Repost – October 29, 2021
Today I have the amazing author, Erika Matthews, here to answer a few questions! Erika is author of Sustainer’s Smile (you should know that though…), which released last week! I got my copy on Tuesday and am loving it!!!
Thank you so much Erika for stopping by! What are 3 things that inspire you to write?
God. It may sound cliché, but the main reason I write is that when I was thirteen, God told me I would write many books that honor Him. Even when I feel like writing isn’t my favorite, knowing deep within that He called me to write keeps me going. My love of books. I’ve loved books ever since learning to read at age four, and I love crafting sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and stories. My readers. Hearing from fans gives me so much encouragement and excitement to write! When I know others are being touched by my books and loving my stories, it motivates me to continue. If you love a book, don’t hesitate to tell the author so!
Love that! How long did it take you to write your first draft of the Sustainer’s Smile?
I wrote the first draft of Sustainer’s Smile in 30 days: November 1-30, 2017. The first draft was 65,645 words long. Interestingly, the final draft is 65,521 words long: it got slightly shorter during editing.
That’s a fascinating tidbit! Where is your favorite place to write?
My favorite place to write is outside on a beautiful day that isn’t too sunny—though I don’t do it as much as I wish I could!
Sounds lovely! When do you usually find time to write?
I write throughout the day as I have time. Most of my actual writing and editing takes place in the evenings after the children are in bed—or in the mornings before they wake up.
What are some Bible verses/encouraging quotes that keep you going?
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) “I have one passion; it is he, it is he alone.” (Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf) “I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” (David Livingstone) “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7)
Mm great verses and quotes! Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Three interconnected pieces of advice come to mind: (3) write a lot. Practice writing whenever you can, whether you feel like your work is a masterpiece or garbage. The more you write, the more your skills improve. (2) read a lot. Read books in your genre. Read books outside of your genre. Read books by authors you want to emulate. Notice how they write, what words they choose, how they structure their sentences, how they describe things, how they handle narration. Notice everything. You’ll learn so much about writing by reading quality books. (1) Pray and meditate on God’s Word day and night. Let God write the book through you. As you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things shall be added unto you.
That’s great advice, thank you!! Who was your favorite character to write in this book?
Liliora was my favorite character to write. She shares a personality type with me (which I didn’t actually realize until after the book was written), and she responds to many things the same way I would. Yet she’s seeking God with all her heart. She struggles so much, yet she clings to truth and trusts God. She has such a tender heart and yet she’s bold in speaking truth when it really matters. She’s a loyal friend and caring sister.
If you can share, What is your favorite moment/scene in Sustainer’s Smile?
My favorite scene is probably the last one, which I won’t talk about because spoilers, but here’s another scene I love:
At last, her emotions calmed, leaving a dull, numb ache. She blinked but lay unseeing, her ear pressed against the floorboards and her hand listlessly clutching the table leg. Gradually she became aware of a voice—a voice almost felt rather than heard, as if transmitted over distance and not directly to her ears. In the absence of anything else to focus on, she felt her ears tuning more and more to the voice. It sounded like—Kelton. She listened again, and disconnected words came to her. “…keep Liliora… strengthen… sustain… difficult… pain… Adon Olam, You…”He was—praying. For her. For the babies. But mostly for her. Simultaneous calm and pain seeped into her heart again. Kelton knew. Kelton hadn’t tried to talk to her. He’d made the broth but let Kethin bring it to her. Kelton was simply talking to Adon Olam on her behalf. Dear Kelton. Perhaps he understood some small fraction of what she faced. Still the words came through the floorboards—not loud, but persistent. He must be on the floor in the adjoining room. “…rest in You as her sustainer and…” The words blurred once again, indistinct, but then the voice rose slightly once more. “…and…be her smile.” The voice ceased for several moments, and when it began again, it was much lower. Liliora could not make it out. His last words pounded in her head. “Rest in You… sustainer…smile…rest…sustainer…smile.” She couldn’t imagine ever wanting to smile again, but rest sounded wonderful. If only she could truly rest—from the pain, the heartbreak, the gaping emptiness in her heart.
That’s beautiful! I can’t wait to read Kelton’s story in Memory’s Mind! What inspired you to write about the Sanctity of Life and what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
The sanctity of life has always been close to my heart, and I’ve always especially held a special place in my heart for helpless, unborn babies who cannot advocate for themselves. It wasn’t something I thought I’d write about. In general, I don’t write about controversial topics—but this is something God had me write. Liliora began as a four-year-old little sister of the main character in Promise’s Prayer, and once siblings started demanding their own books, I just somehow knew that Liliora loved children and that her story would heavily involve unborn babies. With this book, I yearn to bring to the forefront of readers’ mind the horrors of treating the unborn as valueless and kindle the desire to pray, work, and speak fervently for them. I pray that through this book, readers might find God’s hand in whatever struggles they are facing. My prayer is that each reader discovers that He is indeed carrying them. Even when trials seem pointless and purposeless, too intense to accept or move past, may He prove to be your sustainer, and may He grant that you too find the smile in the storm.
Thank you sooo much Erika! These answers are so full of truth! I am loving your your book so far, and I think you all need to get yourself a copy!!!!!! Thanks again Erika!
Day Thirteen – A Miracle – Jesus (#miracle babies) – This book is full of miracles – and it’s so inspiring!!
Write For Life Schedule (here’s the schedule for the next few days, Check back here on Monday!) P.S. I’m only sharing the blog schedule… be sure to check out these ladies social media accounts for posts too!
Autumn Lehman at Bursting Through the Darkness – Author Interview: Erika Mathews
Kelsey Bryant at Kelsey’s Notebook – To Save a Life post
Erika Mathews at Resting Life – tour wrapup
Grace A. Johnson at Of Blades and Thorns – To Save a Life review
Memory’s Mind (Truth from Taerna #5) cover reveal
Well, the Write for Life Tour is coming to a close. Erika will have a wrap up post tomorrow, and I will be back on November 1st to share “Memory’s Mind” gorgeous cover!