09 June 2013

Interview with Julia Reffner by Carrie Fancett Pagels



Julia Reffner
Julia Reffner is a writer of contemporary fiction mirroring truth.

Julia, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? (transparency appreciated!)
Hmmm...one of the most difficult circumstances was the death of my father, but since you’re asking for transparency I’m going to give something more recent. One of the hardest battles I’ve faced in my life is that of fear. God has used my writing journey itself in a myriad of ways to teach me to rely on Him for strength.

When I began writing, the first thing he led me to do was join a face-to-face critique group. For this introvert who struggles with panic the thought of sharing my work with others out loud and interfacing in discussion about it was terrifying.

In Fall 2012, I went to my first writing conference. I had never traveled alone, not to mention the thoughts of the hundreds of people attending, none of whom I had been acquainted with beyond online . My writing friends helped me a great deal through that journey as I had known them so well online they seemed like familiar faces as soon as I met them. I also wrote Scriptures on cards and carried them in my purse.

God had some surprises in store for me there. I was not planning to meet with an agent, but when an opening came up I felt his gentle nudge. God is so gentle and builds our courage step-by-step. Courage comes at the very moment we need it, a fact I often need to remind myself of.

But what helped me the most with conference jitters was praying with others. Between workshops I wandered the halls and prayed with other ladies about to go in to their appointments. At the meal tables I spent time in prayer. Even in the bathroom, I prayed with someone. As I prayed for others and their needs, my own insecurities seemed to vanish. It was the most selfish and wonderful part of conference for me!

This year for the first time I will speak in front of a large congregation at a women’s retreat. So I just keep saying yes to God in spite of my fear. Doing hard things while shaking in your boots sure gives you an appreciation that Christ is our strength and His power truly is made perfect in weakness. This is a journey of overcoming day-by-day moment-by-moment for me.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Yes, my novel in progress is about the theme of freedom in Christ. I live fifteen minutes from the birthplace of Joseph Smith and here we have a yearly pageant to honor his contributions. I was also influenced by two autobiographies of women who left the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and similar groups and later came to find a relationship with the true and living Christ. I also was fortunate enough to be able to connect with a ministry in Utah run by a lady who escaped a polygamous cult and is now helping abused victims before and after escape, sharing the Gospel and meeting physical needs for food and shelter.

My story is contemporary fiction about a woman who escapes a restrictive cult, but I believe the theme of what it means that the King of Kings has set us free and we are free indeed is life-changing. We all are looking for freedom from the tragedies of this world, the sin that so easily entangles us, freedom to run the race He has set before us. It is my hope that Rachel’s story of redemption will connect with readers.

Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also enjoys reading and reviewing books for Library Journal, The Title Trakk, and Christian Library Journal.

Find her blogging every other Tuesday at: http://www.thewritersalleys.blogspot.com/
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Thank you Julia for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

GIVEAWAY: Julia is giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift certificate (thank you Julia!) and we are matching it with one of our own!


50 comments:

  1. I a long time ago read a book called The Wedding Dress and learned much about Joseph smith. The Lord be with thee as you expose the truth in fiction that so many need to hear.
    Blessings
    Linda Marie Finn

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    1. Linda--I read the same book & if I remember there were 2 sequels to it as well. I learned a lot about Joseph Smith & his teachings through those books as well. They were VERY well written books.
      Vicki
      P.S. this book was written by Marion Wells--not the same book that was recently released by another author.

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  2. Thank you, Linda for stopping by and for your kind comments. I haven't heard of that book, I'll have to check it out.

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  3. JULIA, thanks so much for being with us this week on OWG. What a wonderful testimony and thank you for sharing it with us! Joyce Meyer said one time, "If you're afraid, just do it afraid." So simple seemingly, but none of us likes that tangible emotion and we let it stop us many times. I know I have. Thank you for your wise words and God's blessings on all you endeavor to do.

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  4. Julia, Your testimony is one of great encouragement to me! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading your published work. To God be the glory in all you do!

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  5. Diana, Those words are SO true! I've been so encouraged by Joyce Meyers ministries and her words. Thanks for commenting!

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  6. Anne,So glad to hear you were encouraged. Yes, Him alone for sure in all we do.

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  7. Hi Julia,

    I admire your bravery! I know how you feel about the conference. This year I'm going totally solo and it is a bit terrifying. But I'm confident good things are in store. As you said, I felt the nudge to go and so am taking a leap of faith.

    Hope to see you there!

    Cheers,
    Sue

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    1. Susan,

      Oh, I really want to have coffee with you at conference and pray together. Which day are you going up? Hang with us Writer Alley pals, we'll help you out. So proud of you!! God has good things in store.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck with this and all of your future projects! Have a great week!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Diana. Good luck to you and your writing as well.

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  9. As a "regular Mormon" it breaks my heart to hear about the struggles of those abused in polygamous cults and the like. You are brave to challenge yourself and trust in God to strengthen you!

    colorvibrant[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Heidi, yes, there certainly are some tragic stories from these groups. Thank you for your kind words, I'm so glad you stopped by.

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  10. Julia, It is so nice having you on with us at OWG!!! So fun to "see" your smiling face over here!!! Blessings!

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    1. Thanks for inviting me, Carrie! Enjoying it :)

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  11. Hi Julia! I enjoyed the interview! Isn't it awesome God is always our strength!

    dowelljanet@hotmail.com

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    1. Yes, so thankful when we are weak He is our strength, Janet. Thanks for coming by.

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  12. This interview with Julia was very interesting. Seems GOD has led her to do a lot of good works. May HE continue to bless her.
    Thanks Carrie. GOD BLESS the OWG ladies too, in their work. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Maxie, Very thankful for God's hand in all our lives. Thanks for coming by and entered you for the certificates.

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  13. Hi Julia,Thank you so much for sharing.I know your words and books will be an encouragement to a lot of people.I wish you great success in life...

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    1. Jackie, thanks for your kind words. Best to you and entering you in the drawing.

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  14. Julia, I enjoyed your interview. Spoken from the heart. Thank you for sharing with us.
    May God bless you in your talent.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you Barbara. Bless you for stopping by and good luck in the drawing.

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  15. Thanks so much for your open response to Carrie's question! I understand how hard it is to listen to the gentle voice of The Lord when we are so sure we cannot do it. Thanks for speaking from your heart. Would love to win and read your book :)
    Betti
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Betti, Oh, yes, it is so hard in our flesh isn't it? So thankful for His Spirit working through us. My book isn't published, but I hope it will be someday.

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  16. How wonderful to be able to support each other at the conference. That is uplifting in itself.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Mary, Yes, I am so blessed to have found a wonderful group of Christian women online who support each other and hope I can pay it forward this year.

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  17. Hi JULIA, so lovely to have you on OWG and to read your inspiring testimony! I still can't believe I'm a part of this wonderful team of ladies on OWG and sharing my reviews for all to read as I use to be very self-conscious about putting anything I write on the WWW for all to see!! :) But God knew about my passions, and heard my prayers of wanting to be used by Him, and He provided all the stepping stones to a place I hadn't even thought about!

    Very interesting to read about your inspirations and the premise for your book. I really look forward to reading it! Some time ago I read a novel called The Veil by Diana Noble based on true events about the early days of LDS that was just fascinating. Have you read that one? God bless you Julia!!

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    1. Noela, I can so understand that. Your blog is such a blessing and I believe its because of the authenticity of everyone here. So glad you stepped into this blog and other areas God was showing you. :)

      Yes, I enjoyed The Veil and Diane Noble's novels about the Brigham Young era published more recently. Good stuff. Diane has a wonderful voice.

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  18. Such a beautiful testimony. May God continue to work through you. Ü

    cindialtman(at)gmail(cot)com

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  19. Cindy, Thank you so much. God is so good.

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  20. Julia, thank you for sharing your testimony. I pray your speech goes well at the conference. Your book sounds really good. May God bless your week.

    debsbunch5(at)jesusanswers(dot)com

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  21. I enjoyed reading this interview & the book sounds interesting. I enjoy reading books like this. May God bless you in your writing as well as your life.
    Vicki vmarney(at)hotmail.com

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    1. Vicki, Thank you so much for your interest! Good luck!

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  22. Thanks for sharing. Very encouraging!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. Susan, Thanks for stopping by. Glad you were encouraged!

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  23. Thanks for sharing and the encouragement! :)
    Lisa
    deiselbuffs(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Lisa, You're welcome! Thanks for coming by today!

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  24. This reminded me of Corrie ten Boom ~ though different, it really isn't. Sheltering and caring for those in need of a hiding place in our Saviour. Much prayer went up and with those with the need of comfort. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. Kathleen, Hiding Place is one of my favorite books and I have received so much inspiration for Corrie Ten Boom.

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  25. Good Morning! This looks like a interesting read. I think the hardest thing I have had to face was the death of my brother. Loved the interview. All kinds of things out there, but we know with Christ we can.

    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. Diana, The death of a loved one is a difficult time. I pray for God's Comfort for you. Yes, he is our only strength. May we remember that.

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  26. One of my favorite verses you mentioned - II Cor 12:9! Wonderful interview, thank you both! It has given me hope that I, too, can overcome and not be so afraid to be in front of people. :)
    Susan P
    farmygirl at hotmail dot com

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  27. Susan, I love that verse! And so thankful God is not finished with us. God be glorified as you step out in faith. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

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  28. JULIA thank you for sharing this wonderful testimony. I love how the more you prayed for others you were able to overcome your fears. I have had some physical problems in the past year and I felt the Lord telling me to start praying more for others that are sick and I would receive my healing. Right after that my Pastor's wife confirmed the same thing the Lord had told me. I am always amazed how God works things out for our good. I look forward to reading your novel when it comes out. :)

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  29. Praise, Jesus! Teresa I love these thoughts you share here.

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  30. I enjoyed reading this interview so much! Especially having met Julia at conference last year. We were both first year attendees and found mutual encouragement in each other. God is so good! I have loved seeing how He has been at work in your life, Julia. He has great things in store for your writing!

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  31. Stacey, Thanks so much for stopping by! I loved meeting you at conference and hope to see you again this year! He is so Good!

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  32. Your book sounds interesting and I also struggle with fear, especially in social situations. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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