Missy Tippens is an award-winning writer and was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest. After ten years of pursuing her dream, she made her first sale of a full-length novel to Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She still pinches herself to see if it really happened! Her debut novel, Her Unlikely Family, was an ACFW Book of the Year finalist. Her next, His Forever Love, was out in June 2009, and will be followed by A Forever Christmas, coming November 1.
Missy loves to hear from readers through her website, www.missytippens.com, or by e-mail: missytippens[at]aol[dot]com.
You have a new book coming out November 1st, just in time for Christmas. Can you tell us what A Forever Christmas is about?
I’d love to! Here’s the back cover blurb:
Sarah Radcliffe’s quiet Christmas back in her hometown will be lost if she agrees to direct the church’s Christmas pageant. But when she meets two little boys determined to gain their father’s attention, Sarah agrees to help. Then she discovers that the dad in question is Gregory Jones, the man she loved and lost.
The single dad is working himself to the bone to give his boys the Christmas of their dreams, when all they want is some family time. Time that includes a new mommy. If Sarah can learn to open her heart, she may receive the most wonderful
present of all—a family of her own.
What inspired you to become a romance writer?
When I was pregnant with my middle child, I was put on bed rest for about a month. A dear friend from church brought me a huge bag of books, and I read like crazy. It made me fall in love with romance novels all over again. By the time my son was born, I decided I wanted to try to write one.
Where do your story ideas come from?
All over the place. And I have a computer file of ideas! I love to watch people when I’m out in public. And I love to jot notes about characters and ideas while I’m watching shows on TV—especially the news or news-type shows (like “20/20” and “60 Minutes”). I also try to pull from my past experiences, even if they’re not the same as my characters, to draw from similar emotions.
How has being a mother of three and a pastor’s wife shaped your writing?
Kids are fodder for writing—even in romance novels! I love to write children into my stories. And though I haven’t written a story with a pastor hero yet, I really want to.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced on the road to publication?
The temptation to quit. It took me over ten years to publish my first full-length story. I nearly gave up several times. I’m talking serious decisions to give up (couldn’t afford the time or expense any longer, couldn’t take the heartbreak and discouragement any longer…). And each time, God encouraged me in some way. I’m so glad He did!
Generally speaking, how long does it take you to write a novel?
My books are 55-60k words. I’ve taken anywhere from 8 weeks (when on a deadline) to 3 years (the first book I sold—which I re-wrote several times)! But I would say that the ideal for me would be about 3-4 months to have time to do lots of pre-writing work and to spend a month polishing it.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I had a college professor give very positive feedback, but she was bragging more on my high school teachers than on me. 🙂 So I never considered writing as any sort of career. In fact, I ended up majoring in biology.
I did love to read, though. And like I mentioned above, that love really kicked in while I was on bed rest. And the more I read, the more I thought, “Hey, I could do this.” That’s when the writing bug bit me. And once I started joining professional organizations like Romance Writers of America, and taking online writing classes, I decided I wanted to do it for a career.
Missy, as a romance writer, do you also enjoy movies with a romantic theme? If so, what are a few of your favorites?
I love romantic comedies! Or any chick-flicks. Most recently, I LOVED The Proposal. And also Twighlight.
Sharon, thanks so much for having me!