Lisa Samson Answers The Faithful Fifteen
FR: What kind of testimony to your faith are you demonstrating in this book? If you are writing fiction, do you write fiction that is based upon your faith or that has a message for the reader? Is you goal to demonstrate your faith in your writing?
LS: I do write faith-based fiction, which hopefully has some take-away value for the reader. My goal isn't really to demonstrate MY faith in MY writing, but to tell the truth about who God is.
FR: When did you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus? Where are you today in your walk? Is your faith an important part of what you do?
LS: I came to faith at the age of three, which in no way gives anybody a clue as to where I am in my walk now. I'm a struggler. I yearn to know God more, but seem to fall farther behind each year. Would I like to be a Super Christian? Yeah. Do I even know what that is? Nope. However, my faith colors all I do. Let's face it --- faith is a gift from God, not of works, so that no man can boast. If faith is at all important, it's because God has extended grace to me.
FR: Tell us about your church experiences, how you grew up (or maybe didn't grow up) in the church, where you attend now, your involvement in your local assembly, etc.
LS: I grew up in a "veritable cornucopia" of churches. My mom was Presbyterian and my dad was a Catholic, so I was in church four times a week. I attended a Methodist School and a Baptist College. Right now we're at a non-denominational church (big surprise, huh?) where I am the Programming/Music Director and the worship leader. I LOVE to worship.
FR: Tell us about your current church family/fellowship. How does it influence your work?
LS: My writing life is extremely separate, outwardly, from every other area of my life. Sometimes I have to remind myself of what it is I actually do for a living. I think a lot of writers find that their church families end up forgetting what they do, too. It's not like I walk into services with a badge that says, "Hello! I'm Lisa Samson. I'm a writer!" They just see me as the lady married to Will, with three kids and a guitar. But I receive fellowship and sisterhood and the word of God, and those are the things I not only take into my writing but into life in general.
FR: Who are your spiritual mentors? Your professional mentors?
LS: I'm still looking for a spiritual mentor. Honestly, I'm very much a loner when it comes to these things. Not really a good thing, but I find the older I get the more of a disconnect I feel with the Christian community. I'm praying about that, asking God to soften my heart and love believers the way He does. Professional mentors? None there either, other than great fiction writers whose books I love to read and who have taught me much simply by my observing their style. I'd have to say that my editor, Erin Healy, while not a mentor per se, makes my work so much better.
FR: Discuss your calling/mission --- as a writer and as a Christian.
LS: My calling is this: to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and love my neighbor as myself. I want my writing and my life to be reflections of these two words: grace and truth. If I can come close to exhibiting and doing these things, wow. What else would there be? Needless to say, I'm not there yet. Not even close.
FR: What are your Scripture reading habits?
LS: Catch as catch can. Just being honest. I'd like to, once again, claim I'm a Super Christian, but I'm a 39-year-old woman who's treading water right now and calling upon the Lord more out of panic than purpose.
FR: What books have most influenced your work?
LS: Honestly, there's not enough room on this form. From almost everything I read there's something for me to take away. My work is more influenced by life, by real people who struggle yet still gain the victory, by real situations and reactions.
FR: Do you read secular fiction at all? If so, who are your favorite authors and why?
LS: I almost exclusively read secular fiction. With some exceptions, friends of mine in inspirational fiction. My favorite authors are Anne Tyler, Larry McMurtry, Sylvia Plath, W. Somerset Maugham, and I'll just go ahead and stop there. I don't read to be affirmed in my beliefs or uplifted. I read for authenticity and for those golden moments when a phrase is turned so beautifully you see sunrises behind your eyes!
FR: What are your other media habits --- television, movies, music, etc.?
LS: I'm not sure what is meant by media "habits." But I do love all venues and genres. I do not sequester myself or my family to a "Christian only" selection. I do not have any kind of language blockers on my television set. If Christians were as offended by cusswords muttered by nonbelievers on secular television as they were of indifference and pride in the church in general (and thank God for the exceptions He raises up), maybe there wouldn't be so many objectionable things to hide from.
FR: Do you and your family have any special faith-based traditions?
LS: Christmas Eve Candlelight service, which I love!! Bedtime prayers. Bible Trivia in the car. Praise music in the kitchen in the morning. One I really love is when we get together with Will's parents for a meal, we always sing before prayer, usually "Thank You, Lord for Saving My Soul" or "Cheer Up, Ye Saints of God."
FR: Describe what you believe the role of writing in religion is.
LS: Like the role of religion in Dentistry or Data Entry: "Do all to the glory of God!"
FR: Tell us about one or more of your favorite encounters with readers.
LS: Well, I don't have the opportunity to meet readers face to face all that often. But my favorite thing they'll tell me is, "I've just finished your new book! And boy is my husband glad because I haven't done a thing for the past two days!"
FR: Would you share a story about someone you've brought to Christ or share how your writing has helped someone?
LS: I've led a women's neighborhood Bible study that meets regularly in my area. We call ourselves the "Beth Moore Rejects" because we never do our homework. Finally this year, we just said we'd fill in all the answers together, right there, at the table! Usually there are only five or six of us in attendance and we've become really close. We met for two years when the lady on the corner, who wanted nothing to do with us, began to come. Well, to see how God worked in her heart was so amazing and encouraging. Soon, she became the most excited Christian around. And it was so neat, because she wasn't speaking "Christian-ese" and sounding all vernacular about her faith. It was real and fresh, and inspired us all.
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