Lisa, tell us a little about yourself.
How did you begin your writing career?
As I struggled with the question of whether I should return to the corporate world and how quickly, she would rock the baby and tell me stories of her childhood and her early married life.
I came to know her as I never had before and wrote down those stories in a little notebook after she went to bed at night. Her life lesson tales later became the genesis for my first novel, Tending Roses. It’s been on the shelves for 12 years and still sells well and gains me more new readers than any of my other books.
How does the rest of your family feel?
My family is very supportive of and excited about my writing these days. I often say I have the most educated assistant in the business. She’s a retired educator, a PHD. She is my first reader, helps with so much communication and details, usually travels with me to events and on tours. Many author friends have asked to borrow her, but I don’t lend her out. All the family and in-laws are encouragers and most read my books.
Actually, some have shown up as characters in various books, but that another whole story. It’s fun being at a Wingate reunion, though, and hearing the aunts say,“Donetta is really me, isn’t she?”
I have to tell you though, that is now. I didn’t come from a family that encouraged writing as a career. They insisted I get an education and take on a day job. I guess they didn’t want me living in their basement all my life.
What are you working on now?
Lastly, give us a look into Wildwood Creek.
The story is a combination of folk legend, historical fact, and wild flight of fancy. I like to think of it as part historical, part contemporary, part romance, part adventure, and part drama. The idea began spinning itself in my head after a chance encounter with a roadside monument. I’d tell you about the monument, but… well… that would spoil the story. Suffice to say that it commemorates a sad and much-debated chapter of Civil War history in Texas. Many people outside Texas aren’t even aware that the state was part of the Confederacy, or that the issue was hotly debated among Texans as the conflict heated up to the east.
I have always been a lover of history, and having grown up in the era of sweeping western movies, I’m especially fond of the history of the American frontier. I’m a sucker for roadside monuments, Small-town museums, the foundations of old homesteads, historical markers, and old graveyards. Standing over the time-worn headstones of child graves, sometimes several in the same family, I’ve often felt the connection to the human side of history, to the mothers of those children, whose grief at times must have been overwhelming. It’s impossible not to wonder, from the safer vantage point of a modern life, if I could have endured what those pioneer women endured. If I were in the shoes of my ancestors, would I have the metal to survive?
That sense of wondering, and that love for history, are part of Wildwood Creek. A 150 year-old mystery lies hidden beneath Moses Lake in the story, and though the locals have long shared tall tales and legends of Wildwood, a town in which the citizenry suddenly vanished near the beginning of the war, no one knows what really happened. But as Allie accepts a position among the cast of a docudrama set to reenact the last days of Wildwood, a summer drought (yes, we had one of those in real life as I was writing the book) is closing in and the secrets of Wildwood are about to rise to the surface.
That’s a lot of words to tell you about what actually happened and set my imaginary world to spinning this story. Go here and see what I saw.
Where can readers find you?
Lisa Wingate is a journalist, inspirational speaker, reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over twenty novels. Her novels combine elements of history, romance, mystery, and women’s fiction with nuggets of Southern culture, from the sublime to the humorous. She is a seven-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her works have been selected for Booklist’s Top Ten List in 2012 and in 2013. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.
Cindy M. Jones ~ Stories for Readers, Tips for Writers
Also published on Medium.