I am honored to have Nan Jones as my guest today.
Welcome, Nan. Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina (Ashe County) about 10 minutes from Virginia and about 20 minutes from Tennessee. My home is a farmhouse built in 1895 with a much loved wrap-around porch, complete with rocking chairs and porch swing, that replenishes my spirit when I feel worn. I have three adult children in their late 20s and one grandchild. Talk about joy! I love the dynamics that occur in a parent-adult child relationship. Watching the fruit of my labor sweeten the world around them is a delight of my heart. My simple country home wouldn't be complete without my Mastiff, Blue - a 125 lb. hunk of love and two country cats. When I'm not writing or preparing messages for my speaking ministry, you'll find me gardening, crocheting, reading or sharing a cup of coffee with a friend.
How and when did you begin to write?
As a child I was an avid reader and have always enjoyed the power of story. I am also an artist. Around age 10 or so, I realized that I could put my two passions together and paint with my words. That's when I fell in love with words! I wrote poems and short stories. I made designs with random words. I experimented with rhythms created by different sequences of words. This love of words seemed to ooze out of me. When I was 12 I made a list of my life goals. Writing a book was number one.
Throughout my life, writing was a hobby. I used my talent to help with church newsletters. I wrote poems and made cards as gifts. Occasionally I'd write a small piece for publication in an anthology, but writing was still something I did, not something I was. About five years ago my husband and I went through an extensive period of unemployment. It was at that time that my husband encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing full-time. And I did. I created my blog, Morning Glory, began networking with other writers and professionals in the industry, and studied the craft of writing diligently. I still do.
How did you first become a published writer?
I am with a small, traditional publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Lighthouse delights in giving new voices a chance to be heard—I love that. How many great voices, messages, and stories have been neglected because the author didn't have an agent or couldn't afford to attend a large writer's conference to meet face to face? Lighthouse is a branch of Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us). They host a small conference in Black Mountain, NC at Billy Graham's, The Cove every February called Writer's Advance Boot Camp. It's a great place to begin a publishing journey. The conference averages 100 people and costs less than $250 for lodging, food, and conference fees. That's where I met Eddie Jones, my publisher. I was actually the first recipient of their Badge of Honor book writing contest. I'll never forget the day I signed that first contract. I had waited and dreamed for so long, and now it was really happening.
Can you give our readers a short description of The Perils of a Pastor's Wife?
In The Perils of a Pastor's Wife, I offer a hand to hold, aha moments of healing, and soul-strengthening biblical insight. If you're a pastor's wife struggling with your calling, this book presents a lifeline of hope and encouragement. You will be empowered to fight spiritual battles with God's grace and love, protected by His armor. Learn creative ways to stand up for yourself while standing by your man. Feel the blessing of your calling—as a ministry helper, marriage partner, and mother. Discover how to respond when all hell breaks loose. The Perils of a Pastor's Wife will guide you through the calamities of life and restore your confidence in God's purpose and plan for your life and ministry.
Most important of all, the reader will realize that somewhere, somehow, someone knows and understands.
What led you to write The Perils of a Pastor's Wife?
I served as a pastor's wife for 31 years. These were some of the most fulfilling and rewarding years of my life. These years were also some of the most trying—not necessarily because of the people, but because of the spiritual battle that raged. Our lives could be turned upside down as quickly as the wind changes in a storm. A pastor's wife knows what it is to feel completely alone in the middle of a crowd. We are known to have trust issues—wondering who we can really be ourselves with and share our hearts with when we're troubled. Rejection is another deep-seeded hurt that most folks don’t think about when they consider the lives of pastors and their wives. We love our church people like they are family. When we are asked to leave or voted out because of the annual confidence vote (a rural mountain tradition) it's like going through a divorce. The pain is unbearable. But most people don't think about that. I knew that other pastors' wives needed to know that they were not alone in their struggles and that someone understood what they were going through.
The Lord has taught me so much through this journey of service to Him—lessons of His faithfulness, lessons of His pleasure in obedient hearts, and lessons of finding shelter beneath the shadow of His Wing. I am so thankful He asked me to share this with His girls.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on another non-fiction piece tentatively called SEEING BEYOND THE VEIL: Finding the Nearness of God When You Need Him the Most. It's all about learning to look for the evidence of God in our lives. You know, we tend to think that when we're going through a difficult time God has abandoned us. Through my own sorrows I've learned deep in my knower that during my darkest moments, that's when the Lord is closest—He is drawn to our pain. But I must open my eyes to see Him. That's the veil I'm referring to, not the veil in the temple that separated God's people from Him—the one that was torn in two when Jesus died. No, I'm referring to the veil that separates our physical world from the spiritual world. The Lord promised to be with us always, but we often fail to see Him, especially when we need Him the most. Seeing Beyond the Veil will teach the reader how to open her eyes to see Him, and in the seeing, the child of God learns the very essence of who He is. I've recently started a facebook community page by the same name, Seeing Beyond the Veil. I get carried away when I speak about this because I love to share lessons learned, so I'm sorry I rambled. Suffice it to say that I'm very excited about sharing what the Lord has shown me about His faithfulness and His Presence surrounding us always. There will be a bible study for small groups by the same name to follow, so stay tuned.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
The word that comes to mind is diligence. Be diligent in all things and write for an audience of One. I found it is imperative to be diligent as unto the Lord. When we offer our labor to Him it makes all the difference because, as writers, it's our responsibility to plant His love through our work and then leave the harvest up to Him. Frustration will easily set in without this mindset because if we think success is only measured in reaching thousands of readers, but the Lord intends our message to reach just a handful, it's easy to think we have failed. But that's not true at all. God's ways are not our ways. Our job is to be obedient to Him and take each step as He leads us and then leave the results up to Him. If only one person reads our blog, have we done it in vain? No, not if we have done it as an offering to the Lord. I've learned that if only one person reads something I've written it's because that person is the one the Lord designated to receive that word. In that knowledge I can cease striving, but remain diligent.
I highly recommend Marlene Bagnull's book, Write His Answer. It was the first book on writing I read and I still refer to her wisdom often. Also, like it or not, we must be engaged on social media. Edie Melson has an awesome blog, The Write Conversation, that will teach you everything you need to know.
Please give us the first page of The Perils of a Pastor's Wife.
AFTER THE FIRE,
A GENTLE WHISPER
ONLY GOD KNEW where my husband was. I had run from
the business meeting before its completion. Tempers
flared. Tongues were unleashed, and nearly three years
of fruitful ministry were all but destroyed. My heart beat
madly within my chest, fighting desperately not to break
from the pain of rejection. Angry tears stung my cheeks
as I bolted from the sanctuary. I didn’t know if I could
continue in this thing called ministry. God was asking too
much of me.
My husband, David, and I had been ministering in the
small rural church for three years. Under his leadership
and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the church had experienced
exponential growth. God’s mercy and grace flowed into
the lives of our people. Church had become a place of joy,
restoration, and refuge.
Then evil reared its ugly head.
How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
I can be reached by following any of the links listed below. I would love to hear from you.
Facebook: Nan Trammell Jones
Facebook Community Page: Seeing Beyond the Veil
(a place to find the nearness of God when you need Him the most)
Pinterest: Nan Jones, Author
To contact Nan about a speaking event or prayer retreat, please visit her website or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org