Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Linda Kozar is an author and speaker, the recipient of the 2007 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year Award, and four previous awards for writing. Her most recent release is Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Saavy Women of Faith (Howard/Simon & Schuster) December, 2009. Her first fiction novel, Misfortune Cookies, was released by Heartsong Presents—Mysteries a division of Barbour Publishing in 2008, and will be followed by a sequel A Tisket, A Casket in August 2011.
Linda works part-time at Lone Star Community College, Montgomery Campus as a Staff Facilitator for a newsletter, The Global Pen, by and for ESOL students. In 2008 she founded and is president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, TX chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In 2004, she co-founded and later served as Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild---South East Texas Region, in The Woodlands, Texas.
Linda presently co-leads a women’s Bible Study with Dannelle Woody called “Babes With A Beatitude,” at WoodsEdge Community Church and manages two ministry web and blog sites by that name. Previous to that, she led a women’s Bible Study, “Coffee, Tea and Thee,” in her home for 14 years. She and her husband Michael, married for 21 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

You're a busy woman, Linda! At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

You can’t keep second guessing yourself. You take comments, suggestions and critiques and extract the precious from the vile, then apply those changes to your WIP. But you have to be passionate about your work. There’s no way I would ever be milquetoast about my writing and allow others to bulldoze over my voice or rip the heart of the story out. I’m willing to stand my ground or stand by my work, but on the flip side, I’m also willing to stand down when I recognize a good point or suggestion from someone.

Next, you have to be willing to take chances and really put yourself out there—way outside your comfort zone. I’m glad I did. But I have total confidence in my work.

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

I try to write every day, but I take time to care for my family, spend time with friends and do ministry work. Every Tuesday I have a Babes With A Beatitude Bible study in my home with 8-14 women. My Babes co-author and I take turns leading. Of course since the book has come out, we keep adding more. :-)

I love writing and could probably do it all day, except for the fact that I have responsibilities. I’m a wife and mother. I work at a local community college as a writing turor, lead a weekly bible study, and founded and am president of our local chapter of ACFW (Writers On The Storm. I’m a firm believer in walking away from the lap or desk top and just living. The experiences of everyday life add flavor to whatever you’re writing. It’s so easy to become obsessed with writing or becoming successful. I work hard at writing just about every day, but I take breaky-breaks and don’t feel the least bit guilty about doing so.

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

Painting—either with oils, watercolor or acrylic, which is a recent experiment. I also like mixed media and did a collage/painting recently. I have it hanging over my fireplace.

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

Rebecca, hands down. I’ve had my favorites over the years, but Rebecca stayed with me. I love the elements of mystery, suspense, haunting memories, gothic locales and touches of humor.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

It can help and hurt. You should read and study other authors—both modern and classical works for technique, style, voice and sometimes just for pleasure. But not to extreme—for two reasons. The first is that subconsciously, some of those techniques can come out instead of your unique voice. The second is if you spend too much time reading, you won’t be writing.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

It’s 366 devotions for women (one for leap year) in a beautiful hardback book with full color on each page. We women are busy! Often the first thing to go in our schedule is time with the Lord. But if a busy woman can read a short snappy devo with a scripture and simple take-away thought at the bottom of the page, it’ll keep her going until she can get to her bible later in the day. The devotions are modern, thought-provoking and deal with real issues everyday women of all ages go through.

You co-authored this book. Was that process difficult? What tips would you give people considering co-authoring?

YES! It was a definite challenge because I’m used to doing things on my own. In addition to writing my own devos, I had to work with Dannelle on writing hers, teach her how to use Word on the computer and I did all the editing on the book. There was a lot of pressure to get everything in on time. But in the end, it was all worth it. The book turned out wonderfully and now Dannelle has the writing bug! (But first she must snatch the pebble from my hand. . .)

I’m definitely more comfortable writing with Jesus as my partner, but in retrospect, it was really good for me to expand my skills and challenge the norm. It helped me to grow as a writer and believer.

Tips? Make a list of expectations and hold your partner to it. Establish guidelines about when, what times you can call one another.

Where did you get your inspiration for Babes with Beatitude—Devotions for Smart, Savvy Women of Faith?

I had just ended a women’s bible study I led for 14 years and was definitely looking forward to taking a break. But my friend, Dannelle started bugging me to do a women’s bible study at our church. Though not interested, I prayed about it. And God answered—but not the way I wanted. :-) Anyway, my friend and I decided to co-lead the study, which was a perfect solution.

Not long after we began the bible study, the Lord started speaking to my heart about doing a book of devotions using that title. I told my co-leader Dannelle, that since she dragged me kicking and screaming into doing the study, that I was going to make her co-author this book. Now, Dannelle is a Christian jeweler and silversmith—not a writer. But I knew she ran deep and had a lot of nuggets to share, so I taught her. She had to learn by jumping off the cliff and building wings on the way down. She didn’t know how to use a computer either. So it was a challenge—but a Godly one.
I pitched the proposal at Mt. Hermon a couple of years ago and garnered some interest. But none of those who showed interest at the conference actually bought it. Thankfully, our agent Les Stobbe mailed it to a broader range of houses. After the fifth rejection, Chrys Howard said YES.

Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith released on December 1st (Howard/Simon & Schsuter) and is in its 3rd print run last time I checked.

Obviously, you feel called to minister to women. Can you share what led you to do that?

Well, earlier I shared that before the Babes Bible Study, now in its third year, I led a bible study for 14 years. I felt the Lord’s call before that first study because I felt like women needed a place they could go as a refuge, to let down their hair and barriers and share their hearts. I really wanted to pamper them and make them feel special. Mothers are often overworked and underappreciated.

When I scheduled the very first Tuesday study, I didn’t know if anyone would ever show up. But they did. Through the years, hundreds and hundreds of women of every age, size, race and color showed up. And they came back again and again. The main reason people come back to a bible study is because their spiritual needs are being met. That makes them happy and me happy. But more importantly, it makes God happy.

We live in a world that pushes a “me-first” philosophy. How do you think ordinary Christian women go about defending themselves against this kind of self-idolatry?

Do for others! When you do something for someone else. It’s the easiest way I know to take your mind off youself or your own problems. And when you pour out into someone else’s life, it fills you with heavenly joy. What a great trade-off!

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

To read their Bible every day. I hope that reading this book each day will point them to the greatest author in the universe! God’s Word is THE most important book ever written.

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

Local booksignings are great. Eblasts to invite and announce signings, the release, news etc. are effective. Facebook gets the word out too. I have 2,600 friends so far and 614 fans on my fan page. I Tweet some times too, but not as often. There is a Babes website and a Babes blog and we get a lot of traffic on those. Articles about us in local papers have been wonderful too. But really, the book sold well from the getgo. Word of mouth from satisfied readers is the very best advertisement. Also, the fact that our hardback released simultaneously with an ebook version really helped boost sales.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

Dannelle and I are working on writing more devos—although we haven’t pitched anything yet. We’re between agents right now. :-)

I’m finishing up a historical romance with elements of suspense and a Chick-lit. So much for branding. . .

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Trust God. Do your part as a writer, then pray and trust God to do the rest.
For more information on Linda and her work, look her up on the web at:


And don't forget to stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from Babes With Beatitude.

1 comment :

  1. Hey Linda,

    Thanks for a wonderful interview! Best of luck with your new book.


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