Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of turning the tables on one of our wonderful interviewers for the CAN blog—Davalynn Spencer—and interview her for a change! In addition to being a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published novelist, Davalynn is an amazing friend—and she also writes nonfiction!
Welcome, Davalynn! Tell us about your new book, Always Before Me – 90 Story-Devotions for Women.
Busy women often long for God’s peace in their hectic schedules. Always Before Me provides ninety story-devotions showing how God uses ordinary circumstances to carry His extraordinary voice straight to our heart. The final chapter offers step-by-step encouragement for discovering the miracle of God’s voice in our own life.
What inspired you to write this book?
Readers of my original book of thirty devotions encouraged me by their response to it. They wanted more. So the new edition of Always Before Me contains the original thirty story-devotions plus sixty additional daily thoughts to round out a three-month devotional book.
I love that you use stories to enliven your devotions! What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I want readers to discover the accessibility of God in their daily lives. He speaks to us in a language He knows we will understand – if we take a moment to listen. His patience and creativity out-weigh our own, and He is there, just waiting to touch our heart. Sometimes a brief moment of insight is all it takes to find strength in the struggle.
So true! How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
Each of these ninety story-devotions are from my personal life—situations in which God has revealed Himself to me, encouraged me, or given me strength to continue. One of the most surprising things I’ve discovered after writing the book is that I’m no different than anyone else. Many women have contacted me to say a particular day’s topic spoke specifically to their own situation. Hearing things like this blesses me over and over again, reminding me of our God’s amazing faithfulness.
How wonderful that you can share Christ through these devotions. In what other ways do you share in your writing?
I’ve heard the phrase “lifestyle Christianity,” and it sums up how I write my inspirational romance novels. It also pinpoints my devotional book. With either fiction or nonfiction, I want people to see God in their daily lives. He’s not hanging around waiting for us to worship Him on Sunday or Wednesday or Saturday. He’s there each moment of our daily, breathing life, waiting for us to include Him.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
I haven’t intentionally chosen themes for my books, but looking over my sixteen fiction titles, I see that redemption and second chances run like parallel train rails through the stories. And isn’t that the bottom line to God’s gift of salvation? He does what we can’t and gives us a second chance. And a third. And a fourth …
I’m so thankful for those gazillion chances! And that the Lord lets you write about them. So why do you love writing?
I write because I have to. It’s right up there with breathing and eating.
And sometimes the breathing and eating are only to fuel the writing. I hear you. But there is more to life, of course. What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I am one of the leaders on my church worship team, where I play the keyboard and sing. Leading people in praise and melting into the collective worship is like going home.
“Melting into worship”—I see why you’re a writer. What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
Keyboards seem to be my thing—whether piano or computer. I also make a mean cup of coffee.
I’ll be right over. And what goes better with coffee than books? What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I like to read historical fiction that depicts characters making God-choices. Books that don’t preach but show how people face everyday challenges in light of God’s standards.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I was a journalist for many years, writing for daily newspapers in two states, serving as a crime-beat reporter, features writer, religion-page editor and columnist. I learned to “write tight” and meet a deadline. I also wrote and photographed for rodeo trade papers and won my first writing award for a two-part feature in Prorodeo Sports News.
With those writing chops, you must have more coming up. Please tell us about your next project.
I’m currently working on Book 5 in my historical Cañon City Chronicles series. When I began the series, I thought three books would wrap it up. Not so. These characters get something stuck in their head and insist that I give them their own story. It’s like living with small, demanding children … that I fall in love with over and over again.