Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
Welcome Dave & Neta Jackson, authors of Pound Foolish, to Author Spotlight! Leave a comment below for the chance to win a copy of their book.
What was your biggest break?
Dave: When Bethany Publishers caught our vision for a “bookshelf” of historical fiction about great Christian heroes and gave us a contract for 12 youth novels—which eventually grew to a bookshelf of 40 novels!
Neta: When Integrity Publishers jumped on the Yada Yada Prayer Group novel idea—my first adult novel (even though I’d been writing children’s books and non-fiction and articles for years). It was only going to be one novel—but has grown into four series and 20 novels . . .
I’m inspired by…
Dave: Other authors, like James Lee Burke, whose writing is some of the most poetic and picturesque I’ve ever read. Also Michael Connelly who I consider a plot master. And my wife Neta, who’s a character maven.
Neta: The sisters in my Bible study prayer group for the past 17 years—like a drawer full of mismatched socks from different racial and cultural and church backgrounds. Each one is a gift and they have inspired many of my characters.
My great adventure has been…
Dave: The times when I sense God guiding me when I’m writing something.
Neta: Going through life with my husband Dave for 48 years now. Never a dull moment! From year one, we got involved in a black church, then the anti-war and civil rights movements, Christian communal living, racial reconciliation, a trip to China to teach ex-pat kids writing seminars, raising two kids and a Cambodian foster daughter, being faced with a beloved family member “coming out” and suddenly all the smug easy answers weren’t so easy or helpful anymore . . . and through it all, seeing God mature and steady my man, and on my part, not only feeling safe and loved but challenged by my husband “to be all I can be” as a writer, speaker, woman of God. Wow, what an adventure!
The one thing I hope to discover is…
Dave: How to market our books better! Given how much readers enjoy our books, I know there have to be untapped markets (readers!) out there!
Neta: How to slow down the pace of pressure and deadlines as we head into our 70s, and still be able to write what’s on my heart.
If I could go anywhere, it would be…
Dave: Back to China. (We spent a month there, but it just whetted my appetite.)
Neta: For fun, to Australia or New Zealand. For spiritual challenge, to Malawi, Africa, to visit our pastor friends Felix and Towela Nyika—or anywhere else in Africa.
If you have only…an hour…
Dave: I’d watch a good movie—oops that would take at least an hour and a half or two.
Neta: Sit in our Sky Chair swing in the yard with a good book and a mug of tea.
Describe yourself in one word:
Neta: Positive (“cup half full” type of person)
Describe your spouse in one word (We threw this one in!):
Dave: (Neta is . . .) Other-focused
Neta: (Dave is . . .) Integrity
If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?
Dave: Our laptop computers! They have all our life work on them!
Neta: My cat Shadow. And our photo albums if time. (Since Dave already got the laptops ha ha)
What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?
Dave: Getting a six-book contract . . . and then losing it.
Neta: Hearing my first line read at the Christy Awards telling me I’d won.
What drives you to succeed?
Dave: Desire to keep working at what God has called me to do.
Neta: Depends on one’s definition of “success.” Don’t particularly want to be rich and famous. I want God to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” because I’ve focused on what’s important, not expedient.
Dave: When our second baby turned out to be a girl!
Neta: My 65th birthday—a surprise party cooked up by Dave and my Bible study sisters. Biggest surprise that night: my older sister and her hubby came all the way from North Carolina! Most fun at the party: a song by The Tempations sung for me by my crazy Bible study sisters!!! (“The way you do the things you do”).
Best Saturday Afternoon Read:
We’ll tell you if we ever get to read on a Saturday afternoon!
Best Forgotten Custom:
Dave: Reading aloud to the family at the table after dinner.
Neta: Sunday noon dinner. Popcorn and hot chocolate in the evening.
Best Way to Break a Sweat:
Dave: Working in my vegetable garden.
Neta: Going for a bike ride along Lake Michigan or in the forest preserve.
Best Style Icon:
Dave: What is a style icon?
Dave: Going to a Cubs game with my son and grandsons.
Neta: Playing with my new kitten, Shadow. (You said “best” time waster. The “biggest” time waster is Facebook.)
Dave: My homemade black raspberry jam.
Neta: A loooong backrub.
Dave: “Your kids need your presence more than your presents.”—Jesse Jackson
Neta: “Use your minutes.” My Dad’s favorite motto as a school principal.