Monday, July 16, 2012

Meet Woman of Faith Author Rhonda Tibbs

RUBY:  Describe what your faith means to you. 
Tibbs:  I was baptized by my own choice when I was ten years old in a little creek by a Baptist country preacher, and the moment I was raised from submersion the world appeared brighter, as if I had stepped into a clearer, more colorful dimension. I am a child of God, and I am loved.

RUBY:  Tell a favorite Bible verse, and why it is your favorite.
Tibbs:  Isaiah 40:31: 
- but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” At the darkest time in my life, when I was physically and emotionally exhausted, this passage gave me the hope I needed. I was reminded I didn’t have to struggle alone and took my troubles to God who lifted me and gave me the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and change my life. (As a writer, I particularly love the phrase: “They will soar on wings like eagles.”)

RUBY:  Which woman in the Bible do you most admire, and why? 
Tibbs:   Luke 10:39 Mary who decided to sit among the men and listen to Jesus teach, rather than work in the kitchen with her sister Martha. For a woman of that day to go against tradition and join a group of men in order to sit at the feet of Jesus so she might listen to his teachings inspires me. Given the customs of that time, she was undoubtedly welcomed by few of those men (if any) except Jesus.

RUBY:  Tell the title of a hymn or Christian song which means the most to you, and why. 
Tibbs:  “How Great Thou Art” As the goose bumps raise on my skin, the passion of the lyrics and swelling music make me feel like bowing my head, lifting my hands to heaven, crying and laughing all at once.

RUBY:  Does your spirituality play a part in your writing? 
Tibbs:  Yes. 

RUBY:  How so? 
Tibbs:  When I sat down to write my first two novels, I believed I was creating a spiritual journey for the main characters, in that they were processing the burdens laid on them by circumstances beyond their control when they were just children. Only in looking back at my writing did I understand I was chronicling my own emotional journey, my passage from broken to healing and then whole. Once I realized what I had done, I added a scene to my first novel, Angel’s Blues, where a secondary character points out the role that others had played in God’s plan. In my second book, Song of the Snowman, I struggled for weeks with different endings that never felt right. Finally, one day I sat down and started over again, and the ending flowed so easily I believe it was a gift.

RUBY:  What would you like your readers to take with them from your writing?
Tibbs:   I would wish for the reader to close the book feeling satisfied that they just read a good story.

RUBY:  Tell us about your novels.
Tibbs:  My first two novels, Angel’s Blues and Song of the Snowman are connected. Angel’s Blues chronicles the struggle of Michael O’Mara to overcome a childhood of serious abuse. Song of the Snowman is about Michael’s son Brian, whose history is not so different from his father’s. Both of these books are highly emotional, but ultimately healing journeys of boys growing into men learning to embrace their own strengths and allow God to fully heal them.  My third novel, Purdie Magee, is more lighthearted, but still a journey of self-discovery as Purdie sheds the dysfunction of her birth family, falls in love, and begins a brand new life.     

RUBY:  How may we contact you in order to make a further connection?  
Facebook: Rhonda D. Tibbs
Twitter: @RTibbs

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