Welcome, Trina. Begin by telling us when you decided to become a writer.
I did not actually set out to become a writer. Though I learned in college that I could write and had used strong proofreading and editing skills in many of my jobs, I only wrote the occasional devotional. That changed in 2006 when my church asked me to write a series of notes to accompany the Read-through-the-Bible-in-a-Year program we were doing.
For the next two years, I wrote through first the Old Testament and then the New. The notes were written specifically for each day’s reading and included background information, definitions, explanations of ancient cultural practices, cross-references to applicable scripture, historical context, and modern day application. Fifty to 100 copies were taken from the racks every Sunday, and people frequently expressed their appreciation when a reference helped them better understand the scripture they were reading.
After the two years, I thought I was done with the project, but God had other plans. Just as He opened the door for me to write the notes in the first place, He opened a door that led to publishing the notes. Though I initially found it difficult to say I am a writer, today God has shown me He is using my ability to write for His purposes and glory.
Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from? Why do you write what you do?
My ideas generally come from two places: scripture and the insights God gives me from everyday experiences. For instance, a squirrel fell down our chimney and died in our basement despite my best efforts to get him back outside. God showed me how this is a picture of how we sometimes turn our backs on the blessings He wants to give us because we fear the unknown and refuse to trust in His goodness.
I’d have to say I write what I do because God keeps opening doors and inviting me to walk through. There’s no doubt that sometimes the open door leads far outside my comfort zone, but I’m learning over and over God can be trusted. He never invites me to walk through the door and then closes it leaving me all by myself. He walks through the door and is with me every step He asks me to take.
Do you work on an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you? How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve never written an outline, but as I think about this question, I’d have to say scripture itself initially served as my outline. It dictated what I focused on each day. Today, my writing is a bit more free-flowing. I often start with an idea and watch it develop as I write.
What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?
Discipline to sit down and actually write. When I had to turn a particular set of notes in to my church each week, I had no real issue with writing. I had a deadline and knew what needed to be done.
Since then, however, I haven’t had such hard and fast deadlines. I find myself seeing an insight God has laid before me, but not working on it right then and there or even making notes. I think I’ll get to it at some point. Then when I finally do want to write it out, I’ve forgotten what it was in the first place. I’d find writing easier if I were more disciplined.
Name your biggest frustrations about the writing business.
• Today writers are expected to market their books as well as write them. Sales and marketing has never been my strength, so I struggle with how to do that. I would rather write.
• The number of social media sites that can be used for marketing. I think I could spend all my time just maintaining numerous sites. I’ve limited myself to three, but often wonder if I’ve picked the right ones or should be doing something else.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
Often God has shown me the insight, but I haven’t fully developed the idea. As I begin to write, the words and sometimes even additional insights come together in ways I could not have foreseen.
What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith and My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
I’m not much of a fiction reader, but really enjoyed the political intrigue written by Joel Rosenburg.
Over the past several years, I’ve been working my way through Nancy Guthrie’s Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. These studies are so insightful and do a great job of bringing to light the many ways in which Jesus is foreshadowed in the people and stories of the Old Testament. Not only have I learned a great deal about scripture, but I also am reminded again of God’s sovereignty and compassion as He wove together a single story that seamlessly spanned thousands of years. As I more fully appreciate the redemption God graciously offers us, I fall deeper in love with Him.
Thank you, Trina, for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us what your social media links are and what your website is?
And if readers would like to purchase your books, where might they do so?
Paul’s Letters to the Early Church https://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103421
The Epistles of James, Peter, and Jude https://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103464