Gina Holmes is no stranger to
the writing industry. For the past few years she has shared her
enthusiasm about books and authors with thousands of readers on her
Website, Novel Journey. This site recently earned the honor of the Top
101 Websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.
Writing and all things related
to the industry captured Gina’s heart years ago, and she has been
writing stories amid the busyness of life. The time has come to share
the story of her heart with the world. Crossing Oceans
is launching Gina into the writing industry, and she credits God’s
goodness and faithfulness in her life for bringing her to this moment.
It is an honor to share her personal Novel Journey with you!
nursing doesn’t require a lot of creative writing, so what does your
medical career add to your writing?
Nursing adds depth to my
writing. I’ve worked in many areas of nursing from babies coming into
the world to holding patients’ handd as they let out their last breath.
I see people at their best and worst. When someone is sick, they’re not
wearing the masks they tend to do in other situations. I see people’s
fears and dreams as raw as they get. Nursing gives me a daily glimpse
into the real world, one that isn’t always pretty. I see how God uses
difficult situations to reach people and to change them.
was the development and growth of Novel Journey to your own debut as a
novelist? What is your biggest takeaway value from this project?
would have been published without my Novel Journey success. It’s a good
story, and good stories make it even without the dreaded platform we
all keep hearing about. I learned a lot from the interviews I did with
writers and other industry professionals over the years; and I made
many contacts, which help in other ways, such as endorsements. All that
said, when Crossing Oceans went to publication
board, Tyndale was impressed with my platform, so it did give me a leg
up against the competition.
I know from personal experience
that platform alone doesn’t sell a book, at least not a platform the
size of Novel Journey. The writing and story matters more. After all, I
had four novels that didn’t get contracts, despite my platform.
It is my
understanding that you’ve completed several novels, but Crossing Oceans
is the one that made it to print. What do you perceive as the
difference in one versus the other? God’s timing? Your maturity as a
writer? Or a combination of both?
All of the above. My first four
novels were suspense. I grew up reading it so naturally I thought I
ought to be writing it . . . until I decided to start reading different
genres. I realized that I wanted to write novels addressing tough
issues in a fresh way.
My agent, Chip, and my critique
partners, Ane Mulligan and Jessica Dotta, say I found my voice with Crossing
Oceans and everything fell into place—my attention to detail,
symbolism, foreshadowing, and all the layers that make a good story
In a recent
interview with Afictionado you stated: “Crossing Oceans was born out of
the feeling that life as I knew it was over and the determination to
put my children’s needs ahead of my own.” To me, this reflects God’s
willingness to sacrifice all for us. How has this experience affected
I’m a confident person, but at
my core is a humbleness that has come about in the last few years. I
went through one of the darkest periods of my life when I began Crossing
Oceans. God was reaching down into the soil of my soul and
yanking up the root of sin and pain so deep I didn’t know it was there.
With that upheaval my life looked like a pile of rubble, but God was
After he ground me into what
felt like talcum powder, he built me back up into a vessel far more
beautiful than I started out as. One that could actually hold his
living water and draw others to Him.
Though I wouldn’t want to relive
that time in my life, I also wouldn’t trade the end result. I have a
hunger to show others God’s glory and His love, and my writing has
developed maturity and authenticity through that pain and the joy that
There has been
a lot of debate over whether or not a need exists to differentiate or
“label” books as Christian fiction. You seem to feel quite comfortable
about combining your faith and fiction. What is your view on this
debate? It is even necessary?
This is a tough question. I get
annoyed with the label because when you say you write Christian
fiction, you get the same look from ignorant people as if you’d
self-published. They don’t know our fiction today is incredibly well
done and, in many cases, better than our secular counterparts.
The hang-up is mine and recently
God has worked on me in this area. The label does need to be there for
practical reasons and now I’m proud of that label: As a reviewer I get
novels that are beautiful to look at and well written, but empty of
a secular book is highly recommended to me, I won’t take a chance
because I don’t like the meaninglessness of them. I took my daughters
to Barnes & Noble to spend their gift
kept coming over with books that had premarital sex and things that I
didn’t want them putting in their young minds. Without realizing, they
wandered into the Christian section. I finally exhaled. One brought me
a book she found and I didn’t even have to read the back cover copy
when I saw who was the publisher. It was then I realized that I
couldn’t be prouder of the genre I’m writing. Not only do we offer
great stories and beautiful words, but a hope that can be found nowhere
outside of God.
writing, parenting, blogging . . . your life is overflowing. Now that
your debut novel is about to be born, what kind of time will you have
to devote to book promotion? Where on earth will it fit in your
My children are a big
help in keeping the house clean, as is my husband, Adam, but
regardless, yeah, my cup flows way over. I have
three months to finish my sophomore novel, and I’ve just reached the
one-third mark. Plus I’m a perfectionist about writing, and promotion.
I think I’m going to look back on this time in my life and wonder how I
I spend a lot of time on
promotion. My good friend Jessica Dotta is helping me, as are the
fabulous people at Tyndale, but I’m doing quite a bit myself as well.
Most promotion happens way ahead of the novel release. Promotion I’ll
do after release are things I set up months prior. The pressure is
behind me at this point.
I get one chance to debut and Crossing
Oceans is a story that’s close to my heart, so I spend time
every day querying magazines, newspapers, you name it. It seems to be
paying off. If I stop and think about all the work involved, I might
just realize it’s impossible and give up, so let’s move on.
I love the
statement you made in a recent interview with Chip McGregor:
“Craft-wise, Christian writers should hold themselves to a higher
standard than secular authors. After all, we are working for God not
man.” Can you elaborate on the importance of this distinction and also
draw some similarities between the work required to get the writing
Thanks. For the Christian, we
should present our best at whatever we do, whether writers, launderers,
or landscapers. We are to present our work as if it were to God. I work
hard at whatever I do, which wasn’t the case before I gave my life to
Christ. Before that I skated by whenever possible. Now I remember that
I’m an ambassador for Christ. I’m not always a good one, but I’m trying
to do better.
As far as the writing, yeah,
it’s more pressure and work trying to write my best every time. It
means I often sit at the computer for hours to get one thought right.
It means I resubmit my chapter to my critique group repeatedly until
they tell me it’s right. It means editing for the perfect word, the
exact right theme, the best description. I want to hear “Well done”
Do you already
have another project waiting in the wings? Could you tell us just a bit
Yes, I’m knee-deep in my
sophomore novel, Dry as Rain. It’s written in third
person from the points of view of an estranged husband and wife who
find their marriage and lives unraveling due to the snowball effect of
misunderstandings and sin. I expect it will probably release about a
year after Crossing Oceans.
things is God doing in your life right now?
Right now, He’s keeping my head
above water. I’m newly married, and I have five children instead of
two; that’s very exciting. God is laying the groundwork in my heart for
a very important mission that I don’t even know yet. I just know He’s
burdening me for children around the world and I trust Him to reveal
the details at the right time.
Being married to a man whom I’m
still getting to know is exciting, too. Adam brings joy into my life;
and between him, God, and our children there is so much joy that the
book stuff gets overshadowed . . . and that’s saying something, given
how long it’s taken me to finally get published and my passion for
words you’d like to share with your readers?
We all have dreams that God has
put on our hearts. It’s our job to water those seeds to see what blooms
not to control the results. Some of us put pressure on ourselves God
never meant for us to bear, and others of us refuse to fill our buckets
with water when God wants to bless us and others through our efforts. I
hope everyone evaluates the burdens of their hearts and asks God to
help them with the next step. That’s what I’m doing at the moment.
Thanks for reading!
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons and married to a technical writer and Army
veteran, Kim’s life is full and blessed. She and her husband also
volunteer as teachers for a resident rehab program for women with
life-controlling issues. She uses her fiction to encourage the ladies
she teaches. She blogs at: Window
To My World