Today I’m excited to welcome my friend Bethany Griggs to my blog with an author Q&A! Some of you may remember Bethany because she guest posted on my blog last year with encouragement on how to battle chronic loneliness. But today Bethany is here because she just released her novel Willow! Welcome, Bethany!
Tell us a little about Willow. What inspired it, and why did you write it?
Thank you so much for having me back to your lovely blog, Lauren! The initial inspiration for Willow came from a photograph. I was trying to find a different cover image, and I spotted the one that is now part of Willow’s front cover. It immediately captivated me, and I saved it for future reference. Not long after that, in late February 2022, I was going through a difficult time and wanted to write a new story as a means of working through life and distracting myself. That’s when the idea for Libby’s character was born, and over time, the story came together and developed into an entire first draft by August 2022.
How does Willow reflect your personal journey?
Willow has multiple pieces of my own story woven into it. For one thing, like the main character, I too live with chronic illness and the challenges it brings. Also, the theme of the book, which is making Jesus your best Friend and learning to confide in Him is something the Lord was teaching me during the time I was writing it. It’s something He is still teaching me to this day and will be a life-long process and something I continue to need His grace and strength for.
What is your favorite quote from Willow?
I have way too many quotes I like to have an absolute favorite, but here’s one section I really like!
“Oh, you don’t count, of course, Nadine. Everyone knows you are the universal favorite here. The ranch wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for you.”
“Trying to flatter me, are you?” Nadine’s laugh was merry. “Well, you’d better get out there to Kate before you get yourself in more trouble or she comes in here looking for you.”
“Yes, ma’am!” Libby leaned down and adjusted one of her boots, admiring the pink stitching against the brown leather. Hoofbeats of Hope was the one place where she fit in. The boots covered her compression socks, making it less obvious she had health challenges. But even if they hadn’t, she would have still fit in here. Those with physical struggles were the majority in this place and not the minority.
Even so, this was not a place of gloom and moaning over your troubles. As the name suggested, it was a place of hope, of encouraging each other to reach your God-given potential, of rising above the pain and sickness, realizing it did not define who you were inside.
Do you have any advice for writing when you have a chronic illness?
What a great question! I discussed this with my sister who is also a writer with chronic illnesses, and here are some thoughts we came up with.
Learn what works best for you! Do you do better writing a little bit most days consistently, or is it easier for you to write a lot during a period of time while you’re feeling better and then take a rest from writing for a few days? Don’t feel like you have to follow a writing routine someone else sticks to. Find what works best for you! Also, learn not to compare your productivity with others. Just because you’re not able to write as much as someone who is healthy does not mean you are not doing your best! And doing your best is what matters, not trying to do what someone else is doing.
Also, learn what time of day you have the clearest mind and the most energy. Save the tasks that are the hardest for that time. If you have the most energy in the afternoon or evening, don’t be afraid to save your most focused aspects of writing for then, whether that is editing, research, or something else. Other people may have the most energy when they first wake up, but the important thing for you is to listen to your body and when you feel the most like working on things. Find what works best for you and go forward!
What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
One of my favorite Bible verses is John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” It’s such a comforting verse and a reminder that our peace doesn’t come from the world and being satisfied with our current circumstances but from Jesus, Who never changes. I also really love Psalm 103. It’s a very encouraging psalm about God’s forgiveness and loving care for us.
This interview was so fun and encouraging! Thank you for sharing, Bethany!
Author Bio: Bethany M. Griggs is a writer of Christian contemporary fiction and blogger of simple living who lives in Texas with her family. She enjoys crafts from paper, coziness, and creativity. Oh, and alliteration! As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, she loves encouraging people through the rough places, rejoicing with them in the good ones, and pointing them to Jesus her Savior. Connect with her at: arubyintherough.com
All who purchase a copy from November 20-27 can upload a screenshot to this form, and they will receive the printable release goodies for free. These include bookmarks, stationery, a special 3-D card, and more!
Those who purchase an ebook at arubyintherough.com/willow can use the code 10OFF for 10% off their order
I had the privilege of being a beta reader for Willow and hope you enjoy this story! Here is one of my favorite quotes.