Monday, July 18, 2011
Interview with Anita Estes, Christian Author
Today I welcome Anita Estes.
Anita, please introduce yourself, then tell us how you got started writing.
My name is Anita Estes, and I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. I started writing poetry and kept a journal. When I became a Christian I began writing articles and devotions, then I started writing children’s stories when I became a teacher and a mother. As I grew in the Lord, I progressed to writing inspirational stories and had my work published. I wrote my first book of stories and devotionals six years ago when I was invited to be a speaker at a women’s conference (WIN). They wanted me to have a book available of my work.
What have you published and what is your current project?
I have written a number of devotions and short stories that have been published in “Upper Room”, Penned form the Heart, Adam’s Media Books, God Allows U-Turns: for Women, Cup of Comfort Book of Prayer, and Deliver Me! I have three books published, When God Speaks, 40 Days and Nights of His Promises, which is a story format devotional with an accompanying Bible Study work book. My next book I compiled and edited was Transformed—Inspiring Stories of Freedom, a book of testimonies about men freed from the bondage of addictions.
My recent release, Letters to God on a Prodigal Son—Overcoming Addiction Through Prayer was birthed from the painful journey I experienced while navigating the minefield of my son’s addiction. I kept a journal that contained many powerful prayers, letters and scriptures that I thought would help others navigate the turbulent waters of a prodigal’s addiction, so I worked on transforming it into a book. I added two sections, Lessons Learned and Suggestions that I thought would further help others to avoid some of the pitfalls I experienced, while offering a lifeline of hope. At the time my son was going through this terrible ordeal, I couldn’t find any Christian books on the subject that gave practical and spiritual, not textbook, advice. Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son was designed to fit this need. It’s filled with the heart-felt letters and prayers of a mother, key spiritual insights and practical advice. My desire in writing this book is to help others and minister to them though this true life story. You can buy this book and any of my others at www.anitaestes.com ; Amazon; Barnes and Nobles
I’ve also written a novel, The Dividing Stone, which I plan on publishing in 2012. It is a spiritual warfare book with a historical slant involving angels, demons and an unsuspecting artist who is drawn into a battle for her life to rescue the lives of other Christians.
As a writer of faith, what is your philosophy on marketing?
I’ve struggled in this area because I never wanted to promote myself, but a few years ago an author at a writer’s conference told me that I wasn’t promoting myself, but the words God gave me to write. I thought about that for a while; however, I didn’t start publicizing my writing on-line until recently. In the past I had my books in Christian bookstores and did book signings, but all those have gone out of business. I’ve now joined a number on on-line groups, and I’m getting to know some wonderful people and enjoying meeting other authors, though I don’t have many on-line sales. Yet I believe if God wants my writing to get into the public’s hands, He will help me do it. However, I have to put in the effort, which I’ve been trying to be more diligent about doing.
Tell us about a "God incident" related to your writing.
There are several incidents where I feel God has placed my books in the hands of people who are in need of help and support. One such incident came when I was debating whether or not I should continue writing. One day I received an e-mail that said “I love your books!” in the subject line. The person told me she had bought a number of my books in a local bookstore and was giving them out to her friends and family. Her sister was really enjoying my book, When God Speaks. I was happy that it was ministering to her. Later, I discovered that the sister had a very difficult marriage and that book gave her hope and encouraged her walk with God. This is one of my most important goals as a writer —to encourage and help others.
What are your hopes/dreams for the future?
I hope that when I retire from teaching, I’ll be able to write more books, be more widely read and become a motivational/inspirational speaker for woman’s conferences. A friend of mine in South Carolina developed a powerful conference for woman, WIN, based on targeting seven areas of need in woman’s lives and I hope to become more involved with this. It’s a multi-media, arts based interactive approach to a conference, and I hope to expand this outreach. My next goal is to be able to have a book ministry that can pay for itself and develop into a small business. Presently, I own a small publishing company—Transformation House, which I hope to gradually enlarge and publish other Christian author’s work as I learn more about the business and publishing.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning to write and wanting to publish?
Write what comes naturally to you and what God puts on your heart. Write it all out, then edit it over and over again. Find your own unique voice, but allow others to give you editing advice, especially if you are self-publishing. Above all else, don’t give up. I wrote hundreds of pieces before I was published. If you want to be published, either attend Christian writing conferences or network with others on-line. I was not published until I attended a writer’s conference and networked with others. Write for a specific audience. Have them in mind when you are writing, but don’t write just for others. Write because it’s what God wants you to do. Even if you might be a Jonah and want to run away from the writer’s life, don’t. I’ve left my writing for years because it’s a lot of work, but God always draws me back. If God is calling you to write, then do it.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Anita. God bless as you continue to write for the Kingdom.