Find a Christian store

Interview with Liana George

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
When Liana George was a child, she always had two answers to offer when asked this question: “an author or a Wimbledon champion (that’s a tennis tournament, in case you didn’t know).”
She continues, “Although I never made it to a professional level of tennis stardom (or an amateur level for that matter; the best I could do was local tennis club play once or twice a week), I was able to realize my dream of becoming an author.”

What message do you hope readers take away from your book?
I base each of my books on a particular Bible verse so each one has its own message. However, if I had to give an overarching theme to my writing it would be encouragement (positive stories), edification (spiritually enriching), entertainment (heartwarming and fun), and education (exposing readers to new worlds and cultures they may never experience on their own).

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Patience and waiting. I spent three years working on my debut novel and didn’t have any publishing prospects once I was done. One day, an idea popped into my mind to share the story chapter by chapter on my blog so I could at least get it out into the world somehow. However, I knew that was a decision I needed to discuss with God.

So, I did.

I prayed for several days. Then one day, after I had finished asking God about what I should do again, I stood up from my chair and knocked over a stack of cards with God’s promises that were on the table next to me. When I knelt to pick up the cards, the first one I grabbed read, “God’s best is always worth the wait.”

Right then and there I knew that I wasn’t supposed to blog my book. Firm in that decision I promised God that if it took five days, weeks, months, or years for Him to share my book with the world I would wait.

Three weeks later I received an email from a small publisher (Scrivenings Press) asking for my full manuscript. Two weeks after that, I signed a book contract with them (which later turned into a three-book contract).

It was hard waiting but I was so glad I did!

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Being disciplined to sit down and write!

While I was in the middle of writing book three in my Hopeful Heart Series (Perfectly Matched), God laid it upon my heart to start a business to help Christian writers with their marketing and platform building. I thought it would be a while before I got the company going, but God had a different schedule in mind and within weeks The Author’s Write Hand was formed and we had clients knocking on our doors!

Now, I have to be very purposeful with my time and my focus. I usually spend the mornings working on my book writing (both fiction and nonfiction) and in the afternoons I shift and do more business and client work. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s allowed me to do two things I’m passionate about.

How do your faith and spiritual life affect your storytelling?
Well, I know that I wouldn’t be a storyteller if it weren’t for the Lord. So, I have to lean on Him for ideas, focus, and energy. And while I don’t have deep spiritual truths woven into my stories, I do have faith elements that would be encouraging to a believer who might read the book, but not be off-putting to an unbeliever as well.

Where do your story and character ideas come from?
All over! Book one in my Hopeful Heart Series (Perfectly Arranged) actually came from my experience working as a professional organizer and my time living in China. Other novel ideas come from stories I read in the news or in magazines or things/situations other people tell me (I always remind my friends that if they tell me a story, I might use it in a book!). Sometimes I’ll just be going through my day and see something and think, “What if …” and a story is born.

What is your writing routine? Any quirky habits or must-have snacks?
Although I don’t consider it a quirky habit, I write all my books by hand. At first, I would write them in pencil on yellow legal pads, but it took for-ever to transcribe. Then I discovered the ReMarkable tablet and using it has been life-altering! I can write to my heart’s content and then convert my handwriting into written text. It’s been a lifesaver and a game-changer for me and my writing!

As for snacks I’m simple: Coke Zero and Twizzlers (just don’t tell my daughter who’s a registered dietitian!).

Is there a literary character you think is like you? Explain.
I don’t know that I’ve ever identified with a particular literary character per se, but I did put a lot of myself into my main character, Nicki Mayfield. I think all authors do put themselves in their characters - or at least I hope I’m not the only one who does!

If you could have coffee with an author, dead or alive, whose work you admire, who would that be? What would you ask him or her?
Well, since I don’t drink coffee we’d have to sip on tea (being from Texas it would have to be sweet tea, of course) or a Coke Zero … but I’d love to talk with Jane Austen. Although I’m not a huge fan (sorry!) I would love to know her thoughts on what she thinks about her impact on the literary world and what she thinks about all the different ways her books have been used (made into movies, inspired similar stories, etc.) Also, I’d love to know what type of story she’d write today if she were still alive.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?
Honestly, not much! I do have dreams that someone will stop me one day and say, “Hey didn’t you write that book …” or that I’ll sit down next to someone reading my book – like on a plane or at the airport - and ask them “Is the book any good?” To me, that would be really funny!

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I write in first person present which a lot of people struggle reading, but it’s just what comes naturally to me when I sit down and put pencil to paper (or stylus to tablet). It allows me to feel as if I am that character more deeply, which I hope makes for a better storytelling experience.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
Two devotionals, my Bible, a mystery (Pancakes and Bacon with a Side of Murder by Keri Lynn), and my Kindle, which is loaded with all sorts of goodies!

Finish this statement: If I were not an author, I would be _
A tennis player (specifically a Wimbledon champion)
Kathy McKinsey lives in Lakewood, Ohio, with her husband Murray and the oldest of their five children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille drawing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with their rambunctious cat.

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.