So…I often come across the question (and even ask), “what is your favorite book?”. Occasionally, I’m asked who my favorite author is. While I often confuse the two questions, I do know the difference when I take a moment to breathe. Now, I cannot tell you my favorite book for real but I can tell you my favorite author. It is none other than the wonderful Vanessa Davis Griggs! She is absolutely awesome! I came across her book Promises Beyond Jordan at the library one day. Seemed like an interesting read. Sure enough, it was! So, I looked up this author and found that she had written several other books that were related to that one. So, you know what I did right? Yup! I reserved them all at the library. If you’ve never read a book by Mrs. Griggs you are truly missing out. My favorite of those books is one called Strongholds. I learned a lot about myself. Get ready for a journey when you pick them up! On top of that, she shares a birthday with The Girl…so…yeah…we’re supposed to know each other! lol…Check out my interview with her to see why I love her oh so much!
SSK: Thank you Mrs. Vanessa for agreeing to be interviewed on So Says Kimyatta! I am so excited to have you!
I’m such a fan. I do believe I’ve read EVERYTHING you’ve written. You are certainly one of the names I call when someone asks me, “What’s a good book to read?” (yeah, I call author’s names…not titles at first). Tell us about your writing journey.
VDG: Thanks, Kimyatta for having me and thanks for your kind words. My writing journey actually started when I was in elementary school. Having a love for words, I enjoyed penning plays. In the sixth grade, I wrote, produced, and directed my classmates in a Christmas play my teacher asked me to put on (somehow she knew I loved writing). It was so great! Following that (in high school no less), I put my hands toward writing novels because I loved reading. But keep in mind this was pre-Terry McMillian making a mark and changing the direction of what most publishers published from the African-American community. At the end of 1996, I walked away from my job of 18 years at BellSouth and decided I would actively pursue my passion of writing. I once told the critically-acclaimed author Ernest Gaines and his wife at a writers’ conference that I was going to either sink or swim. Mrs. Gaines told me, “Vanessa, I think you’re going to swim.” So here I am, 16 novels and a few nonfiction projects later still stroking (even if during these economic times it feels more like the backstroke).
SSK: Well swim on! Just keep swimming…swimming…swimming! – Dori, Finding Nemo
SSK: One of the things I love about your writing is that there is ALWAYS a message and always something uplifting in each of your books. You’re labeled as Christian Fiction. Some authors take pause with that and say it puts them in a box. How do you feel about it?
VDG: I’m the kind who will say it doesn’t matter what you call me as long as you’re calling me. LOL. I am a Christian, I write fiction, my novels are designed to encourage, uplift, educate, inspire, give hope, point people toward better, and to lift up Jesus the Christ. Personally, I just want to do God’s will for my life. God is not boxed in and He made us in His image, so there’s no box that will be able to contain and hold what He wants to do when He wants to do it how He wants to do it.
SSK: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
VDG: Wait a minute, there’s a such thing as ‘not writing’? Well, apparently, someone forgot to CC me on that e-mail. LOL. No, actually, I love doing things with my grandchildren. I love music and dancing around the house with them (I call it my exercise now). When they’re not around, I work. When they’re around, I like giving them my full attention—being present with the moment and them.
SSK: HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! lol…I love it!
SSK: What kinds of things do you like to read?
VDG: I love reading nonfiction, motivational, and self-help type work. My favorite book was and is still the Bible (can’t get any more motivational and helping self than that book). I loved books by Og Mandino. I love fiction when it’s written well. I love how-to books when I want to hone a particular craft or fix something that needs my attention, which I often do and love it.
SSK: Do you have a favorite book? A favorite author?
VDG: My favorite book is probably “The Greatest Miracle in the World” by Og Mandino. I tell folks I can read a book the way a thirsty man can drink a glass of water, so I’ve read lots of books (LOTS!) from all walks of the spectrum and genres. I do love a good book that’s well written both technically and with heightened rules of engagement.
SSK: What was the last book you read?
VDG: Well, I generally can read a book in one day, so I’ve read quite a few since my most recent book, “The Other Side of Divine” released on July 30, 2013 and I’ve been able to take a small breathier. One of those books was “Ciao, Bella” a novel by Ryan Phillips.
SSK: I’ve read a few of hers! I’ll have to go look that one up! Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
VDG: Aspiring authors have probably heard the usual drill about learning your craft, writing something every day, read to see what to do and sometimes what not to do. But I’d like to say that if your feelings are easily hurt and you don’t deal well with rejection, you might not want to move forward toward this goal or you may find that you’ll need to adjust those feelings. You’ll face the possibility of rejection in every turn in this business. Whether you’re trying to get an agent or publisher who may not “want you,” or if you do get a contract, having to deal with reviewers or critics who may find things wrong with what you did or how you chose to did it, to the people you desire to purchase your book who are “not interested” in you or maybe just not in what you’ve written, to those who do get your book and just didn’t like it for whatever reason. You definitely need a thick skin, but more than anything you need to believe in yourself and what you’re doing—committed to walk it through to the very end and back. I say the end and back because a true writer cannot NOT write, so you’ll find yourself desiring to do it again after the last one is done.
SSK; Your latest book is The Other Side of Divine, tell us about it.
Can a dream come true be a mixed blessing?
Paris Simmons-Holyfield is finally pregnant with the baby she’s dreamed of for so long. There’s just one complication: she’s not sure who the father is. Apparently, after a night of drinking with her ex-coworker and ally Darius Connors, it could be him. Considering her husband’s track record, chances are it is. Still, Paris prays it’s not Darius, and decides to keep quiet about her worries. Especially because Darius isn’t ready to give up on his crumbling marriage. . .
Meanwhile, after a battle to keep her adopted daughter and an ugly confrontation with Paris’s family, Gabrielle Mercedes has finally found love and happiness. But when her father shows up, paroled from prison, she fears she’s in for another round of trouble. As all three navigate the path from sin to redemption, can they forgive their way to the other side?
THE OTHER SIDE OF DIVINE received 4.5 Stars, Top Pick! from RT (Romantic Times) Book Reviews which is their highest rating given. It was also a USA Today recommend. I’m thrilled with the feedback this novel is receiving and pray even more who read it are blessed by it.
SSK: What can we expect next from you?
VDG: Oh, that’s a good question! I’ll just say to stay tuned and keep checking my Web site or Facebook page to see what’s next.
SSK: How can fans get in touch with you?
VDG: My Web site is: http://www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com and my Facebook page is http://www.Facebook.com/vanessadavisgriggs. I have a Twitter page, but me and Twitter aren’t so cozy. I’m sure it’s me and not them. I post but it’s not as intimate feeling to me, so I don’t go there as much.
Thanks so much, Kimyatta! I enjoyed this.
SSK: I loved having you! Yup! You’re my favorite!
So…there you have it. Connect with Mrs. Griggs and make sure to like her there. You’re SURE to be inspired. Also, don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Other Side of Divine today!
Until next time,