January’s FEATURED AUTHOR is Nancy J. Rich and she is an aspiring Christian author.
Ree Vera: “Please tell us about yourself.”
Nancy: “I am a born-again Christian with a dark-side succeeding from my past failures. Let me explain: Because of my past failures, writing has turned from a therapeutic means of survival to a passion growing inside me and given me lots of material.
I first began writing in 1992 as a young Christian writing short poems, short personal stories, and a few skits. Although my pastor and his wife encouraged me to write and to one day publish, I did not consider myself or my writings as worthy.
After my husband retired from the Marine Corps, we moved to his hometown of Rich Hill, fostered and soon adopted two young brothers, and became a family. It was through foster parenting that we discovered the dark-side of our sons' past upraising. Their wounds, especially our oldest son's, ran deep as we heard of the many atrocities they lived with. We tried very hard to raise them the best we could. During this time, I fell in love with the medical field and the knowledge it afforded me.
As much as I loved learning in and working in nursing and in the emergency medical services, I craved more at every turn. I tried LPN, but that didn't work out. I tried paramedic studies, but that too did not work out. (Not because of grades, but because of growing older, family, and financial problems.) This is where my life took a big plunge and I found myself and my family deep in debt, myself unemployed, and deeply depressed feeling like I had lost everything.
I began creative writing again while trying to work as a part-time dispatcher. Working as the night shift dispatcher for a small town does not keep one very busy. Writing became a source of killing time. Unfortunately, dispatching was not a good fit so I was unemployed again. I soon, reluctantly, returned to the work I wanted to leave behind me—working in a nursing home. Caring for the elderly is where I shine the most. I kept writing to work out my frustrations and the remnants of my insecurities.
Today, I grow more and more in submission to God's call on my life to write. I have many friends, family, co-workers, residents, and a network of other writers determined to keep me accountable to continuously grow in my writing and finishing projects. They inspire me. They pray for me. They urge and cheer me on. It would not surprise me if angels were rooting for me in heaven.
What I write always stems on the dark-side, even in some of the children's stories. Many project dark crevasses revealing what people try to mask and to hide about themselves while some of my lighthearted works take on little shavings of darkness, but all reveal the wonderful hope of finding that light at the end of the tunnel that dispels the darkness that tries to devour our souls.
I am a recent graduate of the Institute for Children's Literature home course and they have invited me to apply to their advanced course. My first novel is in the capable hands of a professional copy editor.
By the way, both sons are grown and are living on their own. We miss them, however, Greg and I are enjoying being a couple again—along with the two four-legged dog-children. We definitely have plenty to stay busy!
Ree Vera: “Why should people read your work?”
Nancy: “I have been given a perspective of where hurt comes from and what people will do to rid their lives of its pain. During my studies in the medical field, I became fascinated with the human body. Anatomy and Physiology was and still is my favorite subject. I am a very visual reader and learner which intensifies this perspective in my mind and I try hard to describe what I see in my writing.
Every person lives with a past history they are very much ashamed of and desire to hide, whether it is their own wrongs or the wrongs inflicted upon them. I want to encourage people and let them know they have hope; they don't have to be enslaved to their dark side.”
Ree Vera: “What are you currently working on?”
Nancy: “I have finished typing out my first novel and it is in the capable hands of a professional copy editor. YAY!
When you read this interview, I will be sacrificing television, supper breaks at work, and sleep time to bang out a 50,000 word novel for a novel writing contest called JANO. NaNo is in November, but JANO is in January through a writer's group in Springfield, Missouri, Sleuth's Ink. I also plan to take some vacation time during January from work. Needless to say, if I'm not writing, I will be deep cleaning the house for a change.”
Ree Vera: “Is there a place people can view your writing?”
Nancy: “I feature writings on my website and facebook page under the Notes section. I have a few poems and short stories, and I have to admit, some characters are frozen in time in a blog book I haven't been able to get back to. Sigh! The title is STRUGGLING IN THE DARKNESS.”
Ree Vera: “Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or your prospective on writing?”
Nancy: “There is a great future in Christian fiction and I want to get on this train with authors who have inspired me through their works: Ted Dekker, Frank E. Peretti, Terri Blackstock, Brandyln Collins, and Jerry B. Jenkins. Their works has helped me to further my understanding of the importance of expanding a perspective of what God can do in people's lives if they will place their trust in Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
By the way, I don't just read Christian fiction. I am a great fan of John Grissom, Robert Ludlum, Edgar Allen Poe, and Lewis Carroll. I have read every Donna Parker book written when I was still in my innocence, however, my innocence took a bad turn when I discovered Rosemary Rogers as a teen. She is a very visual writer, but she takes the imagination to a depth of fantasy that can defile the purity of God-intended sex and romance. Some fiction should be rated like movies and television programs.
I conclude by saying to any who are thinking about/realizing that writing may be their calling, just their hobby, or are feel unsure/unworthy…my advice to them is just do it. Journals of all sorts help us all release our failures, chronicle our victories, and sort out our tangled lives. When we write stories, we can distance ourselves a little so the emotional effects are less harsh because characters are experiencing the emotions involved in the situation. And think about this, if you have survived a traumatic situation, don't you think others could benefit from your experience while battling in the same or similar situation?
Thank you for taking the time to read about this wonderful aspiring author. If you would like to contact Nancy J. Rich, here is how:
Facebook page: Nancy J. Rich
Ree Vera: “Would you like to leave us with a sample of your writing?”
Nancy: “I wrote this humorous story after reading an article in Writer's Digest on writer's journals. When I read they resemble a spider web, my imagination went a little crazy.”
"Spider Web Writer's Journal"
I am sitting on my couch just finishing up my prayer journal when I remember I had committed myself to starting a Writer's Journal for the sake of not loosing inspiration for any future writings.
Going to my closet, still stacked to the hilt with notebooks containing unfinished projects collecting dust, I grab my last ringed notebook. How is it I can start so much and just cram it in the closet? With a sigh and an overwhelming wave of overload crashing on top of my head like all the trees in the world falling down to make the paper for this journal, I return to the couch to begin the first day.
At first I did not know what to write. "What do one of these journals look like? I need an example." I turned to my Writer's Digest magazine returning to the article that gave the inspiration. The author described her journal as a spider web of ideas and notes. "Okay," I said to myself, "let's see if I can duplicate it."
Although the parallel lines made the drawing difficult, I began to draw a spider web spiraling from the middle of the page and around till I had nowhere else to go. I drew lines from the middle circle to the edge of the page to make the web look reinforced, then began to place short snippets in various places or short info about notes. I was having a great time with this new, wonderful invention, until.....
I did not see where it came from. It did not jump suddenly on the page, but gently glided down onto it. Naturally, I shrieked, my arms flying in the air and my legs jumping almost dumping all the contents on my lap to the floor. What sat on the spider web I had drawn was a good size black widow spider!
I froze in terror as it walked around the page looking at each one of lines and the snippets written on them. It seemed unconcerned of its safety or of my presence, to that matter. It would stop at a snippet, read it, then move on to the next. With each passing moment, I waited in amazement. I fumbled slowly with my hands for something nearby in order to strike the spider, if needed, but my eyes remained on the spider and its unusual actions.
Finally, the spider looked up at me and with its little head cocked and a foot under its chin, it says to me, "What are you doing to my spider web?"
"Your spider web?" I asked in total shock, "What do you mean your spider web? It is my writer's journal so I can organize my thoughts onto a page. Now would you mind telling me what you mean, your spider web."
All the sudden, it occurred to me I was having a conversation with a black widow spider! Am I dreaming? Have I become delusional or am I hallucinating? My head began to spin, but I force myself to maintain control—I do have a black widow spider on my lap, after all.
The spider rubbed its chin as though considering what it should say next. It looked back up to me and said still unconcerned, "I think we have a little dilemma here. One we should walk out before one of us gets hurt."
Delusion or hallucination, I did not care at this point. This spider sounded as though it were warning me of some harm if I did not relinquish this of this spider web drawing. But, being the good-natured Christian I was, I decided to reason with the little varmint.
"I wonder if you would be able to capture anything with this spider web. It was drawn onto a piece of paper with an ink pen. Absolutely nothing will stick within the lines so you can cocoon it and eat it. Did this ever cross your mind?" I said leaning comfortably back and crossing my arms.
"Tie that one on, Missy!" I said to myself.
The spider pointed a leg at my nose and demanded, "You have two seconds to rid my web of this garbage!"
My eyes widened in madness (literally)!
"It’s ink, you furry, eight-legged bug! A little red ink on your belly and a little venom is suppose to scare me into giving you a web that won't even work for you? I drew it! What part of this don't you understand?"
I can't believe I am yelling at a bug!
The black widow gives out a long sigh, rears up on its front legs showing off its red spot, and makes a kind of a low, hissing sound.
My hand finds a book lay on the table next to me. Picking up the book, I send it crashing down upon the creature with the intent to kill. When the book landed on its target, I ensured the spider's destruction by pounding the book with my fists.
"Try to scare me into giving you my journal!" I cried, "You're a dead spider, widow!"
Feeling confident the black widow was now a splatter on the page and a guew on the back of the book, I slowly lift the book off the paper. But the spider was gone! I look all around for the blasted thing not finding it anywhere.
Now I was getting scared!
I jump up from the couch tossing cushions and lifting furniture. I caused quite the disarray in my neatly cleaned living room. Still not finding the little furry spider, I fall back onto the couch panting from the exertion and relieved in the thought I must have scared it away forever.
"A-hem!" Came a voice from above my head.
Looking up, I see that bug doing something completely inconceivable; It was laughing!
"I have scared humans and I have bitten humans, but I have never made a human go insane. This is fun! I think I will have to do this again! Bye!"
And that infuriating spider glides up to a crack in the ceiling laughing all the way.
No wonder people don't get along with spiders!!!!