Jody Day had a pretty exciting week or so back at the end of June/ beginning of July – and it wasn’t just because she came in second place in Best of the Best here at FaithWriters! Read below and learn about her love of writing and reading, how she came up with the idea for her award-winning entry, and her debut novel that just released!
JOANNE: First of all, congratulations on your second place win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as second place in Best of the Best?
JODY: Thank you, Joanne! I just happened to see the Faithwriters Facebook post about it. I had to look at it several times for it to sink in. I can’t tell you how excited I was. I just kept saying, “Oh! Oh! Oh!” Seriously, it’s an honor.
JOANNE: I’ll bet. Your winning entry, The Tissot Tale, is extremely creative, moving, and beautiful. I know I wasn’t the only one who had to see the painting you described and wrote about in this piece. Where did you get the idea for it? How did it come together for you?
JODY: I wish I had an inspired, romantic answer for you, but the truth is I was completely uninspired and just googled ‘picnic’ which was the theme. That painting came up and I was captured by it. I started imagining what the characters’ relationships might be. I think it turned out much better than my original idea which started, “I can smell ants.” I did learn wonderful things about Tissot and the time period as well. I learned that he is most notable for his biblical illustrations, and this came about after a tragic loss in his life. He turned to God and directed his creativity toward illustrating the scriptures. I love to hear how the Father turns beautiful what the enemy means for evil.
JOANNE: What a neat story of God’s workings. I’ll have to look him up too, I think. You’ve been at FaithWriters for a few years now, and have been entering the Writing Challenge for just as long (and I noticed your very first challenge entry got a highly commended ). How has FaithWriters, and the challenge, been helpful to you?
JODY: Well, let me gush and say it means everything. It did for me just what it offered. I learned to write under a deadline, to a theme, and word count. The feedback is invaluable and it is encouraging to place. Also, learning to critique others has been a valuable tool. I’ve learned so much. It’s worth every penny of my 500 membership. Actually, I can’t believe everything available on that site. My scenes in novel writing tend to run 750 words. I wonder why? LOL.
JOANNE: Hehe – I think a lot of FWers have been “trained” to that length. Do you have a challenge entry of yours that you would call your favorite? One that perhaps flowed effortlessly, or means a lot to you personally?
JODY: Hard to pick. I’ve had fun and learned from all the ones I’ve done. I’m especially influenced by music, though, and Waiting for Kathleen is inspired by a song I was in love with at the time called The Dutchman. Also, Lanahan Legacy, a poem based on stories my mother told me.
JOANNE: They are both lovely – and both have an Irish theme. Perhaps your heritage? Have you always enjoyed writing, or is it something that developed later? What is your favorite genre to write in?
JODY: I wrote a poem in the 5th grade called “Happiness Is.” That was a popular phrase back in my day based on the Charlie Brown cartoons. I don’t remember much about the poem except that the last line was “and at schoolwork doing your best.” I got to go to the office and print it on poster board to be displayed in the school entrance! I don’t think I fully processed it at the time, but the idea that something I wrote impacted someone else stayed with me. I’ve been writing all my life, but really got serious about publishing in the last ten years. I love to write poetry and inspirational fiction.
JOANNE: How about reading? What’s your favorite type of book to read? Who are your favorite authors?
JODY: Since I work at a library, I see a lot of interesting books come across the counter. I’ve given myself permission not to finish if it turns out not to interest me. I think I love most to hang out in a book with a strong sense of place and community. I guess that’s why I love Mayberry, Avonlea, and Mitford. I’ve been very much influenced by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Her sense of place and characterization blows me away. Hers are novels that you just abide in. Everything now is so fast paced. Jan Karon is another author who has really impacted me. I hope to wrangle hearts the way she does.
JOANNE: I’m a fan of Jan Karon too – love the slower pace and the characters. Anyhow, tell us a bit about you.
JODY: I was born and raised in Texas and love it. I’m an east Texas girl, but live in the wild West now. My husband is a minister, and we were called out here in 2000. I work as Children’s Programmer at our public library. I also have the privilege of teaching piano lessons at the library under the auspices of an arts endowment that the library inherited. The memorial also sponsors our writer’s group, Critique Café. We are a family of musicians, and that’s always been a big part of my life. I like to crochet, and watch silent films with my husband.
JOANNE: What are your hopes and dreams for the future, both personally and professionally?
JODY: Tall order for sure. I guess the short version personally is that my grandchildren will come to know the Lord and serve Him. I’d like to go to Hawaii and Prince Edward Island. Professionally I hope and pray that I can continue to write, and through that encourage folks to see life through love colored glasses – the love of Christ.
JOANNE: I love the “love colored glasses” imagery. We all need to see the world through Christ’s eyes. Anything else you’d like to share?
JODY: I am really excited that my debut novel, Washout Express, released June 28 from Harbourlight Books. Really a dream come true! The BoB came the very next week, so I felt like an honest to goodness writer!
Congratulations to Tracy and Francy! Thanks for having me Joanne. I’m so excited about the BoB 2nd place award. Thanks, FW, for all you do
JOANNE: I second that. And congratulation on your novel! How exciting to have both happen in such a short time!
Be sure to watch for an interview with Francy Judge, third place BoB winner, here on the blog soon!