Stephenia McGee, Writer with degree in Animal Science!
Welcome Stephenia! I am delighted to see you here! I'm curious, how does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
My husband is a huge support. He is the one that gently (and sometimes not so gently) pushed me to follow my dream of writing a book. He has gone to writer’s conferences with me, and he is always the first person I bounce ideas off of. He is also my first editor, and reads through my first drafts helping me see when things don’t make sense or flow right. He has also become somewhat of a marketing director as well! He took it upon himself to find a few people to do reviews and write about my book in print magazines that will be coming out in the next few months.
What is your favorite review of your book?
My favorite review I have gotten so far is from author Patty Froese. She put it in a category I had never considered, but I loved it. She really seemed to get it. Here’s her review:
When I first started reading this novel, I fired off an email to the author (an online friend) and told her that this was a fantastic book. And I was serious. She starts with a murky mystery and it doesn’t let up until the very end. In fact, as I read the last few pages, I realized what this book was: this is an Inspirational Gothic novel. Think Castle of Otranto and The Turn of the Screw in a cowboy romance. Fan-TAS-tic.
The story follows Jim, a ranch hand with a history he refuses to discuss, Sarah, a frustrated student sinking in debt, Jonathan, a billionaire with a heart of steel and Elizabeth, a lost soul who can’t seem to remember who she is or why she keeps coming back to a strange little shop that is always open in the middle of New York City. They are all linked in one tragic tale of love, rejection, redemption and supernatural intervention.
This book has it all: a nice quick plot, a massive castle, cowboys, a dark mystery, a cold seductress and a story that leaves you thinking about it long after you’ve finished the book. If you’re looking for one good read, I definitely recommend this book.
Would you share with us what inspired you to write this kind of story?
My husband and I were killing time on the two hour drive from our college to his parent’s house. We were talking about how I’d always loved to write and throwing around story ideas. We actually started with a man in hospital room and the preacher who comes to hear his final confession. That prologue no longer exists, but the entire story stems from his confession.
When did you discover you are a writer? Was there a specific catalyst?
I wrote my first story from a first grade spelling list. Then I wrote a children’s story from a pig’s perspective coming to America on the Mayflower. A short story project in high school turned into several chapters. So, I guess it’s always been there. Like I talked about earlier, my husband was talking to me about how I liked to write and all these story ideas I had while we were traveling one day. I really started working on my first book then. I played with it, but it was just a hobby. Then he took me to a writer’s conference when I finished my first manuscript (oh how awful it was!) and I really started to let the dream bloom. It wasn’t what I had always said I was going to do. I intended to go to Vet school, and I have a degree in animal science, but this was something that just wouldn’t let go of me. Then, my mom brought me an old notebook that she had kept with all those stories I had written growing up. When I looked at it, it hit me. Before any plans, before any expectations, before anything else, writing is what I did. It was something God put in my heart from the very beginning; I had just buried it under everything else. It was then that I made a commitment to making it my career to be a novelist, and I haven’t looked back!
Anything else you want to share?
If it’s okay, I’d love to share a little about Spirit Horse Ministries. We are still trying to start-up, but now that we have official 501(C)3 status and are a Mississippi non-profit organization, we are starting to get things rolling. SHM is designed to create a “hometown” for foster children, especially those that are older and are looking at leaving the system and entering a world where they are alone. We want to create a type of “Mayberry” for them. A place to come home too. We will also have afterschool and summer programs that focus on not only foster but handicap, at risk and underprivileged children as well. They will work with therapeutic horses, go fishing and learn important life skills like cooking and how to balance a checkbook. It’s a big dream. We are opening a country store to help raise funds by selling homemade and donated country items, and should have some day programs running this summer. We’ve been super busy, so our website is a little out of date, but if you want to know more you can go to www.spirithorseministries.org for more info. A portion of all my book sales goes to help the ministry.