I am pleased to welcome Golden Keyes Parsons today. She graciously agreed to do an interview with me. Before we start here's a little about her.
Golden Keyes Parsons is a popular retreat/conference speaker who issues the challenge: dare to take God seriously. In her deep plowing of the heart, Golden peppers her sessions with personal illustrations moving from tears one moment to laughter the next, all the while communicating the message that God is faithful-keep on trusting him. She has a passion to communicate the Word of God in such a manner that will lead to Godly living.Her first novel, In the Shadow of the Sun King (The Darkness to Light Novel Series) has just been released. She has also written and published a bible study for women, entitled The Wise Woman Builds, and has had numerous articles published in such periodicals as Marriage Partnership, Angels on Earth, Just Between us and Lookout Magazine, as well as several compilations. Golden is an ordained pastor, and sh and her husband have just retired from the senior pastorate in Red River, NM. They have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. Her testimony and myriad of life experience-including surviving cancer twice-lend a touch of authenticity to her teaching. If strong Bible teaching is what you are looking for Golden is the speaker you are looking for.
Thank you for being here Golden.
Thanks for doing this. You presented some thought-provoking questions. It was fun :)
Okay here we go...
1) Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
Arrrgghhh! I am in the family room with no make-up on, denim capris with smudges of dirt on them, because I've been working in the flower beds and a brown t-shirt. Lovely, huh?
2) Who's your one biggest fan/supporter of your writing?
Far and away, my husband. He stops strangers on the street and tells them,"My wife's an author with Thomas Nelson Publishing." Totally embarrassing.
3) I know your stories are based on your family genealogy can you tell us a little about that?
I write about this in the Author's Notes in the first novel, but basically I ended up with a published genealogy of our family that was printed around 1900. The account went all the way back to 1695 and chronicled the story of my French Huguenot ancestors. French Huguenots were Protestants in 17th century France who were horribly persecuted by the Catholic government at that time in history. In my first novel, In the Shadow of the Sun King, we went back a few years before the actual time frame of my family to about 1675 so we could incorporate King Louis XIV -- he is such a colorful character. The historical facts surrounding the book and the plight of the French Huguenots are true, but the storyline between Madeleine Clavell, my heroine, and King Louis is fictitious. Clavell is the actual family name.
4) How were you able to find the information about your genealogy?
This is interesting. In addition to the published genealogy, I found descendants of the Clavell family on the Internet. As a result of finding that web site, my husband and I made a trip last summer to Pennsylvania where the Clavells settled to attend a Clavell reunion and various sites and museums in the area. One of my distant cousins took us to the cemetery where Louisa (Madeleine) is buried, and we drove out to the land where they settled. We went to a museum and found accounts of my family's activities in the community. It's been and interesting journey.
5) Are you or any close family members in the characters personalities?
Two of my grandsons were the prototypes for the two sons in Sun King. And much of my personality is Madeleine's - strong willed, independent and a bit rebellious at times.
6) When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Well, I grew up in a family of writers and newspaper editors. Manuscripts, books and newspapers were stacked all over the house. Writing was a part of our life. But amazingly enough, I never considered writing professionally until about 13 years ago when I began speaking professionally. the head of the speaker's bureau with which I was associated told me that I needed to be published.
7) Did anyone inspire you to write?
Although I had a troubled relationship with my father, I would have to say that his profession in the newspaper arena inspired me.
8) Can you tell us a little about your writing journey? When you started how long before you got published, what you found difficult, what you love, what you dislike, etc.
I already shared how got started in question #6. As to how long it took me to get published, I started writing non-fiction, and began to have articles published right away in publications like Angels on Earth, Just Between Us, Marriage Partnership and others, as well as several compilations. I pursued the non-fiction venue in books as well and got close to publication on a Bible study for women, a book on marriage and a general inspirational book. All three of those got in committee, but in the end the publishing houses decided to pass.
I had wanted to write the story of my family's Huguenot heritage, so I jumped in. My critique group's words were, "This is where you need to be!"
So I started shopping the book and eventually signed with an agent and within six months of signing with her, she had snagged a four-book contract with Thomas Nelson. But from the time I started writing seriously and professionally to when my first novel was published was ten years.
The most difficult aspect of writing for me was fighting the whispers of discouragement from the enemy. "You must not be that good or somebody would want your stuff!" "God may open the way to publishing form others, but he won't do it for you." "You're just wasting your time. It's never gonna happen." Every rejection letter just confirmed those whispers. At one point, I got six rejection letters in one day. That was a bit much!
What do i love the most about writing? I love the actual writing and creating the story. I had never experienced writers block until I started on Book #3 in the series. Usually my writing just flows. But with Book #3, my editor, agent and I decided there was a need for a change in the direction in the story, and it has taken me some time to get the juices ging. I'm an organic writer, and I don't know exactly what is going to happen until I sit down to write. Then the characters take over and tell their story. This time though, it wasn't happening. However, I have made myself sit down at the computer (BIC) :) and write. Even though many times I have written chapters that will never appear in the book, I have made myself write. Now I feel I am on a roll and the book is coming together.
I also like the editing phase. I like seeing how one little tweak will make a sentence or paragraph shine and the polished product that comes from the fine tuning.
I dislike marketing and self-promotion. That's why we just hired an outside publicist. Yea!!
9) If you could be any character in any literary book who would you be and why?
Oh, my, I had to think about this. But I think I would choose to be Lucy in C.S. Lewis' "Chrionicles of Narnia." I like her courage, her sense of adventure and her love of Aslan. And what a world of adventure C.S. Lewis created in chronicles. That would be amazing.
10) When and how did you come to know the Lord?
My freshman year in high school my boyfriend invited me to go on a youth retreat Easter weekend. I had wanted to make a decision to follow Jesus for over a year, but just didn't know how to go about it. That weekend Jesus invaded my life, and I never got over it.
11) I know you are a pastor's wife. I often look at my pastor's wife and think how does she do it? can you tell us some of the positives and negatives about it?
I'm going to be gut-level honest here. We are retired from the active pastorate now, but I never felt called to be a pastor's wife. I felt called to ministry myself, so being a pastor's wife was extremely difficult for me. My spiritual gifts are in administration, prophecy, teaching, not your typical female gifts of mercy and helps. My husband and I have always worked side by side in ministry. We ran a conference center before going into the pastorate. So, when he took a church, we assumed we would work side by side, but it was not well received, and we worked through several difficult years before we reached a place of understanding with our congregation.
Positives included working with a wonderful congregation. And in walking that difficult path of a woman in ministry, God allowed me to be humbled and have the rough edges of pride filed down. I am so grateful for his faithfulness. i want to write a book someday about that phase of my life.
12) Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your Christian walk?
My husband is a man of great integrity and character, and he has always been my #1 supporter. So, if I had to name one person, it would be my husband.
13) If you could live in any time period when and where would that be and why?
I love my life at this point in time. For instance, I can't imagine writing a book without the computer. On a typewriter? Argh!! If I have to choose one, I think would like to live in a simpler period in history but not in an historical era where it took every moment of every day simply to exist. The more research I do on different historical eras, the more I realize how terribly difficult life was. Sooo, maybe a wealthy heiress in the early 1900's in the English countryside or southern France or even St Louis or upstate New York. The Wild West doesn't appeal to me or living in the South without any air conditioning. I guess I am really spoiled :)
14) If you could visit any place in the world where would you go and why?
This one's easy. I've been to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Egypt and Israel. But I've not been to France, and that's what my books are about! I want to go to Versailles and Paris, and southern France where my ancestors lived.
15) If you could meet any person alive or dead who would that be and why? (excluding the Lord)
C. S. Lewis; Madame Jeane Guyon; my ancestors from France, the Clavells
16) If the Lord told you that you were allowed to bring one material thing with you to heaven, what would that be?
I'm assuming you are not talking about people. If that were the case, I would say my family. A material object would be my piano.
17) If the Lord came down today and asked you what the last good deed you did for someone was, what would that be?
I gave some money this morning to help a young man go to a missionary training school.
Thank you again Golden for taking time out of your busy schedule. May God continue to bless you richly! If you'd like more information on Golden you can go to: www.goldenkeyesparsons.com