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Interview With Glynna Kaye Sirpless

In January 2009, Glynna Kaye Sirpless (writing as Glynna Kaye) received “The Call” after Dreaming of Home, a story set in the beautiful mountain country of north-central Arizona, spent only one week with the New York editors. What seems to be instant success, however, is a true testament to Glynna’s belief that “God's delays are not necessarily God's denials.”

In 1998, you were on the verge of a successful writing career when you had to step back and take a sabbatical for health reasons. Congratulations on your comeback. While on sabbatical, did you visualize you’d be a published author by 2010?

Absolutely not. During my “sabbatical” I was incapable of writing much at all, and my unpublished, award-winning manuscripts gathered a thick layer of dust. As my energy gradually returned, I read about the writing craft. Took on-line classes. But I was creatively flat-lined, with the greatest part of my focus and energy going into regaining my strength and health. As late as 2008—after I had started writing again and had even won first place in the 2006 ACFW “Genesis” —I again was seriously praying about closing the door on a life-long dream of publication. Working full-time at a demanding day job, it was just too hard to keep the dream alive. But God, family, and my “Seeker Sisters” ( encouraged me not to give up. That’s when I wrote Dreaming of Home. I entered it in The Golden Pen contest for feedback—and a Steeple Hill senior editor-judge asked to see the whole manuscript!

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?

Aside from God’s timing, perseverance, and the support of my Seeker Sisters, probably joining RWA and using their contests as a training ground would be most significant (ACFW didn’t exist when I first started out). As a hands-on learner, I gained so much from trial and error, receiving constructive feedback and encouragement from generous writers far more experienced and knowledgeable than I was.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?

I’m not a speedy writer, so even with boatloads of pre-planning my stories take time to evolve. Since I work full-time, writing must come in isolated “snatches” –which means getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning and writing for two hours each day for months to produce a rough draft. While writing for Him may be God’s direction for me, I also know it’s not to be at the expense of relationships and commitments He’s placed in my life. So it’s a challenge to keep my eyes focused on how God would have me use my time most wisely. I still have much to learn.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?

For quite some time, I didn’t believe I “qualified” to be a writer of inspirational fiction. Didn’t you have to be an ex-missionary? A pastor’s wife? Someone with a known ministry platform? A much more “spiritual” and perfect person than I am? But gradually I came to learn that what God desires most is a growing faith and a willing, teachable heart. So I think that’s what my stories are basically about at their core—about growing up in God. Learning to listen to Him. To trust Him. To set aside fear and step out into tomorrow because you know God is already there.

What were you doing when you received ‘the call’ for Dreaming of Home?

I received an email from Steeple Hill Senior Editor Melissa Endlich asking when would be the best time for her to call with good news. (Apparently she’d tried to call while I was out, but hadn’t left a message.) So with a giddy, thankful heart (I could almost feel God himself smiling!), I shot off a response. The next morning at 7:25 a.m., Friday, January 23, 2009, I got the dreamed of “Call” for, of all things, an October 2009 release! When I arrived home from work that evening, I had another email—a revision letter. And thus was my introduction to the realities of a contracted author!

You attribute your love of storytelling to the hours spent listening to your Iowa relatives ‘windjammers’. What exactly are these and do they find their way into your books?

I haven’t used any of the “windjammers” per se in my books YET, but my sister, cousins and I spent many happy hours as we grew up listening to our grandma and her siblings tell stories about their youth and young adulthood in an early 1900’s Iowa farm family. They had little in the way of material possessions, but were rich in love and strong in faith. They were so transparent with us about their lives, the good and the bad, that there was never a “generation gap” in our family. Their stories, shared with honesty and humor, taught us that bad things happen to good people. To look for the lighter side in situations and to laugh at ourselves. Taught us that God could get us through anything life could dish out. That there is no love without sacrifice. They were down-to-earth, good-hearted people who showed us that heroes and heroines can be found in real life. I’m so thankful that the generations before me, on both sides of my family, laid a solid foundation of Bible-based values and genuine faith.

How do you classify your writing style?

It’s difficult to evaluate my own writing style, so I guess I’ll rely on comments from readers of my first book! “Heartwarming.” “A lyrical voice.” “Distinctive.” “Engaging.” “A light, breezy style.” “Tenderhearted romance that packs a spiritual and emotional punch.”

Finish this question: I want my books to … entertain and touch the hearts of readers, to inspire them to live intentionally and go deeper with God.

Any parting words?
This past year has been totally amazing—and it’s the encouraging reader letters and emails which have contributed so much to that. I’m humbled that so many have taken the time to let me know they enjoyed my first book—to let me know that the story and characters came alive for them. Brought smiles. Tears. Rekindled their own relationships and reinforced their faith. It’s amazing how through the written word someone can be drawn into a world that’s a figment of my imagination and it touches their heart.

Thanks for sharing with us, Glynna.

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