Friday, August 7, 2015

Theresa A. Campbell Guest Author Interview by Cheryl Holloway

God Has Spoken_Cover
Title: God Has Spoken
Genre: Christian Fiction
Synopsis:  HOW HARD IS IT TO FORGIVE?
After finding the biological mother who abandoned her as a baby, learning the identity of her birth father and her biological brother, Dupree is left distraught and betrayed. Like a volcano about to erupt, she vows to have nothing to do with her newly discovered family—so help her God! However, if Dupree’s mother, Tiny, has anything to say about it, Dupree won’t be able to keep that vow.
How does a former teenaged runaway become a wealthy, sophisticated business executive? Tiny’s quest for happiness and independence in Kingston, Jamaica, has taken her on a life-altering journey through hell. After a vicious attack and a serious sickness that leaves her fighting for her life in the hospital, Tiny prays for death . . . but then God speaks. Will she listen to His voice? What exactly is He saying?
Theresa Campbell
Author:  Theresa A. Campbell
CH: I would like to welcome Theresa A. Campbell to my website. She is an upcoming author who writes stories from the heart. Welcome Theresa. 
CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book. 
TAC: God Has Spoken is an inspiring Christian Fiction book, delivering soul-fulfilling entertainment that will resonate with my readers because we have all had those moments when we are surprised by the Word.
CH: Since this is your second book, when you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you just write your own story?
TAC: I usually write my own story. These are stories that I feel compelled to share with my readers.  The stories come from my head and my heart, and I hope they will accomplish what I intend, which is: to inspire, motivate and entertain my readers. And believe me when I tell you, there are a lot of stories swimming around in my head. I just need to put them on paper, so to speak, and get them out there.
CH: Tell us a little bit about your book. Where did you get the premise for that story? 
TAC: God Has Spoken is actually the sequel to my first book, Are You There, God?,which I wrote at a very difficult time in my life.  My beloved uncle, who was like a father to me, died suddenly.  Just before my uncle died, we had a conversation about my dreams, and some of the things I wanted to do in my life. Well, I always wanted to be a writer, but it seemed so far-fetched at the time that I tucked it away in the back of my mind for years. However, in losing my uncle, I realized that life is too short and I had to give this a shot. So writing this story was very therapeutic for me, and also helped me to go after my dream of becoming a published author.
The story contains over 60 percent of my life. Are You There, God? tells the story of a young girl, Dupree, in rural Jamaica who was abandoned by her teenage mother and didn’t know her biological father. Raised by her grand-aunt with no electricity, running water and little money, she faces constant struggles including a brutal betrayal. Wrestling one storm after the other, Dupree often wondered if God was there for her. When Dupree meets the mother she never knew and learns the identity of her father, readers are left with many questions. Readers want to know her mother’s story, so this led to the book, God Has Spoken.
God Has Spoken tells the story of Dupree’s mother, Tiny. Why did she run away and leave her baby? It answers a question that so many of us deal with on a daily basis, ‘how hard is it to forgive?’ Naturally, Dupree feels she could never forgive her parents for abandoning her. But we all know there are always two sides to every the story, and Tiny shares hers in this new book. It was Tiny’s ambition to gain independence and live happily in the city. When her dreams and body are shattered, she prays for death. How did she go from living on the streets of Kingston to becoming a wealthy business executive? The story reveals how and Tiny finds out that it’s not over until God has spoken.
CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept? 
TAC: A lot of ideas come from my own personal experience in life, people I interact with and situations that I’ve observed. I also get ideas from stories I have heard, whether it’s directly from someone, or something I have seen on television. I’m the type of person who will look at a situation and mentally develop different scenarios or other possible outcomes. So right then and there, I’m creating a different story from the one that’s unfolding or had unfolded. I really do have a wild imagination. I love creating conflicts, and resolving them by incorporating the character’s faith in God. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I strongly believe that all things are possible with God. I really do.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your Christian writing?
TAC: I’ll always keep it real in my writing. Even though we’re Christians and believers, we are still human and we live in an imperfect world and deal with everyday problems. So, readers will always be able to relate to my characters and the challenges they face because chances are, they too have been there or know of someone who has.
I love to create suspense in my writing. When I’m writing a story it’s like going down a road with numerous twists and turns and different exits and not knowing which one I’m going to take. This makes it even more unpredictable and exhilarating. I can never predict how my stories will end. I usually have a general idea, but I’ll be writing and then I’ll begin to wonder, ‘what if this happened instead?’ And once that thought pops up, I’m off on another road all together that just keeps building into something climatic! This unpredictability will keep the readers on their toes.
Also, I should note that so far, all my stories are set in Jamaica, West Indies. One of my favorite writing techniques is descriptive writing. So, my readers will experience the Jamaican culture through my stories. They will be enticed to visit the island of paradise and sample some of the delicious Jamaican cuisine mentioned in my books. In fact, one reader told me that while she was reading my books she felt as if she was in the islands. Who doesn’t want to get away from everyday life once in a while, even if it’s through the pages of a book? The readers are definitely in for a treat (pun intended). LOL.
CH: Since you are from Jamaica, how much influence does your background have on this book?
TAC: This book is enriched with the Jamaican culture and my experience living there. The story is fiction, but this makes it even more personal when I write about places I’ve been. It’s almost as if I’m back in Jamaica and I’m walking through the streets of Half Way Tree or Downtown Kingston. I can still visualize the different sights, the sounds, and the people, and as such, I’m able to give beautiful, picturesque descriptions of my characters and the setting. The reader will be engrossed in the story, with a vivid picture of the setting in their mind.
CH: Forgiveness is extremely hard for most people. Why did you decide to write about this issue?
TAC: I decided to write about forgiveness because it’s an issue that so many people deal with on a daily basis, myself included. I wanted to specifically look at the question, ‘how hard is it to forgive?’ I know we all should forgive, and it’s required of Christians, and a few people may be able to do so instantaneously. But as you noted forgiveness is extremely hard for most people, and I do believe it’s a process. There are some wounds that are just so deep, they will take a while to heal, but eventually they do. Forgiveness is not a 100 meter sprint all the time. Sometimes,  it’s like a marathon that will take a few laps. You will get tired, dehydrated and need to rest along the way. But if you just pace yourself and continue to run the race, you will eventually cross that finish line!
I want my readers to know that when you forgive, you’re not doing it for the person who had hurt you. You’re doing it for YOU. It’s such a great feeling when you can finally let go of the pain and free yourself by forgiving someone. It’s like a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulder and you can now move on with your life and the awesome future that God has in store for you.
CH: Since this is a sequel to Are You There, God, can this book be read as a stand-alone book?
TAC: Yes, it definitely can be read as a stand-alone. In fact, I’ve gotten emails and great reviews from readers who have read God Has Spoken first, and were getting ready to read Are You There, God?
CH: Which book was hardest to write?
TAC: Definitely God Has Spoken. As I have mentioned before, Are You There, God? has a lot of my life story in it and to be honest, I wasn’t planning on writing a sequel. But the story took on a life of its own and developed in a way I never expected. So my editor pointed out that the readers are going to want to read Tiny’s story and I agreed. So, I had to go back and think really hard about how I wanted the story to end, while using a theme that will have an impact on the readers. Also, I had to write the story so it can be read as a stand-alone, and in the same breath I didn’t want to repeat too much of the first book. Finding that balance was a little challenging, especially as this was my first time writing a sequel. But I got into it and gave it my all, and I’m very proud of my book. In fact, I had a discussion with a book club and someone asked if I had written the story and divided it into two books. She noted that the second book just picked up exactly where the first book ended and everything flowed so smoothly! That was very nice to hear.
CH: Why did you decide to write this book?
TAC: I once heard and do believe that each person is at any given time in one of the following phases in life: going through a storm, just gotten out of a storm, or getting ready to go into a storm. So, I decided to write this book to inspire others as they deal with their storms. It’s my desire that my readers’ faith in God will be uplifted once they have read the hell that Tiny had gone through, and the way God shows up in her situations time and time again. Like Tiny, we all have our fair share of trials and sometimes may even feel like giving up. But as the title of the book says, it’s not over until God has spoken. He has the final say in our lives, and everything will be done according to His will. God loves us. Yes, He really does!
CH: Who was your favorite character to write?
TAC: Dupree was my favorite character to write because I could relate to her on a personal level. Dupree took me back to times in my life that I had to revisit and cry all over again. Ghosts were resurrected, and pain resurfaced, as old wounds came undone. Through her, I was able to reminisce about the good old days, crying one minute, then laughing the next. Writing about Dupree was a roller coaster ride that I wouldn’t exchange for anything in the world. I admire Dupree a lot for her strength, courage and survival instincts. She’s an exemplary young lady.
CH: Which character was hardest to write?
TAC: Tiny was the hardest character to write. She was a little fire cracker growing up, as was my intent to make her different from her daughter in some ways. Not only did I have to find a reason why this teenage mother ran away, but why it took nineteen years for her to see her daughter again. The things Tiny went through were horrible. I was crying while writing some of the scenes, but knew it was important to do so. I also wanted to show the negative effects of peer pressure, underage drinking and drugs, and the consequences for Tiny’s action. But in the long run, I wanted her to be an overcomer with God by her side.
CH: What is your key piece of advice for new writers?
TAC: Keep on going. You will get discouraged, as I do at times. However, if writing is what you want to do and you’re passionate about it, keep at it until you get the results you want. Writing is my own little ministry. I can’t preach, I can’t sing outside the shower, but I can write a book that will touch the lives of those who read it, and reinforce the love of God to them. Also, new writers should remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Writing a book can be a long, weary process but the reward is well worth it in the end.
CH: Did you get a two-book contract with Urban Christian Books? What’s next for you?
TAC: I did get a two-book contract with Urban Christian Books and I’ve fulfilled that contract with Are you There, God? and God Has Spoken. Unfortunately, Urban Christian Books was acquired by Random House and dissolved. However, I’m happy to say I’ve signed with a new publishing company; Brown Girls.  My third novel, His Final Deal will be published by them and is tentatively set to be released November, 2015. I’m very excited about this.
CH: What are your three biggest accomplishments as a writer?
TAC: One of my biggest accomplishments as a writer is successfully writing three full length books—and counting. Next is becoming a published author so my books can reach and motivate readers near and far. Last, and very important, is the positive effect my books have on many readers as they make known to me through their personal testimonies and reviews. I’m sharing what I know about God with my readers and they are being receptive to it. That’s the beauty of it all, and I’m so humbled and happy about it.
CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?
TAC: My website is: www.TheresaACampbell.comPlease feel free to contact me and share your thoughts about my books. I would love hearing from you!
CH: Can you tell my audience where your books are sold?
TAC: My books are sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart and bookstores nationwide. They are available in paperback and as ebooks. Please go and get your copy!   Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1KMTO87
CH: Any closing remarks?
TAC: Cheryl, I want to thank you for the opportunity to share my book with your audience. I really do appreciate it. And to your audience, I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to books, including the many bestsellers available. But I’m hoping you’ll give me the ‘little guy’ a chance and try my books. I can assure you it will be worth your while! God bless you all.
CH: Thank you Theresa A. Campbell.  We look forward to following your writing career.