Today, I have the honor of introducing you to Golden Keyes Parsons. I met Golden (online, at least) a few months ago. We share a Publisher (WhiteFire Publishing), and a very tight knit publisher at that. The first of her series of novellas “Hidden Faces; Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels” just released as a digital book (with a print book available for pre-order on Amazon…but we’ll talk more about that in a minute).
To celebrate the release of her novella, I’m giving away one “What’s Your Story” Necklace from Inspired Novelties. Read below to find out how to enter. (Note: these necklaces aren’t even available for purchase until October 12! So, you’ll be way ahead of the trends…or…well…you know).
I asked Golden to join our “What’s Your Story” series. I hope you enjoy this interview!
Susie Finkbeiner (SF): Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, Golden! Let’s get to it. What’s your story?
Golden Keyes Parsons (GKP): I grew up in Arlington, Texas, in a family of newspaper men, editors and authors where manuscripts, books and newspapers were stacked all over the house. So in my growing-up years I learned to love the written word. I won some essay contests in school and had a few things published here and there, but I never tried to get published seriously until I started speaking professionally. I started out writing non-fiction, but soon found that my skills really were more in the area of fiction.
My childhood was not a happy one as my father, although brilliant, had a severe drinking problem. Somewhere along the way I realized that if I was going to amount to anything, it was up to me. So I was (am:) very headstrong and independent. I accepted the Lord when I was a teen-ager … THEN I decided that nothing He wanted me to do was impossible. I’ve pretty much lived my life following that philosophy.
My husband and I moved to Waco, TX, 4 years ago after retiring from the pastorate in Red River, NM. Although we retired from the pastorate, we haven’t retired from ministry. My husband and I both speak at conferences, women’s, men’s and marriage conferences. And, of course, I write historical fiction. Our ministry is Matters Of The Heart at www.goldenkeyesparsons.com.
We are Baylor University alumni and two of our daughters and their children live here, so it was a natural place to land. We have eight grandchildren, three of them grown with their own families. So we also have four great-grandchildren. Our youngest daughter and her husband live in Dallas. Of course, I’m much too young to have all of these grandchildren … and great-grandchildren!
SF: Books, Jesus, family, and ministry. What great things to form you. Thank you for sharing that! I know that I am anxious to read your newest release. What a story you chose to tell in your novella. Please tell us about “Trapped: The Adulterous Woman
GKP: I’m so glad you asked about that. This book had been in my heart for probably 30 years. And I even wrote the first draft of it that long ago. I had taught a Bible study on the passage in John 8 about the adulterous woman and I just got to wondering about her. Who was she? What was her story? Scholars believe that she was trapped by the Pharisees in order to frame Jesus. They were searching for anything to trip him up. Here was one of the most beloved stories in the biblical record and we don’t even know her name! I wanted to tell the story from her point of view.
However biblical fiction had waned in popularity, and I couldn’t garner any interest in it. I kind of gave up. Then on a writer’s email loop, Roseanna White at WhiteFire Publishing mentioned that they were looking for biblical fiction. I emailed and told her that I had a biblical fiction series and if the publishing house I was currently with was not interested in it and they released me from it, would WhiteFire be interested? So, here we are.
I made many amateur mistakes in the early drafts — and after working on it so much over the years, I didn’t have a very objective view anymore. But my editor was patient, having a manuscript of her own that she’d nursed through the years, and we got it into shape for publication.
SF: Wow! 30 years in the making. That is fantastic. I’m so glad that Roseanna swooped in to grab it. This is the first of a series, right? Please tell us a little about the “Hidden Faces” series.
GKP: Well, after musing about the adulterous woman, I began to wonder about the woman at the well, and the woman who anointed Jesus’s feet and the woman with the issue of blood — all nameless — yet some of the most seminal encounters Jesus had were with these nameless women. Thus the Hidden Faces series was born.
SF: Golden, when I look at your writing career, I’m impressed by the longevity of it. I know that, along the way, you have most likely learned bunches about the writing life. Could you please share one thing that you’ve learned?
GKP: Two things really: 1. Writers need to treat their writing as a job. Go to work, write, edit, market. Don’t sit around and wait for inspiration.
2. Never quit. If God has called you to write, then keep on keeping on.
SF: As you know, I’m really just starting the professional phase of my writing career (I’m actually going to get paid? That’s new). Would you please be so kind as to share some nuggets of writing advice?
GKP: Spend your time really learning your craft — grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure are basic skills. If you don’t have them, learn them. I judge contests occasionally and sometimes I am shocked at the lack of basic skills. An acquisitions editor is not going to wade through a poorly executed manuscript no matter how good the story.
Saturate yourself with techniques of your particular genre by going to conferences and attending workshops.
Read, read, read good books in your particular genre. And, if you are a fiction writer, I would suggest that you read not only Christian fiction, but secular fiction as well.
And a final word, I have a quote above my computer that says “A professional writer is an amateur who never quit.” (Richard Bach) That has inspired me. I hope it will inspire some of your readers who are not yet published.
SF: Never quit. Yes. That’s great. So simple to understand, yet so difficult to execute. Golden, thank you for joining us here today.
GKP: Thank you so much, Susie, for having me!
Would you please join me in thanking Golden Keyes Parsons!
To enter the drawing for a “What’s Your Story” necklace (officially available for purchase at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference) please leave a comment below. The winner will be announced on Friday morning!