Today we have Gina Holder with us to talk about her debut book. I have enjoyed getting to know Gina a little and I hope all of you that read my blog will come to find out more about this special woman. Gina, tell us a little about your most recent book. What is the main storyline?
Whither Shall I Go? is the story of one woman’s journey to follow God’s will in the midst of trials and tragedies. Ellie Williams, after losing both parents, is sent to live with her estranged aunt in New York City. Her aunt transforms her from country bumpkin to socialite heiress, but Ellie finds a greater purpose when she and the interning preacher, Robert Hampton, form a Sunday school for homeless orphans. When Robert is drafted into World War I, their hopes and dreams for a future together are dashed. Ellie seeks a new purpose and finds herself accompanying missionaries Marcus and Judith Smith to the Amazon Rainforest in a battle against anacondas, jaguars, and an antagonistic shaman.
Wow, that sounds like you packed a lot of interesting stuff in there. What inspired you to write this book?
My favorite scripture passage is Psalm 139 and God laid it on my heart to write a story that brought those words to life. I also visited several mission fields while I was a teen and then, my family moved to the Czech Republic to be missionaries when I was 18.
Are you like your main character? What character do you relate to or like best?
Yes. We’re both redheads! We both also love books and as a child, I was also as rambunctious and adventurous as she is. The Lord used the creation of this character to help me work through some personal issues and grow in my own character and my relationship with Him.
Did you learn anything new about yourself while writing this book?
Besides the fact that I could do it? I wrote a whole novel! And people like it!
Seriously, I learned a lot about depending upon God’s grace through life’s circumstances and allowing Him to be in control—trusting His plan for my life.
That’s a very important lesson and one I have to keep learning over and over. Did you need to do any special research?
The most interesting subject I had to research was the Yanomami people. I even learned a few words in the Yanomami language. I also read an entire document featuring the 82nd Airborne Division during World War I. To ensure the accuracy of the military chapters, my brother-in-law, an Army Chaplain, reviewed them. My husband and I visited Cades Cove at the Smoky Mountain National Park—the initial setting for my novel.
How long did it take you to write? Tell us a little about the process.
I began Whither Shall I Go? 15 years ago, but laid it aside when I got married and had a baby. Three years ago, I began again full force and published Whither Shall I Go? in August 2017. Along the way, I read many books on the writing craft, so it was most definitely a learning project. The more I learned, the better the story became.
Did it turn out the way you first thought it would? If not, what was different?
Mostly. It matured and improved over the years as I grew older and wiser.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing on and off since I was about 12 years old. I started with poems and short stories, then longer stories. When I was about 15, I started working on a series of YA novels, but that didn’t pan out. I do hope to get back to them someday.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 11 or 12 years old, I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables and I desired to be a writer just like her.
I loved Ann of Green Gables too. What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my second novel: a contemporary romantic suspense called No Greater Love. Here’s a blurb:
He said he’d never risk leaving a widow…
She said she’d never love a man in uniform…
Firefighter Benjamin McDonald passed his love of old rare books to his granddaughter, Brooklyn Paige. When an out-of-control fire takes his life, Paige vows never to fall in love with a first responder. However, she dreams of opening her own rare bookstore in small-town America—a place where book lovers mingle over antique literature and aromatic coffee. When an old Bible reveals a secret within its sacred pages, Paige begins a journey that will change everything she knows about herself, her family, and God.
She arrives in Whitman, Oregon [a fictitious town] in search of her birth mother, only to be the primary suspect when valuable jewels and priceless books are stolen.
Police Officer Hamilton Bryant knows the risks of his chosen career and not even Paige’s big blue eyes can sway his resolve to stay single. However, to clear Paige’s name, he enlists her aid in solving the case.
Deceased former Governor Richard Staten was a hated man. Now, his daughter, Mayor Kathleen Phillips, is running for Governor. Whitman PD has their hands full trying to protect her from those who want to keep her from taking office and will stop at nothing to accomplish their plans.
That sounds wonderful and I think we’ll have to have you back for another interview when you’re finished. What advice would you give a new author?
Read! Reading books by other authors will open your eyes to the variety of ways to write a story. I would also encourage new authors to continue learning. Take an online class or read books on writing. Keep them close at hand and refer to them often. Don’t ever think you’ve arrived! Every author can improve their craft.
How many books have you written and how can we find your books?
I’ve published one book (Whither Shall I Go?) and it’s available on Amazon as an eBook or Paperback. It’s also available in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program.