Sunday, September 6, 2015

Meet Vanessa Davis Griggs

Welcome to September's author of the month, Vanessa Davis Griggs. I read, Redeeming Waters and let me say, the book was a blessing to me in so many ways. The one thing that spoke was the significance of water. Water is a powerful force and when acknowledged, can bring great peace and clarity. At the end of her book I came away with a powerful message. I am not going to hold you. Meet Vanessa Davis Griggs.


Vanessa Davis Griggs is a motivational speaker and author of 18 novels, two that were published by BET BOOKS/New Spirit (Promises Beyond Jordan and Wings of Grace) now e-books; twelve published by Kensington/Dafina (Blessed Trinity, Strongholds, If Memory Serves, Practicing What You Preach, Goodness and Mercy, The Truth Is the Light, The Other Side of Goodness, The Other Side of Dare, The Other Side of Divine, Ray of Hope, Redeeming Waters, Forever Soul Ties); the others self-published and/e-book only (Destiny Unlimited, The Rose of Jericho, Promises Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace, Steely Gray, Countless Blessings). Vanessa is also a contributor of ten devotionals in the Sisters In Faith Holy Bible published by Thomas Nelson.
I asked Vanessa some questions, here is what she has shared:

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
An interesting question. I first considered myself a writer when I finally had a traditional publisher officially acquire my novel. Even though I’d been writing prior to that (as early as elementary school) and had a few self-published books, there was just something about a noted publishing company with its traditional editor that knighted me indeed as a writer. However, I express to writers to speak that you’re a writer/author when you find yourself writing.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I would say that I love writing with an idea and have my characters to take the story and run with it as they give input. I’ve had to create outlines (not too overly detailed though) for publishers that need to know what I’m going to write before I write it. I’m not awfully fond of outlines for my stories because then I end up knowing everything that’s going to happen and it ruins the surprises/twists/turns for me. LOL.  

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their writing?
My favorite author was Og Mandino. I loved the way he put a story together with a touching message. I love how he incorporated Biblical messages into his compelling stories. I do like some other authors, especially those that truly work their craft and it’s obvious in the finished product.

What do you enjoy most about connecting with your readers?
Oh, I love my readers! I love hearing how something God has given me has blessed them. I love hearing about people who have felt they were freed following reading one of my books. I love meeting them when I’m out speaking or doing a book signing or just wherever. I love knowing that they’re walking in their own dreams and destiny.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
For a long time, there didn’t seem to be a lot of not writing time. Specifically when I had two books releasing each year. But I really do enjoy my children and grandchildren. I love playing games and doing all kinds of things with them.

What inspired you to write your novel Redeeming Waters?
At the time, I was on schedule to write three stand-alone novels based on Biblical stories. This was to be the second book. I was thinking about David and Bathsheba and was asking God what really happened there with them. Why was Bathsheba outside bathing? I told God that He was there, He knew the answer, and I asked Him to tell/show me. And boy, did God ever show me! I then wrote a contemporary story based on this Biblical story and entitled it Redeeming Waters. 

Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, this novel was inspired by God. I loved that I didn’t take the easy route in writing this story and came up with what my character was to do as an occupation different from the obvious conclusion. King d.Avid is a mega gospel recording artist who meets Brianna Waters and things become “complicated.”

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I presently have 18 novels and in each of them, I want people to be encouraged. That’s what I believe is one of my purposes on this earth: to encourage. I also want people to have hope and to keep the faith no matter what they may be dealing with or going through. In addition, I want to tell great, compelling stories. If I can make all of these things work, then I’m a happy camper!

Will there be a book two?
I don’t think there will be a sequel to this particular book although I’ve been asked for another by readers. If I don’t feel there’s an interesting story to tell, I won’t do a book just to keep a story going.

What would you say is the hardest part of writing your books?
The writing is never hard for me. I don’t get writer’s block. But I won’t begin writing a book unless I have it deep in my soul waiting to bleed out on the paper. The hardest part in writing lately is how the economy slowed things down in book buying. E-books also changed the landscape somewhat. Many bookstores aren’t bringing authors in stores because people were coming to see an author but stating they had the book on an e-reader. Some readers would go to book signing at bookstores with their Kindles or Nooks and ask the author to sign their devices since they didn’t have physical books (and wouldn’t be buying one) to autograph. Many authors have decided it’s not worth it to do book signings if people aren’t going to attend them.    

How do you balance writing and family?
My children were grown when I got into this full time so I didn’t have to worry about that part too much like some may. I do like to give my undivided attention to my family, specifically my grandchildren when they’re visiting me. So I try to get things out of the way so I can spend present-attention time with them.

What are you currently working on and when can we expect to read it?
I have a few things I’m writing or have completed, and I’m working on finding them proper homes. So stay tuned… 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t try to be someone else. Do study and learn your craft. Don’t get discouraged if you’re having a hard time acquiring an agent or legitimate publisher. Don’t pay someone to publish your book and think that means a “mainstream” publisher is interested in your work (traditional/mainstream publishers don’t charge you; they pay you an advance or publish the work without charge). Don’t get discouraged—this is a marathon not a sprint. Do write and don’t just talk about writing. Write and write and write, and repeat.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
I really appreciate each person who has read any of my novels. I thank you so much for your support! Thanks, Lynette for this awesome interview. If people would like more information about me and my books, my Web site is: I’m also on Facebook:  Twitter:

Excerpt from Redeeming Waters a novel by Vanessa Davis Griggs. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

                           Chapter 1                              

The waters wear the stones; thou washes
away the things which grow out of the dust
of the earth; and thou destroyest the
hope of man. - Job 14:19

Brianna Bathsheba (Wright) Waters looked out of the window of their three-bedroom, one-and-a-half
bath house, at the rain. “A starter home” is what her twenty-three-year-old (three years her senior) husband of eight months, Unzell Michael Waters, told her over two months ago when they bought it.
“Baby, I promise you, things are going to get better for us down the road,” Unzell had said after they officially moved in. “I know this is not what either of us envisioned we’d be doing right about now. But I promise you, I’m going to get us into that mansion we talked about. I am.”
She’d married Unzell at age nineteen, a year and a half after her high school graduation, as Unzell was finishing his final year at the University of Michigan. Unlike most women she knew, Brianna wanted to marry in December. The wintertime was her favorite time of the year. She loved everything about winter. It wasn’t a dead period as far as she was concerned. To her, that was the time of rest, renewal, anticipation, and miracles taking place that the eyes weren’t always privy to see. Winter was the time when flower bulbs, trees, and other plants could establish themselves underground; developing better and stronger roots. Winter was the time when various pests and bugs were killed off; otherwise the world would be overrun with them. Brianna loved the rich colors she would be able to use in a winter wedding—deep reds and dark greens.
But she equally loved summertime. Summer was a reminder of life bursting forth in its fullness and full potential after all seemed dead not so long ago. Summer now reminded her of her days of playing carefree outside, truly without a care in the world.
So she and Unzell married the Saturday before Christmas. It was a beautiful ceremony; her parents had spared no expense. After all, this would be the only time they would be the parents of the bride. Her older brother, Mack, might settle down someday. But even if he did, they would merely be the parents of the groom, which was a totally different expense, experience, and responsibility.
Unzell Waters was already pretty famous, so everybody and his brother wanted to be invited to the invitation-only wedding ceremony. Unzell was the star football player at the University of Michigan and a shoo-in for the NFL. As a running back, he’d broken all kinds of records, and the only question most had was whether he would be the number one or number two pick in the first round of the NFL draft the last Saturday in April. Unzell was on track to make millions—more millions than either he or Brianna could fathom ever being able to spend in several lifetimes.
Still best friends, Alana Norwood had been Brianna’s maid of honor. Alana had grown wilder than Brianna, but Brianna understood Alana…and Alana understood her.
“Girlfriend, I’m glad you’re settling down so early, if that’s what you want,” Alana had said when Brianna first told her she and Unzell were getting married in a year. “But I plan on seeing all that the world has to offer me before my life becomes dedicated to any one person like that.”
Of course, when Alana learned just how famous Unzell was even before he was to go pro, then heard about the millions of dollars sports commentators were predicting he’d likely get when he signed—no matter which team he signed with—she said to Brianna, “God really does look after you! Of course, He’s always looked after you. People on TV are talking eighty-six million dollars, over five years, just for one man to play…one man, to play. And you’re going to be his wife? I know you used to say all the time that you were God’s favorite. Well, I’m starting to believe maybe you really are.” “Alana, now you know I used to just say things like that. I don’t really believe God has favorites,” Brianna said. “The Bible tells us that God is no respecter of persons. We’re all equal in His sight.”
“Well, we may have the opportunity to be equal, but it’s obvious that not all of us are walking in our opportunities. Not the way you do, anyway. So you’re definitely ahead of a lot of us, not equal by any means. All I know is that you spoke that Word of Favor with a capital F over your life, and look what’s happening with you so far.”
The wedding was absolutely beautiful, every single detail and moment of it. But with the championship game being played the first week in January, Brianna and Unzell were only able to spend one day of a honeymoon before Unzell was off again to practice.

Michigan’s team was the team to beat with #22, Unzell Waters, being one of the main obstacles standing between the other team having even a semblance of a chance. Brianna was at the game in Miami watching it along with her family. With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Michigan was already a comfortable three touchdowns ahead. In Brianna’s opinion, there really was no reason for Unzell to even be on the field. She, her grandfather Pearson Wright, and father Amos Wright were saying as much when that play happened—the play that would alter Unzell’s career and life. One of the other team’s players grabbed Unzell by the leg, as he ran full speed, and yanked him down—pulling his leg totally out of joint. With him being down, everybody on the other team (it appeared to Brianna) piled on him (truly unnecessary roughness), merely for piling on sake. Unzell was badly hurt. Instantly, his prospective stock for the NFL plummeted. Then came the doctor’s prognosis. Even with the two necessary surgeries, Unzell would never be able to play football at that level again.
Brianna assured him things would be all right. “God still has you, Unzell.”
“Yeah, but if God had me in the first place, then why would He allow something like this to happen to me…happen to us?” Unzell said as he lay in that hospital bed. “God knows both of us. He knows us, Brianna. He knows our hearts. God knows we would have done right when it came to me being in the NFL. So why? Why did this happen? And if God is a healer, then why can’t He heal my leg completely? Why can’t He make me whole again?”
“I believe that God can heal your leg, Unzell,” Brianna said. “But right now we have to deal with reality. And from all that the doctors are saying, football is out for you, at least for now. So you and I need a new direction, that’s all. We’re going to be all right though.” She lovingly took hold of his hand, then squeezed it. “We are.” She smiled.
“So, you’re not going to leave me?”
Brianna frowned as she first jerked her head back, then primped her lips before forcing a smile. “Leave you? Where did that come from?”
“Face it; I’m not going to be making millions now. In fact, I’ll be doing well just to find a job, any job, at all in this economy.”
“First of all, Mister Waters, I did not marry you for your money or your potential money. I’ve known you since we were in high school. You were in the twelfth grade; I was in the ninth. You didn’t have any money then and I fell in love with you. So if you think I married you for your money, then maybe I should leave you.” Brianna put her hand on her hip.
“I know, Bree-Bath-she,” he said, calling her by the pet name he sometimes called her. “But do you know how many women wanted me because they saw dollar signs?”
“Yeah, I know. I’m not stupid. I even think you thought about getting with a few of them. In fact, who knows, maybe you did. But still, I married you for you. And I married you for better or worse; for richer or poorer.”
“Come on, Brianna. Nobody really means that part when they say it. Who truly wants to be with someone poor? Sure, we may feel that’s where we are at the time, but all of us believe our lives are going to get to the better and the richer at some point—sooner rather than later, not worse or poorer.”
“Well, if me staying with you now after you’ve lost millions of dollars—that if I’m not mistaken, you never really had anyway—means I meant what I was vowing when I said those words, then please know: I meant them when I said them. Okay, so those in the know were saying you’d likely get a contract worth eight-six million dollars over five years with a guaranteed fifty million and now it looks like you won’t. So be it. I’m just glad you’re okay. You could have been paralyzed on that play. You and I will do what we need, to be all right. Besides, you’re graduating in May. You’ll get your Electrical Computer Engineering degree. Do like most folks and either get a job or start your own business. Regardless, Unzell, I’m here to stay. So deal with it.” Brianna flicked her head.
Unzell smiled, then looked down at his hand. “God has certainly blessed me richly.” He looked up. “God gave me you.”
“Oh,” Brianna said all mushy as she kissed him. “That was so sweet.”
Brianna couldn’t help but think about how far she and Unzell had come since that fateful day. Following Unzell’s two surgeries and the rehabilitation period, she’d suspended attending college and gotten a job as a secretary, living with her parents while he finished his final months of college in Ann Arbor. After Unzell graduated, he moved back to Montgomery, Alabama. He was relentless about getting a job, even when it felt like no one was hiring. He was diligent, beating the pavement and searching the Internet. In four weeks, he landed a job as an assistant stage manager setting up stages for music concerts, but was told if he wanted to excel in this business, he needed to be in Atlanta. So that’s what he and Brianna did; moved to Georgia.

Thank you for stopping by and getting to know Vanessa. Make sure to visit her website and follow her on Twitter. You can also find Vanessa's books at wwwBarneandnoblecom.


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