Sunday, February 8, 2015

Author interview: Gina Welborn

After reading Masterpiece Marriage from the Quilts of Love “Every Quilt Has A Story” series, I knew I had to invite the author Gina Welborn to my blog for an interview!

Gina has a background in radio and before she wrote books, she wrote scripts for broadcast news. So why the career change? What type of author is Gina? What does she love the most about writing romance?

Now to find out the answers to those questions, you’ll have to read the interview. It’s well-worth your time.

But before you read about Gina, I have exciting news: Gina agreed to give one copy of her book The Marshal’s Pursuit and one copy of her book The Heiress’s Courtship in either digital or print (your choice) to the two winners of this random book giveaway contest hosted on my blog!

Contest rules: You must answer Gina’s question to my readers at the end of this interview blog post and include your e-mail address to be entered into the contest and qualify for your chance to be one of the winners. We need your e-mail address so that Gina can e-mail whoever the winners are and send their books. The contest starts today, Feb. 8 and ends at midnight on Sunday, Feb. 22. The winners will be chosen via an 0ld-fashioned drawing by Alexis who will make the announcement here on Monday, Feb. 23.

Excited? You should be because Gina is a great writer and you now have a chance to see for yourself! Read on for my interview of this talented author...(questions by Alexis in bold, answers from Gina not in bold)...


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Alexis: What does being an author and writer mean to you?

Gina: It’s a means of making some extra money for my family, an opportunity for me to interact with others who enjoy writing, and an escape from the drudgery of household chores.

What news radio station did you work for as a script writer?

KSWO-AM

Describe the moment when you knew it was time for a career change.


One evening I was looking at the list of stories my director had complied for that day’s reporting. A girl I had gone to high school with had been arrested for prostitution. She’d been a cheerleader, quite popular, yet four years after graduation, her life had deteriorated to selling herself. In that moment I realized I didn’t want to have a career in something that perpetuated despair and tragedy.

What motivated you then to write romances and what keeps you going now?

I didn’t pursue writing romances until after child #3 was born (six years after quitting the radio station). After reading the newest release by my at-the-time favorite Christian romance author, I complained to a friend about how bad the story was. I liked the villain more than the hero. My friend challenged me to write a better story. I did write a story (spent years working on the “better” part). I write what I want to read in a romance.

What is your specialty as an author? Do you write for the Christian market exclusively or the secular market too? Explain why/why not.

I write Christian historical romances, and my publishers are in the Christian Booksellers Association. I’m open to writing for the secular market. In fact when I write, I keep in mind some of my readers may not be Christians or didn’t grow up in the Christian faith, and that’s okay with me.

You like to create “spunky heroines” and “wild-at-heart heroes” to take center stage in your stories. Why?

Simply, because I like spunky ladies and wild-at-heart men. Inherent in that spunkiness and wild-at-heartness is honesty. I’m not adverse to characters lying. I hate it when authors keep their characters from being honest when there’s no good reason for that character not to speak the truth at that moment, except for the fact if the character did speak the truth, then the author would have to deal with the fall-out from the honesty and then couldn’t rely on the “secret” to create conflict. That doesn’t mean I think a character should confess everything up front. But when a character had no good reason not to spill the beans, then she should spill the beans and then had to deal with the trouble spilling the beans brings.

How do you create your story worlds and characters? Take us on a journey through the process.

Oh my. The journey isn’t the same for every story. Using Masterpiece Marriage as an example, I had to first figure out what kind of quilt I wanted to spotlight. Then I picked a setting: late 1880s Eastern Shore, Virginia. I did a little research then came up with a 100-blurb about the book. After Abingdon bought my idea, I told my brainstorming partner, “Help, I need a plot!” Using Alicia Rasley’s Outline Your Novel in 30 Minutes, we decided who Mary and Zenus were, what they wanted, and what stood in the way. I created a Pinterest board. Found actor-models. As I wrote the story, I researched details and posted pictures to Pinterest. In building the board, I was building a story. Sometimes I don’t start writing a story until I’ve written a synopsis. With Masterpiece Marriage, I never wrote a synopsis, something I don’t necessarily recommend.

As a woman of faith, how does your relationship with Jesus Christ help you in your creative pursuits?

For years I’ve struggled with the adage: Read what you write. Only my go-to reads are non-fiction books, not romances. Not everyone enjoys reading non-fiction. So my passion is to take the things Jesus teaches me about getting past my “issues” and put the insights I’ve gained into my stories. My Masterpiece Marriage heroine’s struggle with what society, the church, and parents expect of a lady was my struggle.

Where is your favorite place to write? Describe it.

It used to be my office in our Richmond, VA, home. Our house in Oklahoma doesn’t have office space, so I write in my bed, on the sofa, or at the dining room table. I’ve brainstormed a dozen, or more, stories at Starbucks.

How many books have you written to this date? How often do you write and publish your stories?

Finished manuscripts – Thirteen. Published manuscripts – Seven with an eighth to be released in this June. My first Barbour novella was published in February 2012. In 2014, I had three short historical romances released and self-published a Christmas novella. This year my fourth Barbour novella releases, and I have four additional e-novellas to self-publish. I usually write Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with Monday as my brainstorming day at Starbucks.

Tell us about your book Masterpiece Marriage. Why did you write it? Talk about the inspiration behind it.

I wrote the story because Abingdon Press bought the idea. Back in 2011, Abingdon began taking proposals for a new line they were creating: Quilts of Love. I worked up a 100-word story idea that I developed after reading an article in a 1880s Good Housekeeping magazine. A gentleman named Zenus Dane told about his life growing up with his quilt-obsessed Aunt Priscilla. Abingdon eventually offered a contract in the summer of 2013.

What was your favorite feature of creating Masterpiece Marriage? Why?

I love researching. It’s fun finding some new historical tidbit. I also enjoy the challenge of finding out if something is plausible. I spent hours researching when electricity first came to Virginia’s Eastern Shore and when the train began running from Philadelphia and through Belle Haven. I read more things about botany and seed germination than I ever thought I’d want to know.

If you could be one of the characters in any of your books, which character would you choose and why? Be sure to mention the name of the book.

Actually I wouldn’t want to be any character in my published books because those stories are all set in the past. I like living in the modern era with indoor plumbing, electricity, mobile phones, corvettes, blue jeans, flip flops, Starbucks...and the internet. That said, if I had to pick one, I’d say Irie LaCroix in “Baker’s Dozen,” in The Most Eligible Bachelor Romance Collection releasing this June. The clothes during the 1910s were gorgeous. Back then, women dressed. Nowadays, we just put on clothes.

What are your greatest dreams for your writing career? What steps are you taking to make your dreams a reality?

I want to write for a large publisher, like Thomas Nelson, who will help build my career. My first major step began with building a website. I studied the websites of best-selling authors both in the CBA and ABA. A website is the #1 place for an author to establish her professionalism and showcase her “brand.” Figuring out who I am and want to be as a writer was key too.

Tell us about the woman behind the words. Talk about your personal life, briefly giving us insight into your family, favorite movie, favorite book by a Christian author and most preferred pastime. You know, the fun and wonderful details!

I’ve been married to a corvette-aficionado. Our oldest is a junior at Oklahoma Baptist University, and the other four are 17, 15, 11, and 7. Favorite movie—Shrek, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Star Trek (J.J. Abrams). I love any book by John Eldredge, Beth Moore, Annie Downs, Donald Miller, and Frank Viola. I just finished reading Girl Meets God by Laura Winner and Unbroken by Laura Hillerbrand. Excellent! The last three inspy romance loved were Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano, and Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck. Pastime is spent with my husband and kids. On Facebook I enjoy sharing family exploits and conversations (the ones that wouldn’t embarrass my children).

Complete this sentence: At the end of the day, I am _____________

because _________________________.

Gina: At the end of the day, I am ready to go to sleep because I am tired from a busy day’s work.

Alexis: Thank you for the interview, Gina! If you’d like to do a book giveaway, please leave a question here for my readers to answer which will automatically qualify them to enter the book giveaway contest.

Gina's question for readers: What is the last movie you loved enough to tell others they had to go see it? Why?

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Author bio: 

Gina Welborn worked in news radio until she fell in love with writing romances. She has written three Barbour novellas, including the 2014 Selah Award-finalist “Mercy Mild” in ECPA-bestselling Mistletoe Memories, with more novellas to be released in the next two years.  She is also the author for three short historical romances: The Heiress’s Courtship and The Marshal’s Pursuit (Harlequin LIHP) and Masterpiece Marriage (Abingdon Press).

A moderately obsessive fan of Community, Chopped, and Once Upon a Time, Gina lives in Cache, Oklahoma with her pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, a boxer-lab, two rabbits, four guinea pigs, and a fancy Russian dwarf hamster named Tom Bob Deucalion. 

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Connect with Gina: 

Website, www.GinaWelborn.com

Facebook, www.facebook.com/ginamarie.welborn

Twitter, www.twitter.com/gina_welborn (@gina_welborn)

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