When I was twelve years old, I went to a Christian camp in West Virginia and gave my life to the Lord. Also, that week, under the influence of a wonderful Preacher, Randy Taylor, I made a vow to God that I would marry a preacher and serve the Lord all the rest of the days of my life. So far, I have kept my vow to God. My husband is a wonderful preacher of the word and, though our life is far from boring, I began to feel that God wanted more from me.
So, about nine years ago, I felt led to begin my writing career. Just like the next author I interviewed, I found that writing and encouraging others through the written word, can be a ministry all it's own.
Renee Kinlaw is a Pastor's wife and encouraging author, and I was thrilled when she decided to do an interview with me. Keep reading to find out what she had to say.
AJ: Tell us a little about yourself and your background that led you to become a writer.
RK: I was born and raised in the backwoods of Horry County, SC, the home of the beautiful Grand Strand. I have gone from being a Preacher’s Kid to a Preacher’s Wife. It’s been a wonderful twenty plus years ministering with my soulmate and best friend. We have a ten-year old daughter who is the pride of our lives.
My free time as a child was spent climbing trees and daydreaming about the places I had never been and the people I had never met. Yes, I did have imaginary friends and yes, we had some great adventures together. I remember spending recess, while in Elementary School, entertaining the younger classes with my cousin. We wrote our own script and even made sock puppets to match our characters. In Middle School and High School, I would often write short stories and share them with my close friends.
It was in my twenties that my writing first became public. The Program Director of our Church was looking for a Christmas Play for the season. To my surprise, my younger sister blurted out that I had written one and that is was in the bottom drawer of my nightstand. There was no hiding my talent anymore.
AJ: How many books have you written? And, in what genre would you classify your works?
RK: I have published 3 Christian Non-fiction books. The first one, God Has a Scrub Brush, is a short Bible Study style book. The way it came to be is quite interesting. I was spring cleaning my kitchen, when God began to use what I was doing physically to show me what needed to be done spiritually. The second book, Baggage and All: Yesterday is His-Story, is a nine week Bible Study based on the women of the New Testament that Jesus had contact with. Each week begins with a Biblical Fiction story which depicts what life may have been like for that particular woman. Then the story is followed by four more days of digging deeper into the Word. My latest book, Defining Christmas, is a very short Christmas Bible Study which looks deeper into the meaning of Isaiah 9:6.
AJ: What are your current projects?
RK: I am in the process of writing my first novel, Leann’s Victory. It is in the Christian Fiction genre. The characters (Leann, Cade and Graham among the few) have become such a part of my life that even my husband and daughter know who they are. The way the book is unfolding, I am anticipating a series of books to follow.
Here’s a brief introduction to Leann’s Victory…
Cade learned as a young boy not to trust anyone, anyone that was, except Leann. She was the one person he could count on. Cade never doubted for a moment her loyalty or her love for him. Everything he did was to repay her for all she had done for him. He would be her provider and protector. Leann’s illness, however, sends him into a tailspin, twirling everything he thought he knew into chaos. Her past overwhelms him and sends him searching for the truth.
Graham had loved Leann first. She had been his world, long before Cade came into the picture. He had vowed to love her forever. Would he tell Cade the truth or would he keep Leann’s secret? Would sharing what he knew set Leann free to finally gain the victory over her past?
Cade’s search for the truth carries him from the small resort area of Crystal Lake, NC to the Shores of Palm Island, SC. Unaware of the forces leading him in his journey, Cade discovers the incredible cost of Leann’s Victory.
My plans are to release the book this spring of 2018.
AJ: Have you been able to travel for writing? If not, what would be one place you would choose to visit and why?
RK: Unfortunately no. But, I will be traveling to Tennessee and hopefully West Virginia this summer. I plan to take plenty of pictures and notes to use for future novels. There are so many places I want to visit and use as the backdrop of my stories. If I had to choose one above all, it would be Israel. To walk where my Savior walked with fleshly feet, to visit the Sea of Galilee and dip my toes in the waters, while daydreaming of stepping out of the boat to meet Him. To sit on the mountain where He gave the infamous Sermon on the Mount, to walk the road to Calvary and to stand there on Golgotha, with my hands stretched out bathing in the sunlight, while the Son shined on me. What a glorious adventure that would be for this plain ole country girl.
AJ: What do you see as the main benefit of being an indie author and what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
RK: For me, the benefit is the time I am able to invest. We homeschool our daughter and I work part-time for the Carolina Baptist Association. Therefore, it would be hard for me to be on a set schedule where deadlines are looming. I like the freedom of working on one or more projects at a time and the flexibility of publishing when I feel the work is ready.
My advice to those just starting out—write. Write what you know. Write your story, share your testimony. God gave it to you for a reason, and someone needs to hear it.
AJ: Out of the protagonists you’ve written about so far, which one do you feel you relate to the most?
RK: That would have to be the crippled woman in Chapter Nine – “Broken into Life”, from my book
Baggage and All. Her Biblical story is found in Luke 13:10-17. She was “crippled, bowed up” and could not straighten herself out. No matter how many times she journeyed to the synagogue, she left the same way, until she met Jesus there. I’ve spent most of my life “crippled and bowed up” spiritually, afraid of what people would say or think of me, until I came to the realization that the only opinion that truly mattered was that of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Here’s a little excerpt for you…
All these years, I had believed I had to be “someone”. I had to prove myself. I had to be what everyone else expected me to be. I bought into the lies that I was who they said I was. Some named me dependable and loyal. Well, I am not because there are times I want to be anything but the one who can be counted on. I really want to be selfish and do what I want. Truth be told, I was only named that so I could be controlled and shamed into doing as they wished. I could have remained angry with them, but let’s face it we all try to control one another. That’s the hard part of breaking free. The forgiving and the admitting. I don’t like it, quite ashamed of it to be honest, but I have bullied and intimated a fair share of vulnerable people in my day. What a sad bunch of creation we have become.
How sad it is that we all walk around broken, crippled by the pressures of live, but we never do anything about it because we are ashamed and/or afraid of what others will say or think. If only we’d understand that freedom comes from the admittance. Healing comes from the sharing of our story.
AJ: What marketing strategies do you find the most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors?
RK: Marketing always begins with the eyes. So, the best strategy would be finding the right cover. Sometimes that takes research and criticism. Be brave enough to ask for help and advice. Secondly, make sure your back cover is alluring. If the cover doesn’t draw in your audience, you probably won’t have one.
Before I uploaded my first book, I asked for help. An author friend shared a day with me trying to teach me the process. Don’t be afraid to ask. I also found a few online helps through YouTube and other websites. Here are the links…
1- This website is full of goodies for the indie writer. They also have a YouTube channel with videos that I found helpful.:
2- This website is also very friendly to the indie writer.:
3- Author Terry Whalin has great helps and workshops for the indie writer. on his Website.
AJ: How can readers discover more about you?
RK: I love to interact with my readers. They can find me on my
Website Facebook Twitter Amazon GoodReads
And I would consider it an honor for them to Email Me!
If you would like to find and follow Renee, click on any of the above links, or one of the pictures, to be redirected to one of her sites.