Author Spotlight: Jill Eileen Smith


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.

The winner from the last Author Spotlight giveaway of The Truest Thing About You is REBECCA B.! Please email with your mailing address to claim your prize.

This week we are featuring Jill Eileen Smith! To enter to win a copy of her book, Rachel (Revell), leave a comment on this post.

Jill Eileen Smith Publicity Photo3Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’ve been married to hubby Randy for almost 37 years. Together we have three adult sons, and yes, we are empty nesters as of last year when our youngest son married his sweetheart. I write full-time from home.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I write biblical fiction for Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I love writing in this genre because it allows me to study the women of the Old Testament and call it work! There are some fascinating stories there, if we take the time to see them.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

Twenty years. I didn’t pursue publication in earnest that entire time, but I worked toward that goal. I nearly gave up a few months before my first series sold.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I would change that to a good, strong cup of black tea. I like to ponder before I begin a new scene in a first draft. I will often do that by thinking of the story as I am falling asleep at night and picking it up again as I being my morning routine. I ask God for wisdom and understanding, and then try to imagine what came next, in keeping with the outline I have already fleshed out. I go more by word count than hours per day. I typically decide when I want a book’s first draft completed, do the math on how many words a week I need in order to achieve that goal, and then work to achieve it. I aim for about 1,000 words a day, 5,000 a week.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

My critique partners. Before I sold my first series I was part of a great critique group, all of whom sold before I did. But they were super supportive, and I would not be where I am today if not for them. That group disbanded, but I am still critiquing with Kathleen Fuller from that original group and with Jill Stengl, who has been a friend and critique partner for so long that I’m not sure I know how to write a book without brainstorming with her somewhere along the way!

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

I’m not sure I really had a vision for what it would be. I just knew I was wired to write. I’m happier having written, and I “can’t not write.” I’m a driven person, so deadlines, real or my own, are not new to me. The one thing I didn’t understand or envision was the response people would have to my being an author. The reactions are varying – not something I’m used to.

If you could create a perfect day for yourself, what would you do?

Spend the day with my husband and kids. We would visit someplace we all enjoy, eat out at a great restaurant and just talk and laugh, and maybe go to the movies afterward.

If you could cook one meal for us, what would it be?

Well . . . I’m not a super fan of cooking very often, to be honest. If eating out were healthy for us, I would go out to dinner more than we do! But . . . if you came to my home, I would probably serve roast Amish chicken coated in all fruit berry preserves or garlic cloves and chicken broth. Side dishes would include sweet potatoes, asparagus, and a big veggie salad. Coconut ice cream (non-dairy) for dessert.

If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

Grace. I want people to see Jesus in me, and I hope my life and every story I write proclaims His glory and His grace to all.

What advice would you give to new writers?Rachel Book Cover

Write what you love. I’ve heard it said, “Write what you know.” But you can always learn what you don’t know. Write what you love and readers will hopefully love it, too.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I just turned in the first book about Rahab in a new series for Revell. We are in the titling phase right now, while I am also researching the second book in that series, which is about Deborah. At the same time, I am working on an e-book novella series on the Loves of King Solomon.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Contact Jill at, or visit her website: jilleileensmith.comConnect with Jill on Facebookfollow her on TwitterPinterest, or  Goodreads.



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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Deb says:

    I would like to read your book and series


  3. Mary Hart says:

    I love your books! Would love to win this new one!

  4. Janice says:

    Would LOVE to win this book.. I love the story of Rachel.. 🙂

  5. Jackie McNutt says:

    I have not read biblical fiction yet and this looks like a very inspiring story.
    Thank you for interview. I have been praying and studying about grace in my life because sometimes I am overwhelmed by how great our God is.

  6. Bonnie Traher says:

    Would love to win your book.

  7. MS Barb says:

    Thank you for this series on women in the Bible–it’s too easy to just skip over some important nuggets while reading The Bible–THANK YOU for being willing & able to dig out these nuggets to help us get wisdom & understanding!

  8. Melanie Backus says:

    Rachel will be a wonderful story and I would love to read it. Thank you for the opportunity.

  9. felecia says:

    I would love to read this book.

  10. Emma says:

    Rachel sounds wonderful.Please enter me in contest.Thank you for the opportunity to win.Have a wonderful week.

  11. Connie Price says:

    Love this way to learn about “new-to-me” authors!! Would love to win this book!!

  12. KT Sweet says:

    Thank you for sharing your encouraging story and the reminder that writing is first, a goal of the heart. Congratulations on publishing success, the product of hard work and deep commitment!

  13. Lisa Garrity says:

    I loved your series on the wives of King David! Thanks for the opportunity!

  14. Would love to have it

  15. Vivian says:

    I love biblical fiction. It takes the stories of the Bible and makes it more real and gives more depth to the characters – even though it is a fictional version of a true story. I would love to win this book.

  16. Dawn Kleinsasser says:

    I love reading your blogs and reading more about the authors. It would be wonderful to win this book 🙂 Thank you so much!

  17. cynthia fernstaedt says:

    I look forward to reading your book Rachel.

  18. Karen K. says:

    I look forward to reading your book!

  19. Rita Navarre says:

    I would love to read your book!

  20. Sherall Cornwell says:

    My friend and I read your books separately and then get together to discuss them! Thank you for letting God use your talent to give us more than a paper doll view of the women you right about!!

  21. LaDonna Fager says:

    I really enjoyed reading your other books. Am looking forward to reading Rachel. My books don’t just sit on the shelf when I am done, they travel to friends and family to enjoy them as well.

  22. Connie Saunders says:

    I really enjoyed this interview and I especially liked Jill’s advice to “Write what you love”. I have also found that you can always research and learn new facts! Thanks for this giveaway!

  23. Connie R. says:

    I would love to read some biblical fiction…it always brings out things in the Bible that either I missed or hadn’t thought of. Thanks for the giveaway.

  24. Donna says:

    Would love to win your new book!

  25. Freda says:

    I am an avid reader. I read 6 to 8 book’s per week. Would love to read your new book. It is exactly that style of writing I love!

  26. Love your books, Jill. Someday…I hope you will guide a group of book lovers through the Holy Land. I’d be the first to sign up! Thank you for bringing Scripture to life in a unique way. And thanks for taking time for this interview! Warmly, Suzanne

  27. Linda Dietz says:

    I am not a writer, but have done several Bible studies on the lives of several women in the Bible. What a treasure trove of lessons for us today! Thank you for interviewing Jill Eileen Smith & I shall look forward to reading her book!

  28. Andrea Williams says:

    Great interview! I love stories about Biblical women.

  29. Jennifer Long says:

    thanks for the giveaway!!

  30. Steph j says:

    I would love to win your book. It sounds like a good story.

  31. Thank you to each one of your for your kind responses! I’m overwhelmed! I wish I could reply to each one of you individually, but I’ve been fighting flu-like symptoms today and still feel pretty crummy.

    I truly appreciate you taking the time to read Suzanne’s blog! And Suzanne, if I ever could lead a group to the Holy Land – what fun that would be! Thank you for having me here today.
    Warmly, Jill

  32. Kathie from CA says:

    I would love to read your book and hope I win it. Have to say I am planning on trying the chicken coated with berry preserves tomorrow. It sounds delicious.

  33. June Shirey says:

    I would love to win this book. It sounds very interesting and I’m sure I will enjoy reading it.

  34. Connie Hendryx says:

    What a great interview with an author I hadn’t heard of before! I will definitely be looking for her books! Thanks!

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    I love her advice on writing. Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

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