Please welcome Golden Keyes Parsons, a talented author of Inspirational Fiction. Don't you just love her name? I had the honor of meeting Golden at the ACFW conference in September, and I have to say, she's as beautiful as her name--not only in person, but also in spirit.
Her recent historical novel, A Prisoner of Versaille, was released in August. If you want to get your hands on it, just leave a comment with your email address, and you'll be entered into a drawing to receive a free, signed copy of her book!
Having fled their homeland of France because of the persecution by Louis XIV, the Clavell family seeks refuge in Switzerland. However, the king is not about to let the recently widowed Madeleine, his childhood sweetheart, escape that easily. He sends musketeers to kidnap her and her oldest son, Philippe, holding them captive in his opulent palace. King Louis is suspicious that Philippe could be his son, and he's enraged by the growing affection of one of his courtiers for Madeleine. Will Madeleine escape the king with her life or lose everything that she's fought so hard to keep?
Golden, it's an honor to have you with us today. So, how long have you been writing? How did you get your start?
I grew up in a newspaper family. My grandfather, my dad and all his brothers were newspaper owners, editors and published authors. There were essays, manuscripts, newspapers, books and magazines stacked all over our house. I was writing feature articles for our little hometown newspaper at nine years of age. I won several essay contests in school, and had some small articles published along the way. However, when I started speaking professionally in 1996, I was told that I needed to seek publication in earnest.
What made you decide to write fiction?
I loved reading fiction as a child. My mother taught me to read a little Donald Duck book when I was four years old, and I was hooked. I spent hours at the public library and participated in every reading program they offered. I fell asleep every night reading -- still do :) I devoured the typical books that young girls loved -- Black Beauty, all the Nancy Drew mysteries, the Clara Barton novels -- but I also read such things as 1984 by George Orwell, Dr. Zhivago and Gone With The Wind. However, as I grew into adulthood I began to read almost exclusively non-fiction. My spiritual gift is teaching, so it followed that my first efforts at writing professionally were non-fiction articles, Bible studies, Christian living books. I had several articles published in good magazines ... Marriage Partnership, Angels On Earth, HomeLife ... and got close to publication on a couple of my books. But never a contract.
A few years ago, I inherited a published genealogy of my mother's side of the family and read about my French Huguenot ancestors, of whom I had not been aware previously -- and wanted to tell the story in my favorite genre, historical fiction. I took a few chapters to my critique group, and they were blown away. The consensus was 100% that this was where I needed to be. So, I began to pursue publication in the fiction genre.
By the way, in my opinion, writing fiction is much more difficult than writing non-fiction.
How did things change once you became a published author? Did you lose friends? Make friends? How did it affect your family?
As a published author, there is a certain amount of respect that comes from people like bookstore owners, educators, and fellow authors that was not there before.
I also became much more observant of words, phrases and story. I am constantly writing things down that strike my fancy, especially from movies.
Did I lose friends? No, not that I know of. However, I quickly became aware of the fact that no one understands a writer, except another writer. If a writer tries to explain POV, for example, to a non-writer, you can almost see their eyes glaze over. There's just no way to be able to communicate what it's like to be a writer, driven by conveying ideas and stories through words, except to another author. Only another writer knows what it is like to struggle to find the correct word; or to wake up at night with one's characters living out the story in one's head; or to sit in front of a computer for hours on end and not realize that the whole morning has passed by.
Did I make friends? Absolutely. The networking at such conferences as ACFW and the CLASS Christian Writing Conference and the Christian Writers Guild is invaluable. I've made many, many friends since becoming a published author.
How did it affect my family? Well, our children were grown and gone by the time I started writing professionally -- and my husband is my biggest supporter -- so as far as our daily lives, it just meant that when the door is closed to my office, don't bother me! My hat is off to those who write with small children at home. I don't know how they do it.
Where do you spend your time writing? Do you have a favorite place? A favorite time of day?
I have two places that I write. I have an office where I work if I need to print out copies, because that's where the printer is set up. But much of the time I take my laptop into the den and write from my recliner.
My favorite time of day to write hands down is early in the morning. I get up anywhere from 5 am to 6:30, spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour reading my Bible and praying, then write usually until 10:30 or 11, with a break to eat a little breakfast and get dressed. Then I go work out around 11, come home, eat lunch and work on marketing and emails in the afternoon.
How did you come up with the story for A Prisoner of Versailles?
My original intention was for the Clavells to travel to the New World in Book Two, but because Louis XIV was such a colorful character, my editor asked me to stay in Europe and include him again in the second book. So I had to think of some way to do that. When in my research I read that Louis actually sent spies into Switzerland to bring the Huguenots back into France, I had my hook.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on the edits for Book Three.
What do you see in your future as an author? Do you have concrete ideas for more books you'd like to write on down the line, or do you plan out a book only after you've decided to write one?
I would like to continue to write historicals. I have an interest in writing about women in various religious sects, but that is only in the idea stage.
Golden, it was such a pleasure to have you join us today. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing a little about yourself.
If you'd like to get to know more about Golden, you can find her at her website. It's there you'll discover some amazing facets about Golden and her ministry.
For those that would like to receive a signed copy of Golden's book, A Prisoner of Versailles, be sure to leave a comment and your email address. I'll announce the winner on Friday.
Good luck to those that enter!