A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner of DeeGospel PR (www.deegospelpr.com,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at http://christianfiction.blogspot.com. Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.
Christmas with First Lady of Gospel Comedy Fiction
Pat G’Orge-Walker has been the first lady of gospel comedy and fiction for the past decade. She is also a former record industry veteran who has worked for several major labels, including Epic, Def Jam, and Columbia. She also performed with the legendary ’60s girl group, Arlene Smith and the Chantels (“Maybe”) as well as with gospel groups. Now Pat is busy touring the country performing her sold-out, one-woman Sister Betty comedy show and writing the Sister Betty novel series, which helped launch Kensington Books Dafina Christian Line.
This year she gifts us with a Christmas installment of the Sister Berry series No Ordinary Noel (October 2011), the story of Crossing Over Sanctuary Church, a small-town congregation that needs every miracle in the Book to rediscover the real reason for the season. The financially struggling members have until Christmas day to pay off millions in debt, and Reverend Leotis Tom refuses to accept any of trustee Freddie Noel’s sinful lottery mega winnings. Instead, he hopes bickering church mothers’ money-raising schemes will provide heaven-sent rewards—while he renegotiates with God.
Is Bea’s Christmastime Keep a Man Fried Cabbage the real deal?
LOL. Yes, for the most part it’s the real deal. There are a couple of secret ingredients omitted but when added, it’s kept my husband at home and in church for years.
When did you realize that writing comedic fiction was God’s plan for you?
I can’t quite say when I realized it was a part of God’s plan for my life; however, I can tell you that as a PK (preacher’s kid), with a Pentecostal mama and a Baptist preacher, I have to believe that God needed a good laugh on the day they came together and produced me. Actually, I began truly writing comedy as far back as the early 1970s. I was writing the Sister Betty stories as monologues, skits, plays, and short fiction stories. I wrote what I observed and my thoughts about it, connecting it with what my Bible taught and I’d let it rip! It was never my intention to insult, diminish, or judge; I just wanted to hold up a spiritual mirror and the readers or audience could make their decisions.
Why did you decide to write a holiday comedy?
Actually, it was my editor’s, Selena James, idea. I’d had a totally different story in mind for these characters but she won out. I mean, she is the editor!
Why is Sister Betty back?
Once again, it was Selena James. Apparently, my last two books sans Sister Betty did well but the sales reps reported that bookstores, readers, etc., wanted more Sister Betty. Gotta give the people … (in O’Jay’s voice).
Why do you fans love Sister Betty so?
That’s a great question. If you asked fifty people why they love Sister Betty, you’ll get fifty different reasons. Moreover, for more years than I can count, most people thought I was Sister Betty. In fact, there are a lot of people who still refer to me as Sister
Betty. They didn’t know my real name until I wrote Somebody’s Sinning in My Bed and Don’t Blame the Devil. In reality, I believe that most folks embrace Sister Betty as that super saint who sometimes is so heavenly righteous she’s no earthly good. And she’s sometimes crazier than a bed bug; why else would she attend a church called The Ain’t Nobody Right but Us-All Others Goin’ to Hell before moving her membership to the Crossing Over Sanctuary?
Where do your characters come from?
I’ve created characters from various places and people in my lifetime. Sister Ima Hellraiser is cousin Myra in Greenville, South Carolina; Sister Betty is the late Mizz Genie in Williamston, South Carolina; Ma Cile is my maternal grandmother, the late Ma Cile Acker—the original keeper of the belt and switch, just to name a few. Oh, yeah, Deacon Thurgood Pillar is based upon two deacons from my former church, as is Bea and Sasha, who are based upon two elderly woman. They shall remain nameless so that I can continue to live.
What’s your writing process?
For the most part, I dream and take notes. I listen to the characters in my head and take notes. And I definitely take notes in church. I even take down sermonic things I’m supposed to write.
What spiritual takeaway do you want your readers to gain from reading No Ordinary Noel?
The takeaway I hope will be that the reader will learn the lessons of love. I’ve a quote that is close to my heart and mind: “Never believe you’re not good enough. Christ thought you were good enough to die for.” I want people to laugh, love, praise, and pray. And, last, please do not pass the book, just the word about the book.
What’s next for you and Sister Betty?
I’m currently working on another series for Dafina Books. The working title is Kash and Karry, a humorous, suspense-filled mystery series that asks the question: Can two middle-aged, avid busybody, single cousins—snooping supposedly with God’s permission—armed only with Missionary licenses, ESP, and their uncontrollable, neurotic mongrel dog, Felony, investigate and solve crimes when they couldn’t pass a police test in the almost twenty years they’ve worked for the department? And, based upon a Judges 4:6 prophecy, can they get President Barack Obama to help them? I’ve had to write through the back-to-back deaths of four family members, including my baby sister. They all occurred within a three month period. So ultimately, my writing process is always in the hands of God because life doesn’t always cooperate.
Read an excerpt of No Ordinary Noel and to purchase it so you can get Pat’s Christmastime Keep a Man Fried Cabbage recipe visit HERE. To learn more about Pat G’Orge Walker, visit www.patgorgewalker.com/.