23 March 2014

Interview With Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate at Book Signing

Lisa, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.  
Well aside from dealing with empty nest -- I'll be the first to admit that it was just plain rude of these boys to grow up and actually want their own lives -- I think I struggle with something many women struggle with. It's hard to separate other peoples' judgement from God's judgement. We're supposed to shrug off the one and base our opinions and our self-evaluations on the other.

In life and in publishing, that's not an easy thing to do.

The publishing process doesn’t end up being only between you and God, and neither does life.  Every worldly concern enters, other people bring in their personalities and opinions, and it can be bruising.  

I struggle with all of that, quite honestly.  I’m a youngest kid in the family, and I had two older brothers picking on me all the time (I wouldn't trade them now, but I would have then).  I bruise easily.  Many writers do—that sensitivity is part of what makes you a writer.  I’ll ignore twenty-five good reviews and be hurt over one bad one.  That’s just human nature, for many of us, especially as women.

On the other hand, I know I’ll never write the perfect story, because everything I write comes from a point of imperfection,  from a vision through the dark glass.  But God is so capable of taking the imperfect things we create and using them in absolutely perfect ways.  A story is an endless possibility.  You never know when your story may hold the hand of someone else through a dark night of the soul.

Would you tell us about one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? (transparency appreciated!)
I think I've sort of combined Question 1 with Question 2. It's a lifelong struggle, really. I'm always working on it. I don't like it when people are mean -- does anybody? I struggle to let it go and trust God to be work on other people while I work on me.  My snap reaction is more toward wishing they'd get a dose of salmonella in their next hamburger. (Oh, did I say that out loud?)
Which, of course, only means I'm still working on me. It's also a good reminder that I need to put into the world what I want to take out of it. If I want kindness, I need to put in kindness. 
Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  
Yes.  All of my books are available in audio (thought sometimes the audio release is a few months behind the book release) and in large print. We've also given approval for Library For the Blind to offer audio versions.
The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? 
Both The Prayer Box and Wildwood Creek deal with women, children, and families recovering from abuse.   Wildwood Creek is brand new, but The Prayer Box is already being used in bibliotherapy, as is the concept of prayer boxes, themselves. The act of taking time to write prayers on paper, put them in a prayer box, and close the lid is symbolic (and therapeutic) as a means of releasing those things to God.  Prayer boxes can go pretty much anywhere a greeting card can go. They're useful for bereavement, new marriages, and family communication, among other things, and can be life-changing.


Lisa Wingate is a journalist, inspirational speaker, reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over twenty novels.  Her novels combine elements of history, romance, mystery, and women's fiction with nuggets of Southern culture, from the sublime to the humorous. She is a seven-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her works have been selected for Booklist’s Top Ten List in 2012 and in 2013. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.


My website: www.Lisawingate.com

Thank you, Lisa, for agreeing to answer these questions! And congrats to Lisa for The Prayer Box being a finalist for ECPA Christian book awards!

Giveaway: This week we'll be giving away winners choice of any of Lisa's books, including her new releases (choice of format, international winners--ebook only.) Lisa has graciously added a signed copy of her paperback Firefly Island (USA only) to our giveaway this week! 
Are you sensitive?  How has God given you grace?


  1. Lisa, thanks so much for being with us this week on OWG! I really enjoyed Firefly Island, and am looking forward to sharing my review of Wildwood Creek in a couple of days. What an awesome book! As I read your books, I cannot help but think that you are one of the most brilliant, talented authors whose books I've had the pleasure of reading. So pay no attention to that one bad review!

    Thanks so much for the interesting interview, Carrie and Lisa!

    1. Diana, thank you! I treasure those kind words and I'm so glad you enjoyed Firefly Island. Looking forward to your thoughts on Wildwood Creek ;)

  2. Dear Lisa, Just wanted you to know that I loved both Firefly Island and The Prayer Box. I await anxiously for your next book. Yes, I am sensitive and feel it's due to my childhood or lack thereof. By being sensitive, I open myself up to hurt but have learned to overcome that. Now, I am more sensitive to other's needs, fears, pain, anxiety and their need to express themselves.
    Through God's Grace, my husband was cured of Prostate cancer. And, it was with His Grace that helped me to be strong, and KNOW that he walked with us daily and would heal Don. He gave me a wonderful Husband in which we will celebrate 50 yrs. of marriage this year. He led us every day, gave us strength and the knowledge that with each dark night, a new day would come and we would make it. God is Great! Love, Linda Foust

    1. Linda, thank you for sharing your own story of overcoming. Our faith is powerful and our God is always close to our needs. I pray that you and your husband will celebrate many, many more wonderful years together!

      Your sweet words about the books are a blessing.


  3. Lisa
    I so very much appreciate the fact you are sensitive,,,,,,,alot of people dont have the ability to be kind and sensitive....
    Im working very hard on how to be kind to the unloveables too
    Realize we need to please God and realize their are people we cant please......pray for them but dont take it personally
    God bless u
    Chris Granville
    granville ATfrontiernetDOTnet

    1. Thank you, Chris. I think we can't be sensitive to others without being sensitive ourselves. One of the things I love most about stories is that they teach us what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. Hopefully that makes us more sensitive to what other people are going through.

      God bless you, Chris!

  4. Yes, I am a super sensitive person,
    When I was younger I was made fun of a lot about me being adopted, but The Lord has helped me to understand that it was his will for me to adopted and be in a family that cares and loves me for who I am.
    I am so thankfu for l that The Lord has given me my family and my sisters.

    I would love to read your book

    1. It's hard to believe that people (young or not) would tease someone about being adopted - but we all know that those people DO exist. Unfortunately. That's wonderful that the Lord has helped you overcome that DANIE, and to bless you with that special family! Thankful for you too!!

    2. I think when people are cruel, it's about them not about the recipient. That doesn't make it any easier to be the recipient. My grandmother used to say you never raise yourself by lowering someone else. It's so true.

      Bless that family who became yours. I know they must treasure the day you became theirs.

  5. I am a new fan of Lisa Wingate. I read Wildwood Creek and A Prayer Box and loved them both. I can't wait to read more of what she has written.

    In answer to the above questions,
    Are you sensitive? Yes, I am sensitive but I don't often show it. I tend to keep my feelings to myself.

    How has God given you grace? He continues to forgive my repeated sins. I keep trying to be a better Christian but I fail daily. With His help and forgiveness, I am making progress, although it's slower moving than I'd like.


    1. I think God's timing is often slower than we'd like.. but He understands that what's worth having is worth working for. We all both fail and succeed daily. Thank God for grace!

  6. It's so ironic that we writers want to put our work out there, yet we're devastated by criticism, knowing full-well not everyone is going to like what we write. Silly us. But thanks for your honesty, Lisa. Very inspiring!

    1. Isn't that the truth! Silly us. Charlie Brown can teach us a few lessons -- never quit trying to kick that football ;)

  7. Wonderful interview and I too, felt that way when the kids go their own way and live their lives. A gorgeous cover!
    Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot com

  8. I love Lisa's books, and have been an "influencer" for several of her books (writing reviews, placing them in library, etc.). If I should win, I would like one of her older books cause I have read her recent ones!!

    Am I sensitive? I have been, but worked 31 yrs. in church admin. work where you have to be tough skinned (as my pastor said) to petty comments from some members. I learned to let God handle it.

    Grace.....oh yes, I will never forget when dh had unexpected triple bypass (heart) ...we had just moved to this town....knew few people. I kept hanging onto His promise of Psalm 73:26...imagine how strong I felt His grace when after the surgery, the surgeon gave me his business card with THAT scripture printed on the card!

    Blessings on Lisa and her great writing~~

    1. What a beautiful story and a blessing, Jackie! God has the most miraculous ways of confirming that he's working in our lives.

      Thank you, Jackie for being a book ambassador so many time. Without the sweet people who share these stories with me, the circle would be incomplete. I am so thankful for sweet reader-friends like you!

  9. Hi, Lisa,

    I am sensitive to when I feel put down by someone. But I do try to be understanding and not be mad because people for whatever reason can momentarily be in a bad mood and say something they really don't mean and sometimes expressions come out the wrong way. An example on that is someone told me about a book they were getting a lot out of. I said something like I haven't read mucb into it meaning I was slowly progressing with the reading , but I felt the person thought I meant I wasn't getting out of if what she was. So communication can sometimes be given or received in the wrong manner. I usually go through a thought process asking questions. Did I hear that correctly? Did they mean to say it like that? Am I being overly sensitive becsuse of a past experience? What's more important, dwelling on what was said or being friends? Sometimes the sensitivity is justified and other times not. This has helped me.

    1. Janice that is a very good point. No one's perspective is actual reality. We all see through the glass of our own experiences.

  10. Ooops, jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com

  11. Welcome to OWG, LISA! I haven't read your books YET, but I'm looking forward to doing so as soon as I get the opportunity! I love the idea of the Prayer Box!! :)

    Am I sensitive? Oh yeah! ;) Although, I have to say, God has brought me a loooong way from where I used to be! I think time and experience has a lot to do with it... which includes our willingness to learn from those experiences. We do all tend to get into 'protective' mode when something hurts us that has previously caused a heap of pain in the past. And I find, giving these things to God helps considerably. He knows us so well, and will take us right through those things if we allow Him to!

    1. So true! Thank you, Noela… and I'm happy to be visiting OWG this week!

  12. Oops, forgot to leave my E mail addy:
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

  13. Dear Lisa,

    I have to say that I am sensitive, so much so that I take most things personal and get hurt over them. I am learning this past year to toughen up just a bit and not take things this way all the time. God is really helping me in this. Teaching me that I cannot please everyone. I also have learned a lot about ignoring those things that others say, when they don't know your life or walk. I am just loving The Prayer Box and I would love to win another Lisa Book !
    Your Sister and Devoted Friend,
    Linda Marie Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    www.faithfulacres.net New Website, check it out ok.

    1. faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com
      Even if you all know where to find me !!!!

    2. Thank you, Linda. I treasure your sisterhood and friendship. You've hit the nail on the head, I think -- we can't please everyone and indeed we're not even mean to! Thank you for coming by today.

  14. I love reading your books, and look forward to reading Firefly Island. I am sensitive to feelings of people around me. I was one of those tender target kids in school. I loved school and learning, but I hated what happened to me there. There was this one girl who had a following of two other girls, who made my free time miserable at school. Her mama is one of the sweetest Godly women I know, and she, my parents, and I are very close. As an adult I found out through her that there were things about their home life I couldn't have known, and began connecting the dots. It explained a lot. This girl and I are also friends now, by the way. Through that hard time in my life, I believe God used it to develop a sensitivity and maybe even insight that has helped me understand and have compassion for others that I may not have had otherwise. Picking on me wasn't right, but God was able to use it for good. He is awesome that way. :-D

    1. Yes! It is our scars that help us connect to the scars of others. God uses everything about us, but quite often He uses the broken places most of all.

  15. I do tend to be sensitive, and God has used that. He also showers me abundantly with His grace. I'm one of those who needs more than most. Thank you for the giveaway. I have wanted to read one of your new books, and this is a special opportunity.

  16. LISA I'm so excited you are joining us this week on OWG. Thank you so much for this great interview and for your transparency. It's refreshing to know I'm not the only one that has those wild and crazy thoughts fly through your mind when someone is mean to you. :-) lol

    In response to Carrie's question; yes I have always been sensitive. And just like a lot of people I have been quick to get my feelings hurt because of that sensitivity, so I am working on not taking people's words to heart. I have always been one to rant and rave for a while then I am quick to forgive and forget, (well still working on the forgetting part lol) so I praise GOD for His Grace for that. I have been shown so much grace in my life I could write forever but the top thing I thank GOD for is getting my family through 1999. That was a long year for us, I had a tumor removed from the right side of my head in February, our five year old son had to have two surgeries on his sinuses and then on Father's Day my husband collapsed in Church while on stage singing. We found out that week he had testicular cancer! Praise the Lord HE brought us through that and in September my hubby will be FIFTEEN YEARS CANCER FREE!! Now that's what I call GOD'S AMAZING GRACE!!

    1. What a beautiful story of grace,Teresa. God is so, so good.

  17. Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for the interview, I always enjoy getting to know more about authors. I have not read any of your books, but a couple of them are on my to be read list.
    In answer to the questions, I am a sensitive person. I tend to read more into people's words than I like to and sometimes what I am hearing and sensing is right, but there have been times I have been wrong. I grew up being teased a lot all through school because I was a little bigger than girls my age. I think I tended to keep people at a distance because of the hurt their words caused. I overcame that once I got a job and was in the adult world, I gained confidence and felt better about myself, but it is funny how those comments that were made to you come back and still have an affect on your life. I am still a sensitive person and used to think it was a curse, but I can see where it has also served me well over the years working in the medical field to have compassion and a caring heart for people when they do not feel good. I try not to take things so seriously when they are said to me and I also know that it is not important to please everyone and some people are just not worth getting sensitive over - sorry if that sounds unChristian, but just know from experience that with some people - nothing you say, do, or think will matter, they just do not like you.

    God does reveal His grace to me every day - I honestly don't feel I deserve it many days, but I know that He loves me and wants what is best for me and I am always amazed at the depth of His love and grace and how far He will go to keep one of His within his flock!
    Thank you for sharing about yourself and a little about the books you are featuring - I enjoyed the interview! I would enjoy reading your books.

    May God continue to bless you and your writing!


    1. Thank you, Lori! Everything about us does shape us for a purpose. When we find that purpose and fulfill it, life is at its best. Bless you for fulfilling the purpose God has for you.

  18. Thank you for the interview. I am awaiting the arrival of Wildwood Creek and looking forward to reading it.
    I have not read The Prayer Box yet but want to. Lisa, I enjoyed learning about you and your other books.
    I am encouraged by all the replies to your question about sensitivity.
    yes, I have always struggled with how people can be unkind with their words or actions and I usually let it hurt me in the past.
    I am different now, because I have been given God's grace through some very difficult circumstances these past few years. Not only as a cancer survivor for 3 years, but also because I experienced so much of Gods love working through and with my late husbands illness and death. It changed me, because now I know what a gift life is and I try to see through spiritual eyes what other people are really feeling even if they aren't saying anything. I am thankful that God has changed my perspective so I take the focus off of me.
    Thank you and Blessings

    1. Ah, seeing through spiritual eyes -- that is such a good point. Thank you for sharing that, Jackie!

  19. yes, I am sensitive and God has given me so much grace! I have heard Him speak to me many times! Rhonda

  20. Hello Carrie and thanks for having this great interview with Lisa. Lisa, good to hear your words. And, I would love to have this book and any other I could get my hands on.I know what you mean about brothers. I think they were placed with sisters for that reason, to pick on them and maybe toughen them up. HA! HA! I had 3 brothers and 4 sisters. So it should have made me a tough cookie as some say. Well, I have to admit they were really good siblings and only 2 left and I really miss the ones who have gone to be with the LORD. So,I appreciate the picking the two brothers do now. Wouldn't be them if they didn't do it and I know it is done with love. I also have learned through living that people so many times get the wrong message from something someone else says in person or letters. I have been on both sides of the situation. And, as for GOD's Grace. He has blessed our large family(Lloyd's) with so many Miracles through the years. So many illnesses that we thought someone wouldn't make it through and with the Grace of GOD they did. With my oldest brother this happened several years ago. He went to a hospital with what he thought was the flu. Well, not sure what they thought was wrong but they gave him so many meds and he finally went into a coma. His daughter had him moved to the best Hosp. in downtown Houston. They started by detoxing him of the meds and started over as being his first time in. He was unconscious for a long time and I finally thought this was one time GOD wasn't going to give us a YES for our answer. The doctors told the family that if he came out he might not be the same. And might have to learn to talk, walk, etc. all again. We kept praying. With a family as large ours, we have quite a large prayer chain. And, of course all of the church members from so many different churches. Well, when he woke up there was nothing he had to relearn and was the same big brother. An act of Grace for sure. And, so many accident in wrecks, that were very similar to this story. And with HIS grace, he has also helped me through the loss of so many of my family, including my sweet hubby who I lost 16 years ago with cancer. there is only three of the family I was born into left and no aunts, etc.I would love to win one of your books Lisa. And have been wanting both of these. I have a special love for all of these OWG girls. GOD bless you all. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  21. Hi, Lisa and Diana!!

    I really enjoyed the interview, ladies!! I love the story lines of Lisa's novels!! Congrats on the National Civies award, Lisa!! I enjoy your sensitivity, humor and online posts - especially those about loveable, cute, little, Huck!!

    I was ridiculed by classmates, also, and grew up feeling unloved, insecure, and lacking confidence. Therefore, I was very sensitive. Deepening my relationship with God has greatly lessened my sensitivity, as has aging - I now realize that what other people think of me is less important than pleasing, and following God's plan for my life. And the trials of my life have helped me become more compassionate to others, and more readily recognize the reasons for their actions.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win one of Lisa's wonderful books!!


  22. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Wingate! :)

    I've been happily consumed by blog tours & reading adventures of late, to where I hadn't realised your lovely new book "The Story Keeper" is nearly about to debut! I was always quite attached to seeing where the story would go next, and I'm thrilled to bits its arriving a mere year after "The Prayer Box"! Wow. That is seriously *exciting news!* :) Caught your tweet and realised you'd be off in the book blogosphere promoting & sharing the joy! I miss dropping by OWG & the Porch! I simply am amazed at how fast Spring arrived & how a year ago in four days I gave birth to my book blog! Goodness! The hours elapsed faster than I can keep up at times!

    I do read the Porch & OWG by email though, therefore in spirit I am with all of you! Not to mention the tweets & keeping my eyes on bookish news which comes out of both blogs & sites!! :)

    I believe I have been given a heap of grace in overcoming and living through being bullied which ironically doesn't necessarily end in childhood, although I might be the only (or rather one of) adult who mentions this as an ongoing issue to sort through. Yet, I am a bit distant from having bullies and bullying behaviour affect me personally, as I've shifted past the height of the emotions and moved into a new way of reconciling those moments which arrive. I think the greater grace I have right now in my life is being able to find the beauty, the joy, and the happiness whilst adversity is always on the fringes of my world. Living through stress and choosing to set my attitude on what is positive is one of my best blessings!

    I was musing about negative book reviews (as Ms. Wingate was mentioning they are still a struggle to ignore or accept), and I think one reason I feel a bit indifferent towards negative reviews is because I always had the strength to believe in myself and in my own living truth outside the scope of bullies. You get a LOT of negativity sent your way when someone chooses to inflict unnecessary attention in your direction. The difficulty is how you process all of it, and how you elect to move forward without having other people's voices stuck in your head. And, I think that is one thing writers struggle with themselves; you have this bold confidence to believe in your stories and you let them fly out into the world gaining joy and momentum each time a reader who loves them finds their words. Yet. The backlash of those who may not connect with the book or story itself, are a bit like dealing with unwanted negative karma! At some point, you have to have this invisible buffer to shield you. Faith helps, but humans have to go through a process to bolster themselves against our fragile hearts. We emote passionately whilst we breathe, and therefore, irregardless of our faithful rock, we need extra hours to know how to adjust and defuse negative energy.

    I completely sympathise on this topic and I will always be a champion of writers like Lisa Wingate, whose honesty about the writer's road towards publication doesn't end 'at time of publication' because each new book is a new journey into the head winds! Let us wrap our arms around her in a *big!* virtual hug & let her know we appreciate her!! :) :)

    Bless you for the bookaway!


  23. Oh am I ever sensitive! It is all a blessing though. See, when I was younger I was one of those kids whose parents got a divorce when no one's parents got divorced. There were two of us in our entire school. It felt horrible. Because of the divorce money was super tight. I was in a Catholic school and my family simply could not afford to buy me a new uniform every year so my mom bought me two really long uniform skirts and hemmed them. Every year, she would let the hems down and adjust. I was teased quite a bit over that. My older brother became addicted to drugs. Again, no one was experiencing this in my school (my brother was in public school and quite a bit older). Anyway, I could probably go on and on for hours on the things that happened in my life. I really do count it all a joy though. Because if I had not gone through the things I went through, I would not have needed God as desperately as I did. I would not have developed such a deep empathy for others as I have.

    My life has been so touched by God's grace. At 38 years old I moved across the country to get away from an abusive relationship. I left with very little. When I was on my last $40, God brought me to a job that paid really well and provided benefits that I needed to take care of myself and my son as well as help others. When I thought I was worthless, God lavished His love on me and led me and my soul mate together. Four days after my 40th birthday, I married the love of my life. I have not gone one day without waking up to his saying "I love you." But even without that, God sent Jesus to die for my sins (and there are many), THAT was grace enough.

    Thank you for this dear opportunity.





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