Author bio: Michelle Stimpson is an author, a speaker, and an educator who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Jarvis Christian College in 1994. She earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2002. She has had the pleasure of teaching elementary, middle, and high school as well as training adults.
In addition to her work in the field of education, Michelle ministers through writing and public speaking. Her works include the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, Divas of Damascus Road (National Bestseller), and Falling Into Grace, which has been optioned by Paulist Productions for a movie of the week. She has published several short stories for high school students through her educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services, at www.wegottaread.com.
Michelle serves in women's ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. She also ministers to women and writers through her blog. Michelle regularly speaks at special events and writing workshops sponsored churches, schools, book clubs, and educational organizations.
The Stimpsons are proud parents of two young adults and one crazy dog.
Drink – Water
Food – Strawberries
Vacation – Any Cruise
TV show – Who’s got time for TV? LOL!
Movie – Roll Bounce
Animal – Anything that’s not a bug
Sport – Volleyball
Book – The Bible
Book title: Stepping Down
Brief synopsis of your book: Mark has been pastoring New Vision church for six years now, and all his hard work is about to pay off as the church approaches mega-church status. But while Mark has been busy building the church, his own household has been crumbling to pieces. After ignoring divine guidance, Mark finds himself caught up in the appearance of a scandal that threatens to tear the church apart. And his wife’s secrets only add insult to near-fatal injury.
Sharla would have done just about anything to be a mother…and, actually, she did. She was willing to pay the price for her mistakes, but she never dreamed someone else might have to suffer instead. How close can she come to confessing her past without jeopardizing her future?
Stepping Down is the eighth full-length novel from National Bestselling Author Michelle Stimpson. As the granddaughter of a pastor and the great-granddaughter of a bishop, she explores a conflict many spiritual leaders still encounter today. Readers will enjoy this fast-paced, hard-hitting novel that addresses the ageless question: How can a man run the church if he can’t run his own household?
Current book or project you’re working on: Co-authoring a book entitled “What About Mama’s House?” It’s a funny but poignant look at the importance of family sticking together through tough times…with a little romance on the side.
What was the inspiration for your novel? This book was the product of prayer and reading two other books that really challenged me to think about what it means to be in ministry and in leadership. The main character struggles to balance his commitment to family and to his calling, which is something that I think many people struggle to maintain.
Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) The pastor is actually a good pastor – this is not a preacher-bashing book.
2) There’s a high-speed chase with shooting! LOL!
3) Mama B (one of my favorite characters from another series) has a few scenes in this novel!
Who is the most complex character from your current novel? I think the wife, Sharla, is probably the most complex character because she wants to be supportive of her husband, but she doesn’t want the role of first lady. She knew that she was marrying an ambitious man, which comes with its own unique set of complications.
Sharla is also hiding a secret that threatens to tear their family apart in more ways than one.
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself? Definitely, the main character (Mark). He knows the right thing to do, but actually lets some of the older advisors convince him that he misunderstood God. I think there’s a fine line between seeking council (which is recommended in the Bible) and depending on other people to tell you what to do. It’s a line that I have walked often.
If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why? I think I’d like Dr. Creflo Dollar to review my book because I can imagine that he has faced similar situations.
What, who, and when were you first inspired you to write? I started keeping a diary when I was 12, and since then I’ve always loved to write regularly. Even before then, I wrote short plays for our school talent shows. I can’t actually put my finger on how it all happened because I believe it is a gift that was put in me before I even knew my name.
What genre does your book fall into? Christian fiction
Which genres do you write? Christian fiction and non-fiction
What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something? Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. It made me think differently about making the transition from being a girl to a young lady.
Is there a book you loved that was also made into a movie that you also loved? If so, how did the movie connect with you?
I really liked the book Memoirs of a Geisha, and the movie was pretty good. I can’t say I connected with it very much, though. I just like learning about other cultures so I did enjoy them both.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Janet Fitch (White Oleander) – I like how she plays with words. I can read her books and suddenly feel like writing a hundred metaphors.
2) J. California Cooper – There’s a quality to her work that makes me want to write historical fiction…someday…when I stop being so lazy about research.
3) J.A. Konrath – while I don’t necessarily read his work, his blog about self-publishing has been a great help for me as I transitioned from being traditionally published to self-published.
Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading? Yep.
Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
I can read non-fiction while I’m writing fiction, but I have a hard time reading fiction while I’m writing fiction. It messes up my voice.
How many books have you written? 18
Which book is your favourite and why? For me, this is an impossible question. I really do like several of my books to the same extent. The ones I don’t like as much are the ones that I don’t feel got a good edit. Even though my wonderful fans still like then, I sometimes cringe when I see things I could have done better.
Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write? A deadline!
What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Time – Even though I don’t work full-time, I still find myself having to make time to write and waiting until the last minute to get it all done.
2) Discouragement – I always fall out of love with everything I write about 2/3 of the way through the process. Everything! Every time! I have to be reminded not to give up.
3) Distraction – I’m usually already thinking about my next book before I’ve finished the one I’m on.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer? I’m learning, particularly as an African American Christian writer, not to be led by numbers—whether good or bad. I’ve been tempted to write things that are out of line with what I know I’m called to write. As I surrender my gift to the One who gave it to me, He is faithful.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’? Thankfully, I don’t experience much writer’s block. Deadlines help get over the blocks!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that the best thing I can do to stay afloat in this industry is to write more books. Readers don’t really want to know what I’m eating for dinner, whether my book was nominated for this or that award. What they really want is for me to sit down somewhere and write another book!
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book?
Amazon Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Stepping-Down-ebook/dp/B00E6XM2N0/ref=zg_bs_6190460011_19
Amazon Print - http://www.amazon.com/Stepping-Down-Michelle-Stimpson/dp/1491210591/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
Barnes & Noble Nook - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stepping-down-michelle-stimpson/1116232313?ean=2940148513704