Welcome to week four of the eight week blog series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.
Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!
Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!
Author Lisa Prysock
Lisa M. Prysock lives in the countryside of beautiful, rolling Kentucky just outside of the greater Louisville area near horse farms and four board fences with her husband of 19 years. She homeschools the two youngest of their five children (three grown). She and her husband live in an average, two story, Colonial style home they are continually updating– with a funny looking Heinz 57 dog; an adorably dainty lady cat; two teenagers; a vegetable garden; numerous flower beds; and a tree house undergoing a remodel. When not in teaching or writing mode, she is teaching herself to play the piano and violin. In regards to that, she laughs: “It’s a pretty painful process, but I’m truly enjoying it!”
Lisa loves all things old-fashioned and has adopted a slogan of “The Old-Fashioned Everything Girl.” A few of her interests and passions include doll houses, long dresses and hats, gardening, reading the Classics, butterflies, swimming, walking, working out, cooking, sewing, crochet, cross stitching, arts and crafts, scrapbooking, decorating, and drawing. Recently, her husband remodeled a room in their home with a picture window overlooking a valley which contains a creek and wooded area, transforming the space into a serene and sublime writing office/sewing room. “It’s a great source of peace and inspiration for me… and pure joy not to be writing from the busy kitchen amidst the household chaos on a laptop. Growing teenagers eating every five minutes makes for a constant stream of happenings!”
Lisa is an Amazon bestselling author of To Find a Duchess, an Inspirational Regency Romance; a Victorian Christian Romance Series which includes Hannah’s Garden: a Turn of the Century Love Story and Abigail’s Melody; and ‘The Lydia Collection,’ which includes The Redemption of Lady Georgiana (a Ruth love story of modern day Regency proportions), Protecting Miss Jenna (an Antebellum Era Christian Romance Adventure), and Persecution & Providence (a ‘Jane Austen-ish’ mail order bride story from the Pioneer Era). She is also the author of a devotional/Bible Study, Arise Princess Warrior. Lisa writes clean and wholesome literature that shares her faith in Jesus Christ. She is a member of ACFW and Louisville Christian Writers.
You can find out more about Lisa at: www.LisaPrysock.com
How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I can remember from the earliest age of being drawn to books and writing. My mother loved to read stories to my sisters and I before bed and always had a growing library in our home. She was constantly putting the classics before me. I loved them all! I grew up as a latch key kid after my parents divorced. From age nine on, we didn’t live on the farm in Minnesota anymore where I went to first and second grade… or the small country town of Apple Creek, Wisconsin where I went to kindergarten. In my kindergarten class, I was the kid who wanted to write books instead of play with toys during free time. I was the child using crayons to tell my story through pictures and asking the teacher to write in the words. As if that wasn’t enough, I wanted her to staple my carefully designed pages together to make my own fully illustrated version of a story about Curious George …
After the divorce, we moved to Ohio to be near my mother’s parents. We were in a bigger city and I had to adjust from being able to ride my bike, run through the meadows, explore the woods, and jump out of the loft in the barn… to walking my younger sisters home and locking the door until Mom got home from work. There wasn’t anything else that interested me as much as reading when you can’t go outside to play until your parents come home from work. Also, I think not being able to fit my bike and doll house on the moving truck impacted me greatly. These were two of my favorite things, but I had to get over it quickly. To survive, my mom had to work a full time job. The divorce stole my childhood, our home, and my paternal grandparents, half of my family, my father, and my mother from me– and there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it. It had become a fact of life, like it or not. In exchange, I had a plethora of chores and household responsibilities, my homework, and two sisters to watch over… which terribly strained my relationship with them. What did I have left? I had God and books.
Books were the escape for me from many of the sorrows of having to grow up too fast and too young. At nine years old, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and was babysitting three to four hours a day on a daily basis. By age twelve, I was light years ahead of other kids my age both intellectually and emotionally from having so much responsibility, from growing up with my maternal grandparents helping out in their ministry as pastors, and from reading voraciously. I was at the top of my class in every subject and still hungry for educational material. Growing up around my fun-loving aunts, uncles, and joyful grandparents kept me from taking life too seriously. I was finally, slowly, learning to laugh again– but deep down I was still laden with responsibility, a deep thinker with a serious personality, and I was learning about the power of God to transform lives by being a very involved preacher’s granddaughter.
Another thing that impacted my desire to become a writer was that I was surrounded with books even when I wasn’t at my own home or visiting the library, something my sisters and I loved to do with my mom. My maternal grandfather had a personal library collection that filled the walls of an entire room and more walls of books at his office. My maternal grandmother loved reading and always had a stack of books on her nightstand. To further ruin me for anything else, my grandmother had sent me The Little House books when I was still in Minnesota. How I loved those books! I was certain I wanted to be a writer as I read those books.
I was also a very dreamy child… always creating stories in my mind. If I was bored… or even remotely unhappy, I could instantaneously go away to a story of my own creation for hours on end. In retrospect, I think there were times when I was very unhappy and heavily burdened after the divorce of my parents, though my early childhood had given me many happy memories and seemed normal on the surface. There were arguments that I’m sure had affected me. It would take some years, but down the road I realized God used all of these things to shape and form me with personal discipline and backbone.
This shaping was already beginning to surface on a deeper level by the time I was in junior high. Some kids want to buy frivolities when they first begin to earn money. I was abnormally different in this aspect, too. I would look in the windows at the typewriter shop next door to the Ben Franklin every Saturday morning. I had gone inside and bravely inquired if that second-hand Royal typewriter would be there in a few weeks if I could save up the $68.00 to purchase it. The shop owner assured me it would be there. And so it was that I earned my very first typewriter with my very first babysitting earnings.
It was with that previously used typewriter purchase on which I plunked out my first short story in 8th grade. My story won a first place award in a writing contest and actually had a number of chapters in it. Later that same year, some of my poetry won an award. A painting we did in art class that year took another first place award. That was it! Not only was I sure I could illustrate my own stories someday, by this time, I was corresponding with an author, choosing books like The Diary of Queen Victoria to read… and was absolutely hooked on writing for the rest of my life in some capacity or another. At thirteen years old, there were only two things I was sure about; what I wanted to be and who I was going to work for–: I loved and served King Jesus, and I wanted to be a mother, wife, and writer to tell the whole world about Him.
I absolutely can’t leave out the entirely fabulous fact that through all of this, the Lord wasn’t blind to what He had asked me to walk through, which went from bad to worse before it got better. These are things of which some events are too heavy for me to even share. These are the things that drive one to their knees in prayer on battlegrounds where champions are made; places where only the Lord can raise you up. He carries us on eagle’s wings in His very own arms. My life would take a number of detours in response to some incredibly challenging circumstances that came along later, but God in His mercy kept bringing me back when I would start to drift away from Him and my dream of writing seemed lost and lay on the pile of wasted dreams. My point is that the good Lord has a way of rewarding those who do not stop seeking Him and don’t give up on Him no matter what curve balls life throws.
In fact, I was shocked to discover He is concerned about our whole being, from our dreams to the things we have given up in circumstances far beyond our control. For example, when my children were little ones, I was surprised when the Lord decided to navigate me through a second childhood right along with them when we moved to Florida for five years! Little did I know, this would grow my writing dream and prepare me for becoming a better writer.
He planted us an hour from Orlando in the heart of Florida, the Disney and beach capital of the world! God totally amazed me with this chapter in our lives. Though my husband and I worked harder than ever as the economy was difficult after 911, we also played like Kings and Queens! For all of the hours I had given up as a child, He gave me memories I will always cherish. We were able to discover and enjoy many stays at five star resorts; we rode the roller coasters and rides of Disney World; enjoyed season passes to Universal Studios; went to Sea World and the zoo; played on the west coast beaches of Tampa and enjoyed numerous visits to east coast beaches; and went deep-sea fishing. We hiked through the Ocala National Forest; toured NASA; enrolled our children in the only magnet school in the nation with a space center that would teach them robotics and permit them to ride in a land rover; spent our summers in beautiful swimming pools; and enjoyed life in an upscale, brand new, gated community. The Lord has also taken me to beautiful places in Canada, Mexico, many regions and about half of the United States, and four islands. During these years, not only did I continue to read voraciously, I also began blogging and continued to keep hand written prayer journals, and wrote several testimonial study guides—and though I shared them with people who were able to benefit from them, God in His infinite wisdom never led me to publish them. I still had a long ways to go with what the Lord wanted to do with me. My writing journey did however continue to strengthen and evolve as I documented many of our adventures. It would be some time before my husband and I would eventually settle in Kentucky, but when we did, things that Lord had shown me would happen in my writing journey nearly a decade earlier began to happen when I discovered how I could become published as an Indie author. It was as though the doors swung wide open just for me… and I suppose a great many writers like me. As far as I was concerned, when the publishing world cracked wide open, I knew it was for me. The King hadn’t forgotten me after all and had revived dreams I thought might be impossible!
What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?
The Lord has a way of honing your ear toward His voice. When He allowed me to become a writer, there were some things He made clear to me. The first goal to always remember: I’m not doing this for me. Each book is a gift for my King. I am always writing for the King of all Kings. My writing is an act of worship to Him and for Him. This is something I do for Him as a witness to His glory, His splendor, His Grace, His majestic beauty, His unwavering faithfulness and kindness in the face of adversity, trials and testing. I hope readers enjoy my books, obviously… but the words I put on the paper I try to write with Him in mind first. What will He think about my words and the message and how it is conveyed? Are my words clean and wholesome? Is the message His?
Picture yourself as a writer walking into the throne room of God with a gift for Him that isn’t of the highest caliber… that’s kind of the vision He has given me of what to avoid. I want my characters to be real and my stories to be well received, but at the end of the day, my books have to be built on the solid Rock of Christ and told in a way that is pleasing to Him. He is a holy God and the ultimate authority and creator of the universe. He deserves our very best. He has taught me to listen first, and then weave His words and His message, and not merely my own, into my writing. He always tells me what theme, topic, message, or type of book He wants me to write next, just before I finish my current work in progress. I wrote my first full length novel, and realized it wasn’t good enough for the King. He said to me, Lisa, you’re still writing YOUR words and not MINE. OUCH! I basically had to start over.
I did more research and took the premise of my book to a new level, and did my best to come up with a re-write that was my very best. After I published it, I realized later there were one or two lines that I wished hadn’t been in the book. They sort of ruined the joy over my gift to Him for me at that moment. I thought the King would be disappointed in me. I was kind of devastated to think that my best effort still had some degree of impurity to it… and probably more than what I had noticed in those couple of lines. It was then that He spoke to me and said how pleased He was. He knew I had given my very best effort from what I had been given. I was stunned. Absolutely stunned!
Another thing that has tremendously affected my writing goals– He tested me. After that book was written, re-written, edited, published, God told me to take it down! Oh, friends, I was so devastated. I had to un-publish that book! Of course Amazon and Barnes and Noble customer service reps thought I was absolutely nuts, but I had to obey the Lord’s voice. So I un-published that book. The files for the book lay dormant for nearly a full year. My children were teenagers… one had graduated and I knew that soon, they would all be moving on with their lives. My babies were growing up. I felt dead during that time, but I did my best to keep my chin up. To finally have re-discovered and captured my purpose and passion in life… and then to be void of that purpose was as if I lived that year with a knife in my heart. My vision was dead and I had no other. I was mechanically putting one foot in front of the other that year. I couldn’t even tell anyone that on the inside I felt absolutely just dead.
Finally, God spoke to me at a fine arts youth convention and said I could re-publish the book! He said: “Now I know your books will never be more important to you than me.” It was a lightbulb moment! I had laid the book on the altar of Isaac, though at the time, I didn’t know why. God was done testing me. He knew I would obey Him and love Him with my whole heart even if it killed me.
My Daily Goal: ALWAYS keep Him FIRST. There are days when I’ve been writing or marketing for eight to twelve hours, teaching school for a great portion of the day, and I crawl into bed and still have an hour of Bible Study ahead of me. I’m on self-imposed writing deadlines that I frequently choose to lay aside to get some time with the Lord or at least take care of me so that I can go on living for Him. My writing schedule is pretty rigorous… and I can only tell you that I just want to keep writing for Him, praising Him, and witnessing about Him as long as I have breath in my body.
Thirdly, my goal is to give the proceeds of my books to missions. I’m following the model of Lydia in the Bible who gave proceeds from the sale of the cloth she made to Paul and Barnabus because the Lord had judged her faithful. I believe that by joining with God’s missionaries, I will be a book missionary right along with those we are supporting and we will be able to make a difference in people’s lives for Christ. My books currently help support one evangelist, one adopted child from Africa through Compassion International, and two other missionaries sporadically as income allows. I have some fairly defined goals about this and am looking forward to seeing what the Lord will do.
Fourthly, I do hope to translate most of my books into French and Spanish to increase my reach. I would also like to do some audio versions and expand my genre experience to include children’s books, contemporary women’s fiction, and journal publications. I have a few other surprises planned too as I’m currently working on designing a coloring book and a Victorian paper doll set to go with my Victorian series.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?
As an Indie author, I find it challenging to do my own editing and marketing in addition to the writing. I find beta readers are absolutely invaluable to our efforts. We do so much in the process of publishing without a team of publishers and all sorts of departments behind us. What an Indie author handles is a huge endeavor and absolutely massive undertaking. I think juggling daily life responsibilities along with writing, editing, and marketing as an Indie author is a tremendous challenge. I step back often just to remind myself to keep balance and enjoy the journey. Since I give my proceeds to missions, marketing on no budget is another huge challenge, but the good Lord seems to open doors for me and teaches me ways to market my books that absolutely amaze me. Finally, there is an unbelievable amount of research that goes into each of my books. I don’t think Christian Historical Romance writers are taken as seriously as they should be given how much we put into our work.
What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?
The Shoemaker is in the final stages and is almost ready for release so I will tell you a little more about this Regency story! I hope it will be a Christmas story readers may enjoy for years to come… and one you can enjoy on a snowy day with a hot cup of tea or cocoa. I got the idea for this book about fourteen days before Christmas. It’s a sweet novel that is under 120 pages long with a theme on God’s mercy. It’s amazing how it has come together. I can’t wait for readers to meet Jorie! It may release in time for Valentine’s Day…
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The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!