I am overjoyed to announce that author Leslie Montgomery features next in the series.
As you may be aware I asked authors on my facebook page if they would like to appear in a series of *interviews*. I wanted to connect with other writers, find out what they write about, why they write, their thoughts about the writing process, their drives, and learn a little more about them.Please find the full interview below (also linked to my twitter, tumblr, facebook, Goodreads, and google + account).
Please do share with your circle of book friends and leave me a like/comment - thank you very much.
Tell us about your first novel? When did you start writing and why?
The first book I wrote that was ever published was Were It Not for Grace: Women After God’s Own Heart. It was the stories of twelve godly leaders in America who had overcome great tragedy through Christ. Women featured include Condoleezza Rice, former First-lady Laura Bush, Beth Moore, and Joyce Wright among others. The topics cover everything from the death of a loved one to sexual abuse, infertility, and losing a child as well as other stories where women have struggled. I have a real passion to reach those who are hurting and lost, so writing this book was an attempt to reach that market with hope.
My mother likes to say I was born with a pen in hand; it was all she could do to keep me from writing on the walls as a child. From as early as I remember I’ve kept a journal. Entries went from ‘Donny Osmond is as cute as a bug’s ear’ to more serious entries over the years, but that one’s my favorite! Seriously though, I wrote on anything I could get my hands on; bills didn’t get paid because I’d write on the back of them and take them to my room to work on. I drove my parents crazy. By the time I was eight I was putting on productions I’d written for my family complete with commercials and starring my stuffed animal. Hey, don’t knock it - I got rave reviews!
I wrote because I had to; it was in my blood. Writing is to me, like breathing – something I have to do. I grew up in a very abusive environment and it was all I could do to keep my head above water. Writing gave me a voice and one without limits. I could share my feelings through a poem or dive into a story and disappear into another land and time, both escaping what was going on to me and around me. In other words, it kept me sane (although that is debated among some).
The first time I got published was in a newspaper when I was in the 7th grade and my grandmother edited my work for me. From there I got my foot in the door by writing a lot of articles and columns for newspapers for free or for pennies on the dollar. The first time my work began to get published regularly and I started making good money was when I started submitting articles to different divisions of Focus on the Family. It seemed like everything I sent them got published and I was in heaven. My education is in pastoral counseling so I wrote a lot of pieces on various issues from a biblical perspective. 99% of what I write is non-fiction, however, I wrote quite a bit of fiction for FOTF’s Brio at one time. One day out of the blue the Lord put it on my heart to send an article I wrote about on-line addiction to a specific, well-known psychologist, and within a week he contacted me to ghost-write for him. I went on to write all his publications, including television and radio, for two years, then ghost wrote three books for him. He wasn’t the easiest person to work for so after I wrote those books for him I figured if I could make him successful I should be able to write my own books.
Are you self-published or traditional?
All of my books have been published through publishing houses. I’ve learned that the best way to get an acquisitions editor to look at your work is by getting to know them personally and developing a relationship. Often, authors and agents submit their proposals to every publisher that exists, but I have found that in doing so you are wasting your time with submitting them to publishers that don’t publish your type of book. Do some research and make a notebook of who’s who and at what publisher. Follow the role changes on different media sites like Christianretailer.com. Keep up on who is leaving one publishing house and going to another. It seems to me that job’s change frequently within the faith-based publishing houses, so you have to keep up with the changes.
Speaking of agents….this leads me to the age-‘ol question of to have an agent or not. I have a strong writer’s bio so I usually cold-call acquisitions editors after doing research on them and the publisher’s catalog to see if partnering with them would make a good team. Sometimes I get frustrated with doing this just because I’d rather be writing than playing phone tag all day. One day I was talking about this with a friend of mine who asked me to consider signing with an agent. I made the call, signed with an agent, met all the demands of rewriting my bio and answering all their specific questions and waited as my agent shopped my books. Over the course of the next several months my agent went from, ‘This book is excellent just as it is,’ to ‘You need to make these changes’ to ‘You just need to recraft the entire book’ (it was later published with another house as it was). My agent was unable to tell me why the publisher wanted it changed, which drove me nuts. That’s something I would have found out if I had pitched it myself and I felt in the dark. Then, my agent told me some things she was going to do with my books that she never did. Deadlines were missed and goals went unmet. Finally, I said, ‘This isn’t working for me,’ and I cut her loose. Personally, I think she had too many clients for her to keep up with on a day-to-day basis, and I wasn’t willing to fall through the cracks. Today, I pitch my own proposals and book ideas.
For me, I’ve learned the best way to find the right publisher for a book is to pray and wait on the Lord. He will tell me who to give my proposals to and who not too. He is faithful to those who diligently seek Him. Overall, I don’t want to publish anything that His hand is not on or He has not blessed. I lean on Him heavily throughout the writing process. As such, writing a book is one of the times when I feel the closest to the Lord. It’s an extraordinary time of dwelling in His presence and writing as He leads – there’s nothing else like it.
I originally went through Createspace to publish my memoir because there was a demand for it and I was having a hard time getting it published through a traditional publishing house. Createspace will only sell to you the number of books you ask for so if you want 5 or 500 they will produce them, put them on all of the national and international book distribution sites, handle the money aspect and deposit the cash into your account. I like those things about it.
What I don’t like about it is that your final product never looks like a professionally bound release by traditional publishing houses. Also, unless you are a marketing genius you aren’t going to get the attention you want and deserve to have. While your mom may show your work off to anyone who will listen, most media sources (even local) aren’t going to be interested in doing stories on you or your book if it’s self-published.
Start building your platform yesterday (I meant to write that). In other words, get it up and get it going NOW! All I want to do is write books. I don’t want to have to build my platform by spending time on the internet, calling people, setting up interviews, and writing a daily blog, but I have to and so do you so get over and get it done.
How many books have you written?
I have written twelve books with four of them being ghost-written.
1. Were it Not For Grace: Stories of Women After God’s Own Heart (Broadman & Holman/Lifeway)
2. Engaging the Enemy: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Cook Communications Publishing)
3. A Parent’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Good News Publishers & Crossway Books)
4. Redemptive Suffering: Lesson’s Learned from the Garden of Gethsemane (Good News Publishers & Crossway Books)
5. The Faith of Condoleezza Rice (Good News Publisher’s & Crossway Books)
6. Metamorphosis: God’s Gift of Transformation (TBA)
7. Resurrecting Sissy: A Memoir of God’s Power to Breathe Life Into A Dying Soul (TBA)
8. Finding the Father I Never Had (TBA)
Any future projects?
As I go through life I watch for information and research on a several different topics that I long to write about. I have been working on a couple of books over the last several years, taking the time to write on them as time allows. At some point, when I feel I have a strong skeleton for a book I’ll submit a proposal to a publisher. One is tentatively called Love & Intimacy with God and Others, and the other is Men as Tree’s Walking: God’s Gift of Progressive Healing.
Who is your favorite character of your books and why?
Since I write predominately non-fiction, I generally write about the Trinity and the Bible, which really are my favorite “characters.” I have been reading the Bible habitually for twenty-two years and have learned that the more I know, the more there is yet to know. God rewards those who diligently seek Him and there’s nothing I enjoy more than sitting before Him basking in His glory and talking with Him.
Where can readers find your books?
You can find my books at Christian retailers, on Amazon and other on-line book outlets, and some you can find at Wal-Mart or on my website: www.lesliemontgomery.org.
Which authors have enthralled you?
I love everything Andrew Murray and E.M. Bounds ever wrote. Most of my favorite works are written by those who have been long deceased. I’m one of those “weird” Christians who reads commentaries, and my favorites are written by Warren Wiersbe. I don’t get a lot of time to read for pleasure, but when I do get a few minutes I like to sit down with the Bible and do an in depth study on a word or chapter. I take my Bible with me everywhere in hopes that I can get a few minutes here or there. I have a Greek and Hebrew edition of the Word of God and it’s fascinating to me to learn the root meaning of a word and how in knowing that it transforms and explains the entire message in its original meaning. My favorite works of the Bible to read are those of the Apostle Paul. I relate strongly to his transparency and love for the Body of Christ.
What writer or book has had the biggest influence on your work?
I didn’t become born-again until I was twenty-four, but when I was a pre-teen my mother bought me a book by John Benton called Carmen. The main character in this book was about women who had grown up in dysfunctional homes and ended up on the streets and using drugs and alcohol, and selling their bodies. At the end of the book Carmen gives her life to the Lord through David Wilkerson’s ministry, Teen Challenge. I didn’t understand at the time what exactly had happened spiritually to Carmen, but I do remember thinking that I wanted to have the hope and promise of a good future that she attained. I related to the trials Carmen had gone through because I was living in a very unhealthy home where all kinds of abuse ensued. Benton ended up writing several books about different women who went through Teen Challenge, and I’d walk the six miles round-trip from my home to the used book store to get the latest release. I was enthralled with every one of his books. The neat thing is that after I got saved I touched base with John Benton and he and his wife “just happened” to be coming to Nashville, Tennessee on business, and that’s where I was living. I had the pleasure of meeting them and telling him what an inspiration his books were to me.
Other than John Benton’s books I’d definitely say the Bible first and foremost. I feel my calling in this life is to know God and to make Him known through my writing.
Where do you read mostly?
I have a five and seven-year-old so I don’t get much “quiet time.” For the last seven years I have gotten up at two in the morning, sit in my favourite over-stuffed chair, drink coffee and read the Bible in silence. I have to have time alone with the Lord or I won’t survive. He’s my spiritual oxygen.
How many books do you read a month, would you say?
I read about a dozen on average – all non-fiction. The only Christian fiction I’ve ever read was Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love, which is outstanding – a must read for sure. I’ve bought dozens of copies and give them to young women who grapple with receiving and understanding the Lord’s love for them. I also take the time to read it over again every couple of years and it always leaves me sobbing.
Where do you do your writing?
I have to have complete silence when I’m writing without distractions. Being disciplined is not hard for me because I need to write, but getting silence can be challenging. I tend to write during the time my kids are in school. I turn off my phone, hang out with the Lord for a while seeking His wisdom and guidance, and when I feel like He’s released me to write, I do so.
Do you agree with the statement: write about what you know?
Absolutely! My most successful book is on the topic of suffering; a topic that I know well, including on how to overcome it in Christ. I wrote Redemptive Suffering in 2006 and still, ten years later, get letters from people who have read it and have been blessed by it. There is no greater reward as a writer than to know God is working through you to reach and help others. I’ve done a lot of writing on counselling issues as well since it’s what I studied in school. I do write about topics I’m not as thoroughly knowledgeable about, but it doesn’t come to me as easy as those topics I’m most familiar with personally. Also let me say that writing what you know can be something you learned. For example, if you want to write a story that took place in the 1800s, then by gosh, get to learning and write what you will then know!
What challenges do you face when writing? Are you easily distracted?
Getting the silence I need to write can be a challenge at times, especially in the summer months when my kids are out of school. Also, as you begin to have books out you get several opportunities to speak at different venues so my ability to make sure I get times of silence to write can sometimes be a challenge. I am not easily distracted if no one else is around when I’m writing. It drives me nuts to be interrupted – especially when I’m on a roll and the ink is flowing!
As an author are you self-employed or do you have another job?
I am self-employed. If you want to grow your platform and continue to have book contracts, you will soon realize that it’s a full-time job. I can’t imagine having to work full-time while writing. I am blessed that the Lord has provided in such a way that I can stay home and write full-time. I’ve have had to make some cuts in spending, but I believe you make time for things that are important to you. My career as an author is not about me being successful, but about an opportunity for me to reach others for Christ, so I see it as a calling to minister more than a job. Writers don’t always know that most authors are middle-class and make enough money to live, but not live extravagantly. Those who write best-sellers are the minority when you consider that there are 600,000 books published annually.
What has surprised you most about writing?
I have been surprised the most about how my writing has matured and changed over the years. When I first began writing I felt internal pressure to write a specific way, but over the last couple of years I’ve allowed my personality and the gifts the Lord has given me to shine through in my work. In doing so, I’ve had more success. God hasn’t called me to be Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore, but to be Leslie Montgomery with the unique ability to use the gifts He’s given me to reach the world. I can be confident being me and I like that a lot.
What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
I think the best thing about being a writer is the maturity and growth that comes out of writing a book with the Lord’s guidance. I learn so much writing with His lead. I also love knowing that God is using my work to help others in different ways. I have deep love and empathy for those who are hurting and I want them to know the Lord and His healing power with great confidence. I love doing speaking engagements because I can connect directly with people and am able to watch them as they get a spiritual concept and watch the proverbial light bulb in their head turn on. I love hearing from men and women who have heard me speak when they are telling me the wonderful things the Lord has been doing in their lives, or when someone gives their life to the Lord at an event, or in reading one of my books. I’m like a little child as I get so excited.
The worse thing about being a writer is all the other stuff I have to do outside of writing like spending time building my platform and calling publishers, etc., but that’s all part of the game. I don’t like being so busy that I can’t write or when I get frustrated because it’s too noisy!
What is the most exciting experience you've had as a result of writing?
I wrote The Faith of Condoleezza Rice and met a lot of interesting people in that process, but before that project I personally interviewed over 50 leaders in the world and sitting down and asking questions that help me understand their passions and what makes them click is very stimulating.
What do you like doing when you aren't writing?
I love to hang out with my two youngest kids and play with them. I have two older kids (who are 30 and 31), and six grandchildren, so I love hanging out with them as well. I play racquetball several times a week with my adult son or others, and it’s really enjoyable for me to read the work of the greats of old, and of course, commentaries! I love to travel with my kids and spend time with my parents. My mom and I love going to yard sales and second-hand stores and my adopted dad loves to go on trips with the kids and I. I also love to cook and bake and have dinner parties. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for forty people one year. It took me a week of cooking and baking, but it was worth it!
Have you attended any writing courses? If so, did they help?
When I lived in Los Angeles before I moved to Nashville I took a song writing course, but I’ve never attending a writing conference. One of the neat things that came from that was I ended up dating one of the panel experts who managed several top-named country acts and then had someone in Nashville awaiting me when I got there and that was great! Oh, and yes, I got my music heard too (smile). I have taught several writing classes and participated in teaching at conferences and I really loved that a lot. I love to travel by myself too – it’s a nice break from life.
So what are your books about?
Were It Not For Grace: Women After God’s Own Heart – 12 prominent women who have overcome tragedy through their faith.
Redemptive Suffering: Lesson’s Learned From the Garden of Gethsemane – How to overcome suffering and difficult circumstances through Christ’s example in the Garden of Gethsemane (my favourite book of all).
Engaging the Enemy: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare – How to combat the world, the enemy of your soul, and your flesh through God and His Word, the Bible.
A Parent’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare – How to combat the world, the enemy of your child’s soul, and their flesh by taking authority in Christ and His Word, the Bible. Also talks about how to train your children to war and how to specifically pray for them based on their age from being in-vitro to 99-years-old (no, really).
The Faith of Condoleezza Rice – As noted by the title (my biggest seller).
Resurrecting Sissy: A Memoir of God’s Power to Breathe Life Into a Dying Soul – a powerful memoir of my own life where God picked me up out of the miry pit of the world and placed my feet on the Rock!
Finding the Father I Never Had – About how to overcome father-wounds in our lives and learn to lean on God as our Father to heal and meet all our needs. Powerful!
How do you structure when writing a book - do you start with an outline, plot each chapter or just write and see where it goes from there?
I start writing by getting it all out of my mind and onto paper. I call it “throwing up on paper.” I don’t worry about what order it needs to be in I just get it out and then begin to sort it out. To me, writing is like a jig-saw puzzle; you get all the pieces out, put all the outside pieces together to build the frame, then start filling in as you find pieces that fit.
How do you market your books?
I started off by doing marketing through my speaking engagements, but soon after I finished my first book I was looking at a four-book contract with Crossway Publications and knew that if I was going to reach the masses I’d have to do more. I was always afraid of the cost of marketing, but learned that it’s relatively minor in today’s world. I ended up getting a web-page that I created for free by paying a $25.00 hosting fee every month. I built up my Facebook numbers and joined Twitter. I’m embarrassed to say I just joined Instagram. I guess I’m a late bloomer. I also didn’t wait for the local media where ever I was due to speak contact me. I write press releases informing the media in the area of who I am, what I’ve written or written for, and set up a time to be interviewed by them. I’ve never been turned away. My father is my biggest fan, so he has invested in marketing my books by paying a public relations rep $350 per major city to attain the television, radio, and newspapers interview with me. I also send out a bi-annual newsletter, post-cards on major holidays, and write a blog. I also guest write on the blogs of others. While there are other ways I reach out to other people, those are the biggest, most successful ways.
How much do you feel you've improved in the last few years?
My writing has improved tremendously. When I first started writing I wrote from the perspective of research and knowledge I had attained through studying God’s Word (first and foremost) and other sources. I avoided using my sense of humour and quirks that you would notice if we spoke to one another. The problem with that was that people would read my books (I assume) and they’d either get knowledge that’s already available, but presented a different way, or dry. It was contrary to who I was in person; this person that really loved and cared about people and someone who just loves to be witty and even use sarcasm when appropriate, and someone people loved to be around. You wouldn’t see me as that in my first works. These were the things when I was speaking at an event that would endear people to me. Another thing I learned a few books into my career was how to bask in the Lord’s presence every day before sitting down to write. I’ve always had a quiet time, but I deliberately took the time and effort to sit before God and praise Him and let Him write through me to the hearts of those who were hurting, lonely, or lost. This resulted in the book, Redemptive Suffering, Lessons Learned from the Garden of Gethsemane. This book wasn’t a best-seller, but it was powerful, and although it came out in 2006 (I think), I still get letters nine years later from people all over the world who share with me how much it’s ministered to their spirit. To me, that book is a success.
That statement prompts me to ask you, ‘What is success?’ Have you ever said to yourself or others, “If my book only helps one person then it’s worth it!” I know I have – more times than I care to admit. The truth is you want a best-seller, but is it for the right reasons? Sure, let’s not deceive ourselves, who wouldn’t want to see six or nine figure royalty checks? Imagine what you could do for your…er, I mean, God. This challenges us to ask ourselves, who are we really writing our books for? If it’s for the people (unbelievers or believers) we must seek God’s on how to write to reflect His heart and will. There’s no other way to do it. Our focus must be on God and how He wants to use us rather than how we want to use Him in our writing. See the difference? Let me tell you that the answer regarding those two objectives is the difference between selfishness and selflessness, pride and humility, denying Jesus or ourselves, and the ultimate destination of eternal souls. The work of an author is a high calling and is much like that of a teacher in the Bible, who will be held to a higher standard of accountability for what they teach through their writing and presence.
What is your favourite genre?
I would say non-fiction first and foremost, but I also have a flare and desire within me that cries out to write realistic fiction. I wrote fiction, short-stories for Focus on the Families teen magazine, Brio, and received a call from Suzie Shellenberger once asking me if a story was true or not. “It’s not,” I answered. “It’s fiction.” I was confused because that’s all I’d ever written for them. “It just seems so real I couldn’t tell,” she answered. I took that as a compliment and an encouragement that there was fiction in my future.
Who was your favourite childhood author?
I don’t recall reading much until I was a pre-teen and teen. John Benton, who wrote the biographies for David Wilkerson’s ministry, Teen Challenge, was my favourite author during that stage of my life. What’s amazing about that is I wasn’t a believer at the time, but was thoroughly enthralled with each book. God was planting seeds in the heart of a very hurt and rebellious woman-child.
I had a strong metaphysical bent as a young adult and unbeliever, but when I got saved I dumped all those books. I fell in love with Andrew Murray’s books after I got saved and have been on fire since. I also love to read books about physiology. My favourites on that topic are The Anatomy of the Brain and Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Then of course, as I mentioned earlier, there are commentaries! Usually, if you come to my office or the chair where I do most of my writing you’ll see a stack of open books in a pile that I reading through consecutively.
I’ve always loved reading and I read to my children all the time. I tell my seven-year-old who just became fluent in her ability to read over the last year, that if you can read you can go anywhere in the world just by opening a book.
Who do you act out the scenes in your novels with?
With the voices in my head…I’m kidding, I’m kidding, although I do rehearse various scenario’s in my mind repeatedly until I feel like I’ve got the flow of the story per se. I have this one story that’s been building in me for years that I’ve been writing in my mind. I need to put it on paper so I don’t forget it. I also have dreams about stories that I’d like to write one day. I also try to run everything through the Lord for His direction and peace.
How old where you when you first started writing?
As early as I picked up a pen and pencil, but I’ve kept a journal since I was eight. I just always knew I would write. It was never a career choice; it was just who I was and what I did not unlike the breathing – something you do unconsciously, but is crucial to your existence. I actually studied psychology and physiology in college.
What's your favourite character archetype of literature?
Peter and Saul/Apostle Paul are both individuals that immediately come to mind and are representative of me as both an unbeliever and believer. I’m grateful that our God chose to put their challenges, stupid decisions, and sins in the Bible for me to reference my own life of universal patterns of human nature by. I think without them (and those of others) we would be even more marred by the illusion that we must be (or look) perfect at all times. I have learned that there is great freedom in admitting that I’ve made mistakes and have grappled with a life of sin; it makes me human to my readers and it leads me to live a more translucent, albeit vulnerable and humble life.
What do you think makes good writing?
1. Being true to God and His Word, the Bible, in all you say.
2. Being true to who you are in Christ and don’t try to be Rick Warren or Beth Moore. You’re best at being YOU.
3. Using the gifts God’s given you (humour, knowledge, experience)
4. Letting Him write through you.
5. Research, research, research.
6. Colouring outside the box. Don’t copy other people – just do your thing (whatever that looks like)
7. Trusting in the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul.
Do you believe in writers block? If so, have you ever had to overcome it?
I believe some people have grappled with writer’s block; however, it’s not something I’ve ever personally endured or struggled with in writing. I think there are times when you don’t know what direction to take something in or you keep going back to an area in your text that bothers you and something just doesn’t feel right, so you keep rewriting it, and I think that’s just part of the process of writing. Anxiety, stress, and unresolved sin/issues with Christ, can all be something that draws me off task, so I try to deal with those things before I write.
Lastly, what advice can you give to other writers?
First of all, don’t give up your day job until you can write full-time and support your family.
Second, don’t give up your day job when you get your first advance unless it’s a million dollars (which would be a downright miracle and I’d want to know who your publisher is so I could get a contract) if you have a family to feed.
Next, pray, pray, and pray some more. You’ll be amazed at what God can do with the idea’s He’s given you to write about.
Then, don’t put unneeded pressure on yourself. I’ve never met an author who starts at page one of a book and writes all the way through to the last page. It doesn’t work that way. Writing to me is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle; you get all the pieces out and on the table, begin to put the frame or skeleton of the picture together, and then fill in the holes.
No matter how good you are at writing or how broke you are, get an editor to look over your proposals and books. You get what you pay for here. If you’re going to take the time to write a book why would you waste an opportunity God’s given you by drawing the acquisitions editor off task with sentence structure, grammar, or spelling?
That leads me to encourage you not to take constructive criticism personally, but objectively. Find someone you respect who is a more mature believer than you and an experienced author or editor and ask them to be brutally honest with what they see in your work, and then listen to what they say.
Don’t ever, ever, ever put weight in book reviews. Remember, this person is being paid to read a book and write a review. You don’t know who this person is, their beliefs or opinions, or how they truly feel about God, themselves, and others. I had a reviewer give me nothing but praise for four long paragraphs, but in the last sentence wrote: “She could have also talked about…….,” and gave me three stars. Remember, reviewers aren’t professional editors or people in the writing or faith-based industry who know what to look for in a book. They are people in their pyjama's lying in bed eating bon-bons while reading a book they will get paid for reviewing. Thus, they have opinions like all of us, and opinions are formed from a lot of things that have nothing to do with us and are a dime a dozen. If you get hung up on reviews you are never going to make it in this business. Let. It. Go.
Just because one publishing house isn’t interested in publishing your idea doesn’t mean another won’t take it on. Zondervan may have published a book in your genre over the last couple of years and it didn’t do well. That doesn’t mean Bethany House or Tyndall won’t be interested. Many great pieces of work and even more impressive writers of old whose works have become staples on our bookshelves received rejection letters, heard the word ‘No,’ repeatedly, and were discouraged by the criticism of others, but they kept at it. If you’re doing this for the right reasons you will too. I have a book coming out that had been turned down repeatedly by other publishing houses. It’s all about God’s timing too. Seek His wisdom. He is a rewarder to those who diligently do so.
Improve your craft by reading the works of others in your field, by attaining wisdom on writing structure or content at conferences or through school. Do whatever you have to do to do whatever God’s called you to do. That’s my motto.
If you truly believe God has called you to write books and that He’s called you to write specifically on the topic for which your writing, then you’ll keep going and won’t give up. Put your trust in Him and He will direct you where He wants you to be. Lean not on your own understanding (literally means ‘intellect’), but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
Finally, keep your eyes on the Prize and your feet on the Rock and you will not falter.
Thank you for your time, Leslie, it was an absolute pleasure to hear your thoughts.