Thursday, August 1, 2013

In Her Own Words...

I caught up with Virginia Welch, three time author, for a fastastic interview that gives us a peek into this amazing woman's life.  Check it out...

Tell us about yourself (family, kids pets etc.)

I was born at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, the second of four daughters of Carl and Mary Hull. When I was about eight months old my father was transferred to Ft Eustis, Va.; my family lived nearby in a small brick rambler in Lee Hall. In 1962 my dad retired from the Army and the family relocated to Santa Clara, Ca. to be near my mother’s clan in San Francisco. My parents purchased a new home in the Killarney Farms suburban development of Santa Clara, where I was raised. My father found work as a mail carrier at the Santa Clara Post Office, my mother was hired by Santa Clara Unified School District as a secretary. I attended now-closed Emil R. Buchser High School. I majored in English at Santa Clara University, married, and then earned a Master of Communications at California State University, Chico, where I also taught a business writing course.

During the next twenty years I followed my FBI agent husband around the United States, writing freelance articles for various publications and taking on all types of contract editing assignments. I brought four children into the world during that time, two boys and two girls. While my husband was stationed in Birmingham, Ala. I contracted as a weekly freelance foods writer for the Birmingham
News. Also in Birmingham I served a short stint (before my husband was transferred again) as associate editor in the crafts division at Oxmoor House, the book publishing arm of Sunset/Southern Living magazine.

In 1991 my husband’s job took the family to the Northern Virginia/DC Metro area, where I made the switch to technical editing and writing but continued to dream of producing something with a larger reach. In 2005 I was inspired to write
The Lesson.

In 2006 I followed my husband’s government transfer one final time when we moved to Virginia Beach, Va. There I wrote
Crazy Woman Creek. Sometime after this I wrote What to Do When the Blessings Stop – When God Sends Famine. It required several years to write, mostly because my time was occupied with child-raising.

Currently I work full-time as a writer/editor for a worldwide defense contractor. I still live in Virginia Beach with my husband and my youngest daughter. My two oldest children (girl and boy), a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons live locally. My youngest child (18), Gregory, died in a car accident on Valentine’s Day, 2013, the same day I was scheduled to release my first book,
The Lesson, to the public.

Have you always been a writer?

I started writing for pay in 1984 while in graduate school, but I have always written. If not on paper, I’m writing something in my head. I can’t remember a time when I was not writing. I believe that some people are called to write. I’m one of them. Do you have a specific writing style?

Others describe it as direct and breezy. For my nonfiction in particular I strive to use as few words as possible to make a point. I’m a huge fan of William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. I learned much about cutting the fat from his book.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Though I’ve been writing professionally since 1984, it wasn’t until after I attended a Christian writer’s workshop at the Billy Graham conference center, The Cove, outside Asheville, North Carolina around 2003 that my self-concept crystalized. By the time I returned home I felt strongly compelled to quit waiting for someone else to call me a writer, to validate my gift. I am a writer because God designed me to be one, not because I’m published.

What was the very first thing you had published?

Ah, I remember this like it happened yesterday, though it was nearly 30 years ago. I wrote a two-page piece for a secretarial magazine. The message: It’s easy to get a full-time, permanent job if you start as a temp. I was paid $25, which my husband and I promptly spent on a steak dinner. I was in graduate school at the time and my husband was in college. We never ate out. I can still remember my husband bragging to the waitress about his wife, the published writer. His enthusiasm makes me smile.

Tell us about your books

The Lesson, published in March this year, is a romantic comedy based on my own true falling-in-love story. During my sophomore year in college I was followed home from a meeting by a stranger, Mr. Geeky Sailor, while I was in love with another man, Mr. Suave Attorney. A lot of funny things happened on the way to the altar.

Crazy Woman Creek, an inspirational historical romance set in Wyoming Territory, 1880, was released in April. This book was inspired by a cross-country car trip in 1999. I came upon a highway sign marking the bizarrely named creek that stretches over the northeast corner of Wyoming. When I learned that no one really knew the story behind the strange name, I decided to write one.

But there’s a little more to that. I grew up in the heyday of TV westerns. I love them. I spent many summers as a small child with a plastic gun and a leather holster, running around the neighborhood with my friends playing cowboys and Indians, so writing a western is not a stretch. And there was this picture in my head for a long time. I saw a woman waiting at the edge of her ranch, looking into the horizon, pining for her missing husband. Crazy Woman Creek also stemmed from this mind picture. So when I drove across the actual creek by that name in Wyoming in 1999, I was seriously intrigued. The seed was planted.

Finally, there’s the difficulty of finding good western fiction—not necessarily inspirational—that doesn’t slam the reader with smut. I like the sexual pull in a good romance. I don’t like the graphic sex. I wanted to write the kind of book I like to read.

I’m also in the process of writing another historical romance, which I hope to release at Christmas this year. It’s set in the California Gold Rush camps, 1851. And I’m revising a nonfiction book, The Hiss from Hell Only Women Hear, Is It Truth or Is It Tradition? I had hoped to have that out by Christmas too, but the work on the Gold Rush romance is taking up all my time.

Can you give us a quick synopsis of Crazy Woman Creek?

A young homesteader wife in 1880s Wyoming Territory becomes distraught when her husband goes missing and she realizes she is falling in love with the deputy assigned to find him.

Can you tell us a little bit about What to Do When the Blessings Stop – When God Sends Famine?

It’s my first nonfiction to be published and my shortest book, about 100 pages. I released it May 2013. It deals with severe spiritual chastening and how to respond based on the steps that Haggai (and Joel) outlined for the Jews, who were chastened by God with lack and frustration because of their indifference and spiritual sloth.

What else do you like to do?

Bake, cook, sew, quilt, and machine embroider. And read. I read constantly.

How/what do you do to feel empowered?

Empowerment begins in the mind. It’s not so much about what you have in the way of the world’s goods but how you think about yourself. This is what I think about myself that empowers me:

  1. 1) No one can fulfill the calling on my life but me; 2) I’m equipped to do the thing I’m called to do; 3) The fact that I’m female is no accident. Female by design. I glory in that knowledge. I love it.
  2. I read the Bible daily. Nothing sets us free (as women or otherwise) like standing on the promises of God.

If you could have coffee with any actor or famous person who would it be? What would you love to ask him/her?

I’d have coffee with a whole bunch of famous people, not just one! I’d ask to sit and chat with the entire crew of the Longmire (A&E) series. The modern-day law enforcement program is set in the fictional little town of Durant, Wyoming, which is based on the real little town of Buffalo, Wyoming, the town where my story, Crazy Woman Creek is set. I love the Longmire series, the Great West: good guys, bad guys, horses, guns, cowboy hats, and all in a contemporary setting. One night when I first discovered the series, I commented to my husband, who was watching with me, that the backdrop for the program looked exactly like Buffalo, which we had visited together in 2010 when I was researching Crazy Woman Creek. Turns out the author of the Longmire series, Craig Johnson, did indeed base fictional Durant on Buffalo. Johnson lives just outside of Buffalo.

If I were lucky enough to ask questions of the crew, I’d ask them if, in the process of playing their on-screen personas, do they begin to feel like the characters they portray? I say this because, when I write a story, I get so totally into the characters—they’re in my head talking and doing things every waking minute—that I forget they are not real. True story: Just before I got on the plane to fly to Buffalo to research Crazy Woman Creek, my younger daughter felt compelled to remind me that I shouldn’t go looking for Luke and Lenora’s grave markers in town. “They’re not real, you know, Mom.”

I must have been talking about Luke and Lenora a bit too much, you think? 

What would you love to do, but haven't yet?

Live 6-12 months in a Spanish-speaking country, on my own, working and traveling so that I could once and for all get fluent. I’ve taken 9 years of college-level Spanish and still speak the language with slowly and stupidly.

Favorite color? Book? Food?

Red, which is one of the reasons I love the cover of The Lesson so much. I have a zillion favorite books, but a historical romance, Beloved Enemy, by Mary Schaller comes to mind. I’ve read it three times. Food? Oh my, let’s not start. There’s only so much space on this Internet page.

What do you indulge in?

Sweets, way too often. Hmm. I also have a kitchen some women would kill for. Like I said, I like to cook and bake. Never met a high-end appliance I didn’t like.

Anything else you would like to add?

My most sincere desire is that my fiction entertains and encourages someone. And I hope that my nonfiction books inform and bring hope.

Check out Viginia's web site at;


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