Intimate Conversation with author Vanessa Miller
Vanessa Miller of Dayton, Ohio, is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. Her stage productions include: Get You Some Business, Don’t Turn Your Back on God, and Can’t You Hear Them Crying. Vanessa is currently in the process of turning the novels in the Rain Series into stage productions. Vanessa's latest release, Yesterday’s Promise, was #1 on BCNN April 2010 bestsellers list. View here: http://www.bcnn1.com/bs/april2010/april2010bs.pdf
Vanessa has been writing since she was a young child. When she wasn’t writing poetry, short stories, stage plays and novels, reading great books consumed her free time. However, it wasn’t until she committed her life to the Lord in 1994 that she realized all gifts and anointing come from God. She then set out to write redemption stories that glorify God.
To date, Vanessa has completed the Rain and Storm Series. She is currently working on the Forsaken series, Second Chance at Love series and a single title, Long Time Coming. Yesterday's Promise, a Christian romance, was released in April 2010 by Whitaker House Publishing. Vanessa believes that each book will touch readers across the country in a special way. It is, after all, her God-given destiny to write and produce plays and novels that bring deliverance to God’s people. These books have received rave reviews, winning Best Christian Fiction Awards and topping numerous Bestseller’s lists.
• Best Christian Fiction Mahogany Award 2003
• Red Rose Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction 2004
• Nominated for the NAACP Image Award (Christian Fiction) 2004
• Essence Bestseller’s List March 2008; May 2008 (Former Rain)
• Essence Bestseller’s List September 2008 (Rain Storm)
• Black Expressions Book Club Alternate Selection 2007, 2008 & 2009.
Vanessa originally self-published, then in 2006 she signed a five-book deal with Urban Christian/Kensington. Her books can now be found in Wal-Mart, and almost all major bookstores, including African American bookstores and online bookstores such as Amazon.com.
Vanessa is a dedicated Christian and devoted mother. She graduated from Capital University with a degree in Organizational Communication. In 2007, Vanessa was ordained by her church as an exhorter. Vanessa believes this was the right position for her because God has called her to exhort readers and to help them rediscover their place with the Lord. Most of Vanessa’s published novels depict characters that are lost and in need of redemption. The books have received countless favorable reviews.
Melinda Johnson has always felt called to ministry. So, when her father, Bishop Langston Johnson, decides to step down after thirty years of leadership at Omega Christian Center, it seems only natural for her to take his place. But Bishop Johnson feels led by a God who has other things in mind, and to succeed him, he appoints Steven Marks-a man who is opposed to female pastors, not to mention the fact that he is Melinda's ex-fiance.
Feeling defeated, Melinda nevertheless maintains her position as the church's Missions and Community Outreach Director. Frequent interaction with the new bishop incites bitter sparring-and rekindles long-suppressed attraction, which grows only stronger when Melinda develops a relationship with Steven's precious daughter, Brianna, who's still struggling with the death of her mother.
Can Steven and Melinda set aside past pains, forgive each other, and learn to love again? Or will their opposing positions regarding women preachers keep them forever at odds?
BPM: Where do you find your inspiration to write?
I find inspiration for my novels in stories that I read in the Bible, conversations that I have with family and friends, or something that I watched on the news. I have awakened from dreams with the beginning of a storyline for a novel… inspiration comes from many different sources, but my main goal is to make sure each of my books glorify God.
BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
Since all of my novels a meant to lead the reader back to or closer to God, I believe my legacy will be that I spread the good news of the gospel with thousands upon thousands of people… and many of them found strength in the inspiration they found between the pages of my books.
BPM: What specific revelation prompted you to write this book, Yesterday’s Promise ?
I was doing a book signing at the Indiana Black Expo and the lady next to my table was signing copies of her book that talked about the struggle for women to preach. Since the bishop of my church is a woman and we have women preach at my church all the time, I had never thought anything about any struggle that women faced when it came to preaching. But then a man walked into the room where we were signing our books. He took one look at Pastor Notoshia Howard’s book and started screaming at her. He told her that she had no business trying to preach to men and that women were not allowed to preach. That’s when the idea of Yesterday’s Promise was dropped in my spirit. I wanted to write a book that details the struggles women who have been called by God have to deal with in order to preach the gospel.
BPM: Vanessa, introduce us to your book and the main characters from Yesterday’s Promise.
Yesterday’s Promise is a Christian romance about Melinda Johnson and Steven Marks. Melinda feels called to the ministry, but Steven doesn’t believe that women should preach. This disagreement between the two causes Steven to break off their engagement. But now, after ten years, Steven is back in Melinda’s life as the new bishop over her fellowship and he wants a second chance with Melinda. However, Melinda can never marry a man who doesn’t respect the call of God on her life. To love one another, the two must knock down the walls that separate them. But can the bishop finally do that for his lady or will Melinda be forced to leave Omega Christian Church?
BPM: What are two major events taking place in the book?
The major events in this book deal with Melinda’s struggle to preach. In several scenes she is forced to fight against her father and her ex-fiancé to prove that God has called her to preach. Yesterday’s Promise also deals with the issue of broken promises. Melinda struggles with this issue and finally allows God to heal her heart.
BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I loved Melinda’s character because she was so complex. She was a preacher with issues of unforgiveness that stemmed from broken promises that had been made by her mother, ex-fiancé and her father. She was an interesting character study. I enjoyed watching as she resolved her issues and gave love a second chance.
Although Yesterday’s Promise is not about real people, it does deal with a real controversy in the Christian community. Not everyone believes that women should preach, but Melinda Johnson is determined to change minds and win souls.
BPM: What was the hardest part of Yesterday’s Promise to write?
Yesterday’s Promise deals with women in ministry. Since I know that this is a topic not everyone agrees on, I wanted to address the controversy but also find a way to some women believe they have every right to preach the gospel. I was very careful with those parts of the story because I wanted to make sure I told both sides of the story.
BPM: What is the most powerful chapter in the book for you?
Although there are many chapters in this book that will speak to the reader, in my opinion, chapter 22 is the most powerful because this is the chapter where Melinda learns to forgive.
BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
Women between the ages of 35-65, Christian women and Christian women in ministry would enjoy this story of romance and ministry.
BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
I believe that Yesterday’s Promise will give readers a better understanding concerning women in the ministry and will also help them understand a little bit more about the benefits of forgiveness.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to close the book on Yesterday’s Promise believing in themselves and in love again. Sometimes the world beats us up so much that we put aside the things we know we should be doing, in order to do the things that make the most sense – but if God called you to it, He will bring you through it.
BPM: What do you think makes your book stand out?
Although Yesterday’s Promise is Christian romance, it is one of the first romances to address the issue of women in the ministry. So, I believe that readers will find that aspect of the book interesting as well as the romance between Melinda and Steven.
BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I have four books releasing this year and another book due into my publisher by September. So 2010 is pretty busy for me.
My 2010 titles are as follows:
Yesterday’s Promise, April 2010
Forgiven, June 2010
A Love for Tomorrow, September 2010
Long time Coming, November 2010
BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
My web address is: www.vanessamiller.com my facebook page is: www.facebook.com/vanessamiller01 or readers can check out my Facebook fan page by typing in Vanessa Miller.