Happy Monday, friends! It’s the beginning of a new week and I have a special guest on my blog with me this morning! My dear friend and fellow author, Paula Walker Baker, has a new book coming out next week so I invited her here to talk about it this afternoon!
Paula and I met last year at Camp All Saints, the same camp where I worked for three years and met several of my closest and dearest friends. It’s a place that has changed my life over and over again and brought the most amazing, wonderful people into my life. I will forever be grateful for all of my experiences there. I’m sure there will be many more to come. Paula is a dear, sweet, wonderful lady and I am so honored to call her my friend. Please give her a warm welcome!
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Dallas and raised in Richardson, Texas.I went to Arapaho Elementary, West Jr. High and Richardson High School. I lived there until I was 47, then my husband and I moved to Royse City, where we have a little farm. I have three kids- two boys and a girl and four grandsons and one granddaughter.
Your new book, The Conservative Congregant, will be available on August 30. Can you tell me a little bit about the book?
The Conservative Congregant is about doing something for others. It’s about leaving our comfort zones in order to do something for someone we may not know, we may not love, we may not even like. I believe each time we do that, God blesses us and those around us. Eloise Dowager is a conservative member of the Episcopalian church who likes everything just so. She likes the liturgy the same, the services the same. She abhors change, and is mortified when she hears herself offer to make the Sunday lunch for the City of Hope- the church for the homeless in Downtown Dallas. Doing things for others is not her style, yet, she finds herself being led to do so,
How did you come up with the idea?
My husband and I attend a church for the “housed” and “unhoused” at Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas. Thanksgiving Square is at Ervay and Pacific Streets. The service is called The Gathering and it meets at one o’clock in the afternoon. Once my husband and I began going, I began to feel change within me and in us as a couple. It seemed the more we loved the people there (who might be deemed “loveless” by some ), the more we were blessed.
How did your own work with the homeless community of Dallas inspire you to write The Conservative Congregant?
I felt that the general population should know and understand that “unhoused” folks are not always the stereotypical “lazy,no account” people.They are God’s people . Some are veterans,who fought for our country, some are mentally ill, some have been in jail and are not able to get housing because of that. Jackie, there are a myriad of reasons people are homeless. God didn’t love only the lovely. Jesus loved the unloved as well. He loved the ones no one else would love and that is what we, as Christians are called to do. But, we have to leave our comfort zones most of the time to do this. In writing TCC, I wanted to show people it can be done. One might be stuck in their comfort zone because of something they’ve done in thier lives or they may be scared. I’m writing to say “Don’t be scared.”
What was it like going on this journey with Eloise Dowager?
Eloise is a combination of my mother and myself. Like my mother, she was a staunch believer, She had her particular ways and thoughts about worshipping and that’s the way she thought it should be. Like me, she has unresolved issues of the past that will resolve by attending the City of Hope.
You’ve mentioned that this novella will be the first in a series. Can you tell us anything about your upcoming stories?
The next book will focus on the Dowager family and the third on Danielle and David Miller. We will learn how they met and the struggles they’ve encountered in their relationship.
Let’s talk about writing. When did you begin writing? How did you get into it?
I had a teacher in high school, Mrs. Howard, who sadly passed away a while ago, who made us write in a joural the first twenty minutes of class. We could write anything we wanted to and I talked about loads of different things. She often commented in my journal and she really inspired me to keep writing. Over the years, I kept ongoing journals. Sadly, during a manic phase of bipolar, I cleaned out the house and threw everything away. In my thirties, I freelanced for The Williamson County Sun down in Georgetown, Texas. I was not yet medicated for the Bipolar disorder, so my words flowed freely and the articles were pretty good. Once I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and medicated for it, I lost my words and my imaginaton. Since going to theThe Gathering, my words have returned and so has my imagination!
What is your writing routine like?
I have to admit, I don’t really have a routine set. I write for twenty minutes, then get up and do something else, then write for twentyy minutes , do something else. That way, I can get up and walk around, do some chores and think about how I want the story to go.I do not get blocked that way. I know it sounds weird, but it works for me!
What else inspires you in your writing?
My husband and family are a great source of inspiration. They are like my own cheering squad. Also, I feel like I express myself better in writing than I do orally.
Tell me a little about your children’s book, Jack Learns to Grill.
Jack Learns to Grill is a story about a little dingo who loves to learn new things. He is adopted and knows that he was chosen especially by his parents. He is a little bit feisty and tries to keep the peace. He feels if he is not learning and growing, then something is wrong. In this , the first series , Jack learns to grill a healthy dinner with his daddy. He has a great time and has learned quite a bit.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
My advice for aspiring authors is exactly what Jack would say- never stop learning, never stop growing. Write often, even if you feel like you don’t have anything to say. Practice really pays off.
The Conservative Congregant is available for preorder TODAY! Order your Kindle copy now and have it delivered to your device on August 30th!
Stay in touch with Paula!