Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grace Fox is an author and speaker best described in three words: Daring. Deep. Devoted. Her passion is to help women develop the same characteristics – to become daring in their faith, deep in their convictions, and devoted in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Drawing from Scripture and personal experiences learned while living on Canada’s rugged coastline, in urban U.S.A., and in Nepal’s Himalayan mountains, she uses the written page and the public stage to build Christ-based confidence in audiences worldwide.
Grace’s quick wit, real-life stories, and biblical insight keep her in constant demand as a speaker for international women’s events and as a World Vision representative. National radio and TV programs look to her as a trusted guest to inspire their audiences. Her frequent media appearances include 100 Huntley Street, It’s a New Day, and The Harvest Show.

Her writing includes hundreds of articles for magazines including Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, Insight for Living and Power for Living. She has four published books: Moving from Fear to Freedom, 10-Minute Time Outs for Moms, 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women, and 10-Minute Time Outs for You and Your Kids, as well as contributions in five compilations including Hot Apple Cider and Tyndale’s One-Year Life Verse Devotional.

Former missionaries to Nepal, Grace and her husband, Gene, live in Abbotsford, British Columbia. They direct International Messengers Canada, a ministry that offers creative short-term and career missionary opportunities in Eastern Europe. They’ve been married for 28 years and have three grown children and two grandchildren. In their spare time, they enjoy motor biking.

When did you decide to be a writer?
In 1979 during my senior year of Bible college, someone asked me what I’d do with my life if neither time nor money mattered. One of the answers I gave was, “Be a writer.” I had no idea what that might look like, but it sounded glamorous to me. In 1999 – 20 years later – I began pursuing that dream and attended my first writers conference.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

That happened a year or two later. I had critiqued a friend’s articles and he’d done the same for mine. When I began writing my first book, he offered his critiques again. I accepted, but this time he suggested so many changes that it started driving me crazy! I had to step back and ask myself whether or not these changes were truly warranted or wasting my time and energy. When I realized it was the latter, I began to trust myself. The book was eventually published with very few edits.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

Very disciplined. I write a devotional three times weekly, write assignments for Power for Living, and more.

What kind of activities do you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

Play with my grandkids. Bake. Ride motorbike with my husband. Walk around a nearby city park. Tend to my flowerbeds. Travel. Wow – that list sounds like I have a lot of free time. If only!

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?

I’m not into novels so much. You can usually find me buried in a non-fiction book. The latest was Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
It helps me see technical areas where I can improve. Also, when reading on a topic that I’m writing about, I see things from a fresh perspective and it forces me to consider more angles as I put words on paper.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation is a non-fiction book that addresses specific fears with which many women struggle. These include the fear for their kids’ well-being, the fear of inadequacy, the fear or rejection, of financial insecurity, of the storms of life, and more. Each chapter ends with several Scripture promises about fear, Scripture-based prayers, and questions for personal growth or group study. The last chapter is a collection of salvation testimonies to assure unbelievers that it’s okay to trust an unseen God with their lives. Readers tell me it’s transformed them by helping them identify their fears and giving them practical ways to move beyond them.

Where did you get your inspiration for Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation?

My inspiration came from life experience – going through difficult stuff and seeing God prove Himself faithful. As a result of learning more about His character, I can now take divinely-appointed risks knowing that He’s in control. I’ve seen Him do some amazing things when I’ve said yes to Him, and I want other women to experience the same freedom and joy in their spiritual journey. For many, fear is often the deterring factor. It’s one of the enemy’s tactics to prevent believers and non-believers alike from fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.

You went through some interesting trials with this book. Can you share a little about that?
It was released in 2007, and I was certain that this topic would be a hot one. Unfortunately, publicity fell flat. I’d sell many copies wherever I spoke at women’s events, but overall sales seemed to lag compared to my previous books. Last October, still passionate about addressing the fear issue, I decided to hire a publicist to do a four-month media campaign. That’s when I learned that this book was going to be remaindered in January 2010, so I called off the campaign.

When January arrived, I contacted my publisher to buy all the remaining copies of Moving From Fear to Freedom. No one knew there knew anything about it going out of print. The three individuals I spoke with were very apologetic and said they couldn’t understand where the misinformation came from.

I don’t understand how this could have happened, either, but I know that God controls every detail of my life. I’ve since hired a publicist who is doing a four-month media campaign. Meanwhile, several ministries are now considering this book as a possible resource. One has asked me to write a study guide and has offered grant money to get the job done. A couple of weeks ago, an individual offered to put it on audio. Insights (the magazine for Insights for Living Canada) will run one of my articles and post the book on their website homepage in May. Things are happening – it’s truly a Lazarus experience and I can’t wait to see where God takes it. I can trust and not be afraid – hmmm – where have I heard that before?

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
God is faithful, loving, wise, and powerful. We can trust Him and not be afraid.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

I’ve done blog, radio, and TV interviews. I’ve visited bookstores to let buyers know about it. I’ve written magazine articles about overcoming fear, and I’ve had book excerpts published. I’ve published bookmarks and given them to bookstores to use as bag stuffers. I’ve started a devotional blog to encourage my readers and to develop deeper relationships with them, and I’ve been building readership through my free monthly online newsletter. I’ve done a lot of speaking at women’s events – this is the best form of marketing I’ve found. When my audience connects with me and trusts me, they’ll buy the book to dig deeper.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
I have a book proposal sitting with a publisher right now and am waiting on his response. Meanwhile, I’m developing three talks and laying the business groundwork for the secular marketplace. And from now through the fall, I’ll be writing a study guide and making a DVD teaching series for Moving From Fear to Freedom.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

When I began my writing career, someone gave me this advice: “If God is in this, don’t stop until He says so.” I remember these words each time I feel discouraged, and they remind me who’s in charge. And so I pass these words along – “If God has directed you to write, then don’t stop until He says so.”
Grace is giving away a copy of her book Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!


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