Liz, it’s so great having you as my guest. I’ve been reading Rise and Shine as part of my morning devotional, and it has been a great inspiration to me. What has inspired me most is the fact that you are not ashamed to tell the good in your life as well as the bad. By telling about your years of drinking and drugs, tells us all that we all have things that we are not proud of, but we might as well tell them because we cannot hide them under the rug. Is that the way you feel?
Now we will get a little lighter. How long have you been writing?
Writing for joy? All my life. I wrote stories all through my childhood, edited our high school newspaper, and majored in English in college. Writing has always been a passion of mine. But I got a bit more serious about it professionally in 1990, when my first article was published, and then in 1993 with my first book, now long out-of-print: “One Size Fits All” and Other Fables, published by Thomas Nelson. My thirtieth published book, A Wreath of Snow, will release October 2nd,. It’s a Victorian Christmas novella set in Scotland, published by WaterBrook Press.
My husband was born and raised about thirty miles from Abingdon, Virginia. When I saw you had written a book about Abingdon, I had to buy it. It is on my “to read” shelf right now, and is on the top. I love to go there and drive by Barter Theater, Martha Washington Inn, and the beautiful tree lined Main Street. Why did you ever decide to write about little ole Abingdon?
For the setting of my first novel, Mixed Signals, I wanted a charming small town in North Carolina or Virginia, two of my favorite states in the U.S. My husband and I had driven through Abingdon en route to somewhere, and I remembered it being wonderfully historic. I went there twice to do research, visiting all the places I wrote about, taking lots of photos, and interviewing the locals. I just love Abingdon and am so glad to have had a chance to share it with my readers.
The first book I read of yours was Grace In Thine Eyes. I fell in love with the Isle of Arran. In fact I fell so in love with it that when we went to Scotland, I had to go there. It is a beautiful island. We went to Brodick Castle and then toured the island. I know you get your ideas from scripture, but how did you come up with the settings in that series?
For my Lowlands of Scotland series—Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Whence Came a Prince, and Grace in Thine Eyes—I wanted to take readers to my favorite corner of the world, Dumfries and Galloway in the South West of Scotland. I first visited there in 1996 when hubby and I celebrated our tenth anniversary in bonny Scotland. I’ve been back fourteen times since! Although I’ve toured many places in that country, the title of my armchair travel guide to Scotland says it all: My Heart’s in the Lowlands.
What is your next book coming out?
I’m SO excited about this one! On July 10 look for my new nonfiction book, The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World. Publishers Weekly kindly gave it a starred review and called it, “A perfect blend of humor, extensive research, descriptive language, and insightful commentary.” I hope you’ll agree when you read it!
How long does it take you to write a book from research to final edit?
What I call “pre-writing” can take ages. I began outlining Thorn in My Heart in 1995 and it was published in 2003, so sometimes the process can take a l-o-n-g time. Of course, I wrote 15 other books in between those years, so I was plenty busy! ;>) For The Girl’s Still Got It, my research on the book of Ruth began in 2007, and it’s coming out in 2012. Once the research is done, the actual writing process itself for any given book, from the time I write the first sentence until I edit the last draft, is roughly eight to ten months.
What do you enjoy doing most, aside from writing?
I love speaking and traveling, reading historical novels, singing in our church choir, and taking photos. Most of all, I love being the wife of Bill and the mom of two college grads. Hooray!
What’s your favorite food?
Do you write dressed and made up or in pjs; at a desk or a recliner?
Tee-hee. I work best in my writing study wearing very casual, comfy clothes (and yes, sometimes pajamas), but because of my traveling, I’ve learned to write everywhere wearing anything!
God bless you, Kathy!
Thank you so much Liz. You can visit Liz at her website http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com. Check out her schedule to see if when she is going to be close to you.
Liz is a wonderful lady. The first time I met her was last year at ACFW conference. This is a tall lady and very recognizable. She was holding up a pillar in the waiting area before the conference. I walked over to her and said, “Liz?” She said, “Yes.” Then I introduced myself, and she hugged me. When Liz hugs you, you have been hugged. I knew I loved her at that moment. She is a wonderful person. Her books are wonderful. I hope you have enjoyed meeting her.