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Vanessa Davis Griggs presents
 

 

Jacquelin Thomas

Jacquelin Thomas
Author of: A myriad of romance novels and most recently, Christian novels such as
The Prodigal Husband, Saved in the City, and her 2006 releases: Shades of Gray and
Defining Moments
PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE!
 
 

Shades of Gray

Defining Moments

A Woman Called Job

The Prodigal Husband
Click cover to order from AMAZON.COM

 

Vanessa Davis Griggs: Jacquelin, first off, thank you so much for accepting this interview invitation. Tell us about yourself? Who are you? Where you're from…

Jacquelin Thomas: I'm a girl who grew up in the small coastal town of Brunswick, GA but I've lived in Philadelphia PA, Richmond VA, New York, Miami FL and Los Angeles CA and now in North Carolina-I felt the need to return to my Southern roots. As to who I am-I'm just me … a person struggling to overcome years of shyness to write the books God has called me to write. I am the proud mother of three children and I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world.

Griggs: How did you get started writing?

Thomas: I wrote my very first story when I was in the 3rd grade and it was Mrs. Appling, my teacher who nurtured this seed of writing in me. I loved to read and because I was painfully shy, writing became an outlet for me. I would read everything from romances to encyclopedias.

Griggs: You originally started out writing romance, becoming one of the true trailblazers of African-American romance. So what propelled you to start writing Christian fiction?

Thomas: My personal relationship with God. I knew when I wrote my first book, HIDDEN BLESSINGS, that I was called to write books for God. I refused because I wanted to be popular; I wanted to sell books; I felt I wasn't worthy; that I didn't know the Bible well enough-the list could go on. God wasn't hearing any of it. He convicted my heart with each romance until I could no longer ignore His call. To be clear, it wasn't that I felt writing romance novels are wrong. It was just that God called me to do something else. You can only ignore the calling on your heart for so long.

Griggs: Many authors and readers have you to thank for the New Spirit imprint which released your novel The Prodigal Husband in 2002 under what was then BET Books (now Kimani Press under Harlequin). You're writing for several new publishers now. Share with us about your 2006 releases for this year with brief overviews.

Thomas: I'm so excited!! My January 2006 release is SHADES OF GRAY and is a Steeple Hill Fiction. In this story, Sela and her in-laws learn the meaning of forgiveness and striving to maintain family unity after the death of a loved one. Also due out in late January is A WOMAN CALLED JOB, a memoir I co-authored with LaDena Renwick-Tilly. This project is very dear to me and one I am so honored to be a part of-LaDena shares her testimony of how she was stricken with pustular psoriasis from head to toe. Her illness chronicles the book of Job and is a lesson in how God desires for us to respond to severe testing of our faith and suffering. I also have DEFINING MOMENTS, the long-awaited sequel to THE PRODIGAL HUSBAND coming out in April. I have a faith-based anthology collection, titled HAVE A LITTLE FAITH coming out this summer. Also I have my first young adult inspirational novel titled, SIMPLY DIVINE coming out in October.

Griggs: It's not always easy being a writer. What's been the most challenging part for you in being an author? The most rewarding?

Thomas: I guess my most challenging moment was temporarily taking my eyes off God and putting my trust in someone who I thought had my best interests at heart. It was a hard lesson to learn, but God is so merciful. My career is in God's hands and once I gave it to Him-I don't let things bother me anymore, so I'm enjoying myself. I do what I'm supposed to do-WRITE. I give the best that I have and I trust God to meet my needs both personally and professionally.

Griggs: What advice would you give people who may face a desire to obtain success whether it's in writing or life and at times find themselves dealing with heartaches and setbacks but might be looking at all you've accomplished and are wondering how you've managed to make it as gracefully as you have?

Thomas: Heartaches and setbacks are unfortunately a major part of life-it's how we learn about ourselves and how to become closer to the Lord. Storms of life don't last forever. We can reacts a couple of ways when dealing with heartaches and setbacks: We can either faint away and just give up or we can do as God desires-He wants us to trust Him and hold on-ride the storm. When you feel yourself slipping-ask Him to give you the strength to hold on just a little longer. When the storm is over-just think of your testimony. Oftentimes, our suffering is not for us-we may have gone through just to be a testimony for others.

Griggs: I know you're getting into the teen/young adult market later in 2006 with a book entitled: Simply Divine. What moved you to do this? What are your hopes as you pursue this endeavor?

Thomas: Our young people are in crisis. I raised two daughters who are now 26 and 22. I still have an 11 year old son at home. My biggest struggle has been trying to get them to discern between what the world says about sex, abuse, drugs and gangs, etc and what the Word says. We have to stay on them and keep them grounded in the Word. I can tell you it's not an easy task. SIMPLY DIVINE is a reverse Rags to Riches story that propels a Hollywood princess out of her mansion into the modest home of her Uncle Reed and his family in Temple GA. 14 year Divine is rebellious at first, but not only learns what it means to be a family but she also learns about God and what He desires for us.

Griggs: What, in your opinion, makes a good book? A great book? What do you look for when you choose a book to read?

Thomas: Any book that tears into my emotions is a good book to me. If I come to the end of a book and I'm upset to see the story end or I'm an emotional wreck-it's a good book. I grew up reading everything from romance to encyclopedias. I'm especially fond of thriller/mysteries, so I read a lot of them, especially books by James Patterson. I still love romance but I don't read them as much anymore-I read more Inspirational/Christian Fiction these days. I'm looking for books that speak to where I am right now with my faith. I'm looking for stories that will not only entertain but also minister to me.

Griggs: Of all your books, which one(s) was the most fun for you to write and why? Which one(s) received a different reaction than you expected, and please feel free to expound on this answer?

Thomas: I have loved writing all of my books. I am most proud of THE PRODIGAL HUSBAND because it was the first book written after responding to God's call on my heart. It wasn't published first but it is the first Christian Fiction novel I ever wrote. A CHANGE IS GONNA COME is also one I really enjoyed writing because God used that book to minister to me. I was going through one of the biggest storms in my life during the writing of CHANGE. The responses I've been getting on SHADES OF GRAY have been a true blessing to me. I wasn't sure how the book was going to be received but I get emails all the time thanking me for writing SHADES. People are already asking for sequels.

Griggs: Oprah has as one of her magazine columns a section where she talks about what she knows for sure. What do you know for sure?

Thomas: The only thing that I know for sure is that God is who He says He is.

Griggs: Where do you see Christian fiction headed and do you believe we as readers and writers are going in the right direction? Whether we are or not, what (in your opinion) needs to happen for this genre to go to the next level.

Thomas: I believe God is moving. He's moving in the literary arena, movie industry, stage plays, etc. Christian Fiction will be around for a long time, I believe. Our books are not just for Christians-they are for the non-Christian as well. People that might not ever pick up a Bible are reading our books. People that don't go to church are reading our books. They are being delivered … I believe we have to meet people where they are and our books do that.

I also believe that writing Christian Fiction is a calling and not something you just wake up one morning and decide to do. For me, this is not about success and money-I love writing. I love law as well and wanted to become an attorney at one point, but I knew it wasn't what God would have me do. I have been blessed tremendously in my career and I thank God for it, but I am deeply aware that whatever I put on those pages and how I am living my life whether publicly or privately-God will hold me accountable.

*************

Jacquelin, we are honored you have taken time out of your busy schedule to share with us. I personally appreciate you so much for your heart! May the blessings of the Lord overtake you and return all the gifts you have so freely shared with others 100-fold back to you.

Web site: www.JacquelinThomas.com

Interview by: Vanessa Davis Griggs, Author of: Promises Beyond Jordan &
Wings of Grace
 
Copyright © 2006 For permission to use this interview, contact Vanessa Davis Griggs at Vanessa@VanessaDavisGriggs.com
 
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