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Interview with Anita Higman

Anita, it is so nice to have you as our featured author today. In your words you say, “Writing is incredibly hard and every time I begin a book, I think it’s impossible, but somehow word by word it gets done.” Anne Lamott uses the words ‘bird by bird’ and means the same thing, I believe. The job of writing is not for the faint hearted, in other words, is it?
Not at all. If you don’t love writing and you don’t desperately need to do it, then I would suggest you run from it now while you can still get away. It’s not glamorous. It probably won’t make you rich, and it will give you one wicked backache. But if you are truly called to write, let nothing stop you, and let your heart be merry with the journey.

Anita, this is powerful advice. I particularly like ‘let your heart be merry with the journey.’ With 30 books and best-selling author status to your credit, let’s start at the very beginning. How or why did you start writing?
I started to write about twenty-eight years ago, because I needed a creative outlet. That artistic expression had to come out in some form, and I felt I could express it best with words. That’s a pretty way to say I failed at all other artistic endeavors.

Well, let’s not go there-each of us probably has a story! It’s been suggested that perhaps knitting is not my ‘gift,’ but tell us about your first success or your first sale.
One of the first successes that I was really proud of was a collection of one-act plays for dinner theater. The title was Pokeweed and Mrs. Gasp, and I’m pleased to say that after two decades it’s still in print.

Now that is impressive, Anita. The title alone is a winner. Is there someone or something that has the biggest influence on your work?
I’d love to say Jane Austen, but that statement seems pretty audacious. So, I’ll just say that everything I read and everything I experience in life influences my work in some way. I’m sure it must be the same way for other writers. How can life and all that we take in not change us and affect our work?

You’re right, if we’re in the moment, life leaves an imprint. Yes, as you’ve indicated-a rich imprint. Your brand, so to speak, is “Stories to Dream By…Chaise Lounge Not Included.” How does this play into your construction of your books?
I’m hoping that my stories give readers some pleasant hours of drifting in their imaginations, away from the pressures of work and daily stress.

Ah, I like that. You’re published by several different publishers. Is this just how it happened or do you recommend this approach with writing?
I don’t necessarily recommend this approach, but it’s the way I’ve done it. Right now I work with six publishers, and I like them all. But every writer has to find his or her own pace and journey.

Lots to ponder there. You have three books soon releasing in close sequence. Please give us brief blurbs or taglines on these.
Where God Finds You will come out through Standard Publishing on September 4th. Here’s the blurb:
Where God Finds You is unique among women’s devotional books in that it brings dozens of men and women of the Bible to life through dramatic short stories, connects biblical truths to today’s culture, and offers readers an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learned.

A Merry Little Christmas will come out through Guideposts/Summerside Press on October 1st. Here’s the blurb:
Fall in love with this cozy story about two people from different worlds. Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who’s preparing to spend the holidays alone…again. Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny’s farm. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited, and she’s more than happy to sell the farm and move to the city. As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart—that sometimes love comes when you’re least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?

Texas Wildflowers (a 4-in-1 collection) will be released through Barbour Publishing on November 1st. Here’s the blurb:
Romance is in full bloom for four McBride sisters living in Texas. A jilted Rosy goes home to Galveston to nurture her broken heart. Will she find the courage to love again? Lily has just opened a Christian counseling business. Will an eccentric client cause her to break the most solemn of vows? Violet runs a business that shows people how to live romantically. Will a quirky geek teach her the real meaning of love? Heather’s perfectly planned life has just come undone. Will an unexpected date give her the courage to let go—in life and love?

They all sound like enjoyable reads! Just for fun, let’s play Hollywood for a moment. Who would you cast as main characters in A Merry Little Christmas?
Ginnifer Goodwin would do a great job playing my heroine, Franny Martin, and my hero, Charlie Landau, really needs to be played by the amazing Zac Efron

Now, for a glimpse in Anita Higman’s crystal ball, past, present and future:
Who was your childhood hero or heroine?


What is one thing you would like to learn to do?
I’d love to play the piano better. At the level I’m playing now, it would make most people back away, and it would surely frighten small animals.

Any one prediction about the future of publishing?
I believe eBooks will continue to rise in sales. I don’t have an eBook reader yet, even though some of my books are in eBook form. I’ve always loved the smell and feel of a real book, but in spite of that, I’m sure I’ll be buying an eBook reader soon.

I can say I love my Kindle. Anita, thank you so very much for being with us and sharing your story. Two things before we leave. What take a way message do you want readers to gain from your writing and do you have any parting words for us to live by?
To readers I would like to repeat what is on my website, “People love a good story. Stories make us laugh at the world, cry our hearts out, understand ourselves better, dream bigger, celebrate love more sweetly, and maybe even see heaven a little more clearly. That’s what I hope to do, strive to do for you, the reader.”

For new writers, my advice would be, “Don’t rush the process. Take your time. Read and learn about the craft, network, and attend conferences. Start a blog, and find your own unique voice. Be faithful to your stories and write every day. If you really have a passion for writing, you won’t find my suggestions to be a punishment—but a pleasure.”

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