A Chat With...



Michelle Stimpson
Author, Speaker, Educator


Those of you who’ve read anything I’ve written pretty much know I don’t mind sharing my testimony.  Today is no different!  A little over ten years ago, I was getting into the groove of  my brand new relationship with God. However, I was still reading books that were not conducive to Christian living. I felt a tugging in my spirit to stop reading those kinds of books.  So, I did. I stopped cold turkey. Being that I was an avid reader, I didn’t know what to read and was really at a loss but I made up in my mind that I was not going back.  For about eighteen months, I didn’t read anything, not one book.  On my 30th birthday, I was blessed with my first Christian novel. That one book opened the door for me to discover some truly godly, passionate and gifted authors.  Today, I am honored to interview one of my favorite authors, Mrs. Michelle Stimpson. I hope you are thoroughly blessed by our chat. Enjoy!

Tamara Davis:  Please take a few sentences to introduce yourself to my blog readers.  I could ask the standard introduction questions, but being that I really like your sense of humor, I’ll let you introduce yourself in the way you wish. 
Michelle Stimpson: This one is hard, Tamara. I could say “Hey y’all!” but would that be too country?

TD:  Name one fun thing your readers probably don’t know about you. 
MS: I used to be Chuck. E. Cheese. It was a fun job!

TD:  Prior to becoming an author, what was your career? 
MS: I was a full-time educator. I was a classroom teacher and then an educational consultant.

TD:  How did you know writing was something you wanted to do full time? 
MS: You know, I said I wanted to be a full-time writer and I am as far as what happens in my day-to-day life, but writing is incredibly isolating. I need to get out more, which is why I never stopped consulting. If I didn’t do things outside of the house, I would never comb my hair.

TD:  What do you enjoy most about being an author? 
MS: The flexibility in my schedule. I’m really not into doing the same thing every day for weeks and months on end. When I’m writing, I’m “all in” but the breaks between are nice!

TD:  Is there anything you like the least about being an author? 
MS: This isn’t really something I don’t like, but the thing about being an author is that once people find out you write books, about half of them will go into this long speech about how they’ve been meaning to write a book for the past 15 years, too, and then they want to go to lunch and pick my brain. Again, I’m not bothered by it, but it’s always interesting the things that people have been mulling over for years. I’m like: Write it already!

TD:  Over the last year or so, I have reacquainted myself with your work. I’ve noticed one purely delightful quality that consistently shows up in your work—good, godly men! You don’t male bash or put them in a negative light. Why is it important for you to portray men the way you do? 
MS:  I think there’s enough male-bashing, preacher-bashing, church-bashing stuff out there already. I love my brothers in Christ, my African-American brothers, and my brothers in the human race, period. As a writer, I am a member of “the media” - I can’t be fussing about how “the media” portrays people and then turn around and perpetuate the problem.

TD:  I’ve also noticed that “Titus 2” women show up and always offer wise counsel according to the Word of God.  Again, why is it important to you to have such characters in your books? 
MS:  Well, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I write to spread the gospel and encourage believers. In my own life, I’ve received so much wisdom from hanging around with women who are older than me. There’s something beautiful about the older women teaching the younger women how to live godly, which is precisely why we’ve been ordered to mentor one another, from one generation to the next. 

TD:  Do any of your family’s personality traits show up in characters in your books?  (You don’t have to name any of the family members—we want to protect the innocent and the guilty J
MS: My grandmother is definitely a type of Mama B. When I was growing up, I looked at my grandmother as “Grand” for real. Now that I’m an adult and she and I talk on an adult level, I love how she shares her imperfections with me and shows me what God is teaching her daily. Even at the age of 86, she will still admit to having said or done the wrong thing and then show me what she’s reading in the Word that changed her understanding. Aside from her, there are other women at my church and in my writing group who will speak encouragement and offer gentle correction. 

TD:  How important and beneficial is prayer in your writing process? 
MS: You would think that by now I would know not to even start a project without a specific Word, but there are times when I get off track and write myself into a corner (so to speak) and get completely stuck. Then I have to just stop and pray and not write another word until I know what needs to happen next. It’s frustrating, but I do think the Lord is so jealous for our hearts, He sets us up to come to Him and find our victory there.

TD:   In your book Uncommon Sense, you addressed applying worldly principles to Christian lifestyles and why they don’t work. What inspired you to write this book? 
MS:  I attend conferences, workshops, and business events and hear all kinds of philosophies being touted as “research-based” and “proven”. In fact, they may be true for the world, but they don’t apply in the life of a believer. For example, the widely accepted “Law of Reciprocity” says that if you want to influence people, you have to appeal to their “What’s in it for me?” side. Once you figure out what makes people tick, you use that information to get what you want. It probably does work in terms of regular old business, but this is not how we’re called to operate in the Kingdom. I want believers to beware of adopting ungodly thinking and cling to the law of love, which guides what we do.

TD:   I love witnessing the heart changes played out in your stories. Do you agree that before one can truly grow in Christ, a heart change is necessary? 
MS:  Yes, life in Christ is not about letting him change us so much as it is about surrendering and realizing that the old us is dead and the life we live now is in Him (Col. 3:3, Gal. 2:20). 

TD:  How many books have you written to date? Do you now publish primarily e-books? 
MS: This is kinda tricky. I think I’ve written 27 books and about 50 short stories. Yes, I’ve moved over into the e-book and self-publishing realm for the most part.

TD:  I know all of your books are your “babies” but which one is your favorite? 
MS: Hmmm…I think of my books in terms of their main character, so I’m gonna have to say that the Mama B books are my favorite at the moment. 

TD:  Even though I am not a wife yet, I thoroughly enjoyed three lessons I listened to from The Wife Academy. What are some myths that women have about marriage?  What are some realities that women should KNOW about marriage? 
MS: Myth #1: My husband is supposed to make me happy. If you haven’t already found your joy in Him, you won’t find your joy in him. One of the things I absolutely do not do in my books is make the answer to a woman’s problem a man. Yes, she can fall in love and yes, he can contribute to her growth, but I never want a woman to read my book and say, “If only I could find a man like so-and-so, my life would be great.” Again, as a member of the media, I’m not trying to contribute to an unrealistic fantasy. I want people to have godly expectations and grow in love over time, through trials, and by faith.

TD:  One of my favorite quotes from Mama B’s A Time to Dance is spoken by Mama B when she’s talking to Twyla about her husband and the kind of prayers she’d been praying. She said “But it sound like you been prayin’ against him more than for him. Have you prayed for Derrick’s destiny? His soul? For Christ to be glorified in his life?” That quote resonated so strongly in my spirit.  Do you think a lot of wives do that, pray against their husbands instead of for their husbands? 
MS:  Wow - I wrote that? I forgot about that line! LOL! Yes, I think we pray against and “at” them if they are present. So many of us think praying is about asking God to do what we want anyway that it’s not just a wives’ thing, it’s a lack of understanding and/or surrender. 

TD:   The Lord has manifested a stellar writing career for you. Is there anything else that we can stand in faith with you for? 
MS:  Thanks for asking. I think that, in the future, I may venture a bit more into film (screenplay writing). I’m thinking 5 years or so. Right now, I’m content with writing books and consulting.

TD: Thank you so much for your time Michelle. Please be sure to include your website or any social media link for readers to access your author information.
MS: Thanks, Tamara, for the invite! My website: www.MichelleStimpson.com, my FB page: www.Facebook.com/Michelle.Stimpson2

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