Some days I feel like I am
marching to the beat of a different drummer. This morning I told my
husband, Bill, that I felt like I wanted to be more serious with my
writing, show a more somber side of myself. I gathered my
stuff—computer, scribbling pad of notes, and coffee—and headed out to
the back porch, my dog, Jake, following.
plugged the laptop in, and as
it blinked and hummed to life, I sipped from my favorite mug and
watched Jake as he ventured out to the backyard. How about I delve into
a deep, thoughtful discussion about something . . . umm, like the
economy, politics, or the war? They’re all important. Definitely
somber. I pondered the idea for barely a moment, and before Windows had
finished loading, I rejected the thought.
Nah! To heavy, who’d want to
Meanwhile, Jake entertained me
with his morning ritual, chasing squirrels up a tree, scaring birds
from the birdfeeder, and barking good morning to my neighbor. I
couldn’t help but laugh; he’s quite a character.
Bill heard me laughing. “What’s
“Oh, nothing. I’m just enjoying
another day in paradise, and I think it’s a great day. And I love my
“Okay. How’s your column
coming?” He smiles. “How’s that serious side?”
“Humph. Umm . . . really want
to know? I’ve got faith, life is good, I’m happy . . . and we’re going
Liz Curtis Higgs is the author
of twenty-six books. With more than three million copies in print, she
breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and
intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene.
Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have
helped more than one million women around the world experience God’s
grace anew. Her nonfiction book Embrace Grace,
winner of a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, presents her message of hope
in an engaging and personal way, speaking directly to the hearts of her
readers. Audiences of appreciative fans in all fifty states and ten
foreign countries have gathered to hear Liz’s inspirational
Liz Curtis Higgs has a Bachelor
of Arts degree in English from Bellarmine College and is married to
Bill Higgs, PhD, who serves as Director of Operations for her speaking
and writing office. Liz and Bill share their nineteenth-century
farmhouse in Louisville, Kentucky, with their two college-student
offspring, Matt and Lilly.
When we arrive in Kentucky, Ms.
Higgs is everything I thought she would be, and her charming home is
irresistible. It definitely qualifies for home of my dreams!
The nineteenth-century farmhouse boasts high ceilings and tall windows.
The hardwood floors seem just a tad uneven . . . just another unique
quality that makes the home appealing.
Liz smiles warmly, and without
hesitation asks, “Would you like to see the rest? My decorating style
is very much Country Living.”
Beautiful dark green,
ivory, and brick red are predominant colors. Her antiques and natural
wood, along with handmade quilts and baskets, leave me literally
drooling! “I love this house! The rooms are all gorgeous . .
. open beams and fireplaces!”
“We’ve lived here for most of
our married lives, so it truly is home. Come, let’s sit down in here.”
“Thank you. I can’t wait to get
I checked your schedule for 2009 and thought wow! Than I realized it
went into 2010. With speaking engagements all over the U.S. and other
countries, what’s your secret for keeping energized?
Liz: The Lord
alone keeps me going! And though we do indeed book my speaking calendar
two years out, I concentrate solely on the next event, if only to keep
from being overwhelmed. I’m also a great napper, catching a few winks
on the plane or in the hotel room before I speak. The audiences
themselves are also very energizing. Their enthusiasm is contagious!
Do you travel by air when you’re in the States, or do you take the
depends on where we’re headed. If the event is less than five hours
from our home in Louisville, we generally drive. Otherwise, we take to
the friendly skies!
Is there someplace, maybe where you’ve presented a seminar, that you
would like to return to . . . and why?
spoken in all fifty states and in ten foreign countries, and all of
those places deserve a longer return visit! I especially love Oregon
and Washington, New Hampshire and Vermont, and overseas, Portugal and
France. But truly, every area has historic spots, beautiful parks or
gardens, and fabulous photo-ops!
How do your two teenagers handle your “away” time? (Or do they come
they were younger, our son and daughter often did come along,
especially for summer events. But they’re college students
now—twenty-one and twenty—and so our days of parenting teens has
Have any of your family members shown a desire to follow in your
footsteps as an author and/or speaker?
Liz: All four
of us love to write, though in different genres. My husband is working
on a nostalgic 1960s novel, our son is drawn to speculative fiction,
our artistic daughter loves graphic novels, and I write lots of
things—nonfiction books for women, children’s books, Bible studies,
contemporary novels, historical novels, and magazine articles. As to
speaking, my husband is a terrific teacher, and both our kids love
drama. Only time will tell if either of them land on the speaking
You have an excellent sense of humor and have been able to use it to
inspire others. Who makes you laugh?
one: my husband! Bill has a delightfully dry sense of humor that
appears when least expected. His one-liners crack me up every time!
Sometimes when my family, including my two sisters, sat around the
kitchen table, the funny cord was strummed. We laughed so hard we
cried. Did you ever start laughing and have a hard time stopping?
Liz: Oh many
times I’ve gotten tickled and couldn’t get it back together. Perhaps
the most memorable time was when I was a radio personality in the
1980s. It was very early in the morning, like 5:45 AM, and the weather
guy, the gardening expert, and I were on the air, discussing the pink
flamingos I’d just added to
room (they matched my newly
painted walls). One of the men misunderstood and thought they were live
flamingos, and . . . well, as they say, you really had to be there, but
it. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. I
can only imagine how it must have sounded to our listeners, especially
the ones who tuned in halfway through!
You’re married to a Bill; I am too. Bill’s are good! My Bill and I have
wanted to move out to the country for quite a while. Please tell us all
about your nineteenth-century farmhouse in Kentucky.
original house was built around 1875, with several additions over the
following years. Of course, the high ceilings and drafty old windows
make it hard to heat, but I love the hardwood floors and mantelpieces,
the exposed brick and beams in the kitchen. I’m happiest in an old
house, and this one was a blessing of a bargain.
Where’s your favorite spot to write?
our restored farmhouse is a row of old buildings—a two-story garage, a
caretaker’s cottage, and a building for farm implements—all in terrible
condition. We gutted them and turned them into a six-room office for my
writing and speaking ministry, which includes my second-floor study,
the only place I can truly write. Feel free to take a virtual tour:
Do you have a barn? Farm animals? Raise crops? A silo?
Liz: We do
have a barn, but strictly for storage. No animals except two
neighborhood cats, no crops, no silo, and a very small flower garden.
All we’ve raised on Laughing Heart Farm are kids!
Oh, the expensive-to-grow type? I have some of them! Which came first,
the nonfiction book Embrace Grace, or the powerful new program?
Liz: Back in
the 1990s I wrote books based on messages I was already sharing with
audiences. But beginning with Bad Girls of the Bible
in 1999 and every nonfiction book since, I research and write the book
first, then create a new platform program based on that fresh material.
Embrace Grace is a very personal book, written directly to the reader,
as the opening lines communicate: “I’ve been waiting for you. Holding
this good news close to my heart, longing to share it. And now here you
are, standing on the threshold . . .” Though the good news of God’s
grace doesn’t change when I take that message onto the platform, the
method of delivery definitely does!
You’ve recorded a fifty-two minute message for your Embrace Grace
program. You begin with “God meets us where we are.” Where you are
right now, in your life and ministry, and tell us how you know God is
where you are?
Liz: I live
in a constant awareness of my need for God’s grace. I stumble daily,
and throw myself at God’s mercy over and over again. Maybe that’s why
every message, every book, in every genre, features grace at the heart
of it. I’m grateful for my calling to write and speak, and I deeply
appreciate the incredible support and encouragement of my sisters in
Christ. I’m blessed to have a terrific publisher. And much closer to
home, I’m thankful for the best husband a woman could hope for and two
really special grown kids. God’s kindness and generosity toward me are
completely undeserved. May all the glory, honor, and praise go to him!
As for knowing God is present in my life, I literally cannot breathe
without him. He is my all in all.
When did you realize that having faith meant “just believe”?
Liz: I was
twenty-seven years old and living in a dark pit of my own making. Sex,
booze, drugs . . . all the usual suspects. The Lord sent two
ambassadors to show me the way out. They loved me, rather than judged
me. They hugged me, rather than held me at arm’s length. They shared
the truth, rather than kept the good news to themselves. Five months
after meeting them, I embraced God’s grace with joy and abandon. Oh,
How would you describe yourself when you are finishing up one of your
talks? (Glad to be finished? Wishing you could go on longer? Worried?
Or patting yourself on the shoulder?)
Liz: Oh, the
hardest thing is stopping! :>) I really never think about how
I’ll be received—before, during, or after I speak. I only think about
loving the women seated before me and opening God’s Word together. And
I wouldn’t dream of patting myself on the back for my efforts . . .
eek! Any applause goes to God alone.
Isn’t that the truth! I know anyone who writes gets a charge of
positive energy when a fan writes to say good job. You must have an
enormous fan base. Is there an e-mail or favorite note somebody sent
you that you treasure and occasionally think about when doubts slip
into your everyday life? Care to share?
Liz: You are
so right! Encouraging words from readers mean so much. It’s hard to
pick a favorite, but this one was very kind:
“As I read
Embrace Grace, I can hear your voice lovingly encouraging me. I can
hear your laughter and joy and sadness as you share your heart with me.
I feel that you are an old friend encouraging me in my walk with our
I know you have been asked many questions during your career, but is
there any one thing you would like to share with your fans? Something,
you haven’t been asked but think they would enjoy hearing about?
Actually, all your questions were new to me, so I’ll simply say, “Well
done, dearie! And bless you for being so creative and fun!”
Thank you very much; this has been wonderful! Liz, it’s been a real
pleasure getting to know you. What a nice compliment! This interview’s
Valerie Anne Faulkner, a New
York native, moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida in 1973. Author of
I Must Be in Heaven, a promise kept… she spends her
days working side by side with her husband, Bill, as an electrician,
then evenings, as a writer. The CFOM interviews
have been a great way for her to meet other authors and hone her
writing craft. This back-porch writer’s family is very important to
her, and she cherishes time spent with her three grown children and six
grandchildren. A few hours with family or a day enjoying one of
Florida’s Gulf beaches are her favorite ways to relieve stress and
refresh from her busy lifestyle. Valerie’s motto is “A day with prayer
. . . seldom unravels.”
Recently her story was honored
with First Place-Royal Palm Literary Award in the published/memoir
category at the Florida Writer’s Conference held in Lake
Visit her at www.imustbeinheaven.com