|Heather Day Gilbert|
HEATHER DAY GILBERT is the administrator of her blog, Writing Beyond the Vows, and a co-founder of Married…with Fiction, an online community for writers and more. She has written a Viking historical novel (God’s Daughter) and a Contemporary Appalachian Mystery (Miranda Warning). Heather is the ACFW Area Coordinator for West Virginia. She is represented by Ruth Samsel of the William K. Jensen Literary Agency.
HEATHER, 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!)
Thank you so much for having me here! One of the things I’m constantly struggling with is faith. I tend to take a negative view of things so I can be prepared for the worst. Deep down, I’ve always believed God works all things together for good, but when you go through particularly grueling circumstances, you start questioning God’s concern for you personally.
To be honest, one of the hardest things I’ve had to have faith about is this writing journey. It’s come well-nigh to breaking me many times. Mentally, I was unprepared for the dizzying heights and breath-sucking depths I’d go through on my route to publication. I have been writing seriously for five years now—in which time, I’ve written three books and had three agents. Still no book deal in sight.
Carrie, you gave me some wonderful advice last year. My book had been out on submission for six months, and it was still out with publishers. The wait ratcheted my tension levels to the ceiling. You told me to start writing something else, and I took your advice. Thus, my third book was born—the one that’s out on submission now. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to be diverted from the book that had been out. (CFP: I wish someone else had told you that--it is such a simple thing and I am glad to have helped!)
But back to faith. It’s hard to think God has great plans if you feel like He’s been silent in one specific area of your life…for years. Not long ago, I read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and it totally changed my perspective. It wasn’t a matter of me having enough faith or not. It was a question of whether I was praising God for the small things in the meantime.
Here are a couple of quotes from that book:
Here are a couple of quotes from that book:
“Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle.” –Ann Voskamp
“Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering.”—Ann Voskamp
I realized that there is power in thanksgiving. When we thank God during the horrible times, when we’ve reached the end of our ropes and tied a knot in it (as someone famous once said), we are worshipping God. We are fighting the enemy of our souls, who wants nothing more than to make us turn our backs on God forever.
What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
Hm. I have lots of favorite verses. But one I’ve really been praying lately is the prayer of Jabez. There is real power in praying the Word of God, and my life has personally changed course due to that prayer in the past.
“Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain! So God granted him what he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10)
I posted more about what this verse means to me in this post (When Prayer is the Only Way Out): http://marriedwithfiction.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/when-prayer-is-the-only-way-out/.
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your blogs and why?
The purpose of my blog was primarily to let readers get to know me. Five years later, I can say my readers know me very well! I love connecting with other homeschoolers, writers, and classic literature-lovers.
Becky Doughty, Jennifer Major and I started Married…with Fiction as a means to connect authors, agents, and editors with one another in an organic way. We also wanted to promote and encourage traditional marriage in fiction, so every Monday we have marriage posts. Fridays are geared around writing tips. We’ve been blessed to have many editors and authors on our website—and it’s so fun when the authors are married and can talk about how marriage plays into their writing! We’re also constantly doing book giveaways…so hope you can all swing by!
As you researched your manuscripts, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
Most definitely, especially in regards to my Viking historical. As I researched the sagas I based my main character, Gudrid, around, I found she consistently took stands as a Christian, despite being raised as a pagan. With my novel, I wanted to show the light Christianity shone into the Viking world and practices. Sadly, on TV and in movies, we still see Vikings portrayed as bloodthirsty maniacs, when the other half of the story is rarely told—they were family oriented and women were respected, not treated like dogs. And more and more archaeological discoveries are showing that the Vikings were indeed in North America, where Gudrid traveled with her husband.
In this latest work, do you have any topics that will be useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
In the Contemporary Mystery that’s out on submission, the topics of schizophrenia and in-law relationships play into the storyline. In the Viking novel, depression, lust, and absentee husbands are topics. I do hope those who have struggled with any of these things will feel they’re accurately presented. But I wouldn’t say that my novels are therapy in those regards—I just want people to be able to relate in some way.
Thank you HEATHER for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
Thank you so much for having me! I always enjoy reading your posts here! Blessings to you all.
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling her three children. Heather’s Contemporary Appalachian Mystery, MIRANDA WARNING, is currently out on submission. If you check out Heather’s Pinterest boards, you’ll see loads of visuals for her current and in-progress novels.
Heather’s blogspot: http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com
Married…with Fiction: http://www.marriedwfiction.com