One commenter will win a copy of Pepper's new release:
The Thorn Bearer
Mary here. I am beyond excited to host my good friend Pepper Basham this weekend. We are both Alley Cats and write for the Writer's Alley. Pepper has such a vat of story ideas. It bubbles over every time she calls. As she talks the idea deepens, and everyone is drawn into the story, laughing, and upping the ante. It's so much fun. Of course her Appalachian accent adds to the good time. Pepper has three books being published this year. Her debut year!!! Of course I had to invite her to join us and share her amazing God story. You're gonna love it. Here is what she said:
God's Dream in Our Hearts Equals a
Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog today, Mare!! My goal is to provide some insight and encouragement for those journey-weary writers out there!
I hope that one thing any aspiring writer can take from my writing story is that God’s timing and our perseverance for His dream in our hearts equals a happily-ever-after.
But remember, I didn’t say God’s timing was fast!
I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, creating wild stories to regale the other kids in grade school or make my parents laugh. Those silly adventures turned into words on the page when I was about eight…and never stopped. But writing has never taken a front seat in my eclectic and busy life….until recently.
Growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia I had the wonderful opportunity to be surrounded by a funny, creative, loving, and big Appalachian family. My extended family lives within a few miles of each other and there were times when my family life really did resemble bits and pieces of Mayberry. Faith, family, friendship, and fun were four hallmarks of the culture – including a solid dose of hard work, a smattering of good ol’ storytelling, and a sprinkling of ‘dream big’.
Dreaming big for a poor Appalachian girl was definitely a big deal! And no three people dreamed bigger for me than my Mom, Dad, and Granny Spencer. If the size of dreams could be counted in coins, I’d be a millionaire off of their dreaming. When I was ten years old, my Granny bought me a second-hand typewriter and stated words that fueled my dreams. “I bought this because…well…a writer needs one.”
That’s what she called me!
And with God’s calling on my heart, my Granny’s words in my head, and my parents’ encouragement in my purpose, I’ve been writing stories of all sorts ever since. It’s been a very long and difficult journey, but on May 7th, 2015, I held my DEBUT novel IN. MY. HANDS!!!
What did it take to get to that point?
I sent in my first writing contest entry and attended my first writing conference in 2004. At that point, I didn’t even know what a synopsis or proposal was. I just liked writing a good story. In 2004, I was a pastor’s wife, full-time speech-language pathologist, and mother to a 6, 4, and 2 year old with a little brother on the way.
I left that conference discouraged and overwhelmed at all the information I needed to learn, so I spent the next 3 years studying craft and learning ‘how’ to write a good story. I had PLENTY of stories in my head, but I had to learn how to hone my skills to be able to communicate those stories well. I also attended The Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Workshop.
In 2007, I attended my next conference. In 2007, I was a pastor’s wife (at a new church), full-time university instructor, and mother of a 9, 7, 5, 2, and 1 year old. At this conference I felt a little more prepared, because I’d actually created a ‘projects’ sheet and entered the paid critique, and though the comments on the critique hit my confidence pretty hard, it also gave me encouragement. So in 2008, I took The Writer’s Guild’s Journeyman course and then entered two contests, one was for the conference I’d attended in 2007.
To my complete shock, I won! Both! (I also learned that a writer needed business cards ;-)
It wasn’t until the next year that I learned about ACFW and joined the encouraging group of writers from around the world, but the BEST year of my writing life (up until this year) was in 2010!!
2010 marked SO MANY WONDERFUL things for me. In 2010 I was still working as a university instructor, my husband was still pastoring a church, and our 5 children were around the ages of 12, 10, 8, 5, 4, but into my life came a brand new chorus of friends.
In May 2010, five aspiring writers started The Writers Alley. Within six months, we added 5 more! The beginning of this group writing blog not only offered a wonderful resource for aspiring and published authors, it generated a fantastic friendship among the ten of us. Through the AlleyCats, I not only gained critique partners, but fabulous friends – some of my very best friends!!
Also in May 2010, I found out that I had double-finaled in the Genesis Contest, with two VERY different books!
You would think after finagling in such a big contest, I’d have a contract the next month, right?
No. I added more slips to my growing rejection pile…and kept on writing.
There were many opportunities for discouragement and questioning my calling. Many times when I had to take a break from writing to manage life.
But also many times when God sent Providential messages of hope my way through the words of encouragement in my family, friends and other writers.
In May 2014, the amazing Julie Gwinn signed me on as one of her clients. In June, our family made a big move to Asheville, NC. It was a difficult transition, especially for me and my oldest 3 kids. I left a job I loved with people I loved even more. They left a school and friends they’d known for 8 years. I was ready to give up the writing gig for a while because I couldn’t manage more disappointment along with all the change I was helping my family get through.
In the middle of the flux of change, I received my very first contract from a small publishing house called Lighthouse of the Carolinas. I signed that contract, with my awesome Alleycats around me, at the ACFW conference in September. By the end of November, I had two more contracts, the BIGGEST was from a small, mainstream publishing house for a THREE BOOK SERIES!
So…here I am in 2015. A wife of a music minister, full-time SLP, and mom of a 17, 15, 13, 9 and 8 year old…and a published author!
God’s dreams are constant, even if ours fluctuate from time, disappointment, rejection, and trial. No matter how my life has changed, He’s remained the same – and so has his calling on my life, so I pray that he continues to give me stories for his glory to share with others.
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor.
She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction whenever she can.
She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she works with kids with special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015.
Here is how you can connect with Pepper:
or Twitter: https://twitter.com/pepperbasham
or Twitter: https://twitter.com/pepperbasham
From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all.
When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman?
In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone.
Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion.
As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.
When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.
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Thank you, Pepper, for joining us this weekend!
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