught to discriminate, and Jesus condemns those who teach them this (18:6).
  • Paul’s conversion (see Acts 9). This story has brought me so much hope so many times, and it’s what convinced me I can be forgiven and to turn my life over to Jesus. I love how Paul himself says his conversion is God’s reassurance to us (1 Timothy 1:16).

Q: What is a piece of advice you’d give someone just starting to write?

A: Write your story, because no one else can. Only you can because you have the passion for it.

A story without passion is a sad and pathetic thing. And no one will be passionate to write your story as you are. You are called to write it. Just sit down and start. I’m not going to say it’s easy, because that would be lying. It is hard – very hard. But it’ll be worth it, and you’re never alone on the journey.

For those who didn’t know, I love Celine Dion music, and one of my favorite songs of hers is this one:

I’m literally listening to it right now, haha.

This song reminds me so much of my passion for writing and encourages me to keep going. I especially connect with the lyrics “When you want it the most there’s no easy way out // When you’re ready to go and your heart’s left in doubt // Don’t give up on your faith // Love comes to those who believe it // And that’s the way it is.”

That’s EXACTLY the way it is with writing! The more you want to tell this story, the tougher it will be. You’ll have days when you want to write but literally have to drag yourself to your chair. (The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, lol.) No one said it would be easy, but keep the faith and BELIEVE!

*leaning back in my chair and thinking I nailed that piece of advice*

Hopefully I did…

Thanks again for the questions, Madisyn! They were an honor to answer! *takes a bow*

From Katherine

Thanks for the questions, Katherine! I can’t wait to answer yours, and hope you enjoy my answers! These look super fun…

Q: What is your favorite Disney movie?

A: Frozen, just because Olaf.

Image Credit – Amazon

Yeah, just because Olaf.

Q: What do you hope to find in a treasure chest?

A: A few things.

  1. A $500 Amazon gift card so I can buy a ton of books!
  2. A chocolate cake that I won’t have to share with anyone. (Yes, seriously.)
  3. A plane ticket to Europe. I want to take a Biblical tour!
  4. Another plane ticket to Washington, D.C. I went there with my school for an eighth grade trip, but I feel like back then I didn’t appreciate it as much as I would if I visited now. I REALLY wanna go back.

Q: What is the last movie you watched?

A: The Disney movie UP.

Image result for up amazon
Image Credit – Amazon

Last Thursday was drive-in movie night at my school, and it was so much fun! They served Italian food and dessert. I liked the movie, but to be honest, I was mostly thinking about the food…

Q: If you were given three wishes, what would you wish for?

A: Here are my three wishes.

  1. That everyone would be saved.
  2. That the covid would go away.
  3. That I could finish my books in one day!

Q: Do you have a favorite flower?

A: I apologize if this is boring, but I have a PASSIONATE love for white roses.

Image Credit – Desiring God

I just love what white roses signify. They signify purity and surrender. I love it when brides carry white roses along with their white wedding dresses. Not only does white represent the beautiful purity of the bride as she unites with her husband (2 Corinthians 11:2), it represents her holy submission to the husband as head of their marriage (Ephesians 5:22-23). And this in turn represents our union with Christ. I love that our relationship with Christ is “as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).

White roses, to me, are so beautiful because they remind me of this. They stand for light in the midst of darkness, as the above image shows very well.

Another flower I really like is the poppy.

Image result for desiring god poppies
Image Credit – Desiring God

This is because I love the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. Fun fact about me: I love war poetry. Another poet whose works I admire is Wilfred Owen. War poetry is some of the most powerful to me. It really makes me think; that’s why I like it so much.

Thank you again for these questions, Katherine! They were so much fun to answer.

Hope you guys enjoyed!

I really hope you guys enjoyed this Q&A session and feel like you know me a bit better!

Again, thank you so much to the four amazing gals who submitted questions, and thank you so much to all you awesome people who completed the blog survey!

So, let’s chat! How’s life and writing? What are YOUR answers to some of these questions?

You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!

Joy

24 thoughts on “Q&A Session!

Add yours

  1. Where to start, where to start… I could probably write a response the length of a blog on this, but I’ll try keeping it concise (ha, good luck, self).
    Love this, love this, love this!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wonderful answers! I always find how-I-began-writing stories inspiring. Aww, you’re so welcome! โค *bows back* I was afraid I asked too many question, to be honest.
    "To Kill A Mockingbird"! Yes! I love that book. There are so many things we can learn from it, and despite the serious plot, it's actually quite humorous. And I wasn't quite that young when I began reading American Girl Books, but I loved them! I still have the one that goes with my Felicity doll. Her, Josephine, and Kaya were my favorites.
    I love your reasons for beginning a blog! What a way to touch lives for Christ. There are so many ways we can witness on a blog, and I really admire your forthrightness and openness.
    Romans 5:8 and the Bible Stories – yes! So powerful, and your testimony is really moving. I don't think we realize as we should just all what Jesus endured. Crucifixion is agonizing, and most who were crucified hadn't gone through the torture He had beforehand.
    The writing advice! Something I actually needed to hear, and definitely something everyone in the beginning stages of writing should take to heart. Others may have a passion for writing, but they can never write your story. This is so, so important.
    Thank you for such in-depth answers! I thoroughly enjoyed it! I'd love to have you on Madi's Musings sometime for an interview.
    Happy writing!!!!!!!

    Like

    1. Lol, I am the queen of long comments. And they are seriously the best to read!
      Aww, I’m so glad you enjoyed my answers! I loved all the questions. No number of questions is too many.
      Another TKAM fan! *virtual high-five* Totally agree with you! American girl books were awesome. I have the Felicity doll, too. Josefina and Kaya were two of my favorites, although I really liked Caroline.
      Thank you so much! Oh my goodness, yes. Crucifixion was absolutely the worst way to die. With our modern lens we sometimes struggle to realize the horror of it.
      That makes me happy to know I actually did nail the writing advice. ๐Ÿ˜‚ It was my pleasure to answer your questions. Aww, I’d love to do that! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Caroline is an awesome American Girl doll!!!! (Haha, it makes a lot of sense why you like her so much.๐Ÿ˜‚) I actually have the Caroline doll. My other favorite American Girl doll is Kirsten.

        Like

        1. Yup, ’cause Caroline is part of my name, lol. I also connect with Josefina because of my Mexican side. It’s cool how the American girl series is full of characters anyone can relate to!

          Like

  2. Oh, Joy! I loved this! I loved reading all your answers and learning more about you! This was so much fun, and can I just say you are so profound? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  3. That was so fun to read!! I couldnโ€™t submit a question earlier, but these were all so fun!! I love what you said about this being a safe place: every night when Iโ€™m praying, I thank God for this wonderful blogosphere, and all the wonderful gals behind it. It makes my day to read posts and comments!!
    In my writing world, things are a little slow, but I recently did a lot of character development, and I really know my characters a lot better now!! I just realized I never actually said what my WIP was about( I think at least) so Iโ€™ll say now: itโ€™s about a girl who goes on a camping trip with her school, but the teachers get kidnapped and itโ€™s up to her to keep the kids alive and in high spirits. But because sheโ€™s the โ€œleaderโ€ of sorts, she gets wrapped up in a huge conspiracy. Ok Iโ€™m actually gonna go write now!!! Once again thanks for all the smiles youโ€™ve given me and God bless you!!

    Like

    1. Thanks! Aww, that’s so sweet! *puts hand to heart*
      Same here! I think I need to do a lot more character development before resuming the actual narration.
      Your story sounds awesome! Def one I would want to read. And now you’ve got me curious about what that conspiracy entails. If my teachers got kidnapped I believe I would just freak out ๐Ÿ˜‚
      Happy writing! Your comments always make my day, God bless you too!

      Like

      1. You are so welcome!! <33
        Yeah character development is always helpful!! Thanks!! So glad you might want to read it!! I would love to read TAS and The Anointed!! Haha yeah my main character( her name is Brianna) is really strong!
        Thank you so much!!

        Like

  4. Awwww, I LOVED all these answers, Joy!!!
    *Gasps* I was a HUGE American Girl fan too when I was younger! I read your reply to Madi and GIRL. Josefina, Kaya, and Caroline were my favorites also!!!! I think I liked Caroline the most out of all of them, but that was probably because it was special to get to read them since they were almost never available at the library! XD
    Ooooh, that’s so cool how you’re half Mexican!!! You should TOTALLY write about Mexican history. That’d be really fun to read about! ๐Ÿ˜€
    (Also, I got TKAM from the library and am gonna read it SUPER soon!!! I’m SOOO excited!) ๐Ÿ˜€

    Like

    1. Thanks, Victoria!
      Lol, that’s awesome! I actually still have not read Changes for Caroline. I really need to do that sometime.
      Thank you, I should! It would be a cool experience for me to write about my culture.
      YAY!! *cheering super loudly* I am soooooooooo excited for you to read it, you’re gonna love it!

      Like

  5. You’re welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚
    *Gasps* Oh my goodness, you HAVE to read Changes for Caroline! That was by far my favorite book of hers! XD
    YESSS!!! I really hope I will! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Like

  6. OLAF IS AWESOME. I agree with you 100%. And when you answer the question, “Whatโ€™s your favorite part of writing?” with the answer: “The powerful connections I make.” that was just beautiful! Loved reading this post!

    Like

  7. Thank you so much for answering my questions!!!!!!! I had some much fun reading your answers!!!!!!! Frozen is amazing!!!!!! And Up is an awesome movie too!!! The last movie I watched was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. (I wish I was watching Up with you instead. XD).
    White roses are sooo pretty! Also, I really enjoyed reading about when you first started writing! And I love the Bible verse Romans 5:8!!!! Awesome awesome post!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    1. Of course, thank you for submitting them! I have never seen Pirates of the Caribbean, but I remember the ride at Disneyland ๐Ÿ˜‚ It would be awesome if you had watched UP with me!
      Thank you so much!

      Like

  8. GREAT ANSWERS!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to be sooo obsessed with American Girl. (You know they made a doll once named Isabelle. It was soo perfect. XD) I LOOOOOVE your purpose for this blog. Also white roses are BEAUTIFUL!!!! Again, really enjoyed reading the post! <33

    Like

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