FaithWriters member, Michael Joshua is a husband, father, and grandfather. He says many of his stories are inspired by interactions with his grandchildren and Michael can’t think of a better way to remember the things they say and do than putting them into his stories. Join me as I talk with Michael about his family, his completed manuscript, and a few goals he’s set for himself.
LYNDA: Michael, tell us a little about yourself and your Christian testimony.
MICHAEL: I was raised in a Christian home and it was like a rite of passage to go up to the altar and then get baptized. As an adult, I made a confession of faith and was baptized on the same day as my wife. My walk has grown stronger over the past several years – as my writing has required me to do some Bible study, looking at the scriptures in a completely different light than how I was taught as a child.
Life is good.
LYNDA: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
MICHAEL: It was quite the surprise. I have always felt that Christians misunderstand the story around “Jesus wept.” When I began writing down my thoughts on the human-ness of Jesus, it became a journey that took me places I had never expected.
Then I found FaithWriters – and the Weekly Challenge. I had never written fiction, but I thought it sounded like an interesting proposition. So I signed up and looked at the prompt for the flash fiction assignment. It was “blue” – I thought it was a ridiculous notion, at first…“blue.” I did it, it was under 600 words, but when I tried to read it to my wife I got choked up and couldn’t read it aloud. I handed my laptop off to her to read it herself. I still write for the challenge prompt about three times out of four – and many times my flash stories bring tears to my eyes as I write them. I don’t know if that’s normal for everyone, but it’s normal for me.
I don’t know, to this day, that I want to be a writer – but I know sometimes I just can’t help myself. I wake up in the middle of the night editing my work in my head… If that makes me a writer, then I guess I am.
LYNDA: Do you remember the first thing you had published?
MICHAEL: My first published piece was “Correcting My Oops Moments.” It was in a small town Texas newspaper that has since picked up my work as a regular weekly column on their Faith page. (Of course, I framed it and it hangs on our staircase wall.)
LYNDA: You’ve finished a book-length manuscript. Can you share what it’s about?
MICHAEL: Nonfiction is a tough sell, some would say – impossible – for an unpublished author, but that is my book-length manuscript. “In My Mirror – the Face of Jesus” is my full-length manuscript.
Christians cannot say that “Jesus was human” without following it by saying “but He was God.” I believe this keeps us from seeing just how human Jesus truly was. He felt every emotion that we do, but we somehow candy-coat it by thinking his emotions were not as raw as our own. My book centers on the human qualities and responses of Jesus, bringing into it stories from my own life that are comparable to his human interactions. To accept him only as a “pseudo human” seems to me to disregard how important God’s sacrifice was in sending His Son to us.
LYNDA: Are you submitting your manuscript proposal to agents and/or publishers?
MICHAEL: It was being considered by a top-notch agent for about 8 months – but she eventually passed on it. Since the time I finished it, I have attended three writers’ conferences (ACWriters, FaithWriters and ACFW) and have learned a lot about the craft of writing. Once I finish my MBA program, I have plans to rewrite and edit it based upon all I have learned. Then I will begin to resubmit a new and improved version to agents.
One agent that spoke at a conference, Steve Laube, posed this question: “If you could publish one book and then God called you home, which book would you seek to publish?” Although I have two fiction WIPs, my heart is still with my nonfiction work. If you ever get the chance to attend a conference where he speaks – jump at the chance. He will bless your walk – and most definitely – your writing. He gave me some amazing insights during a discussion we had at the ACFW conference that showed me specifically how to focus and rewrite my manuscript.
LYNDA: How has FaithWriters helped you as a writer?
MICHAEL: I never knew I could write fiction until I started using the prompts in the Weekly Challenge. Unfortunately, for me, sometimes I don’t get an idea of what direction to go with the prompt until the last night before submissions close. On top of that, I don’t even know where the story is going until it’s almost done. Sometimes they even surprise me.
LYNDA: Tell us about your family.
MICHAEL: I have three grown children and a host of grandkids. One of my sons is serving in Afghanistan as a Major in the Air Force until May of 2011. I met my wife while we were both acting as liaisons between two companies; I was in Indiana and she was in California. We talked on the telephone for several months, and then I flew to California. Five days after we laid eyes on one another, we married. February 2011 we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
We lived in the Dallas area for about 20 years, raising our children there. We moved to Minnesota six years ago, shortly after the birth of our first grandson here.
Our lives are unbelievably full and blessed. I am happy to say that my wife is my very best friend.
LYNDA: What do you like to do for fun? Any unique hobbies or talents?
MICHAEL: I don’t know if I have any unique talents. I love to sing and will kick out a solo at the drop of the hat. I enjoy reading stories to my grandkids and love when they read to me.
For fun, I would have to say – going out to dinner or a movie with my wife. We don’t have a lot of free time since we are both studying for Master’s degrees, so I especially enjoy the times that we do something together.
LYNDA: Name three things you’d like to accomplish, either personally or professionally, in the next five years.
MICHAEL: (A) I am beginning the launch of a new business in the next couple of months. I have had many shots at building a business, and have learned things with each attempt. Since my day job is likely to end before the end of the year, I am targeting early next year to get it off the ground. I expect it to be on solid financial ground by the end of the second year.
B) We would like to relocate in the next few years. Colorado is a consideration, but we have not closed doors on any possibility that God will send our way.
C) I would like to see my book, “In My Mirror – The Face of Jesus” published.
LYNDA: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Michael. Prayers for your new business and wishing you success with your writing!
Visit Michael’s FaithWriters profile
Visit Michael’s blog, Inspirational Sayings