We are thrilled to announce that we’ve signed author, Beverly Varnado for her contemporary romance / mystery, THE KEY TO EVERYTHING. She’s here today to answer some questions so we can all get to know her a bit better.
1. Welcome, Beverly! Thanks for stopping by to chat with us. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a novelist, screenwriter and blogger, with two other novels in print, and a script under option for a film. My work appears in several anthologies, and I also write for an international devotional magazine.
I was an art major in college and have recently taken up oil painting again after only doing water colors for many years. I was shocked when one of my pieces was selected to be shown in a state university exhibit. I also have been a church musician my entire life and at one point did a couple of recording projects.
I home schooled my children for eight years, but my two kids launched some time ago having recently graduated college. I love helping to teach the kids at church in our mid-week program and writing scripts for their Christmas performances.
The oddest thing I have done in writing is help my former college football playing husband write and edit a blog of his playing experiences. I am now quite the historian on University of Georgia Football.
2. Tell us a bit about the book that will be published by Anaiah Press.
Nurse practitioner, Dr. Genny Sanders, thinks her problems are behind her when she leaves New York City to move back to the Worthville, Georgia farmhouse in which she was raised. Having recently inherited the house from her beloved grandmother Agnes, she looks forward to a new life and a position at a Worthville medical practice. However, in a meeting with her grandmother’s estate attorney, David Worth, she learns of a new housing development threatening her property.
The situation escalates and everything Genny holds dear is threatened. To complicate matters further, she feels a strong attraction to David, but a secret in her past could keep her from trusting any man again.
David Worth has walked away from a lucrative position in his dad’s Atlanta law firm to return to the town his great-great-grandfather started. Now estranged from his dad, the last thing he needed was to make an error in judgment that could affect his reputation in Worthville, but that is what he had done. He struggles over how to make this right and wonders if this woman he finds so endearing, Dr. Genny Sanders, will ever trust him again?
And that mysterious key Genny found in her grandmother’s key box―what does it fit and could it possibly be the answer to all her problems? And what do love and forgiveness have to do with it all?
3. When and why did you start writing?
I’ve written my whole life, but have been really pressing into my writing as a calling from God for about ten years.
4. Is this your first book? How many have you written? How many have you published?
I won a book deal in a writing competition for Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees, which was a semi-finalist for Operation First Novel. My script for this story was a Kairos Prize finalist and is under option for a film. I then indie-published Home to Currahee―a novel I wanted to dedicate to my father. He was in declining health, but blessedly, he saw it in print a short time before he died. I have two other novel manuscripts yet unpublished and several non-fiction manuscripts. I also have a non-fiction book currently under contract, Faith in the Fashion District, also set to release in 2018. It is the story of how a life on Seventh Avenue launched a lifetime in ministry and is taken from the ten years I spent as a fashion buyer.
5. That’s fantastic. So, tell us a bit about your journey to publication.
By the summer of 2015, I had written five novel manuscripts with two of them in print, six screenplays with one under option for a film, six hundred blog posts, and I don’t know how many articles and devotions. I have had the privilege of writing for a Focus on the Family publication, an international devotional magazine called The Upper Room, and other online sites.
On a June afternoon in 2015, I typed the last words of a draft for a new novel. That evening I learned my dad had suffered a stroke. He died twenty-two days later. I had been close to my dad and his death hit me hard, but I knew it was time for him to go. However, some circumstances surrounding his death made it even more difficult to process. I felt as if I were shut down creatively. For ten years, I had always been working on a new project, but not anymore.
In the next year, I managed to keep my blog going and though I couldn’t generate any ideas for a new project, I continued editing that novel manuscript I had written before my dad’s death, which became The Key to Everything. God has really shown me the truth of Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” I edited this book in tears but now God is bringing joy.
6. What are some of your favorite books / authors?
Jan Karon has been a huge influence in my writing. At one point, we even exchanged letters and she encouraged me to write a book. A couple of my favorite writers are in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame―historical fiction author, Eugenia Price, and journalist and novelist Celestine Sibley. I often have a copy of Madeleine L’engle’s lovely book on creativity, Walking on Water, near me. She more than anyone else through her writing has taught me that we have a duty to serve the gift we’re given and not compare ourselves to others. “Comparisons are odious,” she quotes Marlowe. Besides the Bible, C.S. Lewis and Oswald Chambers have been the greatest influences in my spiritual walk.
7. What are some of your favorite movies / TV shows?
Secondhand Lions, Julie and Julia, Saving Mr. Banks, Miss Potter. Of course, classics like Roman Holiday. I love old Doris Day movies.
8. Where do you find inspiration for your books?
Sometimes the tiniest things inspire me. I try to listen to God and see where He might be leading me. With The Key to Everything, I kept seeing in my mind a key with a red cord in a box and decided to find out more about it through my writing.
9. Describe your perfect day of relaxation.
One of my favorite places in the world is an island off the Georgia Coast. I bike around the village and read on the beach. I love being with my family no matter where we are.
Got a question for Beverly? Leave it in the comments!