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EDITOR'S CHOICE winners will also be eligible for the yearly "BEST OF THE BEST" Grand Prize Winners! These winners will be chosen by our panel of judges from all of the EDITOR'S CHOICE winners throughout the year. First place will win $300.00, Second place will win $100.00, and Third place will win $75.00. Winners will be announced July 1st of each year.

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2013 BEST OF THE BEST INTERVIEW
With Tracy Nunes


Tracy Nunes joined FaithWriters in 2010 and entered her first Writing Challenge a few months later. Although a few of her entries have placed in the top 10, Droplets to the Four Winds was the only one to make it to that prime Editor's Choice #1 spot. Still, with only one entry in the running for the 2013 Best of the Best, Tracy Nunes has been awarded the crown. Now, join interviewer Lynda Schab as she talks to Tracy about FaithWriters, her winning entry, and Tracy's love for adventure.

LYNDA: First, congratulations on your win! What was your reaction when you found out you took the Best of the Best crown this year?

TRACY: Stunned; tearful; so caught off guard that I couldn't speak. Deb announced it at the conference and I wasn't expecting it at all. Just being there felt miraculous; the BoB award was beyond belief.

LYNDA: I can imagine! You've placed in the top 10 over the past year, but only had one entry in the running for Best of the Best. Droplets to the Four Winds is a delightful story about letting go of inhibitions. Was this story born out of personal experience? What I'm really getting at is…have you ever purposefully jumped in a mud puddle? As an adult, of course.

TRACY: Isn't that the question we writers should always ask, especially believers? Are we living what we write? This story was inspired by my 2 year old grandson, who I played with in the puddle. I love adventure, i.e. traveling, roller coasters, change, etc., but I have found myself at times to be the one on the bench and the one in the galoshes walking around the puddle. I try to choose the puddle, the joy, the dance…but I don't nearly as often as I should. BUT, I'm going hot air ballooning tomorrow to celebrate my 50th birthday. Does that count?

LYNDA: Wow! How cool is that? Of course it counts! And happy birthday! 50 is definitely a time to celebrate. And what better way than with an adventure like that? Have fun!

On the topic of adventure…you live in Hawaii, which seems like a dream, not to mention continual ground for adventure. Is it really as glamorous as television and movies make it out to be? What do you love most about it and are there ever times you wish you lived elsewhere?

TRACY: Okay…so have you been given privy to what's in my head? You're scaring me. In fact, my life in Hawaii is a mixed bag. It is indeed beautiful in many ways. Glamour? I missed that memo. My family moved there when I was five from Indiana. It changed me and my life forever in good and bad ways. But, even the bad, the Lord is redeeming. Though Hawaii is multi-racial and I'm blessed to be married to a Hawaiian man and to have part-Hawaiian kids and grandkids, I found out what it was like to be a minority, to be judged for the color of your skin or for being different culturally. While living amongst a different and sometimes antagonistic culture it can be a challenge to be who you are, who you are made to be and adapt at the same time. I'm still learning. Our kids have migrated to the mainland U.S. and we will likely follow in some form or fashion but we will forever have ties to Hawaii.

LYNDA: Take a moment to talk about your family. Are they supportive of your writing career?

TRACY: Most are very supportive, in different degrees, but not all. The differences exist mainly with theology, not the fact that I write. My husband believes in me more than I do and made me come to the conference. Well, "made" is a strong word, but it was close to it. I have trouble compartmentalizing family needs and writing and needed a good shove out the door.

LYNDA: What a wonderful gift from your husband. Not all writers can say they have such a supportive spouse --- that's for sure. So back to the subject of writing. You posted your first article on FaithWriters in 2010 and started entering The Challenge in 2011. What do you love most about the Writing Challenge and how has it helped you grow as a writer?

TRACY: Oh my, what is the word count to answer this question? I came to FaithWriters as a non-fiction writer who'd had some magazine articles published about my testimony and God's healing. When people used to ask what I did and I muttered under my breath, "writer" it was like I said that I'd run off and joined a circus. So implausible. I felt like a faker. At FW, I not only became a writer but God opened the gift of writing fiction, something I never expected. But now I can't imagine not doing it. The Challenge helped me to take it one step at a time, one Challenge at a time. I learned to write to a topic and to prune out all but the words necessary to tell the story. Doing well in The Challenge spurred me on, and not doing well built endurance and thicker skin. The encouragement, the support and the skilled guidance that I have received from the FaithWriters family is beyond measure in its worth to me as a writer…and a believer because the two intertwined.

LYNDA: Well said! Is there one particular Challenge entry you'd call your favorite? One that perhaps flowed effortlessly or means a lot to you personally?

TRACY: Although they each have significance for me personally in one way or another…One of my favorites is Henry Jack, because it was my first fiction entry (read Henry Jack here: http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=38286). And, of course, Droplets to the Four Winds, because of the subject matter and the win. But I think, How Many First Times Are There (http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=39272) would have to be at the top because it's currently being used to support a mission to young girls caught in sex trafficking in the Philippines. It really helped me see that God could use my writing to impact lives in a real way.

LYNDA: On that note, you've done some freelancing, and your article, Offer a Hand of Wholeness, was published by Proverbs31 ministries in 2010. You worked with Right to Life, to promote awareness of post-abortion issues. Why is this issue so near and dear to your heart?

TRACY: Although I stepped out of active post-abortion ministry, it still remains part of my faith testimony. It will always resonate in me and in what I write. It causes my heart to squeeze like no other issue. But, for now, the Lord has me on a different path. My other article for Proverbs 31, Building My Dream Home, spoke to the same issues: hurting, healing, helping. I find that in writing fiction, they all come together.

LYNDA: I love the name of your blog: A Mess for Jesus. How did you come up with this title? And how do you hope to minister through it?

TRACY: Because I'm a mess! I knew from the beginning that it was only what God was going to do through me that would work. The last couple of years I've let my blog slumber until I had a better sense of what God's purposes are for it. I'm finding my writing voice at FaithWriters and, Lord willing, direction for my blog. But, I've no doubt: I'll continue to be a mess. Thank God that He uses messes!

LYNDA: Amen to that! So when it comes to writing, are there any areas you still struggle with most? Now that you've discovered your fiction voice, do you find it easier to write fiction or non-fiction?

TRACY: I actually like writing fiction and non-fiction but I like that in fiction I can create a character and a story that have no obligations, only to God. I can use my life experiences as inspiration without having to stick to the facts and just the facts. My biggest struggle has been in accepting and embracing that I'm a writer and all that entails and not letting myself get sidetracked. Aside from being a wife and mother, it's what I'm here for.

LYNDA: I can totally relate to that! Finally, what are your professional goals for the future? Any book or speaking aspirations?

TRACY: I have done some speaking over the years but it's not necessarily a goal. I want to write, write, write. If God continues to open speaking doors along with writing, that's up to Him. I'm currently working on a fiction novel loosely based on some of my experiences in Hawaii as a white girl in a non-white culture --- the challenges, isolation and ultimately, healing. It's a unique story that has a twist on the subject of racial prejudice. Only the Lord knows what the story will look like in the end. He's still writing. All I know is, His story always end well.

LYNDA: Well, I, for one, would love to read that story when it's published! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. Again, enjoy your new crown! Prayers for a continued uphill climb in your writing career, and all the best for the future as you write for Him!


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