Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Author of Note - Shirley Kiger Connolly

Shirley Kiger Connolly
February Author of Note

Welcome back to The Bookshelf, Shirley! Before I start asking a lot of off-the-cuff questions, let’s find out who you are. Tell us about Shirley Connolly, the lady next door.

I don’t remember if I told you I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, but it was back when I was a little girl in Oregon that I took hold of my love and desire to write. Even through many years of concentrating on other things like the raising of children, and finding hobbies to occupy my time when I wasn’t working at a school, I would always go somewhere to be by myself so I could put something down on paper about something. That is truly me and always has been. When I am not writing I am with my animals, learning things from them, or reading, or watching a good old movie with my husband, and in the cold weather, I often do stitchery of some kind. Many know I have this thing about moving my furniture around in one of my rooms, and it is really a thing with me to be creative that way with my decorating. The ladies who come over for Bible Study at my home laugh every time they come around because of the changes around my house. I’ve been a Christian since I was quite young, and it was through my relationship with the Lord that I developed a passion for women’s ministry and teaching, where before I had concentrated more on youth. This (passion) blossomed when my husband became a pastor. After several years of teaching women of the love of the Lord and how to grow in their walk, I began writing not only my fiction books but devotional reflections about the Lord which turned into the publishing of my newest book, I See God in the Simple Things.

What an interesting and diverse lady next door! Now we can talk about your books. How many do you have published?

Consider me still a newbie if you like. At this date, I have published three books thus far. One devotional book, and two fiction novels. The one released in April of 2008 was my most recent, an historical, Flame from Within.

Tell us about I See God in the Simple Things, since it will be the next one available.

I am really looking forward to the release of Simple Things, Delia. This light hearted devotional was first published in 2005, but my publisher at that time charged an awful lot for a person to purchase it, which was discouraging. My present editor asked me if she could read it, so I sent it to her. She loved it and offered to publish it again. After stopping the first print, I decided to make a few changes…just a few, and now I am anxious to see this now-much- more-affordable edition out on the market. I See God in the Simple Things is a compiling of a number of reflections I have shared lately with other women. They all reflect on the trueness of life whether it is through the eyes of an animal, for example your pet chicken, or your dog or your cat…maybe your goat. I tried to marry up the experiences of life with simple things like what animals go through or broken plumbing or dirty dishes, you name it, and I found out so simply how God can teach us the most amazing things about our own lives by looking at life in that way and seeing how He pulls you through (or your chicken through) whatever tough time you might have found yourself in. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it works! It really works. And God is so good, the way He draws these things to mind. In the book, each reader takes the same journey by getting an opportunity to share about an experience he or she has been through that might relate and how God ministered.

I See God in the Simple Things releases in a couple of weeks. I pray people will check it out when it does.

Just an added note: My Simple Things book is the first in a three-part series! Readers can also be watching for I See God in the Thorns ‘n Thistles and I See God on that Narrow Road.

Sounds like some wonderful books for us to look forward to, Shirley. How long have you been writing? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I think I probably explained that at the beginning. It started when I was eight to be specific. I absolutely knew then, Delia.

How much time do you devote to your craft?

I start my day at around 8 a.m. and usually go until around 3 p.m. with only a break to take a walk with my husband and eat some lunch. I stay with it six days a week.

Any advice for new and aspiring writers?

It’s been said before, “Never give up.” If you believe you are called to write just keep at it. You will be blessed for your efforts in some way. You’ll see.

Now for that off-the-cuff stuff I mentioned.

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question – what question would you ask of whom?

For a Christian, “What is the Lord doing in your life right now to make you want to continue to serve Him?” For someone else, I think rather than asking them a question (I am often quiet around the masses), I might start off by being a good listener. Then I would find a way to ask them if they have ever had an encounter with the Lord at any time. Those two questions are real important, and we get only so many opportunities, you know.

What crayon in the box describes you best on a good day? Bad day?

On a good day, Burnt Sienna. On a bad day, I don’t open that crayon box, because my brain isn’t working well enough to read the crayons.

You’re going on a very long trip. Which of the following will you take with you?
Book: Bible and my favorite light read
: Fernando Ortega or some Irish Music
son: My husband, Tom
: Used to be Mexican food. No more (I’m on Weight Watchers). Now, I think it would be a really busy salad with bleu cheese dressing on the side.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

I would want to see the people I love dearly, even if I haven’t seen them for a long, long time, and I would want to write a poem about my entire life to pass down to those who will be here after I’m gone. I know my poem would include the awesomeness of God and what He will do for any person if they will only give Him that opportunity, just like He did me.

What word annoys you more than any other?

Any swear word or to hear a Christian say the phrase, “Oh my G....,” when we are never to use the Lord’s name in vain. It just grates at me terribly, and it is used so often, even by children.

What “super power” would you like to borrow for awhile?

To be able to tell my disorder to never bother me again. (I live with a seizure disorder (SD)…my thorn in the flesh.)

What’s your favorite chore? Least favorite?

Oh, Delia!

My favorite: cleaning up my Victorian parlor and my Victorian bathroom (my favorite rooms in the house).

My worst: Putting the clothes away that I just folded from the laundry.

Anything you’d like to do but don’t because of some underlying fear?

I don’t think I could consider it a fear. But I quit driving back in 1998 because of blacking out while driving. That day, I hit two parked cars and a tree. After that I told the doctor I didn’t think I should drive anymore even though I knew my SD was regulated right. I have to partly consider that a fear, but not only that, a sense of knowing myself too well. I don’t trust my fuzzy brain sometimes.

Share a grammatical pet peeve…go ahead, sound off.

People writing or saying, “You know,” and the words “And, uh,” would be a couple of things that grate me wrong. Now that I have POV (point of view) down, it is funny how that bothers me too, when someone gets it messed up. I’m usually pretty forgiving with the grammatical stuff when it comes to writing, since I’m not the best myself.

Share a societal pet peeve…here’s your chance to blast ‘em.

People that put things and people down before they really understand that issue or that person. The judgments of people on others. Christians are guilty of this too. It does bother me sometime.

Thank you for hanging out at The Bookshelf for awhile, Shirley! We can’t wait to read I See God in the Simple Things! When and where can we get it?

Simple Things (as I call it for short) will be releasing this month (February). A person can first pick it up at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and of course, through my publisher, VR Publishing. I really hope your readers will check it out. It’s a fun read for the Christian and even for someone who knows nothing about Christianity. It really opens the eyes in a simple, fun way.

I hope my readers run right out and find that book, Shirley – I intend to! Thanks again, and we hope you sell a million.

Shirley has published several books and lives on the Southern coast of Oregon with her husband, Tom. A fiction and nonfiction writer, and teacher to women, Shirley also spends time with her animals, incorporating their experiences with how the Lord teaches people about life. She and her husband have served in the ministry since 1980. Shirley’s life passion is working with women and helping them grow in their faith. You can visit Shirley Kiger Connolly anytime at her website at http://apenforyourthoughts.blogspot.com/ or http://shirleykoinonia.tripod.com/.


patti said...

What an amazing blog! Glad I met you today. You asked fun and provocative questions. My favorite was the box of crayons. Oh, how I loved shopping for school supplies!

Congratulations, Shirley!

Patti Lacy

Delia Latham said...

I'm so glad you stopped by, Patti - and delighted that you enjoyed your visit!

Kathy Carlton Willis said...

Great interview! I'd love to be entered in the drawing for I See God in the Simple things if you get enough participants. For notification purposes, you can contact me at WillisWay (at) aol (dot) com. Thanks!

Marta said...

this looks like a wonderful book. Please sign me up for a chance to win


Marta's Meanderings

Becky C. said...

I loved the interview, and would love to read the book.

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky C.


Delia Latham said...

So glad you all stopped by!

Shirley Kiger Connolly said...

I am really enjoying the comments! Thank you all! Invite your friends to come back. I'm hoping to find enough of your faces on here to be able to share one of my books with you.

Blessings to all!

Anonymous said...

Good interview! Enter me too!
I love devotionals.

Hannah Ingram

beth said...

This sounds like an excellent book. I would love to win and read this. I really enjoyed the interview. I too do not like putting away clothes :) Thank you

Debby said...

Great interview. The book sounds great as well

Bev said...

Thanks for the interview and the book giveway. I would love to be entered.

b.werts @ sbcglobal.net

donna said...

The books sounds just like what I enjoy. I agree God is in the simple things of life!!
Donna Hill donnnahill@gmail.com

bcappsmidwife said...

My dear friend Delia, you always know the right questions to get the most amazing answers.
You know how to bring out the best in people..
I too don't like to put laundry away, I also don't like to put the dishes away out of the dishwasher It jsut goes ot show us that we see God in the simpler things in life if we try hard enough to look for them. So this is also an example of children who see things more simplier in life thna we do also.
I would love to win this book and get the opportunity to read it and hopefully open up for the Simplier things in Life.

LuAnn said...

Another great interview with Shirley! I always enjoy reading about her and her books.

Anonymous said...

Joanne Troutman

Loved the interview, and the canter, I would love to read the book, to show me that God is in the simple things, even when I think He is not.

Shirley Kiger Connolly said...

Woops! I tried to comment a second ago, but it didn't take. Here I am again, and I want to thank so many of you for the delightful comments at Delia's blog. Sounds like a lot of us must have laundry all over our houses. You're right...we can find God in that scenario somehow. I wonder what the lesson is???

I look forward to sharing the book with one of you.

Many blessings

Theresa Malone said...

Loved the interview. I would love to read the book and see her victorian house.

Delia Latham said...

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and said hello! We do have a winner. Kathy Carlton Willis will receive a free copy of Shirley's book. Congratulations, Kathy! I hope you'll all pick up a copy of Shirley's Simple Things! You will be blessed...