Award Winning Author Winnie Griggs





Follow Me on Pinterest

Connect with Winnie via facebook

Winnie Griggs on Facebook

Check out Winnie's blogs at the Petticoats and Pistols site

petticoats and pistols


Lynnette Bonner


August 2012


WG:      Welcome and thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us about yourself.

LB:      I am married with four children. My husband is a pastor and we live in Washington. I was born in Malawi, Africa to missionary parents, fluently speak an obscure language called Chichewa, and have eaten fire-braised termites. I learned to love reading at an early age. My love of reading eventually morphed into an attempt at writing.

WG:      Let's talk about your own personal road to publication:
Is there some individual, group or event that you can point to as the catalyst/impetus that set you on the road to becoming a writer? Explain.

LB:      When I first started writing, I only dabbled, but then one day I came across a historical tidbit that simply begged to be turned into a story, and my first full length novel, Rocky Mountain Oasis, (the first book of this series) was born. I've been writing ever since.

WG:      Tell us about your journey.

LB:      I finished my first novel in 1999, or so... many submissions and rejections later it was picked up by a small publishing house that gave me my first start. I was with them for several years, but since then I've decided to launch out on my own, and now my books are self-published.

WG:      How many books did you complete before you sold your first? Have all/any of them sold since?

LB:      I sold my first. And all books I submitted to my then publisher were accepted. I've since regained all the rights to those books and they will be coming out over the next few months.

WG:      What about your writing process:
Do you maintain a set schedule? Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?

LB:      Ha! With four kids, a part time job, and a pastor husband, there really is no such thing as a typical day. I squeeze in writing whenever I can find a few minutes.

WG:      Do you set writing goals for yourself?

LB:      Not particularly. Sometimes if I'm trying to get through a particularly difficult scene I will force myself to write a certain number of words a day, but generally I just write as the muse strikes.

WG:      Do you have a 'mood setter', something (music, ritual, environment, etc) you use to get you going when you sit down to write?

LB:      I write in total silence. Even if my kids are in the next room with the TV on it bothers me, so they do a lot of watching while wearing headphones. :)

WG:      Do you do a lot of up front plotting before you start or do you just dive in?

LB:      I'm a seat of the pants writer, so I just dive right in.

WG:      Do you normally start with storyline or with character or with some combination of the two?

LB:      For my historicals, I generally start with a fascinating tidbit from history and go from there.

WG:      Do you find certain themes or character archetypes making recurring appearances in your stories?

LB:      I love a good strong hero - probably more so than most writers these days. I think there's a little bit of a romantic in all of us that loves the thought of being rescued, and it is a picture of what Christ did for all of us through his death on the cross.

WG:      What do you see as your own personal strengths as a writer?

LB:      I think half the battle is learning to finish what you start. I have many stories that I've started and I'm learning to be a finisher. I think especially for SOTPers it is a temptation to write the new story in your head before finishing the last one. So finishing is a strength. However that needs to be balanced with the passion we all feel for a new story - so don't suppress those new scenes begging you to put them to paper.

WG:      Are there any obstacles/conflicts, specific to your particular lifestyle, that get in the way of your writing? If so, how do you try and overcome them?

LB:      Oh of course - I have four kids, 'nuff said! :) I think a key is to treat your writing like a job. You wouldn't skip out on work for certain things, neither should you skip out on your writing time. Finding the balance has to be an individual thing, though.

WG:      Do you have a favorite sub-genre as a writer? as a reader?

LB:      I always like to have a little suspense or mystery in each of my books no matter the genre.

WG:      Is there a genre you haven't been published in yet that you'd like to try your hand at someday?

LB:      Romantic Fantasy. I love the freedom to write in a more fanciful style that writing fantasy gives me.

WG:      Do you have any advice to offer writers still striving toward publication?

LB:      To be honest, in today's changing industry, I would say they should all consider carefully whether they truly want to be with a publisher, or not. Going independent is certainly not for everyone, but it does offer much more freedom and control (and often more money.) Make sure your book is polished, though, before diving into self-publication. Find a reputable editor and fork out the money to have it properly edited. Hire a cover designer, if need be. If, after assessment, the writer decides they still want to pursue a publisher, perseverance is key. Remember that just because a publisher rejects the book, it does not mean the book is no good, it does mean it isn't a fit for that house. Press on and tweak it for the next house. And strap on your patience, because it's generally a long wait.

WG:      Rejections, notes from unhappy readers and less than stellar reviews are all part of this business. What is your own method for dealing with these and moving on?

LB:      I've learned to shrug them off for the most part. My stories certainly aren't for everyone, and that's been made clear to me on more than one occasion. :) But I can't write for everyone, I have to write the stories the Lord lays on my heart and I can only do that in my own style. Some people are not going to gel with that. Having a great group of writer friends to run to for encouragement and reassurance is also very helpful.

WG:      What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about being a writer? What aspect do you struggle with the most?

LB:      What better life is there to live than putting God's message on the page for readers through story? I love it! If there is one struggle it would be that I would love to write full time, but it has never paid well enough for me to be able to do that. :) I'm hoping that will change one day soon.

WG:      Please tell us about your current project.

LB:      My latest release is High Desert Haven a historical romance set in the Oregon territory in 1887.

Is Jason Jordan really who he says he is?
Everything in Nicki's life depends on the answer.

Oregon Territory, 1887

When her husband dies in a mysterious riding accident, Nicki Trent is left with a toddler and a rundown ranch. Determined to bring her ranch back from the brink of death, Nicki hires handsome Jason Jordan to help. But when William, her neighbor, starts pressing for her hand in marriage, the bank calls in a loan she didn't even know about, bullets start flying, and a burlap dummy with a knife in its chest shows up on her doorstep, Nicki wonders if this ranch is worth all the trouble.

To make matters worse, terrible things keep happening to her neighbors. When her friend's homestead is burned to the ground and William lays the blame at Jason's feet, Nicki wonders how well she knows her new hand...and her own heart.

A desperate need. Malicious adversaries. Enticing love.�

Step into a day when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat.

WG:      Tell us about your upcoming plans.

LB:      Throughout this summer I will be releasing the rest of the books in the above series. Each one takes a secondary character from one of the other books and focuses on them as the main character.

WG:      And before we close, tell us how your readers can get in touch with you.

LB:      If you visit my website - - there are all kinds of social media sites listed on there where you can get in touch with me.

WG:      Thanks so much for spending time with me and my readers this month. It was fun 'chatting' with you, as always!